This Closed Solar Factory Funded by ARRA

This story is a perfect example of enlightened government officials picking winners and losers and parceling out borrowed money while sticking our kids with the multi-trillion dollar tab for their reckless and wasteful spending. The half billion dollar loan guarantee from the federal ARRA “stimulus program” for a start-up with at best questionable technology and prospects, is a glamorous version of the complete waste the vast majority of the stimulus spending represents. It’s perfect example of the fundamentally flawed policy framework that  parcels out public money for private ventures based on the subjective and often arbitrary criteria of government officials.

What’s the best explanation the article offers for a start up with unproven technology getting a half billion dollar loan guarantee?. “Solyndra actually applied for DOE loans back in 2006, when Bush was still President. When Obama announced that he wanted to rev the energy economy, Solyndra happened to be first in line.”  Likely it also involved something like the way government corruption works here in Rhode Island and one of their VC’s suggested “I know this guy, who knows a guy…..”

Hopefully the recent election represents a political wake up call that will put an end to this kind of senseless waste. The new congress should clarify the fundamental principal that the proper role of government is to set and enforce fair, sensible and stable rules for the economic game rather than unfairly and arbitrarily inserting itself in the game as a competitor. The sooner we get government completely out of the roles of business, the more likely we will be to recover some semblance of a sustainable economy.

Expect Solyndra to become a political poster child for those opposing clean energy policy generally, not just wasteful government policies like the stimulus program. The kind of arbitrary political favoritism the stimulus program and most government economic policy represents today is a deep fundamental challenge to a healthy economy and to sensible sustainable public policy.

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Filed under Economic Policy, Energy Policy, Fundamental Perspectives, Politics

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