John Stossel has a great link-filled round up of failed and failing solar and green energy programs funded by the Obama Administration with our money. Check out the extensive list.
Here, for laughs, is Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins rhapsodizing about Obama as the greatest government venture capitalist ever, and using for his prime example ... Solyndra!
I suppose at one point Kleiner Perkins used to take private risks with private money, but it seems to have found out it can make higher returns leveraging its investments with taxpayer money, and then using political influence to mandate business for the companies in which it invests. Thus the hiring of Al Gore, among other moves, to the KP board. Lane, by the way, is Chairman of serial government trough-feeder Fisker automotive, which make admittedly very cool-looking cars that require a lot of taxpayer subsidies.
Certainly Mr. Lane knows something about marketing, including that age-old tactic the "bait and switch." The taxpayer subsidies of Fisker were made on the theory that electric cars were somehow greener than gasoline cars because they use less energy. But looking at the fuel at the power plant it takes to make the electricity that goes into a Fisker Karma, the car gets worse gas mileage than an SUV (only an EPA equivalent MPG standard that breaks the second law of thermodynamics hides this fact). Congratulations Mr. Lane, green subsidies for sub-SUV gas mileage. All those checks KP partners wrote to Obama in the last election certainly got a good return.
Apparently electric vehicle maker -- and recipient of lots of your and my money -- Fisker Automotive is struggling. Who would have thought that a company that could not fully fund itself privately and had to rely on political connections to use the coercive power of government to take money from taxpayers might be a bad investment?
As a reminder, Fisker's taxpayer largesse likely came at the behest of politically powerful Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins. It is his firm's investment returns we taxpayers are supporting. So it should come as no surprise that Ray Lane says, in the video below, that he thinks Obama is the greatest public sector venture capitalist ever. What does he use as justification for this conclusion? Why, Solyndra! I kid you not, check it out.
Output of cellulosic ethanol will surge starting in 2013, according to the U.S.' largest corn-based biofuel production firm, Poet LLC.
Poet says 2013 marks the start of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production in the U.S. and predicts its lone facility will "open the floodgates" for the advanced biofuel....
As Poet exec Greg Hartgraves points out, production of cellulosic ethanol is expensive and that means those floodgates need to be helped open with federal monies. Without an energy policy mandating its production, U.S. firms are likely to shy away from the cellulosic biofuel, he said.
Duh. It's a substitute that is both less effective (lower btu per gallon) and more expensive that what it is supposedly substituting. I am just floored at the number of investors who are putting money up on the come with an expectation that somewhere down the road they can convince the government to subsidize them. Poet knows this plant is uneconomic but has built it anyway, probably hoping to extract promises of support from candidates in the Iowa caucuses. Kleiner Perkins did the same think with Fisker Automotive, making early stage investments that could only be bailed out by future political largess. As Ayn Rand would say,the aristocrats of pull.
The reason this is particularly timely and fascinating is that just a few weeks ago, Ray Lane took delivery of the first Fisker Karma electric car, financed with $529 million of our tax money and promoted with $7500 of our tax money on every sale, Mr. Lane and Kleiner are investors in Fisker (and Lane is Fisker's Chairman) and therefore huge beneficiaries of Obama's largess, and Mr. Lane got the first Karma as a big thank you for his political connections that helped score the cash.
Of course Kleiner (who also hired green Crony-in-chief Al Gore) is going to be thrilled with the government money. Nothing is worse than being a VC in with a large early round position in a company and being unable to get the next stage of investment. Since it appears they could not get any private investors to fund this, the taxpayer money probably saved their investment .... at least for a while.
Update: Ray Lane is apparently ticked off by the negative publicity surrounding the Fisker Karma and the money they received from taxpayers. Tough. Surely he is used to his investors being ticked off about bad outcomes. Well, now he gets to see how REALLY ticked off his investors can be when their money was taken against their will, even without their knowledge. At least he can tell his institutional guys, when things go bad, that they came in with eyes open. What's his response to taxpayers?
For those who have not seen it, my article on how the Fisker Karma, even on all electric, uses more fossil fuels per mile than an SUV is here.
Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins has helped score hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money from the Obama administration to help subsidize Kleiner investments. More corporate welfare for billionaires.
It is a nice touch, therefore, that the first tangible result of these sizable public subsidies will be... a new family car for Ray Lane (the car is from Fisker Automotive, a Kleiner investment and recipient of $529 million in taxpayer subsidies. It appears to be a cool car, but an iPhone is a cool piece of tech too but you don't see me advocating taxpayer money for Apple.
In an extraordinary speech, Lane laid out how market socialism can guarantee profits for politically connected VC firms like Kleiner -- far more preferable to the old model of "throwing a dart at a dart board," as Lane has put it. While Silicon Valley-based Kleiner made its reputation as a financier of tech startups like Netscape, Lane confided that they are inherently risky ventures in uncertain, fast-moving markets.
By contrast, Lane expressed admiration for communist governments like China and market-socialist economies like France where government determines new markets, thus providing a more certain investment climate for rent-seekers. With Kleiner partner Al Gore lobbying for federal mandates from wind to electric cars, Kleiner would be assured of a return on otherwise risky investments like Fisker Automotive, a California electric car company.