Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's Different from the Forties to Today?

(Sorry about the absence-had a bad reaction to a prescribed med.)

Folks have been talking about how the country worked together for the 4 years of WWII by rationing, tax increases, making sacrifices and how everyone was on the same page. And that now we, unless we have a family member engaged in the war(s) are mere spectators.

I believe there is something more than just the change in culture of the entire time frame. There is something more insidious going on. But first I'd like to share a theory I've had for some time.

The entire generation of the "greatest" encompassed the Depression and then the war. In my humble opinion I believe that when the men and some women came home from the service they had the mindset that their children "were never going to have to go through the hardships of life that they had to." Consequently, for lack of a better description, we spoiled our kids rotten. The boomers are the instant gratification generation.

Our children also benefited from parents who qualified for the GI bill which put them in line for being much better off financially than their parents and they made sure their kids also wanted for nothing. It has escalated through the years and our grandchildren also feel they are "entitled."

Along with all the extra money and no need to work for it plus the celebrity culture it's been a generation waiting for an accident to happen. Respect for authority and coupled with "don't trust anyone over 30" learned from their parents who were their buddies rather than authority figures were just not adding up to responsibility and accountability.

Maybe a bit simplistic and certainly not a 100% outcome, but shared sacrifice is a foreign concept to many. (My own kids are examples whose parents remember their parents' hard lives and easy come easy go doesn't happen at our address.)

The other part of this I've added since early development of this theory. Politics took on that difference as well. The flower children are the liberals of their generation and when George W, in their minds "stole the election" I can say that the lack of the respect for the Presidency in the Clinton years by Conservatives was transferred to the liberals' animosity of President Bush.

Which brings us to a point where lack of respect and anathema against the opposite party when asked to cooperate for the common good (not in the socialistic sense) it is also a foreign concept. Who really thinks they should sacrifice to anyone else?

Not really sure how to solve this, but I'm quite proud of Boehner and Cantor who don't think an olive branch is just a twig. Let's see where this takes us.''God bless...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where Has All the Money Gone??

Did you happen to hear that Solyndra Inc which received a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 to build a plant in northern California closed its doors and had to lay off all its workers a year ago. Yup! The same Solyndra that today declared bankruptcy after a more recent $500 million boost from the same Department of Energy.

And, I kid you not, they are defending themselves with remarks such as "While not every company will succeed in this competitive industry, we believe that solar generation and manufacturing play an important role in helping America win the clean energy race."

Then there's SoloPower, Inc which makes lightweight solar panels in San Jose. This month the White House finalized a $197 million guarantee for them with two other loans for solar power combined for $425 million to be awarded before the September 30 deadline.

Another business Evergreen Solar Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection after closing a Massachusetts plant which had been built with local and state subsidies.

I guess after looking at all these closings the least we can do is wish the new recipients good luck.

Not to be outdone, the battery business is looking rather bleak. With so many companies and so many countries getting into the development of said car batteries, the market expects a glut long before the 2020 deadline everyone is aiming at.

By everyone we mean: SB LiMotive, a joint venture between German automotive supplier Robert Bosch and Samsung SDI of South Korea; Renault and Nissan investing $5.76 billion (actually being revamped to move ahead without subsidies); LG Chem Ltd of South Korea; A123 Systems Inc and Enerl Inc from the U.S. who are smaller in scale. Actually there is much talk about too much capacity by 2015 so each of these companies are hedging their bets in various ways, but looking at a $300 billion market for electric vehicles and looking at $50billion of that amount for the batteries, no one wants to back out just yet.

However, we have pumped in $5 billion with $2.6 billion for batteries in the car business. Sounds like a lot? China is pumping $15 billion over 10 years into alternative vehicle technology and South Korea has committed $12.5 billion into the 2020 Battery Project.

Looks like a fight to the finish.

God bless...