Peter Schiff: Americans must prepare for deepening unemployment, inflation and possible breadlines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhPpzWZDyx0
Not a single one is in America.
Let’s see: five are in Germany, four are in China, one is in Spain, one is in India, one is in Italy, one is in Taiwan and one is even in Abu Dhabi. I suggested a new company motto for Applied Materials’s solar business: “Invented here, sold there.” The reason that all these other countries are building solar-panel industries today is because most of their governments have put in place the three prerequisites for growing a renewable energy industry: 1) any business or homeowner can generate solar energy; 2) if they decide to do so, the power utility has to connect them to the grid; and 3) the utility has to buy the power for a predictable period at a price that is a no-brainer good deal for the family or business putting the solar panels on their rooftop.
Regulatory, price and connectivity certainty, that is what Germany put in place, and that explains why Germany now generates almost half the solar power in the world today and, as a byproduct, is making itself the world-center for solar research, engineering, manufacturing and installation. With more than 50,000 new jobs, the renewable energy industry in Germany is now second only to its auto industry. One thing that has never existed in America — with our fragmented, stop-start solar subsidies — is certainty of price, connectivity and regulation on a national basis. That is why, although consumer demand for solar power has incrementally increased here, it has not been enough for anyone to have Applied Materials — the world’s biggest solar equipment manufacturer — build them a new factory in America yet. So, right now, our federal and state subsidies for installing solar systems are largely paying for the cost of importing solar panels made in China, by Chinese workers, using hi-tech manufacturing equipment invented in America.
Have a nice day.
“About 95 percent of our solar business is outside the U.S.,” said Splinter. “Our biggest U.S. customer is a German-owned company in Oregon. We sell them pieces of equipment.” If you read some of the anti-green commentary today, you’ll often see sneering references to “green jobs.” The phrase is usually in quotation marks as if it is some kind of liberal fantasy or closet welfare program (and as if coal, oil and nuclear don’t get all kinds of subsidies). Nonsense. In 2008, more silicon was consumed globally making solar panels than microchips, said Splinter. “We are seeing the industrialization of the solar business,” he added. “In the last 12 months, it has brought us $1.3 billion in revenues. It is hard to build a billion-dollar business.”
Applied sells its solar-panel factories for $200 million each. Solar panels can be made from many different semiconductors, including thin film coated onto glass with nanotechnology and from crystalline silicon. At Applied, making these complex machines requires America’s best, high-paid talent — people who can work at the intersection of chemistry, physics and nanotechnology. If we want to launch a solar industry here, big-time, we need to offer the kind of long-term certainty that Germany does or impose the national requirement on our utilities to generate solar power as China does or have the government build giant solar farms, the way it built the Hoover Dam, and sell the electricity.
O.K., so you don’t believe global warming is real. I do, but let’s assume it’s not. Here is what is indisputable: The world is on track to add another 2.5 billion people by 2050, and many will be aspiring to live American-like, high-energy lifestyles. In such a world, renewable energy — where the variable cost of your fuel, sun or wind, is zero — will be in huge demand.
China now understands that. It no longer believes it can pollute its way to prosperity because it would choke to death. That is the most important shift in the world in the last 18 months. China has decided that clean-tech is going to be the next great global industry and is now creating a massive domestic market for solar and wind, which will give it a great export platform. In October, Applied will be opening the world’s largest solar research center — in Xian, China. Gotta go where the customers are. So, if you like importing oil from Saudi Arabia, you’re going to love importing solar panels from China.
Continuing layoffs on Wall Street drove New York City’s unemployment rate to 10.3 percent in August, a 16-year high that underscores the need to retrain former financial services workers for other jobs, state officials said Thursday. In the year since the Lehman Brothers investment bank collapsed and others had to be rescued from failing, the number of unemployed city residents has risen to more than 415,000, the highest total on record. The still-shrinking financial sector, which had been the main engine of employment growth in the city before the downturn, has essentially been declared to be in a state of emergency.
The State Department of Labor has begun using a “national emergency grant” of $11 million in federal funds to help those laid off on Wall Street shift into other fields, like health care and education. Emphasizing the need for such a shift, M. Patricia Smith, the state labor commissioner, said, “Our economists don’t see the financial-services sector ever coming back as strong as it was.” Ms. Smith joined Gov. David A. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at a news conference in Lower Manhattan to discuss the latest jobs data and promote the retraining program. Mr. Paterson said the latest increases in the state and city unemployment rates showed that the recession was continuing in New York.
Referring to the recent pronouncement from Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, that the national recession is probably over, Mr. Paterson said, “What he’s saying about the national recession doesn’t apply to us.” He said New York faced at least another year of “tough sledding.” The city’s unemployment rate, which rose from 9.5 percent in July, is now well above the national rate of 9.7 percent. Until July, unemployment had been the same or lower in the city than it was in the country for more than 18 months. Last month, the state’s unemployment rate rose to 9 percent, from 8.6 percent in July. Excluding the city, unemployment in New York State was 8 percent. Still, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg found a bright spot in the report. “While the job market is tight,” he said, “the city is losing jobs at less than half the rate of the rest of the country. This is an important sign that despite the challenges, people continue to be optimistic about the city’s future.”
Ms. Smith said the divergence between the city and the rest of the state was largely attributable to continued cutbacks on Wall Street and the ripple effect of the loss of those high-paying jobs. She emphasized that most of the Wall Street layoffs have involved mid- and lower-level workers who did not earn millions of dollars a year. Under the retraining program that began in July, more than 450 people have begun classes to prepare for a career shift, and state officials say they have enough money to help at least 1,000 more. One person in the program, Marisha Clinton, 39, of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, said she lost her job analyzing technology stocks for Bear Stearns after it collapsed early last year. A year later, she was laid off by another securities firm. Now, Ms. Clinton is using the $12,500 subsidy offered by the Labor Department to take courses at the New York Institute of Finance that might help her find other work.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Ms. Clinton said. “I’ve been working since I was 14 years old. I’d rather be working than not.”
The emergency federal grant went to New York. New Jersey and Connecticut, which received a combined $22 million to retrain people who have lost jobs since June 2008 at any of 31 companies — mostly large financial firms like Citigroup and Lehman Brothers. Lana Umali, who worked for JPMorgan Chase for 20 years before losing her job in Manhattan last year, has already put Wall Street behind her. Ms. Umali, who lives in Middletown, N.J., used the state subsidy to help pay for courses to prepare her to work with elderly people. She is hoping to find work at a company that operates assisted-living facilities. Immediately after she was laid off in June 2008, she said, “I was determined to go back into financial services. I never really thought about anything else.” But after a fruitless search, Ms. Umali said, “I got in touch with a whole other side of me.”