'Green' good at old game: Take the Money and Run

Friday, August 11, 2017
 | 
Chris Woodward, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com)

solar, geothermal power plantA lot of greenbacks have flowed from taxpayers to so-called "green" companies but there's been little return on the investment.

The most famous flop to date is Silicon Valley-based Solyndra. The company was expected to manufacture solar panels thanks to stimulus-related energy loans from the green-loving, fossil fuel-hating Obama administration.

"Obama clean energy loans leave taxpayers in $2.2 billion hole," reads the 2015 headline from The Washington Times.

Mississippi, known as one of the poorest states in the Union, also gambled with approximately $400 million of taxpayers' money in the last decade only to see many of the promised jobs fade away or, worse, never materialize.

wind turbines in Kansas"For the most part," begins a July story by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper," Mississippi's green dream has become a black hole."

The blistering story goes on to name headline-grabbing projects that planned to produce electric cars, silicon solar panels, and biofuels.

"I wish I could say that was a surprise," observes Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council. "But there are so many states across the country that now think it's a good idea for economic development purposes to try to pay businesses to come in and invest in their state, instead of just keeping taxes low, and keeping an environment that's good for job creation and business development."

The Clarion-Ledger story, in fact, quotes Mississippi's current governor, Phil Bryant, who says he prefers helping established companies over unknown startups.

GreenTech fellowsThe failed green startups were supported by Haley Barbour (pictured at right, in middle), a former Mississippi governor who infamously courted Bill Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe for failed electric car company GreenTech.

Mississippi's auditor, meanwhile, is asking GreenTech to repay $5 million in public loans or face a lawsuit against the company. That demand came after state auditors were physically escorted off the premises and had to obtain subpoenas for an audit.

McAuliffe left the company in 2012, the same year he bought and moved the China-based company to Mississippi according to a Washington Free Beacon story

Not to be outdone by state auditors in Mississippi, Solyndra's executives invoked the Fifth Amendment  in 2011 when they sat in front of a U.S. House subcommittee that had questions about $527 million given to the company via the U.S. Dept. of Energy.  

Beyond the promise of jobs, apologists for "Big Green" companies suggest the newer technologies need help to compete with Big Oil and other traditional industries.

But it's not the government's job, says Williams, to pick winners and losers.

"The problem is that government has a very poor track record at picking the next big new thing," he warns. "We shouldn't be really surprised when we have all these case studies of failure when government invests in the wrong thing and all of a sudden these companies go bankrupt and, in many cases, there's hardly any jobs created."

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