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Flap’s Links and Comments for September 7th on 14:35

These are my links for September 7th from 14:35 to 14:37:

  • Where the Jobs Aren’t – With the economy stagnating and unemployment high, where are the jobs of the future going to come from? A few years ago, it seemed as though the Green Economy could be a big part of the answer.

    New clean-energy sources could address environmental, economic and national security problems all at once. In his 2008 convention speech, Barack Obama promised to create five million green economy jobs. The U.S. Conference of Mayors estimated in April 2009 that green jobs could account for 10 percent of new job growth over the next 30 years.

    Alas, it was not to be. The gigantic public investments in green energy may be stimulating innovation and helping the environment. But they are not evidence that the government knows how to create private-sector jobs.

    Recently, Aaron Glantz reported in The Times on some of the disappointments. California was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize homes. So far, the program has created the equivalent of only 538 full-time jobs. A $59 million effort to train people for green jobs in California produced only 719 job placements.

    SolFocus designs solar panels in the United States, but the bulk of its employment is in China where the panels are actually made. As the company spokesman told Glantz, “Taxes and labor rates” are cheaper there.

    There’s a wealth of other evidence to suggest that the green economy will not be a short-term jobs machine. According to Investor’s Business Daily, executives at Johnson Controls turned $300 million in green technology grants into 150 jobs — that’s $2 million per job.


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  • Solyndra’s all-too-predictable collapse – On Tuesday evening, ABC News reported that in his upcoming “jobs speech,” President Obama will call for more “green jobs stimulus” — though this is now being called, in advance, “targeted infrastructure investment for clean energy projects.” It appears that he and his team have run out of ideas.

    The next day, Wednesday, Obama’s “green jobs stimulus” baby, Solyndra, declared bankruptcy after taxpayers had spent $527 million propping up the company (or $479,000 per temporary job created).

    I suppose it would be déclassé to note that I told you so.

    Today, The Washington Post weighed in with a story on page A2: “Obama-backed green firm shuts down.” Although it was actually the taxpayer who bore the financial risk of Solyndra, The Post notes that it is Obama who bears the political exposure for this absurd boondoggle.

    The best line in the story is this quote from Solyndra chief executive Brian Harrison: “This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

    Unexpected? Really? Not only did I predict that this would happen in a book that was published in April 2010, red flags abounded soon thereafter about Solyndra, specifically, key among them that the company had to pull the plug on a comparatively modest $300 million equity IPO.


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