Economics The-U.S.-Government-Giving-Money-To-People-To-Help-Them-Pay-Their-Mortgages

Published on October 30th, 2012 | by Andrew Meggison

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Great Scott! $90 Billion Dollars?

$90 billion. The Obama administration has put $90 billion in subsidies into solar and wind energy companies and about half of the companies have failed. That is the claim that Romney has said debate after debate.

The argument is that the $90 billion could have been spent on something else. Solyndra and Ener1and now A123 have all gone belly up. This is seen as a waste. The thing is for all the failures there have been success and success in a field that will lead to major long term benefits. These green energy loans are long term investments – hmm, perhaps the left should sell them like that.

Fact checking shows that indeed $90 billion has been spent by the Department of Energy (DOE) since 2009. Interestingly, the $90 billion has been part of the Recovery Act with the goal of laying the foundation for an energy efficient America in the future.

As the layers are peeled back one finds that the $90 billion figure reflects the total budget for the DOE’s Recovery Act program. Of that only a small percentage of that money has gone to renewable energy. The majority has funded energy efficiency programs and environmental cleanup of nuclear weapons production and storage sites. In other words — $90 billion has not been spent on solar and wind energy companies.

Large parts of the $90 billion have gone to upgrades to America’s transmission grid, around $4 billion. Parts of the $90 billion have gone to research into carbon capture and storage, $3 billion. It should be noted that Romney is on record as supporting this type of research.

Yes, some companies that took DOE loan money have failed and thus have/will have defaulted on their loan. The DOE has looked into this and the total defaults are likely to be in the range $400 – $800 million — about one quarter the amount projected and budgeted. For a federal government loan program this is a massive success.

Source: kcet.org

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison 




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About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison



  • DaveD

    Well, Andrew….there you go again. Citing actual, verifiable facts while people are trying their damndest to run around like morons with their hair on fire. How are they supposed to be hysterical if you ruin their little alternate reality? You stop that!

  • flyfish

    The real issue is what effect these loans have had on the VC market funding green technologies. I would submit to your readers that it has had the opposite effect that the Obama administration had hoped for. If the government is going to pick winners and therefore not pick others (the losers) for loans on not commercially viable technologies, you are effectively saying you are willing to take unnatural risks for political purposes (green jobs). It is highly doubtful that any VC would have funded any of those companies that failed because the risk was to great. The effect of all this is that the Government is competing with VC’s. It’s a no-win for the VC’s, they need a return on their investment at some point, the feds just crank up the money printing press, losing other peoples money with no accountability.

    • T Adkins

      The companies usually already have quite a bit of funding VC or other before they even apply for Government backed loans, even most of the “failed” companies had already raised over 3 times the amount of the loans they were issued by the government and it usually helped them to secure more VC money.

      As far as accountability with the Gov loans to get full payment companies have required milestones to be reached to receive funding, Fisker is an example of not reaching a milestone and having continued funding pulled, Fisker is still around and making cars but the Gov did end funding.

      The government currently takes all of our tax money and spends quite a lot of it on things we dont want or like or even know that we need, but they have been doing this for quite sometime. Like for example spending more on military than the next 26 countries spend put together, 25 of which are our allies. Or stuff like paying Trillions for wars base on ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that were never found because they never had them. But why invest in green energy when we can pay over $400 a gallon for the fuel not because it cost more to buy but because planes and helicopters have to air drop them into the middle of no where.

      And I agree we should end the excessive printing of money and really just end the Federal Reserve system all together, why do we let a privately owned bank print money and loan it to us? Why do we let the Federal Reserve print money devaluing the currency and thus losing peoples money’s value with no accountability?

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