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That's right Mr. President, keep loaning the money, everything is going GREAT!  (Source: Getty Images)
President says high-risk loan was "felt like... a good bet"

(This article contains editorial commentary, which is the opinion of the author.)

President Barack Obama has endured scathing criticism in recent weeks for loaning $535M USD to failed solar startup Solyndra.  The loan came as part of a $40B USD "green" technology stimulus effort.  But on September 1, 2011 Solyndra filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving its 1,000+ employees looking for work and leaving the government staring at an un-recoupable loss.

I. Interview: Obama says "No" regrets on wasting $500M USD

In recent weeks Republicans have lashed out at President Obama for the lost money.  They argue it's indicative of the President's overall budget incompetence.  They've launched a probe into the loan and the Department of Energy's overall loan infrastructure.  States Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a member of the House Energy panel’s investigative subcommittee, "We need to hear from Secretary Chu and [White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack] Lew to fill in some of the blanks.  The buck has to stop someplace, and presumably it stops with the heads of those agencies."

But the POTUS is holding his ground.  In an interview on ABC News' "Good Morning America", also broadcast online on Yahoo! News Monday, anchor George Stephanopoulos asked President Obama if he regretted the 2009 loan guarantees .  He replies, "No I don't.  Because if you look at the overall portfolio of loan guarantees that had been provided, overall it’s doing well. And what we always understood is that not every single business is going to succeed in clean energy."

President Obama's administration is accused of rushing the loan guarantee in order to allow it to be announced at the September 2009 groundbreaking of the company's new factory.  By February the loan was already under investigation.  Still, the President stood firmly behind Solyndra, visiting their California headquarters in early 2010 and touting them as a green energy "leader".

Some emails that have been released indicate some administration members had expressed concerns about the company's financial health -- concerns that were ultimately overruled.

Obama implied America has to get more China-like when it comes to loans, in order to compete with the Asian rival.  He states. "If we want to compete with China, which is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in this space, if we want to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidizing industries of the future, we have got to make sure that our guys, here in the United States of America, at least have a shot."

II. Editorial: Business as Usual in Washington, D.C.

To be fair, as bad as the Solyndra loss looks, the previous Bush administration spent many times that essentially paying off the losses of the American International Group (AIG), which it built up from taking on risky investments pre-recession.  AIG received over $127B USD [source] and sent over $100B USD overseas to banks it owed money to.

Thus perhaps the Solyndra debacle is more of a testament to how things are run in Washington no matter which party is in charge, rather than a sign that President Obama is somehow exceptional or different, for better or worse.  Both parties talk about balancing the budget, but it's a matter of public record that in recent years both parties have overspent, committing to risky investments and troubled assets.

That's not to say what the Obama administration did here was right by conservative fiscal standards.  As the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right.  But if there's someone who offers an alternative to this kind of spending they're likely not in Washington, D.C. -- or at least likely not very popular there among either party.

These kinds of wastes are particularly sad, as they come at a time when proud American science projects are being shuttered due of lack of funds.  America recently closed the world's second largest particle accelerator, because the government claimed it couldn't find $100M USD out of the $3.4T USD budget to pay for the accelerator's annual operating costs.  The AIG funding could have paid for over 1,000 years of operation.  The Solyndra funds could have extended the life of the accelerator 5 years.

One thing's for sure when it comes to Solyndra, though -- President Obama isn't going to say sorry for what happened.

Source: ABC News



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RE: At least he's honest for once...
By therealnickdanger on 10/4/2011 8:48:31 AM , Rating: 3
The simple truth is that he doesn't regret it because it wasn't HIS money that got wasted. He's wasting the money of the taxpayers while he and his cronies exploit every tax loophole possible to avoid paying in their "fair share" - to quote the Messiah himself. I'm glad he has such a clear conscious about it. Makes it a lot easier to vote him out of office in 2012.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Targon on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
By lelias2k on 10/5/2011 5:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
It is also the government's duty to provide education and health services, but look where we are.

quote:
securing our borders and protecting our citizens


Yeah, that's the kool aid they all tell you to drink so they can keep pouring trillions into "defense."

As for the investment, my opinion is that the government should invest in technologies of the future, especially when the rest of the world is kicking our asses when it comes to those technologies.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Natch on 10/5/2011 1:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering if you could please tell me where this occurs?

quote:
Does a basic file clerk really deserve $80,000/year plus a pension?


I just checked the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) page on the present-day GS pay scales, and a GS-04 (which would be your "basic file clerk" is NOT making $80,000 a year.
http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/indexGS.asp

In fact, in most places, they start out at $30,000 a year, and after ~20 years of service , have skyrocketed all the way up to (are you ready for this?) $40,000 a year!! The highest GS scale I saw was for the San Francisco Bay area (Nancy Pelosi country), where they go from $33K to $43K in range.

Yeah...believe it or not, but the whole "government employees make too much money" is nothing more than a BS political talking point. OPM has set the value of a government employee's benefits as ~29% of their salary, so even multiplying that GS-04's salary by 1.293, they're only coming in at $42,669 to $55,599 in value. So unless you can somehow tell us where the other $25,000 to $35,000 in imaginary wages are coming from, I'd have to say your point was a bit of an exageration.


By lelias2k on 10/5/2011 5:21:15 AM , Rating: 4
Take a look at the US income tax history and let's see if Obama is really the one who created the problem...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_Uni...

Don't get me wrong, I'm pissed with a lot of thing this government has done, but the tax problem is not one of them.


By cruisin3style on 10/5/2011 3:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
the simple truth is if he had apologized and said he regretted it, people like you would say America needs a leader that doesn't compromise or apologize.

Just make sure you make a conscience decision to vote Republican


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By web2dot0 on 10/6/2011 10:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
You gotta look at the big picture. Not every gov't investment is going to work out. Obviously, this didn't work out. But $500M is not $1T. That's the scope of the problem. Don't make it bigger than it is.

The gov't spends many Billions investing in these types of things. Let's evaluate based on the overall performance, not a single point of failure. You are bound to lose battles in a war, we just need to make sure we win the war.

If you are such a fiscal hawk, where were you when the gov't bailed out WallStreet? Shouldn't you be against the Republican Party that got us into this mess? The Trillion Dollar mess ....

You need to bring it from a 10 to a 2. Breath now ...


By therealnickdanger on 10/7/2011 11:12:40 AM , Rating: 1
Congress was controlled solidly by democrats when the Wallstreet bailout of 2008 occurred... and the much larger 2009 bailouts... and 2010... You can't paint Republicans into a mess that they didn't cause.


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