Obama’s Trial Run: The $80 Billion Boondoggle
The Obama administration’s $80 billion green energy program was a small-scale trial run compared to the monies already enacted under the Biden administration, but it provided a window into the true motive. In his book, Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom, Patrick Moore writes:
You have heard the news on climate change that says human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are going to make the world too hot for life. So now as you drive down the highway in your SUV, you are afraid that you are killing your grandchildren by doing so. As this makes you feel guilty and accountable, you vow to send a hefty donation to Greenpeace, or any of the other hundreds of “charities,” selling you this narrative. It is a very effective strategy on their part, as stirring a combination of fear and guilt is the most powerful motivator to get people to open their wallets in an effort to help avoid this alleged disaster. And all this inevitable doom due to an invisible gas that is essential for life and even now is only 0.0415 percent of the atmosphere. (p. 26)
In his best-selling book Throw Them All Out, author Peter Schweizer compiled a partial list of Democrat financial supporters who donated a total of $457,834 to either Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign or to the Democratic Party. Companies run or invested in by these insiders subsequently received U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants and loans for $11.3 billion—a payoff rate of 25,000 to 1 (pp. 87–88).
Obama appointed former bundlers and campaign managers to run the DOE loan office. These people had solicited donations directly from individuals who later received loans. Sometimes those loan officers even arranged loans for their own companies. Obama mega-fundraiser Sanjay Wagle became the Obama administration’s “renewable energy grants advisor.” Wagle’s company, VantagePoint Venture Partners, subsequently received federal loan guarantees (Schweizer, pp. 80–81). Table 1 lists fund recipients, their “green” projects, and their relationship to Obama and the Democrats. Their total take was almost $19 billion.
Another Big Green winner in Obama’s spending spree was Arvia Few, who promised to raise $50,000–$100,000 for his 2012 reelection campaign. Her husband, Jason Few, at the time was executive vice president at NRG Energy, which received a $1.2 billion Energy Department loan to construct a solar farm in California.
Table 1 is incomplete. There are more loans and other politically connected beneficiaries not mentioned here. The complete list would likely fill a book. What followed this $80 billion boondoggle was 27 failures costing taxpayers at least $8 billion. It spurred 1,900 investigations and about 600 convictions. And while the media has long since moved on, we have not seen the end of it yet.
Remember the “green jobs” Obama promised? Supposedly 125,000 people would be retrained for these jobs after losing their jobs in traditional energy businesses. Less than half, about 53,000, were actually trained, and only 8,000 got jobs. As economist Stephen Moore points out:
After more than $100 billion spent on the first Green New Deal, by 2016 only about 1 percent American energy was coming from solar energy. Less than 2 percent of cars on the road were electric vehicles—even with the government offering thousands of dollars of cash rebates to buy the vehicles.
In the next installment, Maryland has been a case study in green graft.