Corporate Welfare

This Is How Little The New Republic Thinks of Pissing Away Your Tax Money


Taking Solyndra dissemblage to a new level, TNR editors are:

The apparent conflict of interest inside the administration is inexcusable, of course. And it's obviously not a happy occasion when a company defaults on government-backed loans. But what's most inexcusable here isn't the failure of Solyndra. It's the ideological use that Republicans are making of the entire episode.

Keep your eye on that ball, nameless editorialist! As for the rest of you, consider yourself lucky that you don't have a password through the paywall, since there you'll find stink-bombs like this:

If anything, the DOE needs to increase, not abandon, its funding for clean energy.

As ever, Ronald Bailey told you so.

NEXT: Matt Ridley's Rousing Defense of Climate Change Skepticism

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  1. Sure the Obama administration apparently used the loan program as a slush fund for its big donors. But that doesn’t mean the whole program is bad. I am sure they won’t do it again. They promised and everyone is embarassed by this.

    This is similar to the defense used for Fast and Furious. Sure ATF totally screwed up and sent hundreds of weapons to crazed Mexican drug gangs. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have more power and authority. They won’t do it again, they promise.

    1. The only solution to abuse of power is more power.

      1. …TO PROTECT OUR [insert here]!!!

        How’s that working out for you?

    2. The agricultural city-state was the beginning of the end for liberty. Who wants the “freedom” to have their movement restricted by artificial lines of demarcation?
      Officer, am I free to gambol?


        1. ….we’ll fall behind to the Chinese….er, the Russians, er, the Mumbaians, or maybe just the Bangladeshis.

          1. Our problem is that we’re falling behind the Americans.

      2. Yes…gambol all you like about the abandoned factory floor.

  2. Classic diversion tactic. “What kind of a person would use evidence of economic cluelessness on the part of Our Glorious Leader (pbuh) to score political points?”

  3. Am I free to gambol around an abandoned factory?

    1. Am I free to gambol about the Two Rivers?

      1. Not anymore, get your ass out of there before people get hurt!

      2. Am I free to gambol about Las Vegas?

        1. Sure as fuck aren’t free to gambol in Branson… oh, well, at least the Osmonds are there to liven up the place.

  4. What is it about green energy that makes people think the technology will never advance unless it has almost limitless government support? It’s like saying back in 1985 that we’ll lose the race to manufacture cell phones and flat screens unless the government co-signs Motorola’s loans.

    1. They thought that. I can remember in the early 1990s Ross Perot and Al Gore both were saying that the US would never get high definition TV if the government didn’t step in and support it. I kid you not.

      1. There have been government sponsored successes.
        The atomic weapons industry.
        Bicycle helmets.

        1. Sesame Street

        2. Good that you didn’t miss Tang, but you forget a couple of important ones:

          The internet
          Air flight
          Countless life saving medicines and vaccines
          The Interstate Highway system
          Satellite Technology
          Radar and Sonar technology

        3. Contrary to popular belief, Tang was invented before NASA existed. Kraft Foods, 1957.

      2. I should have guessed. Good thing the government funded iphones and ipad, otherwise they’d never have been invented. Also, Google.

      3. Classic Stuff…last I remember Obama kept delaying the release of digital broadcasting and then threw tv vouchers at a bunch of people.

        Yup, no high def without government…oh wait.

        Good call John.

        1. The Japanese were going to get it first. It was just comical.

          1. I’m rereading The Lucifer Principle right now, and despite the book being written smack dab in the middle of Japan’s lost decade, there is a ton of “Teh Japs is overtakn’ us” rhetoric.

            Bloom does make a valid point about large American manufacturers making money on large gov contracts vs. risky, but profitable innovation being detrimental to economical health of the nation.

            …as the solyndra story demonstrates

            1. I was lucky enough to have an economics professor in college who set me straight about the whole “the Japs are going to own America” bullshit. It is amazing the stupid stuff people believed.

              My favorite was the panic over the Japanese buying Rockefeller Center. They got ripped off and bought an old building no one wanted to lease anymore. But that was evidence America was doomed.

              1. Well, people still believe it; they’ve just substituted the Chinese for the Japanese. For awhile it seemed as India would be the new boogeyman, but people’s experiences with ultra-shitty call centers ended that real quick.

                1. From my youth through the current time:

                  70s: Arabs were takin’ over
                  80s: Japanese were takin’ over
                  90s: ?? Who was taking over in the 90s… shit I can’t remember. I do remember talk about the EU taking over the world because a “Unified Europe” was an economically scary thing. I laughed at that one.
                  00s: Chinese are takin’ over

                  My dad who was my first introduction to free-market libertarianism, told me when I was young… like really young, 11 years old or something: When a foreign country invests in your economy, they’re much less likely to drop bombs on you.

                  1. Who was taking over in the 90s… shit I can’t remember.

                    That giant sucking sound was your jobs and brains being sucked into Mejico.

      4. The government did impose itself in high definition television development.

    2. Seems like I remember a 80ish episode of 60 Minutes talking about a French nationalized computer company that sort of had the tone “this is what we’re up against!”

      1. Haha, yeah, what was the name of that company? Stress on the was.

        1. Was it “Le Big Mac”?

          1. L’Ordinateur Royal

        2. Had to look this up:

          Bull Groupe, they were re-privatized in ’94. Trades for around 3.32 euros as of now.

          1. Ha, my dad actually for Bull after they acquired Honeywell.

            1. For bull what? You accidentally the sentence.

        3. MiniTel. Even the French admit it belongs in the toilet. MiniTel’s solution: it now comes in six colors.

          1. We do the work, you do the pleasure!

    3. It’s 1 kW/m^2 insolation, that’s what.

      Solar energy is diffuse and unavailable at times we might like to use it (called: “night”). Storage adds cost, we are not very good at it, and the rate of change of being good at it is something like 1-3% per annum.

      Barring radical transformations in energy storage technology, “renewables” are pie in the sky, and even if that does happen, energy density makes it hard to distinguish from subsistence farming.

      1. ^^This^^ But high school physics is not really the greens strong suit. It is astounding to think of the amount of energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. A gallon of gasoline will propel a one ton automobile thirty or forty miles. That is an enormous amount of portable energy. And not something that is going to be real easy to duplicate.

        1. And yet, they’re right that we need to start thinking about what happens when it starts running out, or taking more and more energy to extract. Sooner or later, it will happen, and society had better be prepared to transition gracefully.

          We’re basically blowing through our energy inheritance, saved up over countless generations — we used it for some good things (and some frivolous things), but unless we use it to find new sources of energy income, we’ll have to cut back on our lifestyle eventually.

      2. Really what will happen I think is when some guy with deep pockets decides to do space based solar. Problem being at this point that it has to be tremendously cost prohibitive.

        1. I have also red where space based solar would produce a real city destroying super villain death ray.

  5. The problem with “clean energy”, is that it’s all buried underneath the money hole.

    1. the problem is trying to get solar to work in the massively inefficient “farm” method of central generation.

      on new construction, if people had the choice of the costs that go into all of this publicly dictated infrastructure or going off the grid with passive construction & green energy off the grid, people would choose the latter. who wants to be dependent on the system, unless it’s required for occupancy?

      1. See Rob McMillan’s post above. Sure go off the grid, have fun. Unless you buy a large diesal or gas generator, you will not have power at night or when the wind isn’t blowing. The grid is fabulous. The grid gives me all of the power I want whenever I want it. Portable generators have been around forever. If being off the grid was so great, that is what we would have instead of centralized power.

        1. spoken like someone who has never been through the very protected building permit process before. if you have to sink $40k into all these hook-ups to get a permit, it’s not much of a testing ground for your thesis.

          centralized grids waste 50% of energy generated. ask the people how wonderful it is in Fukushima or maybe New Hampshire this week.

          1. centralized grids waste 50% of energy generated …

            Nonsense … grid losses are less than 7%.

            1. I missed that little nuget. Gee it is a good thing the power companies don’t have an incentive to make sure their grids are efficient. Nope, they just love to waste power.

              1. Do they really have an incentive, John? They are public utilities that have no competition. Their rates are fixed so they typically have a set profit annually. And they dictate who gets service on the grid with virtually no recourse for those plugged into it.

                I don’t see where there is much incentive to be efficient under those operating parameters.

            2. i’m afraid you are mistaken. the conversion to deliver is only 30% of fuel. with recycled heat, it could jump to 60%+.


              1. i’m afraid you are mistaken. the conversion to deliver is only 30% of fuel.

                I’m afraid you are shifting the goal posts. You originally said:

                centralized grids waste 50% of energy generated

                “Energy generate” is not the same thing as conversion efficency. So now you are shifting to the conversion efficiency of 30% which is less than 50% that you stated previously. This tells me tell me you are either dishonest or don’t know what you are talking about.

                1. posts on comment sections aren’t legal briefs or scientific treatises. centralized energy is projected to be 50% less efficient through delivery & use than decentralized. the distinction of saying that vs. 50% is wasted by going with centralized is subtle.

                  1. centralized energy is projected to be 50% less efficient through delivery & use than decentralized.

                    Which is not what you said originally. You said “centralized grids waste 50% of energy generated” which is nonsense. So your new claim which I question you have the ability to evaluate for validity really boils down to much less. The only difference would be the transmission losses which would be 50% of less than 7%.

                    the distinction of saying that vs. 50% is wasted by going with centralized is subtle.

                    You are absolutely clueless.

                2. “Nonsense … grid losses are less than 7%”

                  from fuel source, to generation, to delivery, to use, how material is this statistic?

                  1. from fuel source, to generation, to delivery, to use, how material is this statistic?

                    You don’t even know what grid losses are. In short you are grossly ignorant of power generation and distribution.

                    1. GregF, you are fixated on resistance which isn’t the summation of all losses on the grid.

                      read the link above. learn how power was generated, transmitted, and used in the 1920s. it yielded twice as much per unit of input than the centralized energy of today. i don’t know how to make it any easier for you.

                    2. GregF, you are fixated on resistance which isn’t the summation of all losses on the grid.

                      decentralizedimproviser you are incoherent. The first thing you need to do is learn the terminology. The grid is the distribution system. It has nothing to do with the fuel, the generators, or anything else.

          2. So because we have a lot of building regulations centralized power plants are a bad idea? That is idiotic. And further, when you build a building you have to wire it regardless. It doesn’t matter whether the main is giving you power from wind or coal 500 miles away. Electricity is still the same either way.

            And yeah, sometimes the power goes down. That is why it is good to have a generator. I have one myself. But all of those people in Connecticut will be back up on the grid within a week. You want the generator as a supliment, not as your only source of power.

            1. I think the off-gird power source is fine for those that choose it, but everyone?

              Efficiencies if scale, how do they fucking work?

            2. Not to mention that most localities adopt their code directly from NEC (national electric code, a private group), and that even without government regulations insurance companies would probably require being up to NEC. And guess what, being off the grid is waaay more code intensive than being on. Try telling your fire insurer about the 1000kg bank of uninspected lithium batteries you got in the basement.

              1. I was following a company that was selling fuel cells for the home. Plug Power? I think they ended up moving into other areas.

            3. the government shouldn’t be dictating the winner. that’s the point.

              how my home is wired has nothing to do with the hundreds of power lines, massive amounts of steel supporting them, years of union work installing them, all the easements, underground infrastructure, maintenance of that infrastructure, nuisance cost, etc. this stuff all has a cost, as well. power lines are not exactly pollution free, either.

          3. I’m for decentralized power too: mini nukes. I want these things everywhere.

        2. The market might be bringing us decentralized power:

    2. I love the money fires!

  6. Blame the victims!


    Oh the pain, the pain.

  8. I honestly couldn’t be an editor at Reason, because it’s all I can take just to read the snippets from this garbage that gets posted up here.

    If I actually had to slog through those so-called news stories, I would either 1) off myself, 2) off a bunch of other people, or 3) find enough fissile material to do both in dramatic fashion.

    Seriously, fuck these people.

    1. As we ‘speak’, Lucy is doing research (i.e, in the shitter) reading the latest issue of High Times.

  9. from my Morning Link Post:…

    Policies to Stimulate Innovation
    How effective are policies to encourage investment in innovation by firms, and what impact do they have on the macroeconomy?

    The clearest implication of our research is that to the extent that policymakers choose to subsidize innovative activity by firms, they should consider the full set of tax and regulatory policies that impact aggregate innovation through firm profitability. Taxing corporate profits or enacting regulations that make it more costly for firms to start up or operate has a significantly negative influence on innovation, undercutting the stimulative impact of R&D subsidization. The net effect may be to depress, rather than encourage, innovation by firms.

    1. This is where the conversation should start:

      Science is not a public good by Terence Kealey.

    2. If the feds want to stimulate innovation, putting up X-Prize money is the way to go.

  10. This is pretty standard stuff. If a government initiative produces insufficient or bad returns, throw more money at it. There is nothing the left can’t solve with more tax dollars.

    1. Perfectly analogous to the drug war. If usage goes up, catastrophe, we have to redouble our efforts, we need m0ar funds! If usage goes down, it’s working, so we need m0ar funds to finish the job!

      1. Just can’t win, can you?

      2. and education, the war on terror, corrections, foreign aid, low income housing, medicare delivery, quantitative easing, and on and on.

        price discovery, profit and loss are very important indictors.

    2. Goddamn right! And if the problem isn’t solved yet, why that’s absolute proof that we are not throwing enough money at it.

    3. SRSLY. I had a long discussion on Facebook with the San Diego Union-Tribune business editor about why the government should be subsidizing solar. He could not get it through his head that any “subsidies” handed out to the oil companies were more than nullified by the time Joe Commuter fills his tank thanks to Federal and state fuel taxes.

      And then there was the whole Synfuels Corporation nonsense, which he of course attributed the failure of to — hold on — underfunding.

      The jokes just write themselves, kids. And this is a guy who won a Pulitzer while with the WSJ. Fuck.

      1. That is a good point about gas taxes.

  11. But what’s most inexcusable here isn’t the failure of Solyndra. It’s the fact that Republicans exist at all.

  12. ideological use=example used to illustrate a general principle. Got it.

    1. Don’t worry, I’ve been assured by many people on here that socons will never get away with trying to impose their values on others via the law; only nefarious democrats do that.

      Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman’s ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs.

      1. Mike Huckabee’s practically an AnCap, if you ask me!

    2. OFFS. This is exactly why they need to overturn Roe and let states that want to just ban abortion already.

      Either that or lower the voting age to second trimester.

    3. Do gametes get half-person status?

      1. RACISSSTTTT!!!!!

  13. So, the real evil is not that a group of politicians in Washington stole money from the people and gave it to their friends, but that those politicians’ partisan opponents made a big deal out of it. L-O-fucking-L.

  14. ….answer to every maize farmers need.

  15. Don’t worry, I’ve been assured by many people on here that socons will never get away with trying to impose their values on others via the law; only nefarious democrats do that.

    TEAM RED! value-imposition laws are infrequently passed (they’re usually just old laws, or a lack of a new one to fit a recently arisen “civil rights” fashion) and almost always found unconstitutional, while TEAM BLUE! value-impositions tend to be rejected by voters, imposed via regulation (or the credible threat thereof) and/or judicial decree, and never found unconstitutional.

    So yeah.

    TEAM RED! is, above all, ineffectual. Nothing they want that TEAM BLUE! doesn’t also want (wars everywhere, drug war, etc.) ever happens.

    Worrying about them is paranoid.

    1. So when team red politicians demagogue for the newest freedom crushing law purporting to exterminate the newest moral panic (guaran-fucking-teed to turn yer kids into satan’s anal rape machine)we should not be worried because of lackluster past performance?

  16. You know who else didn’t like the ideological use made by his opponents of a certain episode.

  17. It’s called the Otter Defense.
    Why do you hate America?

    1. I wish he were running for president. Even Tim Matheson merely portraying Otter would work for me.

      He’s a bad guy on Burn Notice, but he’ll always be Otter to me.

    2. I think the Dems use the Chewbacca defense more.

      “So Solyndra and other green tech companies that the government gave money to have failed. Chewbacca is a Wookie that lives on the planet Endor. But that does not make sense! Why would an 8 foot tall Wookie want to live with a bunch of 2 foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! What does this have to do with energy? Nothing! If Chewbacca lives on Endor you must support more governemnt subsidized green energy!”

  18. Hey folks! Willie Nelson says biodiesel is okey-dokey! And what’s really grrrrrrrreat is that YOU pay for it, even if you don’t choose to buy any of it!


    Don’t you just LOVE all this green-jobs, green-energy, eco-scamming?

    1. …to extend Civilization’s lifespan is as much a scam as studiously ignoring the consequences of civilization.

  19. I used to have a poli sci professor that is a perennial candidate for Congress (he usually gets 20% of the Democratic vote). He worships green energy a la Solyndra and would always campaign on that bringing jobs to his district. I once chanlleged his views by questioning the wisdom of spending millions of dollars on something that clearly can’t survive market competition. He pretty much bullshitted me and the rest of the class with talk about the Chinese and Europeans doing it and thus we must also!

    Reading stories like these makes me want to be back in that class so I can politely tell him to go fuck himself.

    1. For being an internationalist movement, it is amazing how often the socialists use nationalism in their arguments.

      And before you ask– Yes, I do know who else combined nationalism with socialism.

      1. The Sonats?

      2. The Communists?

      3. The Daleks?

    2. I’d ask him why I should listen to a POLITICAL SCIENCE professor that can’t even win a fucking primary.

      “Your science is sloppy prof, now get the fuck’…”

  20. Have I lost my mind? Was there not a H&R post up earlier comparing the philanthropy of Bill Gates to the “selfishness” of Steve Jobs? Claims of curing malaria and giving up one’s iPhone to feed starving children?

    It seems to have disappeared…

    1. Nevermind. It was a blockquote in the ML. Carry on.

      1. You mean I just wasted “Ode to Sucking Team Blue Cock”?


    2. Morning Links IIRC.

      It started with the linking of Pauli Krugnuts’ latest “Ode to Sucking Team Blue Cock” or some such editorial.

  21. “what’s most inexcusable here isn’t the failure of Solyndra. It’s the ideological use that Republicans are making of the entire episode.”

    That’s funny- I thought it was a predictable result every time the government fucks around with markets.

    1. Cool. Order the arrest of the president. Please?

  22. Your Daily Facepalm Moment: point and giggle derisively as Democratic Underground posters struggle desperately with the baseline concept of: “The problem with socialism, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

    You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll donate to Planned Parenthood.

    1. First comment:

      1. Ask them to stop driving on public roads.


    2. Zorra (1000+ posts) Fri Nov-04-11 02:38 PM
      Response to Original message
      72. No worries. They’ll just print more. nt

      Sarcasm? Cluelessness? A desire for hyperinflation?

    3. Why, oh why did I click on that link?

    4. In A Social Democracy there is a balance between the needs of the many and the needs of the few…or the one…which is what our country was founded on is explained perfectly in the Preamble of the Constitution, ask them if you need to read it to them, for the, you know…big words….

      This self-adoring mouth-breather genuinely believes that Spock’s “the needs of the many versus the needs of the few…or the one…” death speech from The Wrath of Khan is actually from the Preamble of the United States Constitution.

      Just. Let. That. Sink. In. For. Awhile.

      1. Also, you’ll notice that after giving that speech, Spock did not proceed to grab the nearest ensign and shove him into the reactor core.

    5. Oh my god. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. And I saw a video once of a guy having his penis literally nailed to a wall by a dominatrix.

  23. The German teachers association recently called for school kids to be weighed each day, The Daily Telegraph said. The fat kids could then be reported to social services […]

    “… who, in turn, would promptly pop the plump, delicious little darlings into special government ovens.”

    1. “Oh relax kids, I’ve got a gut feeling Uter’s around here somewhere hahahahaha, after all isn’t there a little Uter in all of us? hahahaha… hahaha, in fact, you might even say we just ate Uter, and he’s in our stomachs… right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!… Wait, scratch that one.”

      1. Lunchlady, please may have another sloppy Jimbo!

        1. “Teacher! Teacher! Little Otto is disagreeing with me again!”

          “Well, then, just eat the carrots, and leave the rest on your lunch tray!”

          1. If only there were some sort of camp in Germany, a camp where children could…concentrate on the important things the teachers’ association…

            Aww, the hell with this. They suck, they just plain old fashioned suck.

            1. JEWISH KID: “Is anyone else having problems concentrating on this? I just can’t seem to concentrate.”

              ERIC CARTMAN: “Maybe we should send you to a concentration camp!”

          2. …wait for it…wait for it…

            “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!”

  24. Big government, it only fails when it doesn’t waste enough money.

  25. How do you expect Alternative Energy to compete fairly if we are giving subsidies to oil and gad companies? As long as those subsidies continue, then federal loans are the least we can give alternative energy. What we should do is not subsidize anyone.

  26. federal loans are the least we can give alternative energy.

    No. ZERO is “the least we can give alternative energy.”

    By an astonishing coincidence, “zero” is also precisely the $$$ amount the United States government is constitutionally empowered to give alternative energy. See how that works?

    (… and, no, we shouldn’t be subsidizing other forms of energy, either. It’s a brand new economic school of thought. I’m thinking of calling it “libertarianism.”)

    1. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes…and provide for the…general Welfare of the United States.


      1. Private company Solyndra = “the general welfare”…?

        The most glaringly obvious “problem,” in this particular instance, would appear to be your patent inability to reason your way out of a public pay toilet.

      2. “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes…and provide for the…general Welfare of the United States.

        Absolutely not! Tax you at 100% and give it to everybody else.

  27. ? I’m consistently pro-freedom, anti-regulation, pro-legitimate property, anti-State.

    ? I bring incontrovertible evidence from anthropology and archeology that the workings of the State are an inseparable part of the agricultural-city-State. The only people upset are those city-Statists who must cling to their dear dogmas by avoiding reality.

    ? If you think I’m repetitive, I only bring up the agricultural-city-State when somebody is pissing and moaning about the State. Complaining about the State, but loving the city-State (civilization) is like complaining about noise, but loving jets.

    ? Don’t respond to me if you can’t grasp the simple truth that civilization is the aggressor. It’s like I’m at a Boeing company picnic, and people are complaining about the noise ruining the picnic, and when I mention the noise is an integral part of the jets flying above, they go apeshit on me.

    ? I change my name, not to cause confusing, because other people steal it and deliberately spread disinformation under my name, thus I was given a private incentive by libertarians to use the “name” as a “header.”

    ? I’m all for registration too. Seems that some libertarians are quite willing to shit up their own comment sections, and then try to falsely blame the bringer of the empirical data.

    1. Daddy never hugged me.

      1. Because you kept trying to slip me the tongue, you sick little monkey!

    2. I’m consistently pro-freedom […] Don’t respond to me

      Have you two met?

  28. power is not the best way to solve prblems..

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