Patterico's Pontifications

11/15/2011

After the Green Rush

Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

The establishment media equivalent of the Friday document dump is exiling a story to Saturday, which is what the New York Times did with a story on the crony capitalism that might be nicknamed the Green Rush:

The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

When the Obama administration and Congress expanded the clean-energy incentives in 2009, a gold-rush mentality took over.

The story undoubtedly disappoints former Enron adviser turned NYT columnist Paul Krugman, who has picked up the lefty meme about a “Moore’s Law in solar energy.”  There are a number of reasons to be skeptical about that, the most obvious being that if there was anything like Moore’s Law going on with solar energy, the industry would not be dependent on government subsidies, mandates and loan guarantees.

As usual, there is a part of this that is news not fit to print in the NYT, but left to a new book from Peter Schweizer:

The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies. The grants were earmarked for alternative-fuel and green-power projects, so it would not be a surprise to learn that those industries were led by liberals. Furthermore, these were highly competitive grant and loan programs—not usually a hallmark of cronyism. Often fewer than 10 percent of applicants were deemed worthy.

Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants. How much did they get? According to the Department of Energy’s own numbers … a lot. In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.

RTWT, as it only gets worse from there.  Even if you discount the possibility of crime, the Green Rush is a companion story to that of Occupy Wall Street, as Kenneth Anderson explained in analyzing the Blue One Perecent:

The two tiers of the New Class have always had different sources of rents ***.  For the upper tier, since 1990, it has come through its ability to take the benefits of generations of US social investment in education and sell that expertise across global markets — leveraging expertise and access to capital and technological markets in the 1990s to places in Asia and the former communist world in desperate need of it.  As [Christopher] Lasch said, the revolt and flight of the elites, to marketize themselves globally as free agents — to take the social capital derived over many generations by American society, and to go live in the jet stream and extract returns on a global scale for that expertise.  But that expertise is now largely commodified — to paraphrase David Swenson on financial engineering, that kind of universal expertise is commodified, cheaply available, and no longer commands much premium.  As those returns have come under pressure, the Global New Class has come home, looking to command premiums through privileged access to the public-private divide — access most visible at the moment as virtuous new technology projects that turn out to be mere crony capitalism.

Again, when progressivism is no longer a source of spoils, its power will be much diminished.

–Karl

24 Responses to “After the Green Rush”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (f8f210)

  2. It is racist to note that over 80% of the dollars went to Barcky’s financial backers.

    JD (69cf5c)

  3. Well now they have to move a pipeline and in other news Bloomberg poll as Ron Paul tied in a 4 way heat in Iowa

    What else could possible happen – BEFORE THE FIRST vote is taken?

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  4. has Ron Paul – sorry

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  5. “It is racist to note that over 80% of the dollars went to Barcky’s financial backers.”

    JD – If only 80% went to Obama cronies, that means they’re slipping. Somebody needs to be fired.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. With SuperCongress fail it’s time to skip plan B and just move to plan C, military intervention.

    What are Banana Republics good for but military juntas?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  7. Why else would someone with money get involved with leftist politics ? I know, the bell curve but that only applies to actors.

    Mike K (9ebddd)

  8. ____________________________________________

    exiling a story to Saturday

    I notice the LA Times did a similar thing with its recent report on the way Obama’s White House has given big support to a suspicious transaction involving a pharmaceutical company connected to a major fundraiser of the left/Democrat Party. Such stories must make the high percentage of liberals throughout the MSM very conflicted and hesitant.

    Meanwhile, in another country also presided over by an ultra-liberal — Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner, who a few days ago was re-elected by a large margin — I wonder how its undoubtedly mostly liberal media deals with dilemmas like the following. Are they mostly complacent? Secretly relieved? Obediently nonchalant?

    Associated Press, September 23, 2011:

    A judge [in Argentina] has subpoenaed six newspapers for the names and telephone numbers of all reporters and editors who have covered the economy in the past five years, so they can be called as witnesses against their sources. News organizations called it an attempt to censor and intimidate the news media from accurately reporting on inflation, which many economists say is above 20 percent annually, more than twice what the government says.

    Judge Alejandro Catania also issued subpoenas on Thursday for the office of the International Monetary Fund in Argentina, the tax ministry and the central bank, seeking information about their consultants and clients, according to the state news agency Telam. The commerce secretary has sought to silence independent data from private consultants by accusing them of publishing false numbers to generate unfair profits.

    I’m quite sure the guy currently in the Oval Office must be envious of his counterpart in Argentina. After all, Obama has already expressed a bit of envy over the situation in the People’s Republic of China:


    nytimes.com, March 2011: “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’”

    Mark (411533)

  9. Just did the rough net worth check:

    Mitt $190-200 Mil, Huntsman maybe $70 Mil, Cain maybe $10 Mil, all others less.

    Funny Newt only worth $6.7 Mil after years in Congress. Heard Abramoff report to Hannity that he regarded Newt clean, but they weren’t “close”.

    I say Newt for all his wacko progressive balloons is at least responsive to screams of criticism.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  10. Comment by narciso — 11/15/2011 @ 11:25 am

    Surprise, surprise.

    Not much different than Perot advising the SocSec Admin on IT systems, then EDS wins the bid, making him a Billionaire.

    AD-RtR/OS! (9f0426)


  11. The story undoubtedly disappoints former Enron adviser turned NYT columnist Paul Krugman, who has picked up the lefty meme about a “Moore’s Law in solar energy.” There are a number of reasons to be skeptical about that, the most obvious being that if there was anything like Moore’s Law going on with solar energy, the industry would not be dependent on government subsidies, mandates and loan guarantees.


    Moores Law on Solar Energy?

    Every 18 months, the amount of federal tax dollars blown to hell and gone on solar energy boondoggles doubles…

    No?? Sounds likely to be completely accurate to me. Certainly under the admin of President Downgrade.

    Smock Puppet, Victim of Gender Discrimination. Yes, I am. (2fb1c2)

  12. Scott Brown, good for something, sponsors bill to cut out insider trading in Congress. No word on whether that will mean no luncheons with the administrator of one’s blind trust.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  13. After the Green Rush
    (with apologies and credit to whom they are due)

    Well I dreamed I saw the Democrats a’ coming
    Saying something about a king
    There were singers singing and drummers drumming
    And they all made quite a scene
    There was a fanfare blowing to the one
    ‘Hope and Change” were in the breeze
    Look at prosperity on the run
    In the twenty-first century
    Look at prosperity on the run
    In the twenty-first century

    I was lying in an empty basement
    With the TV in my eyes
    I was hoping for replacement
    When the one burst through the sky

    There was a noise playing in my head
    And I felt like I could cry
    I was thinking about what the one had said
    And I knew it was a lie
    I was thinking about what the one had said
    And I knew it was a lie

    Well he dreamed electric cars were drivin’
    In the yellow haze of the sun
    There was laughing, crying and colors flying
    All around the chosen one
    All in a dream, all in a dream, just a deluded dream
    Driving Miss Liberty’s fragile seed straight down into the ground
    They were driving Liberty’s fragile seed straight down to the ground

    MD in PhThe SongWriting Avenger (a sockpuppet) (3d3f72)

  14. um, oops.

    The SongWriting Avenger (a sockpuppet) (3d3f72)

  15. Thumbs up or thumbs down? (Or do those under 40 need a reference…)

    Speak now or be subject to such unwanted interruptions in the future

    The SongWriting Avenger (a sockpuppet) (3d3f72)

  16. “tt Brown, good for something, sponsors bill to cut out insider trading in Congress. No word on whether that will mean no luncheons with the administrator of one’s blind trust.”

    Surely there is a retired Congressional Parliamentarian who can show they are already breaking the law or their own “rules”.

    davod (8bf616)

  17. Defecating on cop cars is what democracy is all about…………….Hey OWS slag we’re a republic Jeesh.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  18. How does one make a green hotel?

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  19. Gotta love the protesters saying that defecation is a freedom in the bill of rights.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  20. Lower taxes and less regulations caused this economic mess-OWS POS

    DohBiden (ef98f0)


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