Chances are you don't remember Bill Keith, the entrepreneur whom the White House turned into a "poster child" for a green economy back in 2009. Chances are that the White House wants to keep it that way.
Over at CNN.com, it's worth reading the story of what happened to a speech example after the president left stage. The White House, which once held up Keith as "solar superstar," now threatens to shut down his solar-powered fan business for running afoul of a different part of the president's agenda -- protectionism. Here's an excerpt:
Keith said the U.S. Customs Department has accused him of using Chinese-made solar panels, in violation of a tough import policy adopted in May at the behest of major U.S. solar companies. The policy is intended to thwart China from undercutting prices and flooding the U.S. market with cheaper solar panels. The U.S. Department of Commerce is currently reviewing the policy, and is scheduled to make a determination in the fall.
Keith denies that any of part of his solar fans are produced in China, but he admits he can't totally prove it. According to Keith, the owner of the Hong Kong company that customizes his solar cells has stated in an affadavit that it buys the cells from the United States, Taiwan and Germany. But Keith worries that testimony won't be good enough.
... Unless he can show specific manufacturing documentation by August 29, Keith said he could be fined as much as 250 percent on his solar panels -- an effective rate of $270,000.
If that anti-dumping fine is levied, Keith said he will have to shutter his business.
As wrong as President Obama's "you-didn't-build-that" comment was, at least, it was only an opinion. Sadly the message here for Keith and others like him is a statement of fact: You can't build that.