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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



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Sure -
By Dr of crap on 10/4/2011 8:59:55 AM , Rating: 1
It's not his OWN money, it's your's and mine.

I could spend my money, and your's WAY better than that!

I love how politicians jsut spend tax moeny and can justify it, yet don't EVER say - I'm sorry I messed up and WASTED your money!




RE: Sure -
By phantom505 on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sure -
By Dr of crap on 10/4/2011 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
What you're problem??

I NEVER said it was his money, I said it's easy to spend someone elses money- yours (maybe) and mine - from taxes. You must have heard of taxes in your world.

How you equate that to spending on police, and services we NEED to spending on a failing company I don't know.

You give money politicans don't you??
Also wasted money.


RE: Sure -
By Ringold on 10/4/2011 2:01:51 PM , Rating: 3
Even a lot of devout libertarians would admit to the need and efficiency of the government providing certain public goods.. Economic liberals (modern political conservatives) despite being small-government, believe in infrastructure and maintaining law and order.

There's a huge leap from making sure firms can get goods from the interior to ports on the coast, cities down burn down, and looking over national security to a belief the government should actively pick technological and corporate winners and losers.

Also read an article about the Bureau of Land Management maintaining a 'welfare ranch' of sorts with thousands of horses relocated from over-grazed government land. BLM shies away from selling them for slaughter. Yeah, thats what I "need," to be protected from feral horses, and then have those horses pampered. Is there any grey area in your world, or all government spending is simply good?


RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 9:29:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not his OWN money, it's your's and mine.


to be fair... it's your money only if you paid taxes recently...which half of the country didn't do last year.


RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
There's a federal sales tax (yet) unless you find isolated luxery tax examples and we're talking about federal money. Sales tax in my area go to the state, county, and municipality.

Anyway, a significant percentage of folks get their cut of the payroll taxes back, and the employer side has an indirect relationship.

I'll grant you when you count the other gotcha taxes the gov't gets then the percentage will be less than 50% but my point is that still a sizable percentage of people can't say that the Feds are spending their money.


RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/2011 12:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
How do you get back the social security payroll tax? How do you get back the medicare payroll tax?

Where do I sign up?

The only way I know is to wait for retirement and hope the money is still there.

My point was that there are tons of taxes that nearly everyone pays. If your point is that half the country doesn't pay federal income taxes say that don't be sloppy and say they don't pay taxes.


RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/4/2011 12:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where do I sign up?


The local Social Security office...don't forget to bring a few of your kids along and make sure you have a cash job like cleaning houses so your reported income is like 10k...and not only will the feds give you a few thousand for earned income credit, but they might start sending you a check every month for those kids...especially if one is disabled by something serious like ADHD or something.


RE: Sure -
By iwanttobehef on 10/4/2011 12:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL touche


RE: Sure -
By DougF on 10/4/2011 4:08:38 PM , Rating: 3
No, no, no, ADHD is so last decade. You have to use the new buzzwords: "learning disability" and "Autism". The former is generic enough for adults that it gets you Medicaid and Medicare combined, and yet people won't inquire too deeply into your condition. Use the latter for the kids, since that's that's the "in" thing to describe inept parenting.*

*Apologies to parents of kids who ARE autistic, but it really has been hijacked, much as ADHD was in the 90's.


RE: Sure -
By Fost04mach on 10/4/2011 4:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
You are so out of touch! There's no such thing as mailing a check nowadays, look up EBT - electronic benefits transfer - basically direct deposit into a debit card style account... It's just too much work to go to Walmart to cash a check...


RE: Sure -
By sorry dog on 10/5/2011 11:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are right...it appears I need to go a welfare continuing education class... maybe the local ACORN office gives that class.

Sad thing is that I actually do a child with Autism, or I should say Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's not a severe case and I could maybe get him on disability, but I'm usually too busy working to pay for his $500 month therapy to sit in line periodically for a year to get him on the gov't tit. He tests as not full blown autistic, but on the Autism spectrum, yet his diagnosis is "non-pervasive developmental disorder" whatever that is. That is apparently too vague automatically get you in the EBT club, but if you have asthma or ADHD then your in.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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