CBS: Obama admin spent $6.5 billion on risky green-tech ventures; Update: Obama proposes to save less than half in org consolidation

posted at 11:54 am on January 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

We already know that the Obama administration’s stimulus-funded subsidies of green-energy firms have been rather poor investments. Solyndra, after all, collapsed while taking over half a billion dollars in taxpayer money with it, after the Department of Energy illegally subordinated taxpayer risk for later investors — mainly an Obama bundler from 2008, George Kaiser.  CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson takes a break from reporting on Operation Fast and Furious to give a closer look at the performance of Barack Obama’s bets in the green-tech sector — and says that Obama bet more than $6.5 billion of taxpayer money in junk bonds:

Asked whether he’d put his personal money into Beacon, economist Peter Morici replied, “Not on purpose.”

“It’s, it is a junk bond,” Morici said. “But it’s not even a good junk bond. It’s well below investment grade.”

Was the Energy Department investing tax dollars in something that’s not even a good junk bond? Morici says yes.

“This level of bond has about a 70 percent chance of failing in the long term,” he said.

In fact, Beacon did go bankrupt two months ago and it’s unclear whether taxpayers will get all their money back. And the feds made other loans when public documents indicate they should have known they could be throwing good money after bad.

It’s been four months since the FBI raided bankrupt Solyndra. It received a half-billion in tax dollars and became a political lightning rod, with Republicans claiming it was a politically motivated investment.

CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra.

I’m pretty sure Atkisson will be getting another screaming, expletive-laden phone call from the White House any time now.  After all, the meme of the day for the Obama administration is reform — which led to this ironic juxtaposition on the CBS website:

Maybe a good area for government reform would be to stop betting on junk bonds with taxpayer money.

Update: Obama wants to save money by merging six government agencies that duplicate efforts, but it comes to less than half of what Obama has put at risk:

President Obama said on Friday he will ask Congress for the authority to shrink the size of the federal government by merging six agencies. Each agency handles aspects of trade and commerce, and Obama made the case that the overlap in responsibilities causes confusion for American businesses and consumers.

But Obama will need approval from Congress to do so and he urged lawmakers to act. “This should not be a partisan issue,” he told an East Room audience.

Jake Tapper noted on Twitter that the proposed savings, $3 billion, is one-four-hundredth of the debt limit increase he just requested from Congress.  It’s also less than half of what Obama tossed away on his supposed green-tech jobs stimulus.  Mitch McConnell laughs at the irony of a President who has spent the last three years expanding government attempting to blame Congress for not reducing it:

But a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was quick to respond with little enthusiasm.

“After presiding over one of the largest expansions of government in history, and a year after raising the issue in his last State of the Union, it’s interesting to see the president finally acknowledge that Washington is out of control,” said spokesman Don Stewart.

“And while we first learned of this proposal this morning in the press, we’ll be sure to give it a careful review once the White House provides us with the details of what it is he wants to do.”

I’m all for reducing duplication and inefficiency, whether it’s in the public or private sector.  At least in the private sector, though, I don’t have to put my own money at risk in bad investments, while clearly Obama wants to do that with our money for his own purposes.


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This is where loser4life liberal4life claims that Obama saved every Wall Street company that exists.

Still waiting to hear how Obama saved Wells Fargo…

beatcanvas on January 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM

$6.5 billion? No biggie. That’s only like a cost of 20 bucks and change for each American. Just put it on our tab.

Doughboy on January 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Rumor has it that Obama is asking for more power to reform government. He’s going for the jugular.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

$6.5 billion later and we STILL don’t have solar panels that can work in the dark and wind turbines that look like trees that work when there is no wind. Nor do we have perpetual motion. They could double the Obama debt load of $6.5 TRILLION he’s added and not achieve any of that.

In other words, there is NO SUCH THING as a reliable or practical power source that does not BURN A FUEL, be it coal, gas, oil, or nuclear.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Is that a lot?

Washington Fancy on January 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson takes a break from reporting on Operation Fast and Furious

Wondering if she’s been taken off F & F completely-she was reporting on something totally unrelated to this “green” case just yesterday.

Del Dolemonte on January 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

It’s okay for government to back bad companies and no one cares when people lose their jobs…

But if a venture capitalist company does the same… well… that’s just EVVVVVVVVILLLLLLLLLL…

Washington Fancy on January 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

What’s a few billions among friends?

galtani on January 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I wish obambi would come to Vegas (with his own money) and take a shot. We’d beat him on every pull of the handle, roll of the dice or deal of the cards. He is a flat out loser.

VegasRick on January 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Vulture Capitalists who swooped down on U.S. taxpayers. Fleeced.

Philly on January 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM

No big deal, Obama’s consolidation of duplicate departments is supposed to save us half of that- over ten years, of course.

Kind of puts things in perspective. Sadly.

BKeyser on January 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM

It’s good to be King!

FloatingRock on January 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

“Never mind! The things that didn’t happen at Bain is what really matters!” – The He-Man Romney Haters Club

RadClown on January 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

It’s okay for government to back bad companies and no one cares when people lose their jobs…

But if a venture capitalist company does the same… well… that’s just EVVVVVVVVILLLLLLLLLL…

That post is way out of line!

Venture capitalist companies have a sustainable success rate = )

Kriggly on January 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM

CBS noticed something? Now that they have reported on it once…is their job done?
If this failure was during a Republican administration, the media would be pounding on it 24/7!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM

When Obama leaves office, whether next year or four years hence, all these companies he funded will pay him back tenfold. He is doing this for payback later. Will no one in government or media stop this lawlessness? He is bleeding this country dry and we are watching and cheering him on!

steved95 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Picking winners and losers – but mostly losers.

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Rumor has it that Obama is asking for more power to reform government. He’s going for the jugular.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

He’s going for it ALL. Coming soon: He appoints himself “president for life”. The rest of the government will be “reformed” to work just like the new “consumer protection” agency where each department is run by a “czar” who is accountable ONLY to our Emperor and not to Congress…

This man has NO intention of ever ceding his office or his power.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I suspect Newt will come out and praise Obama for this…

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Can we get Attkisson to moderate the remaining GOP debates and all the presidential debates?

“Never mind! The things that didn’t happen at Bain is what really matters!” – The He-Man Romney Haters Club

RadClown on January 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

There was a time when most of the GOP candidates were going after Obama. When was that?

BuckeyeSam on January 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM

“It’s important to not lose sight of what got us into this mess in first place…when banks and financial institutions took huge and reckless risks”

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM

It is easy to spend money that you don´t have to work for.
That´s why the politicians use OUR money for their own gain (buying votes) without any regard for if the “investment” makes economic sense.

gullxn on January 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

When Obama leaves office, whether next year or four years hence, all these companies he funded will pay him back tenfold. He is doing this for payback later. Will no one in government or media stop this lawlessness? He is bleeding this country dry and we are watching and cheering him on!

steved95 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Three words for you: Campaign Contributions Now

Chip on January 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I suspect Newt will come out and praise Obama for this…

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

About the only thing that this past week has made me happy is that Newt imploded and has less chance to get the nomination than I do. He was clearly LYING to us his whole campaign. He is a big government marxist. Newt might have been conservative once, and in the 90′s, might once have been a leader of the movement. But that Newt doesn’t exist anymore. Callista. Women can make men go good OR go bad. In this case, the latter. Little good comes from marrying a homewrecker who spreads her legs for a married man.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

$3 billion over 10 years…

We’re BORROWING $4 billion plus EVERY DAY!

What a putz.

LooseCannon on January 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

This man has NO intention of ever ceding his office or his power.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

President Romney will make him leave.

VegasRick on January 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Great work from Sharyll, who now must be the most unpopular staffer evah around the CBS water cooler.

Maybe she and Tapper should have babies–a whole new breed of smart, courageous liberals!

PattyJ on January 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I will have to give bho credit for guts asking dc for anything after the way he talks about them and said he will not deal with them this year! I just would just love for the r’s to stop anything bho wants this year, period! But alas, I don’t think the r’s will do squat for our nation?
L

letget on January 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I’m all for reducing duplication and inefficiency

Me too, but it won’t. The loot will just be re-routed to politically favored organizations.

And he’s proposing a new agency for crying out loud. My guess is that it’ll be a behemoth headed by an Alinskyite that’ll absorb all the cash that used to go to agencies like the SBA.

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM

also the savings of $3.5 billion is over 10 years so it’s a measly $300 million per year. Whereas the $6.5 billion junky green investment has already been spent.

In Washington the savings are always calculated over 10 years to make them sound big, but the spending is now.

exceller on January 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Actually, Jake neglected to note the $3B in saving is over ten years while the $1.2T is borrowing only through next January.

The ratio is 1/4000.

BKeyser on January 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

All hail dear leader
-lsm

Those evil gop won’t even accept this proposal from dear leader

You won’t hear about this from the rest of the lsm that’s for sure

cmsinaz on January 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

It’s all about looking like you are doing one thing when in reality you are doing the opposite.

Wigglesworth on January 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Kudos to Attkison or asking the right question — would you put your own money in this company?

If the answer is no, the taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be put there either.

(Actually, the government shouldn’t do that regardless, but it also becomes financial negligence when the answer is no).

Chuckles3 on January 13, 2012 at 12:21 PM

BKeyser on January 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

The ol’ ten year vs. one year budgeting trick. One of my favorite Obama flimflams.

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:21 PM

The supreme idiot 0bama sez:

Allowing profitable automobile dealerships that employ thousands of people to stay in business on their own: No way, Jose.

Wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on green energy pipe dreams that are destined to fail: Perfectly okey-dokey

UltimateBob on January 13, 2012 at 12:21 PM

We all can gueßs how this would work out : consolidate 6, keep all the employees uñder the new department, have multiple people doing the same redundant job, things stay the same. Well, the new department will surely need a totally refurbished and “green” building, costing the taxpayers a few billion.

William Teach on January 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Communists don’t do capitalism very well.

jukin3 on January 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

President Obama said on Friday he will ask Congress for the authority to shrink the size of the federal government by merging six agencies.

Wait! All of a sudden he’s asking Congress for permission to change something? He didn’t need their permission last spring to wage war in the Middle East. He thinks nothing of flaunting the pen of executive order to create agencies, czars and regulations. He flushes taxpayer money down the drainhole of crony capitalism like it’s toilet paper (or something else). He crams appointments down our throats at his whim, whoever he wants, whenever he wants. And now he’s asking permission?

What is this? A new campaign strategy? Steal ideas from the other side and present them as your own? Oh no wait, that’s his MO.

Worse yet, there are idiots in this country who will swallow this dredge, hook, line and sinker.

stukinIL4now on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra.

But we will only read about Bain everyday!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Well, I’m sure if our Department of Energy and its Nobel-prize-winning Director made investments in CCC-rated companies, the loans were at high-interest rates commensurate with the risk they were running with our money, right?

Right?

Because, if not, aren’t they just encouraging shady characters and worthless corporations to show up with their hands out and make empty promises in exchange for free money they can steal?

Socratease on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

OT: News from Massachusetts.

Sean Bielat is going to run against the Kennedy for Bwaney Fwank’s old seat.

BuckeyeSam on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Well, the new department will surely need a totally refurbished and “green” building, costing the taxpayers a few billion.

William Teach on January 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

You, bet, and it’ll be work for Obama’s friends’ green companies he gave our money to.

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

This is where loser4life liberal4life claims that Obama saved every Wall Street company that exists.

Still waiting to hear how Obama saved Wells Fargo…

beatcanvas on January 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Don’t think you will see your friend on this particular thread.
l4l…reads, then picks… when to come in and drool!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Key words, see his proposal….will he actually put something to paper or is it just words

cmsinaz on January 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I hear you, dude.

The only use Newt has at this point is to bloody Mitt so hopefully, someone else can emerge as the nominee.

On topic: Rush currently ripping Obama to shreds on his “cuts.”

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I want to know how many federal jobs are cut with this proposal.

Dexter_Alarius on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Hats off and a big ole Golf Clap for Sharyl Attkinsson!

Dino V on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

“This man has NO intention of ever ceding his office or his power.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM”

Lol, you sound like one of those KOS loons yapping about how Bush/Cheney are going to seize power via the Shadow Government! How exactly is he going to this??? With support from the military, Rofl! Sorry, those boys aren’t exactly head over heels for OBambi!

Africanus on January 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

This man has NO intention of ever ceding his office or his power.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I’m afraid your right, but I pray you are wrong. God help us all!

Mini-14 on January 13, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Has President Obama kept a promise yet?

Tigerbythetail on January 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Has President Obama kept a promise yet?

Tigerbythetail on January 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

On his first day he did sign that EO to close Gitmo within one year.

No wait, that didn’t happen either did it…

Does that mean we can ignore all of his EOs?

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

OT: News from Massachusetts.

Sean Bielat is going to run against the Kennedy for Bwaney Fwank’s old seat.

BuckeyeSam on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Good…

visions on January 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

In this episode of hot gas when good news becomes bad. A foray into limited government and reducing beaurocrates is meet with ….oH no

residentblue on January 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

residentblue on January 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

If this Obama’s idea of limiting government, I’ve got a couple of Greek Pillers to sell you. Picking a few fleas off the dog does not make the dog flea-less.

Rovin on January 13, 2012 at 1:22 PM

No wonder Obama thinks all big business people are crooks, liars, cheats and knaves. All the ones he knows are all that and more.

Lily on January 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I thought Chu had a lot of gall quoting market predictions for growth in the “green energy” sector of the market as justification for making these bad loans. Virtually all of that projected growth is due to government subsidies and government regulations requiring the use of products people don’t want to buy. This is bureaucratic circular thinking of the highest order and symptomatic of this administration and the damage it is doing to this country.

Socratease on January 13, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Sharyl Attkisson deserves some award(s) for her contribution(s) to the field of journalism! Journalists like her are few and far between anywhere but Fox.

ManWithNoName on January 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson takes a break from reporting on Operation Fast and Furious
Wondering if she’s been taken off F & F completely-she was reporting on something totally unrelated to this “green” case just yesterday.

Del Dolemonte on January 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

She’s probably a hard-working journalist trying to do her job, but the more dirt she digs up against the Obama Administration, the more likely she will end up F & F (Fired, then with Fox).

Maybe she can be an assistant to Bernie Goldberg, who also left CBS for Fox News.

Steve Z on January 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM

If I recall correctly from an earlier article, the alleged savings was $3 billion across ten years . . .

pylgrym on January 13, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Picking winners and losers – but mostly losers.

forest on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Since this is taxpayer money, we are all losers. At least all of us who pay taxes.

Steve Z on January 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

The way this (man?)governs is almost laughable, if this was some third world country we would all sit back and laugh. But this is our country. I can’t believe ppl like resident blue and others even try to make some sense of this. If this (man?)is reelected our once great country will be the laughing stock of the entire world.
If you voted for O to prove your not a racist, vote him out to prove your not stupid!

angrymike on January 13, 2012 at 1:53 PM

This guy couldn’t organize a one car parade.

EA_MAN on January 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Cost cutting, take two! Obama has tried this before with pretty comical, piddling results. Just a glance at the hapless efforts of one of his agencies to “cut waste” tells you all you need to know about how this is likely to turn out … http://bit.ly/qVdDUt

ombdz on January 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

A timely e-mail I received from a friend today had this illustration. (I haven’t verified the numbers myself but I think it’s a fair & vivid illustration of the scale).

* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts: $385

Got It ?????

dont taze me bro on January 13, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Theft and the Laundry: Obama’s Green Power Gambit
-

RalphyBoy on January 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

So how about canceling the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, since it overlaps the current Consumer Protection Agency?

YehuditTX on January 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Political corruption — straight up.

Jaibones on January 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM