The White House’s Solar Nightmare

In 2009, it was hailed as the model of what America needs to be. A solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra received more than half a billion dollars in stimulus funds and was held up by both Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Obama himself as the bees knees. Even Vice President Biden stumped for the company:

“It’s important because these jobs are going to be permanent jobs. These are the jobs of the future. These are the green jobs. These are jobs that won’t be exported. These are the jobs that are going to define the 21st century and the jobs — going to allow America to compete and to lead like we did in the 20th century.”

So much for that pipe dream.

With Solyndra filing for bankruptcy, laying off more than the 1,000 “permanent new jobs” that Vice President Biden touted, the administration is understandably frustrated. They thought that giving $535 million of taxpayer dollars to this company would save it from economic reality. As it turns out, they should have listened to auditors who said that Solyndra was in such dire straits as to “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern,” according to Bloomberg.

But it didn’t matter that Solyndra was going nowhere as a company, that they made a product that was expensive to produce, and in order to compete with China, had to be sold for less-than-profitable prices. No, that didn’t matter, why? Because President Obama was thoroughly blinded by his dogmatic commitment to “green jobs.” (The appearance of crony capitalism adds even more intrigue.)

Solyndra closing its doors – along with other companies that President Obama’s stimulus helped – shows a severe flaw in this administration’s abilities to pick winning investments. Our tax dollars are being given to companies which are going bankrupt. Will we get our money back? Unlikely.

Now the FBI is investigating Solyndra and its executives. While no information about this investigation has been revealed, it’s just one more kick the Obama administration doesn’t need, especially with Stimulus II certain to be filled with “green” energy handouts.

While President Obama didn’t outright mention “green” jobs in his speech last Thursday – understandably so – the breakdown of the bill from the White House paints a very different – and predictable picture:

  • Public School Modernization: “Permissible uses of funds would include a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology in our schools.”

Not only that, but money for developing a high-speed rail and other failed policies from Stimulus I find their way back into this bill. What we can expect from all the new infrastructure spending is an emphasis on retrofitting buildings and creating “energy-efficient” infrastructure. There’s no doubt that more companies like Solyndra will receive federal funds which will never see their way back to the taxpayers.

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