Posts Tagged ‘China’

26th March
written by Sean Noble








China’s Suntech Power, one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, has recently declared bankruptcy.  Suntech also announced the closure of its only U.S. factory in Goodyear, Arizona.

The bankruptcy of Wuxi Suntech, which supplies more than 95 percent of Suntech Power’s products, was reported by the official Xinhua news agency Wednesday.

Suntech Power, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, at its peak had a market capitalization of $16 billion. But the company was experiencing a drop in profits due to a global oversupply of solar panels, falling prices and anti-dumping tariffs imposed on China by the U.S. government.

Last Friday it failed to make payments on $541 million worth of convertible debt, the first time a major Chinese company had defaulted on its bonds.

Suntech, like many other green companies, received lucrative governmental incentives.

Suntech, a large Chinese firm whose Goodyear solar panel factory was hailed as proof that government economic planning works. Indeed, when Suntech announced its plant in 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer proclaimed it the result of “the right incentive program to make business sense.”

Three years later, Suntech is shuttering the Goodyear plant and laying off its 43 remaining workers. But not before it pocketed $1.5 million in tax breaks from the state, $2.1 million from the federal government, and $500,000 in job training from the city. Goodyear also waived its plan review requirements and permit fees. Not for all firms, mind you, just for this one particular Chinese company with its grandiose promises.

Suntech’s bankruptcy is another example of the market illusion that is “green” investments. The global free-market might be heavily constrained but it still will not suffer technology that perpetually operates in the red. Despite this plain economic knowledge, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will give $150 million in manufacturing tax credits for green energy companies.

It has not worked before and will not to work. In the end, the American taxpayer is left standing holding the bag and our domestic energy prices are as expensive as ever.

Thank you, Obama.

13th April
written by Sean Noble

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20th May
written by Sean Noble

With Utah Governor Jon Huntsman on his way to China, I pontificated about the political brilliance of Barack Obama in a piece posted on The New Ledger. 

Here are a some excerpts.

His latest stroke of brilliance his is appointment of Gov. Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China. Huntsman had begun to make noises about the possibility of running for President in 2012. He is one of the most popular governors in the nation. He was an early supporter of John McCain’s run for President (a major blow to fellow LDS member, Mitt Romney) and McCain could have easily turned his entire operation over to Huntsman, giving him instant national infrastructure reach. Huntsman also has piles and piles of money (by some measures more than Romney) to fund a serious operation for a presidential run.

All that came to a screeching halt when Obama tapped Huntsman for Ambassador to China. Yes, the argument can be made that Huntsman would have been ill-suited for the Republican primary process, but so was McCain, and he ended up the nominee. Huntsman would have put enormous counter-pressure on Romney because he would be better funded, “more” LDS (Huntsman is from Utah, not Massachusetts; he has not flip-flopped fundamental Republican positions), and none of the disadvantages of being a child of politics (his father has never admitted being “brainwashed” by the U.S. military).


Obama and his advisors have bought into the idea that if the Republican Party is going to survive and regain power that it needs to promote “moderate” leaders. It is why the Democrat talking point has been to claim that Rush Limbaugh is the head of the party. It is their calculation that a principled, conservative party is a dying breed. In Huntsman, Obama and his political advisors saw a real threat, a “big tent” Republican.

So Obama did what any good street-fighting Chicago pol would do — he co-opted his potential rival.


In short, Obama did himself a favor by appointing Huntsman as Ambassador to China. He took a potential opponent out of the mix, and got one of the most qualified people in the nation as Ambassador to China.


16th May
written by Sean Noble

Jon Huntsman

Proving once again that he has real political skill, Obama has selected Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, which was announced Saturday at the White House.

This is a brilliant move by Obama, co-opting a potential (albeit long shot) challenger and putting probably one of the most qualified people in the nation in that position.

Of course this move affects me personally because it ruins a “plugged-in” I submitted to the Arizona Republic for publication on Sunday.  Here is what I wrote:

There is buzz about Utah Governor Jon Huntsman being a candidate for the GOP nomination for President in 2012.  The person most unhappy about this development is former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has made it abundantly clear that he is planning a re-run for the GOP nomination. Or maybe Romney is not unhappy, but welcomes this development, because Huntsman is “more” LDS (he’s actually from Utah, and has always been pro-life) and will divert fire away from Romney.  To wit, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says he fears Huntsman more than any other Republican. I’m not sure I buy that, but it shows that it’s going to be a long 3 ½ years.

I guess Plouffe really was nervous about Huntsman, and so they got him out of the way.

23rd February
written by Sean Noble

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is returning from a four-nation tour of Asia, her last stop being China where she “plead” for the Chinese to continue to buy up U.S. debt. This reminded me of a great line from the Presidential primary season when a Democrat Congress and President Bush enacted a rebate program to taxpayers in an attempt to boost the economy.  Mike Huckabee said, “We’re going to borrow money from China to give to taxpayers to ask them to buy something from China.”  Classic.

An interesting twist on the trip was that Clinton avoided dealing with human rights concerns saying that they shouldn’t “distract” from economic and environmental concerns.  This is a lesson in the difference between campaigning and governing, and she is already upsetting portions of her core constituency, like Amnesty International. 

This is an interesting article tracking what Clinton has said in the past about China’s human rights record.

Welcome to the real world.