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EDITORIAL: Obama’s flair for picking losers

Busted green projects keep piling up

- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2012

In humor and politics, timing is everything. For President Obama, however, there is nothing funny about the collapse of more of his pet renewable energy projects so soon after Mitt Romney's pointed debate jab that "you don't pick winners and losers, you only pick losers." Americans can have the last laugh on Election Day by unplugging the president's obsession with the unaffordable green energy fad.

Less than two weeks after GOP candidate Mr. Romney's Oct. 3 debate zinger, electric car battery manufacturer A123 filed for bankruptcy. Over the course of three years, A123 received a $249 million grant of federal stimulus funds and $238 million from the state of Michigan, where the company was planning to build plants. Mr. Obama had boasted from the Rose Garden in 2010 that the firm would create 3,000 jobs by the end of 2012, but demand for the overpriced, all-electric autos that the company's product was designed to power has never matched expectations. A recall of A123's lithium-ion battery built for Fisker Automotive's highly flammable, $103,000 plug-in Karma cost the battery company $55 million, sealing its fate.

Satcon, another green outfit, went under on Oct. 17, just nine months after receiving a $3 million federal grant to build a power conversion device that would feed solar power directly into the electric grid.

Solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received $535 million in taxpayer funds before going belly-up in August 2011, became the symbol of the Obama administration's fascination with spreading around money earned by others on risky green ventures. There are many others: A total of 34 companies to date have gone bankrupt or are faltering, wasting billions, according to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

During the Denver presidential debate, Mr. Romney hit Mr. Obama for shoveling money into pointless windmill, solar panel and algae fuel projects, but it was a pulled punch. The White House Council of Economic Advisers lists the amount spent to date at $97 billion, which is $309 for every man, woman and child in the United States. That may not seem like much to Washington's privileged paper-pushers, but it does to working families.

Yet, Mr. Obama has promised to boost that sum if re-elected. "I will not let China or anybody else win the race for clean energy technology . . . my plan will reduce the carbon pollution that is eating our planet because climate change is not a hoax," he said at an Oct. 11 campaign rally in Miami.

Unfortunately for the president, the purported evidence behind climate change is slowly melting away. The United Kingdom's National Weather Service released data earlier this month showing temperature measurements stopped rising more than 15 years ago. A spokesman admitted on the agency's blog that "there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st century."

Mitt Romney was right: Mr. Obama has a knack for backing losers and losing causes. Americans shouldn't make a similar mistake -- again -- on Nov. 6.

The Washington Times

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