Department of Energy officials gave a New Hampshire-based biofuel company access to $80 million for a Michigan project that has already fallen short of job creation expectations, despite receiving another $40 million in state and DOE subsidies.
“In September 2008, Mascoma [Corp.] pledged 70 jobs at the plant by the end of 2012. On Feb. 29 of this year, Mascoma reported to the MEDC that only three jobs had been created by the grant,” the Capitol Confidential (Mich.) reports today.”The company has been given the full $20 million from the state.”
Mascoma, a renewable energy company that specializes in cellulosic ethanol, received another $20 million for research and development from the Energy Department in 2008.
The company warned the federal government, in its SEC filing, that it has “no experience in the markets in which we intend to operate” — which perhaps explains why it only created three jobs from 2008 to 2011, despite promising to create 70 jobs, according to Capitol Confidential. That means that the Michigan government and DOE, in combining to give the company $40 million in 2008, spent $13.3 million on each job.
Even so, DOE signed an $80 million cooperative agreement with Mascoma in December, 2011. “Biofuels hold great potential, not only for reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but also for creating new jobs and economic opportunities for America’s rural communities,” Valerie Reed, the Acting Biomass Program Manager in Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy of the DOE said at the time.
Biofuels, in general, may ‘hold great potential’ for job creation, but what about creating three jobs in three years suggests to DOE that Mascoma in particular should receive another $80 million in taxpayer money?
Two years after President Barack Obama vowed to eliminate the danger of financial institutions becoming “too big to fail,” the nation’s largest banks are bigger than they were before the nation’s credit markets seized up and required unprecedented bailouts by the government.
That specter is eroding faith in Obama’s pledge that taxpayer-funded bailouts are a thing of the past. It is also exposing him to criticism from Federal Reserve officials, Republicans and Occupy Wall Street supporters, who see the concentration of bank power as a threat to economic stability.
As weaker firms collapsed or were acquired, a handful of financial giants emerged from the crisis. Since then, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo have continued to grow internally and through acquisitions from European banks, reeling from government austerity measures related to the rising cost of public debt in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy.
The industry’s evolution defies the president’s January 2010 call to “prevent the further consolidation of our financial system.” Embracing new limits on banks’ trading operations, Obama said then that taxpayers wouldn’t be well “served by a financial system that comprises just a few massive firms.”
Regulators have written only 185 of the expected 400 rules. But those 185 rules are expected to cost the private sector more than 24 million man-hours each year to comply.
The tracker has also found that those 185 rules take up more than 5,300 pages.
….let’s just get it down to the community banker — the person that loans money to most of the small businesses in our country,” Neugebauer said in a phone interview. “We’ve had a few community bankers come in here and say, ‘you know, they’re hiring a lot more compliance officer than they are loan officers.’ That is increasing the cost of banking and, ultimately, they have to charge higher interest rates and higher fees.”
An elderly woman was ordered to find a new GP (general practitioner) because the “carbon footprint” of her two-mile round trips to the surgery where she had been treated for 30 years was too large.
Avril Mulcahy, 83, was told to address the “green travelling issues” over her journeys from her home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, to the West Road Surgery. The surgery wrote to Mrs Mulcahy, telling her to register with a new GP within 28 days.
The letter said: “Our greatest concern is for your health and convenience but also taking into consideration green travelling issues. Re: Carbon footprints and winter weather conditions, we feel it would be advisable for patients to register at surgeries nearer to where they live.
“We would be very grateful if you could make the necessary arrangements to re-register at another practice.”
Jobless rate at 3-year low as payrolls surge – Really? LOL. The report is a bad joke. I just cannot believe that such a spinning and twisting of the truth are done by the government and the media that once were hold as world wide example of freedom and democracy. We are really witnessing the fall of our great nation.
More pistons in the economic engine have begun to fire, pointing to accelerating economic growth. One of the happiest persons reading this job report is President Obama…
Never before in postwar America has either real per capita GDP or employment still been lower four years after a recession began. If in this “recovery” our economy had grown and generated jobs at the average rate achieved following the 10 previous postwar recessions, GDP per person would be $4,528 higher and 13.7 million more Americans would be working today.
California has a huge state debt and Washington has a huge national debt. But that does not discourage either Governor Jerry Brown or President Barack Obama from wanting to launch a very costly high-speed rail system.
Someone once said that government is the illusion that we can all live off somebody else…
The city of Atlanta launched work on a new, 12-stop downtown streetcar line Wednesday — and officials disclosed that the project’s estimated price tag has risen by more than $12 million. Much of that increase is paid for by outside grants.
Local and federal leaders at a kickoff event said the money will be well-spent, despite critics’ doubts that ridership will justify the costs.
“This is about jobs,” said Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “This is about creating an economic corridor. … This will be a magnet for tourism.”
Critics, however, say the project will not draw enough traffic to justify its cost.
“Since the day that I’ve met my husband, I’ve watched him work tirelessly to try make a difference in other people’s lives. He does that because for him, all of this is all very personal. You know Barack’s story,” the first lady said. “Barack and I both watched our families work hard to make ends meet.”
“That has been the direction of his choices through out his life,” Obama said. “How can he use his blessings and his gifts to help as many people as possible.”
“We are blessed to have someone not just of his intellectual caliber but with such a strong grounding of values that all of us identify with — these basic American values that have made our country great and will continue to make us the strongest country in the world,” the first lady said.
This winter has brought a useful tutorial on capitalism courtesy of the media, the Democratic party and President Obama. They have illustrated for us how the depredations of profit-seekers crush American aspirations.
Terry Williams borrowed about $7,000 to earn a degree from Spelman College 38 years ago. For her youngest child, a sophomore at Belmont University in Nashville, she will take on almost $40,000 in parental loans.
Last Friday (January 27) the US Bureau of Economic Analysis announced its advance estimate that in the last quarter of 2011 the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in real inflation-adjusted terms, an increase from the annual rate of growth in the third quarter.
Good news, right?
Wrong. If you want to know what is really happening, you must turn to John Williams at shadowstats.com.
What the presstitute media did not tell us is that almost the entire gain In GDP growth was due to “involuntary inventory build-up,” that is, more goods were produced than were sold.
Net of the unsold goods, the annualized real growth rate was eight-tenths of one percent.
And even that tiny growth rate is an exaggeration, because it is deflated with a measure of inflation that understates inflation. The US government’s measure of inflation no longer measures a constant standard of living. Instead, the government’s inflation measure relies on substitution of cheaper goods for those that rise in price. In other words, the government holds the measure of inflation down by measuring a declining standard of living. This permits our rulers to divert cost-of-living-adjustments that should be paid to Social Security recipients to wars of aggression, police state, and banker bailouts.
When the methodology that measures a constant standard of living is used to deflate nominal GDP, the result is a shrinking US economy. It becomes clear that the US economy has had no recovery and has now been in deep recession for four years despite the proclamation by the National Bureau of Economic Research of a recovery based on the rigged official numbers.
A government can always produce the illusion of economic growth by underestimating the rate of inflation. There is no question that a substitution-based measure of inflation understates the inflation that people experience. More proof that there has been no economic recovery is available from those data series that are unaffected by inflation. If the economy were in fact recovering, these date series would be picking up. Instead, they are flat or declining, as John Williams demonstrates.
For example, according to the government’s own data, payroll employment in December 2011 is less than in 2001. Meanwhile, there has been a decade of population growth. The presstitute media calls the alleged economic recovery a “jobless recovery,” which is a contradiction in terms. There can be no recovery without a growth in employment and consumer income.
Real average weekly earnings (deflated by the government’s CPI-W) have never recovered their 1973 peak. Real median household income (deflated by the government’s CPI-U) has not recovered its 2001 peak and is below the 1969 level. If earnings were deflated by the original methodology instead of by the new substitution-based methodology, the picture would be bleaker.
Consumer confidence shows no recovery and is far below the level of a decade ago.
How does an economy recover without a recovery in consumer confidence?
Housing starts have remained flat since 2009 and are below their previous peak.
Retail sales are below the index level of January 2000.
Industrial production remains below the index level of January 2000.
To repeat, the only indicator of economic recovery is the GDP deflated with an understated measure of inflation.
The US economy cannot recover, because the US economy depends on consumer expenditures for more than 70% of its activity. The offshoring of middle class jobs has stopped the rise in middle class income and caused a drop in consumer spending power.
The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan compensated for the absence of US consumer income growth with a policy of easy credit and a policy of driving up home prices with low interest rates. This policy allowed people to refinance their homes and to spend the inflated equity in their homes that Greenspan’s policy created.
In other words, an increase in consumer indebtedness and dissavings drove the economy in the place of the missing growth in consumer incomes.
Today, consumers are too indebted to borrow, and banks are too insolvent to lend. Therefore, there is no possibility of further debt expansion as a substitute for real income growth. An offshored economy is a dead and exhausted economy.
The consequences of a dead economy when the government is wasting trillions of dollars in wars of naked aggression and in bailouts of fraudulent financial institutions is a government budget that can only be financed by printing money.
The consequence of printing money when jobs have been moved offshore is an inflationary depression. This catastrophe could begin to unfold this year or in 2013. If Europe’s problems worsen, flight into dollars could delay sharp rises in US inflation until 2014.
The emperor has no clothes, and sooner or later this will be recognized.
The economy did horribly in the last three months of 2011.
I know that’s not what you’ve been hearing.
During this past Christmas season you were first told that consumers were dying to get to the malls and shop. That turned out to be true — for a couple of days at least, while stores were desperately discounting everything they had.
Then you were told that manufacturers were having a bang-up month and that automakers were selling cars like it was the old days.
And Apple — who could forget Apple? — was selling iAnythings like they were some sort of lifesaving device and every American was in the hospital emergency room.
Last Friday the Commerce Department released its tally of business conditions in October, November and December. And it was, well, quite disappointing if you actually know what to look at.
The headline number you saw on the evening news that night and in the newspapers on Saturday was this: the nation’s gross domestic product rose at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the 2011 fourth quarter, which was better than the 1.8 percent growth in the July-September period.
In the first place, 2.8 percent isn’t a good rate of growth for any year.
Take out your calculator, divide 2.8 percent by the four quarters of the year, and you’ll see that fourth-quarter growth — even if you take these numbers at face value — was just 0.7 percent.
Tepid. Lukewarm. Disappointing. Not what should be happening four years into a recession (oh, right, that’s supposed to be over) after the Federal Reserve has used all its tricks and our elected officials have bankrupted the country.
But it gets worse.
(If you start coughing up blood while reading this column I suggest you dial 911. Remember, I’m just the skeptical messenger trying to set things straight, so don’t take it out on me.)
And that meager 2.8 percent annual growth really isn’t what it seems to be.
That’s because 75 percent of that 2.8 percent growth involved businesses restocking inventories. Who says? The Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which released this data.
So people like you and me weren’t really buying all that stuff in the last months of 2011. It was businesses buying stuff and putting it on their shelves in hopes that people would soon come along and buy it from them.
Inventories will only build up so much before companies say “no more.” So these restockings are not considered a particularly good thing when the ultimate buyer — the consumer — is still uncooperative.
But that wasn’t the only scary thing in the GDP report. In fact, it wasn’t even the most important thing.
In order to get to that 2.8 percent growth the Commerce Department used a very unrealistic level of inflation in its calculations.
Let me explain: The government comes up with a figure on how much it thinks the economy grew, or shrunk. Friday’s figure was a first estimate for the fourth quarter, so most of the numbers used in the calculation are only guesstimates anyway. (But that’s for a different story.)
The government then takes that growth figure, subtracts the rate of inflation and comes up with the real growth it reports in its press release.
So, in other words, if inflation is rising it reduces the rate of actual, after inflation, growth — which is the figure that Washington reports.
In Friday’s number the government used 0.4 percent as the rate of inflation. Zero. Point. Four. Percent.
In which country is inflation that low? Certainly not in America. Absolutely not in the last four months of 2011.
The consumer price index, which is put out by the US Census Bureau, had prices up 3 percent for the year.
And the rate of inflation used in calculating the third-quarter 2011 GDP was 2.6 percent; in the first and second quarters, combined, the rate was 2.5 percent; it was 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
So how does the Zero-Point-Four-Freakin’ percent sound now?
That’s how Commerce got to the not-very-inspiring 2.8 percent growth it reported last Friday.
Let me put this another way in case you are missing my outrage.
If the inflation figure used in last Friday’s GDP figure had just remained the same as the 2.6 percent rate from the third quarter, Washington would have had to report fourth-quarter annualized growth of just 0.6 percent.
(Calculation: Inflation was lowered by 2.2 percentage points. So subtract 2.2 percent from the 2.8 percent growth to get 0.6 percent.)
And that’s an annualized rate. So divide the 0.6 percent by four quarters and the economy expanded at an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny 0.15 percent in the fourth quarter.
On Friday, the Labor Department will issue its employment report for January.