Obama’s Green Leap Forward was based around the same collectivist industrial impulse as Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Both Obama and Mao sought to radically accelerate industrial progress through top-down compulsion. China’s industrial revolution only succeeded when its products found markets in the West. Obama’s Green Leap Forward is doomed because most of the only people who want to buy Green are forced to do it or bribed to do it.
Heritage’s Foundry blog has some of the cost of Obama’s failed Green Leap Forward. (China has its own Green Leap Forward program, partly built on the subsidized Western Green market)
So far, 36 companies that have received federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy. The 2009 stimulus set aside $80 billion to subsidize politically preferred energy projects. Since that time, 1,900 investigations have been opened to look into stimulus waste, fraud, and abuse (although not all are linked to the green-energy funds), and nearly 600 convictions have been made. Of that $80 billion in clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits, at least 10 percent has gone to companies that have since either gone bankrupt or are circling the drain.
Of the Dirty Green 36, Solyndra is the most well known, for its sheer scale, followed by Fisker, which between them cost taxpayers a cool green billion dollars. Then there’s more obscure companies like Johnson Controls, a bargain at a mere 300 million dollar loss, Abound Solar at only 374 million dollars, and Brightsource… at 1.6 billion dollars.
Obama’s Green Leap Forward has not led to energy independence, but to greater energy dependency. It hasn’t ushered in a solar utopia, but some expensive financial losses.
Mao’s Great Leap Forward benefited from total economic control and slave labor. Obama’s Green Leap Forward is an attempt to impose a Socialist economic momentum through crony capitalism on a system that is still dependent on an open market. Subsidies can make products happen, they can make people buy them, but they don’t create a hermetically controlled system in which the entire process succeeds.