President Obama's Green Giant Mess

by Gerri Willis

President Barack Obama is pictured at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina, October 17, 2011Long about now you may be feeling a little sympathy for executives at Solyndra - the solar panel maker that went belly up taking half a billion in taxpayer-backed loans with it.

Maybe you feel like we're obsessing too much on the California company. Well, that might make sense if Solyndra was the only taxpayer-backed company that was in trouble - but it's not.

In fact if you take a look at all these green programs -- you'd be hard-pressed to be impressed.

It's not just Solyndra -- there's SunPower - another solar panel maker that got one point two billion dollars from taxpayers - only to see its stock plummet 94 percent - and their debt is higher than their market cap!

What grade should we give SunPower? Fail!

Now a new report from the Energy Department's inspector general shows another program failing to fulfill its mission. That's the weatherization program. Remember cash for caulkers? It was one of the many programs from the white house to stimulate the economy - we threw $5 billion at this idea which would also make homes more energy efficient while boosting the economy.

Recently federal inspectors began checking out whether this program was making good on its promises -- and the answer -- another failing grade!

They found some of the furnaces spewed carbon monoxide - a potential poison for those in the home.New water heaters on the verge of exploding due to missing pressure valves, this according to the Daily Beast. Contractors - not familiar with weatherization - using air blowers - that ended up spewing asbestos around the home! In fact the Energy Department says 14 percent of the projects failed to meet safety or quality standards.

Unbelievable!

All that money and no one bothered to make sure what they were doing was safe? Whether contractors knew what they were doing?

And do you remember President Obama promising to make green jobs the wave of the future?

Well the Labor Department says the multi-billion dollar program only met 10% of its goal of creating 80,000 jobs. Another failure!

And there's more: The National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado got $300 million from you and me. How many jobs did they create? None - in fact they're actually laying off ten percent of its workforce! So why does President Obama and company keep pushing the green projects when they are obviously not working?

He may truly just believe in the goal of cleaning up the environment or it could be the more than $2 million these green-energy aid recipients have given federal campaigns since Obama took office!

President Obama's Big Jobs Lie?

by Gerri Willis

President Barack Obama sits during a meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Pittsburgh.Today I'm writing about these three words: created, saved and supported.

These are the words the Obama administration has used when talking about the number one issue in the country right now: jobs.

And there's also an evolution in how and why they are using them.

When President Obama started selling the first big stimulus package he said it would create four-million jobs. Lots of shovel-ready jobs we were told. The President used that argument again recently when selling stimulus two:

"It'll create good jobs for local construction workers right here in Denver and all across Colorado, and all across the country," he said.

It's so obvious the trillion dollars in spending did virtually nothing to help the economy. The president even joked about it: "I guess shovel ready wasn't so shovel ready after all," he said.

So with that argument shoveled out the window - the words from the White House and its allies in Congress shifted from 'created' to 'created or saved.'

Nancy Pelosi said this: "President Obama was a job creator from day one. The Recovery Act created or saved over 3.5 million jobs."

Of course we now all know it didn't quite work out that way.

So here we are once again - the President with a new spending package he's selling around the country.

But this time, it's not about saving or creating jobs . Because the White House knows that message is not working.

Now its policies are about 'supporting' jobs, take a listen to the President just a short time ago in Michigan: "Here in the United States this trade agreement will support at least 70,000 American jobs" he said.

So why the evolution? Well, you can easily count how many jobs you create.

Saved? Not so much .. And supported? Not at all.

It's a formula that can't be wrong.

It's a 'non-measurable metric' - as one former White House insider said.

What's clear is current policies on job creation are not working.

The Solyndra scandal taught us that.

Half a billion dollars of your money - with nothing to show for it. Or SunPower - over a billion dollars spent for 15 full time jobs.

Our own analysis of the Energy Department's green loan programs showed the billions of dollars resulted in just a few thousand jobs. Or six million dollars per job.

This administration needs to learn how to do the math -- to analyze their own programs to figure out the cost benefit analysis -- and to abandon programs that don't work -- more stimulus spending is like throwing good money after bad. All of it borrowed from future generations.

The White House needs to stop trying to change the language - and start trying to change the number.

This number: 14 million.

The number of Americans who are looking for work and can't find a job.

A Complete Waste of $1.2 Billion? (It's YOUR Money!)

by Gerri Willis

Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California March 18, 2010You've heard me talk about the ridiculous loan guarantee program at the Department of Energy before - and goodness knows if ever there was a waste of taxpayer money it was the half a billion dollars we gave to a solar power company called Solyndra that then went belly up.

But wait: It gets worse.

Thanks to that "loan guarantee program" - another California solar company is getting more than twice that amount!

SunPower manufactures solar panels, tiles, and even builds ranches. And just before the program expired last month - it got a sweet $1.2 billion in taxpayer money!

So what are they going to do with this money?

The Department of Energy says it will create 350 temporary construction jobs. And 15 permanent jobs!

$1.2 billion for 15 jobs. Let's do the math again - since this Administration apparently doesn't: That comes out to $80 million dollars per job! The company will also be opening up another plant that will surely bring in more jobs. So where is that plant going to be? Mexicali, Mexico!

Taxpayers are giving this company money to help boost the Mexican job market.

How did they even qualify for such a big loan?

Well turns out, it pays to have friends in high places - and what's higher than the halls of Congress?

Democratic California Congressman George Miller has been on the Hill since 1975. He's a big fan of SunPower - which apparently converted an old plant into a major manufacturing facility in Miller's district. His son also happens to work for the company as a lobbyist!

And Miller's not the only fan. SunPower Pac - yes, this company has its own pac - donated nearly $15,000 to democrats in the 2010 elections. The top recipients include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - not a bad man to have on your side! And they've already started doling out funds for 2012.

They also have a fan in Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who after visiting the company last October said, "The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower's research and development facility."

Now who does he sound like?

So Solyndra and SunPower are the companies of the future? Well we all know how well the whole Solyndra thing turned out. Is SunPower's future any brighter?

Not really. First of all, SunPower is facing a host of lawsuits from investors - including a class action suit - claiming the company made false statements to the public.

These lawsuits have yet to be resolved. When comparing stock charts from the last decade, SunPower hit its peak in December of 2007. $133 a share. That's when the company was worth $13 billion. Since then - it's lost 94% of its value - trading at under nine bucks.

That means today it's market cap is $800 million, just shy of its debt - of $820 million!

So let me get this straight, we gave a company with more than $820 million in debt. That's only worth 800 million dollars - $1.2 billion?! It also issued an earnings warning right after they got that government loan!

Once again the math doesn't add up with this administration.

What is it going to take for them to realize these green companies are not the job creators they make them out to be- they're not the wave of the future - they're barely staying afloat!

If you want to help them out so much - you buy stock, you invest...

But this Administration needs to stop picking winners and losers and using our money to do it!

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