In its desperate effort to generate “green jobs”, the Obama administration in 2009 directed $528 million taxpayer dollars, more than half a billion dollars in stimulus funding, as a loan to one small but politically well-connected start-up California manufacturer of solar panels. Now that company, Solyndra, Inc., has filed for bankruptcy, closed its factory, and had its headquarters raided by the FBI. Because the administration agreed to give private investors in Solyndra priority over the U.S. government, there does not appear to be any hope that any taxpayer dollars will be recovered.
The Obama administration described Solyndra, Inc. as a prime example of how stimulus dollars could create “green jobs”. Vice President Joseph Biden spoke at the groundbreaking for the Solyndra factory in 2009. And President Obama himself visited and praised the Solyndra factory in 2010.
Republicans in Congress have uncovered and disclosed damning e-mail from inside the Obama White House complaining about political pressure to approve the Solyndra loan so the White House could claim success in job creation. But most damaging of all to President Obama’s political future is the video of the President and Vice President cozying up to the CEO of Solyndra, who is now invoking the 5th Amendment to avoid testifying about the bankruptcy, and praising the company effusively.
These videos will be seen repeatedly on Republican campaign commercials prior to next year’s presidential election. But you can see them now by searching YouTube.com for Solyndra and Obama or Biden.
This political disaster for President Obama seems to validate the criticism of Republicans that the federal government should not be trying to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. Just about any other use for that half billion taxpayer dollars in the midst of a recession would have been better than loaning it to Solyndra.
I had thought that President Obama would be able to use the advantages on incumbency and the shortcomings of his Republican challengers to gain re-election next year. Now, not so much.