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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 tigz1218 on 10/4/2011 9:09:10 AM , Rating: 0
I suppose with your logic if Hitler just admitted that he was a very angry and evil person his actions would be okay, because at least he admitted the truth?


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By vapore0n on 10/4/2011 9:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. Lets equate wasting 500M dollars to killing millions of people.


By monitorjbl on 10/4/2011 11:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
Well, accounting for inflation, it's only equivalent to killing about 60,000 people. Which would make Hitler a slightly better person had he only wasted 500 million dollars.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,180...

Also, Godwin's law.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/4/2011 11:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
Depending on the number of people and their theoretical worth we might have a fair argument. I believe the current value of a person is listed at roughly 5 Million USD. This number changes between the government agencies with the EPA generally the high roller at about 9 Million. Likewise the low roller is the DoD which values a life at no more than 600 Thousand.

So 500 million would equal roughly 100 dead people.
I'll take a conservative estimate and say 11 Million dead by Hitlers orders. 11 Million * 5 Million = 55 Trillion. But that is with todays estimates, back then the value of a life might have been in the Thousands rather than Millions which would substantially reduce the total dollar figure into the low-mid Billions.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By Steve1981 on 10/4/2011 12:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I believe the current value of a person is listed at roughly 5 Million USD.


Is that MSRP? Do I get a discount for a Somali model?


By Ringold on 10/4/2011 1:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
If NewEgg has free shipping, I might bite.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By DougF on 10/4/2011 3:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, yes. "Blood" money in the Middle East/Africa region is still around $100K for a life.


RE: At least he's honest for once...
By ekv on 10/5/2011 4:32:29 AM , Rating: 2
Iran is only coughing up $25k.


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