The Green Hustle

What is a “green job?”

Obama’s magical thinking on green jobs

On Thursday night, the president told a Democratic fundraiser in Washington that the Pass My Jobs Bill bill would create 1.9 million new jobs. What kind of jobs are created by this kind of magical thinking? Well, they’re “green jobs” – and, if we know anything about “green jobs,” it’s that they take a lot of green. German taxpayers subsidize “green jobs” in their wind-power industry to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars per worker per year: $250,000 per “green job” would pay for a lot of real jobs, even in the European Union. Last year, it was revealed that the Spanish government paid $800,000 for every “green job” on a solar panel assembly line. I had assumed carelessly that this must be a world record in terms of taxpayer subsidy per fraudulent “green job.” But it turns out those cheapskate Spaniards with their lousy nickel-and-dime “green jobs” subsidy just weren’t thinking big. The Obama administration’s $38.6 billion “clean technology” program was supposed to “create or save” 65,000 jobs. Half the money has been spent – $17.2 billion – and we have 3,545 jobs to show for it. That works out to an impressive $4,851,904.09 per “green job.” A world record! Take that, you loser Spaniards! USA! USA!

So, based on previous form, Obama’s prediction of 1.9 million new jobs will result in the creation of 92,000 new jobs, mostly in the Federal Department of Green Jobs Grant Applications.

When I hear “green job” I think of an aging hippy growing organic fruits and vegetables at a commune and selling them at a co-op. I’ve heard Barack Obama talk a lot about green jobs. He even had a green jobs czar for a little while.

But I’m starting to suspect we’re being hustled.

Watch the video up above. Right at the beginning it mentions two names: Enron and Goldman Sachs. Enron is out of business but Goldman Sachs continues to loot and pillage operate. Goldman Sachs is like the Manson Family of high finance.

There are a lots of buzzwords associated with “green,” like “renewable,” recycle,” and “eco-friendly.” Anything green is supposed to pollute less (or not at all) and help us and all Earth’s creatures live happily ever after. As far as that goes I’m all for green.

But take Solyndra. Forget about the missing half a billion for a minute, and focus on what they were supposed to be doing. They were manufacturing solar panels that businesses could mount on their roofs to make their own electricity.

Now they have been talking about solar energy since before I was born but they still haven’t worked all the bugs out. But it sounds like a nice idea, especially for any company making and selling those panels.

But when it comes down to it Solyndra was a manufacturer – they had a factory. They weren’t making fluffy bunnies out of cat farts, they were using machines, chemicals and materials to create a product. They had to conform to the same environmental regulations as other businesses.

Let’s get back to that missing half a billion. The government gave Solyndra money to build a factory so they could make solar panels. The construction companies and equipment manufacturers made out nicely on that deal.

Assume for a minute this wasn’t a pump and dump scam by the original investors and that Solyndra had managed to stay afloat. But the product isn’t selling well, so what do they do?

They spend some of the loan money the government gave them to bribe lobby Congressmen to give tax credits to anyone who buys their solar panels. Even better – they get Congress to pass a law saying everyone has to have solar panels within a few years.

Are you starting to see how this works? We (us, the taxpayers) pay a politically connected company to make a product then we (us, the taxpayers) pay other people to buy that product.

But it’s green, so it must be a good thing, right?

George Washington Plunkitt would be green with envy.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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85 Responses to The Green Hustle

  1. I remember a government education program that ended up costing so much for every student that it could have sent them all to Harvard cheaper. Proves there’s no such thing as education, right?

    Sounds like one of Obama’s usual plan-to-fail. He pretends he’s trying to do green, and failing — so gets credit from his base for trying, AND from his oil backers for failing so they can claim green doesn’t work.

    If this were an honest program under an honest President, it wouldn’t be just about immediate production line jobs. It would be about infrastructure and development — onetime cost. And getting free of Mideast oil. Do you object to breathing clean air? To having a Gulf without the oil coating? Do you mind if some plants and animals breathe too?

    There’s nothing wrong with subsidizing both sides: the supply and the demand. That’s how you get an industry started. Better than the subsidies going to oil, and the loss of the Gulf fishing industry.

    All green needs is an honest competent President and Congress to start it right.

    • myiq2xu says:

      There’s nothing wrong with subsidizing both sides: the supply and the demand. That’s how you get an industry started.

      Yeah, like we subsidized the building of the transcontinental railroad.

      It was a good thing for the country, but we the people got gouged for it, during construction and after.

      If we’re gonna pay for it, we ought to own it.

      • Fine, let’s own it. How? Let’s nationalize oil while we’re at it, and elect President Sarah to send us all $1200 or whatever it was.

        While arguing about that for a few decades, let’s breathe and swim.

        • crawdad says:

          There is more than one way to skin a yak. We could finance the research at public universities, with the patents being retained by the government and licensed to private companies.

        • WMCB says:

          crawdad, I’ve often suggested that we do a Manhattan Project style push for alternative energy. Get the scientists together, fund them, and turn them loose.

          Subsidizing specific companies has resulted in corruption and a really bad track record of picking what will work.

          If the govt wants the technology developed. then DO IT, as a solely govt venture. After we have the answers, THEN turn it loose to the public for free, and let whatever private companies can profit take up the new technology on their own.

          The govt did a lot of research that helped establish the internet. But they didn’t plan and build it – they just discovered things that made their way into the private sector after the fact. And then the private sector took it and ran with it and built on it. Some succeeded, many failed, and VOILA! we have the worldwide web. I shudder to think what we’d have now if the govt had decided from the beginning to centrally plan the whole thing.

          There is a role for govt. I’m not anti-govt. But govt’s role is not “venture capitalist”. They suck at it.

        • with the patents being retained by the government and licensed to private companies

          Very fairly, with no cronies, I’m sure.

          How about the government puts the patents into public domain instead?

        • Basically agree with yours here. Couple of quibbles.

          Subsidizing specific companies has resulted in corruption and a really bad track record of picking what will work.

          True. But getting all the scientists “together” and making it a completely run “government project” is still too much government, too centralized. It’s even more “picking what will work”: picking one goal (cf “split the atom”) to set them all to.

          We don’t know yet what will be the most worthwhile approaches. Wind, solar, tide, etc etc. And as in Sarah’s approach, probably different for each town.

        • We’re so good at enforcing our existing patents overseas?

          A tariff on all imported Chinese panels might help. Especially those that don’t speak English well.

  2. Mimi says:

    The intersection of highly questionable new technology (green or otherwise), extremely evil venture capital (Goldman Sachs and corporate raiding hedge funds), big media (GE and NBC keep popping up in the work history of far too many of these assholes), Harvard, Center for American Progress, Obama bundlers who jumped in with both feet in 2007 (early visionaries who knew he was the One), federal, state and even local tax credit programs set up for green energy and job creation, lobbying and law firms where spouses are employed, and a string of supporters from this incestuous little world who just happened to work at the WH and certain agencies just long enough to see the deals done (or until someone started sniffing around) would certainly suggest a rather cozy, uh, working relationship.

    We will soon start to see flow charts to keep all of this crap straight. I believe that we will see an organization set up something like the Mafia.

    • Mary says:


      And you can bet your bottom dollar this “trading market” will be unregulated, much like the Commodities market, ripe for huge transaction fees sucked out by Goldman Sachs and hedge funds, and all of that—-managed out of Chicago.

      PT Barnum, anyone?

    • Mimi says:

      Some smartypants already did a chart on Sept 1. Here it is. It does somewhat resemble a prosecution exhibit at a RICO trial.

      • Mary says:

        Incredible, really. Thanks for posting.

        As I understand, Argonaut Private Equity is OWNED by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

        Ergo—Mr. Kaiser gets his $$$ before the taxpayers do.

  3. Monster from the Id says:

    *sigh* I hope some other country, blessed with less dishonest politics and economics, will be able to develop cleaner energy sources.

    Well, I’m 48. Maybe this country will hold together long enough for me to die of old age first. I have no descendants to think about.

    • Mimi says:

      IF, and that is a very doubtful if at this point, this nest of hooligans and hustlers can be cleaned out, the green movement, business sector, etc can be saved and even improved. The honest proponents, inventors, R&D, businesses need to be very critical and say that the hustlers are taking it over for the scam and ruining their reputations. Where are they and why aren’t they screaming bloody murder? I actually think that Lightsquared is worse than Solyndra because what they were demanding to do with the full collusion of the FCC was much more far reaching and ruinously expensive not to mention frigging dangerous.

    • Mary says:

      China already has.

      And GE is right in there, in terms of wind energy. Much of the taxpayer money they got in TARP and the Stimulus went to their factories in China to do just that. You helped subsidize their overseas factories.

      • If solar power is so impractical, why is China going for it? Not just hosting GE etc, but subsidizing Chinese manufacturers to make solar panels cheaper than Solandra’s.

        • Mary says:

          You’re not concerned that GE took your tax dollars/loan guarantees/bailout $$$ and went right to China to manufacture with cheaper labor?

          That was my point, after all.

        • Mary says:

          And after that, GE paid less tax than those eeeevil oil companies you hate. In fact, GE took your tax dollars to China and still paid NO TAX AT ALL.


        • Sure I’m concerned with Obama’s TARP/GE stuff. But Obama would be paying off someone somewhere anyway.

          Speaking of China, I think it’s more important to look at what China’s own subsidies to their own factories can tell us about what China thinks about clean power. Second opinion there.

        • WMCB says:

          Why? Simple. Money to be made. China manufactures a lot of solar panels, but doesn’t use many at all. They are making them to sell to others, not installing them for their own energy needs.

          The vast majority of their solar panels are sold to Europe, because with all the subsidizing of solar there, China could make a big profit selling them to Europe. The Chinese solar boom came about not because China decided solar was a great new energy source, but because the sudden availability of lots of European tax dollars earmarked for solar made it a nice bubble for them. China has just been cashing in on Western government subsidies to make a profit. If the govt funds go away, it will no longer be profitable, and China will move on to some other bubble. It’s naive to think that massively polluting China has seen the green light. Nah, they just saw a market they could corner for cheap.

          Look, I don’t think anyone on this board has said that solar power is worthless, or that it has no place at all, no applications where it’s a potentially good solution. I think what most are saying is that all the govt monies involved, and the subsidies, and the payoffs, do two things:

          1) Make green energy ripe for exploitation and corruption and crony deals, and distort the prices where one can’t really tell what is breaking even and what isn’t.

          2) Only serve to muddy the waters so far as what technologies are viable or not, or can provide energy at a reasonable cost.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Second opinion there

          See: Rockefeller, John D. and Standard Oil

        • myiq2xu says:

          1) Make green energy ripe for exploitation and corruption and crony deals, and distort the prices where one can’t really tell what is breaking even and what isn’t.

          2) Only serve to muddy the waters so far as what technologies are viable or not, or can provide energy at a reasonable cost.

          “My country, ’tis, of thee, sweet land of subsidy . . . “

        • 2) Only serve to muddy the waters so far as what technologies are viable or not, or can provide energy at a reasonable cost.

          Not really that muddy. Anybody who really looks can sort out what is subsidy/bubble money and what is real technical improvement.

          What solar needs is breakthroughs in research. The more different places in the world where Obama throws green money, the more different new techniques will get tried. Market competition and all that, you know.

    • I hope some other country, blessed with less dishonest politics and economics, will be able to develop cleaner energy sources.

      Some of them already are. Might take a look at Finland. Gore is being criticized, as usual, for backing some hybrid car construction project there.

  4. Would LOVE to have wind power here- (not enough sunny days for solar) but the cost, in permitting and lawyers, is beyond what is affordable. We have ten acres and never a day without a good stiff breeze. Can’t do it. So we have to keep paying the electric and gas companies. We kept the heat at 65 all winter and lo and behold- even with all the Marcellus drilling going on here in PA- the gas company got a 9% increase. We conserve, their profits drop, they increase their rates (AGAIN) and we will be living at 62 degrees this winter. Rinse and repeat.
    Meanwhile- scam artists like Obama and his cronies keep screwing us.

    • Permitting? For putting up your own windmill? More Obama hampering to keep us dependent on his oil donors?

      Might look up some old homegrown windmill designs in the old Mother Earth News (now online). Like, a big merry go round sized thing that sits on your roof and goes around slowly all day.

      • Mary says:

        Yes, permitting. EPA says windmills are hazardous to birds.

        True story.

        • myiq2xu says:

          You gotta have a building permit for any new construction, and also environmental impact reports..

        • Mary says:

          Yep. And big ole fees for the permits.

          Rent-seeking, again?

        • So there’s Obama sabotaging what he pretends to promote.

          Old story.

        • WMCB says:

          We have a really bad intersection near me, where they had plans to add a lane to a freeway to ease congestion. We spent millions doing the EPA environmental studies to get it approved (even though it’s not in some virgin forest with endangered owls – there is dirt and scrub and rocks and nothing on either side.)

          Because of some of the logistics of the paving, it turned out that the plan needed to be modified to move it over about 10 feet. The EPA now demands that the entire process start over. We’ll have to pay for an entire new 2-year-long environmental impact study FOR A SECOND TIME if we want our road.

          Meanwhile, long lines of cars sit idle at that intersection every day because of the congestion, burning fuel and spewing exhaust – which has a lot more “impact” than moving the road ten feet will have.

          Our regulatory structure is insane.

        • An annoying EPA is just what the polluters want: as long as it’s annoying other people, not annoying them.

  5. DeniseVB says:

    Love him or hate him, Beck tried to get the CCX message out over a year ago. In this video he explains, quite explicitly, all involved on his blackboards with his trusty ” red bat phone”… that remains silent. This is part 2, as he recaps part 1 for the first couple of minutes. Juicier details are in part 1 🙂 Several Beck hate sites debunk this info by just calling him a crazy conspiracy whackjob (Google Glen Beck Chicago Climate Exchange).

    • Mary says:

      It’s why they had to destroy him. Didn’t work.

      • myiq2xu says:

        This ain’t the Glenn Beck Fan Club

        • Mary says:

          Like I haven’t been here long enough to already know that.

          My post wasn’t pro-Beck. It was pro-facts about bamboozlin greed in the Chicago Exchange re green energy.

          You can find the same information at Hot Air, which is “right wing” (snore) site that you and I both like.

          No biggie.

        • WMCB says:

          I’m not part of the Glenn Beck fan club either, but I will say this:

          He exposed and touched on things that no one else would touch, like the Chicago Climate Exchange, and other of Obama’s Chicago dealings.

          It’s sort of like Ron Paul. Paul touches the untouchable when he starts talking about the Federal Reserve and the banksters, and I appreciate that he says what he says because few others will. Of course, then he goes off into kook-land with Gold! and Sound Money! and Gas for a Silver Dime!!! *eye roll*

          Beck is similar. He actually does have some good points about things, and digs up crap that both parties would like to see remain buried. Then he goes all woo woo, which is kind of sad because he started with a good point before he ended up god knows where. *eye roll again*

          Michael Moore does the same thing too. He starts with some truth that ought to be told, then throws in wild conspiracy and emotional sensationalism and kind of blenderizes the crap in with the good stuff.

        • Mary says:

          Thank you, WMCB. 🙂

  6. yttik says:

    We are being hustled. One thing that is so frustrating is that we have the technology, the ingenuity, but the Gov keeps messing it up. Where I live we have many people who live off the grid, who are genuinely green. It took a lot of money and is not something most of us have access to. As to the Gov throwing a wrench in things, they pass ordinances and laws and charge taxes and fees and want permits. They give out huge grants and loans to their pet companies and those companies put patents on things. They’re always wanting their cut, their revenue. It’s just the nature of government.

    • Mary says:

      Case in point: Those eeeevil big oil companies only make a 4% profit, and pay much more in taxes than companies like GE. The reason your per gallon gasoline costs are so high is that the GOVERNMENT—county, state, and national—-adds huge taxes to each gallon.

      Making that statement doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns about Big Oil.

      Just means I’m not as stupid as Obama et al think I am.

      • That 4% sure has added up to a lot, lately. Record high profit, wasn’t it?

      • yttik says:

        My state has huge gas taxes, huge. If you think about it, it’s a real conflict of interest for the Gov to support alternatives. If they can’t get their gas taxes, they’d suffer an incredible loss of revenue.

        • WMCB says:

          I had a conversation once about some (not all) taxes contributing to govt corruption. It was during the tobacco lawsuits, and I postulated that political donations were not the only or maybe even the primary reason the govt protected the companies.

          Cigarette taxes are a HUGE income stream for many states. Huge. It’s something to consider when you start talking about taxes for this or that. Once it becomes an established revenue source for govt, how likely are they to want to get rid of it, even if it becomes necessary?

          Not to muddy the conversation, but I have a hard time with people who view the world so simply, where everything is black and white, and the repercussions of decisions follow the same simplistic “morality”.

          “A is good, B is bad, end of discussion. And if A is good, then all things that happen as a result of A are also good, or at least not harmful.” Um, no. The world doesn’t work that way.

          Life and politics and policy is a mixed bag. Always. Bank on it. Everything has both an upside and a downside. Why is that concept so difficult for some people?

        • WCMB, there’s two ways to balance a conversation. The long way is to make each of one’s own posts survey both sides and all exceptions etc. The short way is to answer a simplistic, er, red post with a simplistic green post.

    • One thing that is so frustrating is that we have the technology, the ingenuity, but the Gov keeps messing it up.

      Yep. And who owns the Government?

      On your small scale they stifle it with permits and such. On a large scale, they give money to cronies set up to fail — so they pocket the money AND announce that clean is impractical.

      • WMCB says:

        I’m curious. Are there any negative facts at all that could come out re: green energy and environmental regulation that might actually need to be weighed and processed and accounted for in your mind?

        Or is anything and everything that might besmirch the halo of The Holy Green all a secret plot of Exxon?

        • ralphb says:

          I’m also curious. Could someone address bemused’s question? It’s a quandry and all I’ve read is conclusions on both sides without much support.

        • WMCB says:

          I think part of the problem may be that govt is best in a “funding research” role. They suck when they get into the business of trying to bring a product to market, and that’s where all the big money gets involved. The private sector, on the other hand, is not going to fund research on a long-term scale that has no immediate profit on the horizon.

          I’d be much happier if the govt invested MAJOR funds to pure research for new energy, and then let the private sector figure out how to refine and make those ideas profitable. Let them both do the role they are best at, and stay out of each others’ bailiwick.

        • ralphb says:

          Let’s take the internet, which was used as an example in comments above. It’s true that the commercial internet was built by private companies. However, it’s ancestor was built and run by the US government entirely. DARPANet in the ’70s was fully featured, though without browsers etc, and I used it daily. This was followed by NSFNet which was a 45mb wan connecting gov’t installations and research centers at universities.

          What the government didn’t do was attempt to control development of it and most of it, except for the backbone, went into the public sphere largely unrestrained. That would seem to be a viable path for solar technologies but, in today’s environment, would to too much gov’t involvement to garner any support.

        • WMCB says:

          Yeah, Ralph, I used the internet as an example above. The research and early models were govt-funded. But they weren’t trying to develop a marketable product. Govt is good at the former, bad at the latter.

        • ralphb says:

          Actually the first things marketed were inferior to what the gov’t was using at the same time, by a wide margin. They were not private company developments, even Mozilla came from a gov’t lab site.

          Original net access etc was pure salesmanship and people paid for older technology. Those private sector geniuses are salesmen of the shiny. 🙂

        • I think part of the problem may be that govt is best in a “funding research” role.

          I tend to agree. Solar especially may still be in a stage needing some real breakthroughs from research, not mass production of current models. (Except for some low-hanging applications, such as panels on the roof of a parking garage and plugins for the cars below.)

          But I’m libertarian enough to like some decentralized research.

        • Or is anything and everything that might besmirch the halo of The Holy Green all a secret plot of Exxon?

          What percentage of MSM charges against Palin do you take seriously?

  7. yttik says:

    Something else the Gov does, they take bad ideas and run with it. People get all self righteous about how smart and green they are and they petition the Gov for something like mandatory squiggly light bulbs.

    Where I live people got all excited about banning plastic grocery bags. But there are a lot of poor people around here who have been using those bags for trash liners, lunch bags, laundry, etc, for decades. Now people have to have re-usable grocery bags which they take into the store and buy sandwich bags, garbage bags, and my personal favorite, pink scented dog poopie bags. Now instead of biodegradable dog poop everywhere, our area is littered with little pink bags. As gross as it is, dog poop was already green. Placed in a plastic bag and left on the beach it can now last for years.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Solar Calculator, very kewl….and quick.

    I used the option to cut my power bill by 50%. The results didn’t make it worth it to me so I’ll stick to my free passive solar (southern exposure and lots of deciduous trees).

    • ralphb says:

      Not worth it for me either. When my house was built I paid extra for added insulation, good windows etc so my bill are low anyway. 🙂

      • DeniseVB says:

        I think to save $145/mo, it would cost me 81k to add 47k value to my home and would pay for itself in 20 years. Kind of a bad climate (pun intended) to discuss home values 🙂

        Yes, over the years residential building codes have made our homes much more energy efficient. Those of us in moderate climates are pretty lucky.

        • ralphb says:

          This summer hasn’t been very moderate in Texas but I could cover all of my bill for $45k. Still why would I want to incur debt when my bills aren’t high and the house is paid for? 🙂

  9. 1539days says:

    The rules of capitalism are rarely thwarted by government money. If there’s an opportunity to get or save money by following a government dictate, business will find a way to do it with almost no downside for them. Businesses who plan to hire anyway will take the incentives for hiring. Companies that plan to expand will take the money for capital improvements.

    My utility company offers customers the ability to buy “green” energy from renewables. The electricity they get will still be produced from natural gas, but that money will be used to build windmills and such. Here’s the rub. The utility is mandated to produce a certain amount of renewable energy anyway. That green energy contribution becomes a way for them to meet their required goals with less out of their own pockets.

    From everything I see, the best way to introduce green energy at the consumer level is to offer 0% interest government loans to people who want to put renewables in the home grid. That way they can pay a fixed monthly rate like a utility bill. In my state, you get 50% off the cost, but you have to remain grid-connected. This is insane. If you overproduce to the point of selling it back to the utility, they pay you far less than you would pay them. Plus, there is a charge just to have the transmission lines connected to your house. It’s a giveaway to the utility.

    • That way they can pay a fixed monthly rate like a utility bill.

      Or rent them the panels or whatever the device is. *I* wouldn’t invest a big lump sum at the current state of development, which I hope will be obsolete soon.

      If it turns out my lot doesn’t get enough wind year round, move the windmill to someone else’s location.

      • myiq2xu says:

        I doubt the city would approve of me putting up a windmill on my property.

      • 1539days says:

        No no no! I don’t want the freakin’ government being in the solar panel rental business. Those things have a limited lifespan and they require a significant amount of installation. The government has all kinds of surveys to let you know approximately how much light or wind you get in your area. Taking windmills and panels in and out of homes just adds more expense.

        A PVC system could cost around $50,000 for 750 kWh per month. Over 25 years, that works out to $170 per month, excluding interest. That’s with today’s technology, which is perfectly serviceable if you charge your phone in your car and have CFLs (or LEDs) in your house.

        What this does is make the homeowner the one who decides what they want. That way the green company that makes the better product would benefit. Myiq is right that there are regulation problems and that’s another way the government can help. Maybe the EPA should say windmill permits supersede noise ordinances and zoning issues with birds.

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