Oh, goody: More DOE green-energy “investments” on the way

posted at 11:21 am on June 13, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Tuesday, the Department of Energy announced that it is instituting yet another round of clean-energy “investments” that they believe will help to spur the economy to new and amazing competitive heights. Oh, DOE, you really are too magnanimous to so wisely spend our money for us on things us backwards simpletons won’t invest in by ourselves. …No, really, you’re too magnanimous (h/t the Foundry).

As part of the Obama Administration’s blueprint for an American economy built to last, the Energy Department today announced new investments that support American leadership and global competiveness in manufacturing. The Energy Department awarded more than $54 million – leveraging approximately an additional $17 million in cost share from the private sector – for 13 projects across the country to advance transformational technologies and materials that can help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs. These projects will develop cutting-edge manufacturing tools, techniques, and processes that will be able to save companies money by reducing the energy needed to power their facilities. These projects are a part of the Administration’s strategy for investing in emerging technologies that create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. companies in today’s global markets.

“By investing in breakthrough technologies that can drastically reduce the amount of energy consumed during manufacturing, the Energy Department is supporting President Obama’s blueprint for an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “When it comes to clean energy, our motto should be: ‘Invented in America, made in America, and sold around the world.’ The projects announced today will improve the competitive position of U.S. industry and help manufacturers produce more while saving energy, saving money and protecting our air and water.”

[Shakes head dolefully.] Please, Obama administration — just stop already. I don’t care that it’s “only” $54 million dollars (the failed solar company Solyndra received a loan guarantee of more than half a billion dollars from Obama’s Department of Energy); we simply cannot afford any more of these government-funded failures.

How many government “investments” and subsequent losses are we expected to endure before the DOE understands that the federal government is always and necessarily ill-suited to determine what projects are worthy of all of this “free money”? Because the government isn’t just concerned with making a profit — bureaucrats are concerned with good politics, and that’s bad. Their primary motivation isn’t getting a return on their (our!) investment, it’s wishful thinking about the way they think the world should work. If you’re not all that concerned about getting your money back, you’re not going to be super-careful with where you put that money in the first place.

Businesses already want to save money, innovate, and increase efficiency. If these technological endeavors were really good ideas that would improve these companies’ bottom line and enhance their competitive edge, they’d be doing them on their own. The fact that they need government money to get these projects going should provide a pretty significant hint about the wisdom of these so-called “investments.”

Here’s a nice kicker. Behold, the projects our esteemed, selfless bureaucrats selected for these “awards”:

  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. – Allentown, PA - $1,200,000
  • American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) – Salt Lake City, UT - $7,120,000
  • Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC – Rochester, NY - $3,700,000
  • General Motors LLC – Warren, MI - $2,672,124
  • Lyondell Chemical Company – Newtown Square, PA - $4,500,000
  • MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. – St. Peters, MO - $3,680,000
  • MIT – Cambridge, MA - $1,000,000
  • PolyPlus Battery Company – Berkeley, CA - $8,999,920
  • Research Triangle Institute – Research Triangle Park, NC - $4,800,000
  • Teledyne Scientific and Imaging – Thousand Oaks, CA - $2,110,000
  • The Dow Chemical Company – Midland, MI - $9,000,000
  • The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah - $1,460,285
  • Third Wave Systems, Inc. – Minneapolis, MN - $4,069,882

Hey, remember in 2009, when General Motors got a huge bailout from us taxpayers?

In addition to the more than $50 billion given to General Motors in the bailout, the Obama administration quietly snuck in a special tax break for GM, which allows the company to write off approximately $45 billion in post-bankruptcy losses against post-bankruptcy profits.

The result? In 2011, GM paid nothing in federal income taxes despite claiming record profits of $7.6 billion, the “highest profits in the 100 year history of that company” according to President Obama.

In fact, that’s not quite right. GM paid a tax rate of negative 1.5% on its record profits – less than nothing.

Crony capitalism, thy name is Obama.

It’s kind of funny that one of President Obama’s new favorite taglines is some variant of “Romney economics: They didn’t work then, and they won’t work now.” One definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, and these Obamanomics definitely qualify as insane.


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