Solar energy may or may not be a solution to the energy problem eventually. It clearly is not economic today. It is nothing more than payoffs to political cronies, photo-ops for politicians and the last gasp of Obama’s central planning ideology. In short, it is a waste of money.
Solyndra has blown up, costing taxpayers over $500 million. It also raises serious questions of government corruption. Likely more damaging to taxpayers and the Administration are subsequent solar investments. Even if they all worked as projected (including Solyndra) they would have created only 283 permanent jobs. According to Bruce McQuain those jobs would have cost $23 million each:
A failed Solyndra and 9 companies the private sector won’t invest in which may create 283 jobs. May. Government estimates about programs it supports have never been known to be overly optimistic, have they?
$23 million a pop for 283 jobs that may or may not materialize.
Solyndra is only the first failure. There is no way that solar energy can compete with existing energy sources. Taxpayers are subsidizing failure for environmental zealots and politicians seeking votes.
Unfortunately, most of the failures will occur past the next election. Recall that Solyndra was doing “just fine” until bankruptcy was rather suddenly made public. Future costs associated with solar failures will make Solyndra look like small change, both monetarily and likely ethically.
As I write this, the following breaking news appears regarding another green energy boondoggle: ‘Green jobs’ farm in Colorado sheds jobs after receiving $200M in stimulus funds.
It is probably too much to hope for prosecutions in corrupt Washington for this cronyism and stupidity. The best that can be achieved is a cessation of this blatant political favoritism and waste of taxpayer money.
The following Chip Bok cartoon captures the utter ineptness and duplicity of this Administration and the solar energy boondoggle:
Mr. Bok’s cartoon reflects how Keynesian economics once (still?) believed that digging holes and then re-filling them stimulated the economy. Using that logic, solar energy could be looked at not as an energy solution but a Keynesian stimulus. This rationalization as much sense as the other nonsense that passes for Keynesian economics. Two of my favorites:
- Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats stated that extending unemployment benefits was economic stimulus
- Milton Friedman in China, viewing hundreds of workers with shovels digging a ditch, asked the State Official why the near-by steam shovels were not used. The answer was because hand shovels enabled the creation of more jobs. Friedman inquired: “Why not use spoons?”
Solar energy and Keynesian economics are aspects of the Alice in Wonderland world that government attempts to pass off as reality.