Federal inmates build solar panels for company with ties to Obama administration.
- If a U.S. government agency wants to buy solar panels, it must buy them from a U.S. government corporation.
- This corporation uses federal prisoners to assemble the panels.
- Prisoners are paid between 23 cents an hour and $1.15.
- This is a slave labor.
But can slave labor produce sophisticated solar cells?
- Of course not.
- Then where do the prisons get solar cells? From Taiwan.
- “buy American” means using American prisoners to assemble panels. By law, yes.
How much does the Taiwanese firm get out of the deal?
- Initially, $218.6 million.
- The contract can be renewed.
It turns out that this use of prison labor has been going on ever since 1934.
- The company is known as UNICOR: the Federal Prison Industries.
- UNICOR says the panels are made in America. Assembled, yes. Made, no.
- But the law says that “assembled = made”
- UNICOR has a captive market: the U.S. government.
- This is not free enterprise. This is government-run economics.
- The big winner is the Taiwanese firm that manufactures the cells.
- Who knew about UNICOR? Yet it has been around since 1934.
Who knew that this sort of deal is common?
- For every deal like this that a handful of Americans find out about
- how many are not discovered? And how many Americans ever find out?
It never stops. But it will when the Great Default hits.