Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eclipse of Reason

The Solar Orphan

Yes, We Can!...Destroy Western Civilization

Solyndra suddenly has no political parents, WSJ Editorial, 9-15-11

Watching the denials of paternity yesterday in Congress, you'd think that failed solar company Solyndra was a political orphan instead of a former Administration darling and favorite of the President and Vice President. 

Since the FBI raided the company's Freemont, California headquarters last week, Congress has ramped up its own investigation into how the company got a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2009. At a House Energy and Commerce hearing, lawmakers questioned Administration officials on whether the Solyndra approval had been rushed out the door as the Energy Department's first loan guarantee, despite remaining questions on its viability and emails that showed reservations among budget officials.

Obama at Solyndra's HQ giving $535mm to it's CEO - Smile for the Cameras!

Committee Democrats and two Administration officials tried to pin the tail on the Bush Administration by noting that the Solyndra loan consideration began before President Obama took office. There's no doubt the late-Bush Presidency slid into big government senescence.

However in the Solyndra case, the Bush Administration's review board declined in January 2009 to act on the loan proposal, calling it "premature" and asking for more information. Two months later, in March, the Obama Administration's board signed off. Energy Department Loans Program Office Executive Director Jonathan Silver told the committee that "additional due diligence" was conducted in the short interim.

Canny old Henry Waxman changed the subject from taxpayers to Solyndra executives, claiming they misled federal officials even as the company teetered on bankruptcy. When the rosy scenarios touted by Mr. Obama and Joe Biden failed to materialize, he asked, was that because of unexpectedly tough competition from China, "or is the reason sloppy or inadequate vetting, or worse yet, corporate malfeasance?" Not included among his multiple-choice options was the possibility that the rushed loan and enthusiasm for it was the product of political favoritism toward Solyndra investor and Mr. Obama's campaign donor George Kaiser. 

We get the game of dodgeball here, but the Administration still seems to think such loans are a splendid idea. No big deal was the message from White House deputy budget director Jeffrey Zients, who said the Energy Department backed many loans besides Solyndra's and that "We have reason to be optimistic that the portfolio as a whole will perform." Hey, when you're picking political winners and losers, taxpayers sometimes have to take a $500 million loss for the team.

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