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Space Ghost By Charles Payne

1/31/2012 7:48:38 AM Eastern Time

Question of the Day

Federal workers are making a lot more money than you are according to CBO and CATO. Are they over paid? if so, what should be done to curb their out-sized salaries?

Click here to post your answer and let Charles know what you think.

Two weeks ago the Spanish press went crazy over the revelation that $30.0 million went into the promotion of the Castellon airport in the Valencia region. The thing is this is one of the ghost airports that dots Spain after a decade of overbuilding in the belief that it would spark economic activity. Instead not a single passenger has even been through the airport which cost Spain's taxpayers $150.0 million to build. There are no less than 15 of these ghost airports in Spain that at one point must have felt like the answer, it was a lot of infrastructure spending, after all.

The thing about this kind of would-be stimulus is not only that white elephants are created but also that they cost a lot of money to maintain. The Castellon airport is no different.

$7.2 million to support full time staff of seven
$90,000 to maintain falcons and ferrets to keep out birds and rabbits

Final Bit of Evidence Against Government-Forced Alternative Energy

Last week's news that Ener1 was filing for bankruptcy at a cost of $118 million to American taxpayers was yet another blow against this notion that the time is right for alternative energy and that it is worthy of billions of our hard earned dollars getting flushed down the toilet. Yet the biggest red flag for the would-be blueprint that will salvage America came a few thousand miles away from the most recent alternative energy fiasco. Before I get to the ultimate warning about this path to prosperity, I have to say it's amazing the administration is still speaking with pride about doubling down on these projects that are only enriching campaign donors.

When Joe Biden was at the Ener1 plant touting its success and how it would be a model for the future, he called the company "Enron One" twice, which leads me to believe he had to own shares in that ill-fated scam. The thing is Mitt Romney is being demonized for investing money people entrusted to him to build companies. By the way, over the past weekend Amonix laid off 200 of its 300+ employees. The company only opened this very same plant in Las Vegas seven months earlier. The plant manager says workers will be hired back in the second half of the year. In the meantime, the company got $5.9 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2010. A drop in the Solyndra budget but another disaster nonetheless.

There are going to be so many more of these bankruptcies in the alternative energy space but even if they "worked" full time job creation would be miniscule.

The Perfect Roadmap

President Obama has been banging the drums on green energy, high speed rail, and public construction works. He insists this is the perfect game plan to ignite our economy, and he is so wrong. Don't take my word for it; take the data oozing out of Spain, which served as the template for the perfect infusion of government-directed central planning run amok. Spain served as the perfect proxy for President Obama who gushed at broad support for construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. In short, the White House couldn't get why the Spaniards got it, but Americans were so slow.

It turns out Spain was already at the point where it believed government had all the answers. With its former greatness as a world power long gone, it seems the country was content with being a minor player with a high standard of living. But even that is backfiring because in this world you can't be player and live like a king. Moreover, the country wasted so much money in solar energy, empty airports, and beautiful highways. So the biggest red flag when it comes to government spending billions of your tax dollars on alternative energy and other schemes isn't Solyndra or the other programs that have only enriched political donors. The biggest red flag were the jobs numbers out of Spain last week.

Spain plowed billions into new highways, airports, high speed rail, and solar panels.

Spain's unemployment now stands at 22.9% and a record 5.3 million people are out of work. 20% of people under 30-years old have yet to work their first job. Home prices are off 30% from the peak and experts say they will be off 60% before the dust settles. In the meantime, Spain has the longest high speed rail system in the world outside China and more solar than anyone but Germany. When I connect the dots it's clear that while there might have been a few construction jobs during the building off all those things, once in place there was no real economic force to maximize their use. In the meantime, Spain inches closer and closer to economic insolvency and mass implosion. According to a study done at Juan Carlos University:

* Since 2000 Spain spent $571,138 to create each "green job"
* Green job programs resulted in destruction of 110,500 jobs, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every "green job" created
* Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy
* 8.99 Photovoltaic
* 4.27 wind energy
* 5.05 mini-hydro

Despite the obvious fact that the green economy is a farce in the free market and at best harms the non-green economy to the point of mass destruction, yesterday the European Council released a statement about growth-friendly consolidation and job-friendly growth. The release talks about the 23 million people unemployed and the need to create new jobs, including in the "green economy." Gulp! The release speaks of initiatives on employment, education, and skills. This is smart and honest and sadly could be too little too late. In meantime, there will be a move to cut non-wage labor costs to have an impact on labor demand of the low-skilled and young.

Shared Sacrifice