Stupid is as Stupid Does

forest gump, chocolates


Life is like a box of chocolates for American manufacturing.

You can bet all of the good ones have been eaten by China and all of those crappy nasty ones have been bitten, put back in the box and left for America.

In the New York Times article, China Racing Ahead of U.S. in the Drive to Go Solar we have a fine example of American stupidity, as noted by Bonddad.

Remember how we're going to revamp America with all of those green jobs?  Guess what, 90% of those solar panel jobs will be in China.

President Obama wants to make the United States “the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy,” but in his seven months in office, it is China that has stepped on the gas in an effort to become the dominant player in green energy — especially in solar power, and even in the United States.

Chinese companies have already played a leading role in pushing down the price of solar panels by almost half over the last year. Shi Zhengrong, the chief executive and founder of China’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings, said in an interview here that Suntech, to build market share, is selling solar panels on the American market for less than the cost of the materials, assembly and shipping.

How is China doing this? Well, while we give $2.3 billion in tax credits, China is busy giving massive subsidies, including free land, free money (as in big stinkin' wads of cash), even better loans through State owned banks (don't we own a few banks lately?). Oh, we shouldn't forget China's slave labor wages either, all the while their PPP is very close to the United States and yet another example of China's currency manipulation for unfair trade advantage.

Gets worse. Check out the Chinese strategy for putting together sales and some assembly in the United States:

“It’ll be to facilitate sales — ‘buy American’ and things like that,”

You read that right, China is going to create some end assembly plants in America to try to claim their solar panels are American....and of course bypass a series of import-export rules along the strategy Japan uses in automobile manufacturing.

From Bonddad:

This doesn't happen in the US. Why? There is a contingent of incredibly stupid people in this place called Washington. They typically have an "R" after their name. According to their political ideology, this is "picking winners" which the market is supposed to do. So, instead of pouring money into a sector that is growing we're left with nothing.

Bonddad is on a rant roll and also bashes Democrats:

There is another party in the US called the Democratic party. And their vocal minority that seems to get all the press is very anti-business. Working with corporations is bad and evil; money was invented by Satan to corrupt our souls. Profits are terrible and horrible and should be avoided.

Hey Bonddad! We don't care if Goldman Sachs flies around in gold plated airplanes and uses gold leaf for toilet paper just as long as we get ours!

Gold Bugs, look, there's a market, quick, buy gold, I swear it's going to $4000 an ounce due to Goldman Sachs demand

In all seriousness, you are right as hell on this score, when it comes to simply giving away large, massive, huge chunks of our existing economy as well as future potential....nobody does it better than America!

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Rockford, Illinois

Chinese company is building a solar panel manufacturing plant with tax assistance from City of Rockford. The plant will supposedly provide thousands of jobs. Rockford, Illinois probably has the highest unemployment in the state.

Link - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

60, then 240 workers

this is jack shit in terms of what a real, complete supply chain manufacturing plant would employ.

i.e. evidence that it is just final assembly shell game with most of the jobs, profits, income, etc. being done offshore.

So, we're now giving state and local tax incentives to beg for scraps.


Rockford, like many other towns and cities in the midwest, has been devastated by globalization. I think I read somewhere where Rockford has or use to have a trade group that would make trips to China to recruit businesses - this solar panel deal may be a product of that.

The land that the city is giving away is right next to the Rockford-Chicago International Airport. - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

Dum Dum jobs

They outsource the low value added jobs to the US and keep the high wealth generating jobs in China.

It appears that the conservative side of our nation appears to be unable to adopt to a changing world where the US is only the top banana in the ideology and dogma of the past.

I think we will need two or three more economic beat downs before we wake up and realize that we are going to lose our standard of living.

Japan should fight against "US style globalization"

Very interesting post on HuffPo from a Japanese Democratic party official, Yukio Hatoyama, Japan must shake off U.S.-Style Globalization.

He says this mentality destroys human dignity....

I agree with that one and it also doesn't seem to be doing Japan's economy and long term strategy much good either.

They used to be so strategically "on it" and you can see the cracks, the same ones which the U.S. promotes which are pure labor arbitrage, against that nation's own economic interests.

Who are these people demanding various nation's destroy their own economies under the title "globalization" anyway?

Most interesting is Japan's view they are getting squeezed between China and the U.S. Probably true.

What if...

we mandated that all federal buildings use solar panels and that they be manufactured in the US? Our domestic solar industry would ramp up to speed pretty darned fast. Also, we would inject a shitload of money into the economy over the short term while severe recession and deflation are the problem, and then reduce the amount of government spending on energy going forward when deficit spending may need to be cut in order to deal with inflation.

well, they should but...

I can tell you what will happen. First that would be called "protectionist" and then there would be claims of "trade violations"....

This goes into the "Buy American" meager provisions in the government procurement laws but I think that's exactly what they should do or examine the issue and figure out someway to beat China at it's own game, by either challenging their government subsidies, but usually the WTO rules against the U.S. every time...but something.

This goes on continually, China subsidizes, uses various manipulations to capture a market and only after they have that entire particular item, or market sector then will claims "oops" so sorry and respond to the charges.

China's Cheap Labor

"Chinese companies have already played a leading role in pushing down the price of solar panels by almost half over the last year. Shi Zhengrong, the chief executive and founder of China’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings, said in an interview here that Suntech, to build market share, is selling solar panels on the American market for less than the cost of the materials, assembly and shipping."


Could this possibly explain why our government is so eager to grant amnesty to millions illegal immigrants here from Mexico and to essentially open up the borders to immigration from other third world countries? Are we really destined to be an extension of the third world?

Perhaps all those "green jobs" we were promised are on "back order" until these immigration barriers are struck down? If so, what will become of the educated middle class?

Cheap solar panels

Good! Right now you have to pay nearly $1000 for a 130 watt panel. At that price, it simply isn't economical for anything but remote low power installations.

To compete with the grid, solar will have to drop in price to on the order of 1/10th the current cost, and even then it will be an expensive alternative.

I don't see why it can't. A panel is just silicon waffers and a piece of glass.

Same with wind. These little "Air-X" generators are hugely expensive compared to grid power and a standby generator.

Plus, if you are going for an independant power supply with no grid tie, you need a huge battery bank (more $$$) and need to run the stove and clothes dryer on natural gas as solar just isn't going to do it, even if your whole roof is covered with panels. And forget A/C. You can't have it.

The Obama Solar strategy will wither and die, another concept that they didn't run by the engineering department before they decided to announce it. It isn't anywhere near possible to do at today's prices.


The U.S. seriously poo poos the engineers, on a host of topics but esp. in terms of crafting sane industrial, manufacturing and research policy.

Yeah, I saw this from day one, you're right but the thing is...if the U.S. invested in advanced manufacturing R&D, let the engineers figure it out to reduce the overall costs (instead of their usual ploy, which is to just find slave labor, move to another country), we might get somewhere.

Do you know China's economic strategy council, almost all of them have undergraduate degrees in engineering?

Here in the states....they are busy trying to figure out how to offshore outsource their job....about it. Unbelievable lack of awareness of such a difficult and critical area of expertise.

You've got the entire population of civil engineers screaming about U.S. infrastructure. Unbelievable how they get blown off.