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Free Minds & Free Markets

Obama's Crony Capitalism

What the Solyndra debacle reveals about Obama's economic strategy

The president's address on jobs last night included some soaring phrases, but it left out one crucial word that epitomizes his approach to economics: Solyndra.

Fourteen months ago, the president was using his sonorous baritone to deliver soaring rhetoric about how his policies helped launch that now-broke company, which made cylindrical solar panels. The administration fast-tracked Solyndra's loan guarantee through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—i.e. the stimulus—perhaps because Solyndra's principal backers just happened to have donated huge sums to the Obama election campaign. Washington guaranteed more than a half-billion in loans to Solyndra on the promise of 4,000 jobs.

"This new factory is the result of those loans," the president said at the Fremont, Calif., facility—a facility The Washington Post termed a "signature project of President Obama's initiative to help create clean-energy jobs." The result of those loans now? Solyndra has shut its doors, its 1,100 former employees are jobless, and the taxpayers are on the hook for perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.

Viewed in isolation, the Solyndra story is mildly troubling. But it is nothing Washington has not seen before. The late, great columnist Molly Ivins wrote some crackerjack pieces about the return on investment that corporate sharpies used to get from their campaign donations to Republican politicians. The Solyndra story sounds like the same old, same old.

Except it isn't. The Solyndra story encapsulates a much bigger issue than mere crony capitalism, bad as that is. Because Solyndra is not alone. The Obama administration has sunk billions into loan guarantees for dozens of other renewable-energy companies as well.

This is known as the political allocation of economic resources, and it entails all kinds of problems. The first and most basic: It's wrong. Government should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace.

Problem No. 2: corruption. When government puts its massive thumb on the market scale, corporations have a huge incentive to try to win government's favor. Hence: campaign contributions and lobbyists galore. Progressives who want to keep money out of politics should help libertarians build a high wall between economy and state.

Problem No. 3: the distortion of market incentives. Although federal policy was far from the only reason for the recent housing bubble and crash, it played a significant role. And even when market intervention does not produce a crash, it can still produce a creature like the Chevy Volt—an electric vehicle for which there is zero demand despite a whopping $7,500 federal tax credit for purchase—or Cash for Clunkers. That idea, now universally derided, seemed bright at the time, at least to some. In retrospect, it seems as smart as paying people to burn down their houses to stimulate demand for new ones.

Such market distortion shifts resources from more productive to less productive purposes, which inevitably produces less prosperity—fewer jobs at lower pay. Want evidence? See last month's New York Times story "Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises," which concluded: "Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show." For the Times to concede that government intervention in pursuit of progressive political goals has not worked is like National Review criticizing a Republican. The proof has to be overwhelming.

The fourth problem inherent in the political allocation of economic resources is the biggest: The underlying assumption that it is a good thing because politicians and bureaucrats have more knowledge, wisdom and virtue than everyone else.

But they do not. First, there is simply no way a government of even leviathan proportions can know more about, say, Joe's Auto Parts than Joe himself does. To think it can know more about the entire auto industry than the industry itself is absurd. Repeat this formula for all other industries.

Government and politicians also like to think they know what is best for America. Energy Secretary Steven Chu epitomized this attitude when he argued for new lightbulb standards by saying, "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money." (The morons.) But since America is simply the sum of all the citizens who live in it, then to say the government knows what is best for the country is to say the government knows more about what is best for Abigail Anderson of 423 Morris Lane, Wilmington, Del., than Ms. Anderson does herself—and likewise for each of America's other 311 million citizens. Absurd.

Then there is the notion that government action proceeds from a place of virtue because politicians are not motivated by self-interest. Instead, like shepherds tending the flock, they seek only to protect the sheep (stupid and helpless creatures that they are) from the wolves at the edge of the clearing. It is a flattering conceit, and has no more to do with reality than an LSD trip.

It is not disinterested altruism that makes Obama think he can reshape the energy sector for the better, or conjure up jobs where employers do not want them. Such beliefs stem from unbridled hubris. And the result of hubris can be summed up in one word: Solyndra.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • ||

    That photo is damn creepy. Part threat, part promise, and part wrestling with your "uncle."

  • ||

    ...help libertarians build a high wall between economy and state.

    I'm stealing that one.

  • ||

    Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the economy. . . .

  • ||

    "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade..."

    -- Judge Narragansett

  • ||

    "...and that includes copyright piracy, human trafficking and kiddie porn"

    - Average Libertarian

  • ||

    Arrrr...

  • ||

    I have often told my liberal friends that there should be a seperation between business & state. Just like there is a seperation of church & state. They always agree until I start mentioning things like green jobs & stimulus bills.

  • ||

    I've been harping on that analogy for a while, but I'm glad to see others are using it too. I think the connotations are helpful, since more people tend to understand that whether the church controls the state or the state controls the church, both tend to be corrupted and the result is oppression. If they realized the same applied to organized commerce, they might be get us better -- and understand why we're as much corporate whores as the ACLU is a pawn of the Christian Right.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If they realized the same applied to organized commerce, they might be get us better -- and understand why we're as much corporate whores as the ACLU is a pawn of the Christian Right.

    I wouldn't hold my breath. As soon as they hear/read "libertarian" out comes the stereotypes and comparisons of what we desire to Somalia.

  • ||

    That's funny. Before clicking on comments I copied a line from the article to comment on:

    "Progressives who want to keep money out of politics should help libertarians build a high wall between economy and state."

    Separation of economy and state. I love it!

  • ||

    Bastiat covers this exact problem in The Law. Too bad no one in our government has ever read it.

  • ||

    If anyone in the Government read Bastiat they would have known that Cash for Clunkers was not going to work out. Bastiat killed The Broken Window Fallacy in his 1850 essay "That Which is Seen and That Which is Unseen.

  • ||

    Bastiat's works are hard to understand because they are over a hundred years old.

  • ||

    Let me be clear - that was then, this is now. There are those who would wallow in the past - I prefer to move ahead and embrace the future.

  • ||

    Win. Win the future. Not just embrace it, but win it, conquer it, and go STEVE SMITH on it. And make the future make you a sammich when you're done.

  • ||

    May ... make. ... make your future. I'm a veg, Danny.

  • ||

    I thought China said time travel was impossible. How can we conquer that which we can't even get to! Damn you China! DAMN YOU!

  • ||

    Forward time travel is easy. It's going backwards that is hard.

  • ||

    The Vulcan science council has determined that time travel is impossible.

  • ||

    "Let me be clear - that was then, this is now. There are those who would wallow in the past - I prefer to move ahead and embrace the future."

    And the only reason I can't is congress!

  • ||

    Also, could The President's wrists be any more girlie skinny? What does he use for his watch, a GI Joe watchband? Fuck

  • ||

    Not enough masturbation is my guess. Probably also why he wants to control every aspect of the economy.

  • ||

    Crony Capitalist Kid loves his Obama G.I. Joe doll.

  • ||

    Soviet industry is buildink more traktors.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    For the TRAKTOR PULLZ?

  • ||

    For Putin to make glorious exfoliation!

  • ||

    Obama's speech was a masterful involuntary rendition of grandscale maniacle narcissism replete with moments of self-parody that collectively added up to a caracature of Obama performed, not by Obama's clone, but by Obama himself.

  • ||

    There's a very uncharacteristic editorial in the New York Times today, highlighting and approving a recent speech by Sarah Palin in which she firmly derided the sort of crony capitalism that this article refers to. Palin's main points were simply classic Ayn Rand. Here's the link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09.....Zl8xOiUg7g

  • ||

    Our failure to run a successful loan program was based on incompetence. At least it wasn't based on evil, like with real banks.

  • GSL||

    I would say that green-energy is a little bit worse than other instances of crony capitalism. It's never a good thing when the government tries to pick winners and losers, but with green technology, they get to pick both: showering subsidies on technologies that either don't work or are hopelessly costly. Subsidizing oil extraction may be crony capitalism, but at least it's likely to result in some oil that people will want to buy.

  • ||

    Those new light bulbs are a great example of the govt's dim ability to get it right. Burn out faster than the old, are hard to find & cost more.

  • ||

    That's progress.

  • ||

    I personally like the government mandated flow restrictor on my shower head which make me stay in the shower longer to rinse off the soap. Another favorite is the mandated 1.6 gal tank size on my toilets that require me to flush twice to remove all the shit.

    Brilliant!

  • ||

    When the flow restrictor is not removable, I have yet to find one that stands up to a DeWalt 18v cordless drill.

  • ||

    Part of his jobs protection plan. He protects government jobs from being flushed out with the rest of the shit.

  • ||

    Have you used the "spill-proof" gasoline containers?

  • ||

    Some years ago I heard on the radio that some numbskull California state representative proposed that companies who produced buckets (to hold fluids) make them so that they do not hold liquids indefinitely...buckets that leak their contents...so that small children couldn’t fall into them and drown.

    A law to force companies to produce buckets that leak.

    I laughed so hard that I almost choked...

  • ||

    They're also bad for the environment; they release mercury when broken.

  • ||

    So here's a dilemma for liberals: we can have solar panels, but we can't make them here because the business model is untenable. So either you finally admit the reality that is comparative advantage or we squander more money trying to shove a square peg in a round hole.

  • ||

    U.S. Posted a Trade Surplus in Solar Technologies, Study FindsBy KEITH BRADSHER Published: August 29, 2011

    GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm based in Boston, produced the report, which was sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association and scheduled for release on Monday. The association is a trade group representing solar power companies, including the American subsidiaries of Chinese solar panel manufacturers.

    The United States also ran a large surplus last year in factory equipment used to manufacture photovoltaic devices like solar panels, exporting $2.55 billion worth of the equipment while importing $428 million

    GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm based in Boston, produced the report, which was sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association and scheduled for release on Monday. The association is a trade group representing solar power companies, including the American subsidiaries of Chinese solar panel manufacturers.

    The United States also ran a large surplus last year in factory equipment used to manufacture photovoltaic devices like solar panels, exporting $2.55 billion worth of the equipment while importing $428 million

    The bilateral surplus in the sector with China was at least $247 million last year, despite $1.15 billion in solar panel imports, the report said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08.....finds.html

  • ||

    damn squirrels damn squirrels damn squirrels

  • ||

    I notice they didn't bother to link the study.
    Just wondering if the subsidies for buying and installing the things are discounted in the numbers.
    Somehow ( "the report, which was sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association" ) I remain skeptical.

  • ||

    So, according the solar industry, the solar industry is good for America? Shocking.

  • ||

    I wonder how much government subsidies were involved, which would have made the numbers look much better than otherwise?

  • ||

    I'll take square peg, round hole, please. The reality thing is confusing. Comparative what?

  • ||

    Don't just blame this on liberals. There are plenty of conservatives that don't get (or won't admit to it) comparative advantage. I guess the reasoning is that it's un-patriotic to buy foreign produced goods? Economic ignorance in this country is staggering.

  • ||

    Economic ignorance in this country is staggering

  • ||

    Well, in defense of Steven Chu, Abigail Anderson of 423 Morris Lane, Wilmington, DE is in fact a real idiot. We need bureaucrats, but just to make her decisions.

  • ||

    "Let me be clear - that was then, this is now. There are those who would wallow in the past - I prefer to move ahead and embrace the future."

    Now that my two week vacation at Martha's Vineyard has ended.

  • ||

    Cash for Clunkers. That idea, now universally derided

    It grieves me to say this, but I think you have grossly overestimated the analytical thinking skills of the American people. I suspect you could conduct a random "Man on the Street" poll of one hundred people and not find five who would say that program was ill-conceived or counter productive.

  • ||

    Try finding a cheap beater that gets good gas mileage.

    I drive a big-ass diesel pickup, which I need for towing. Whenever I moved (military), I would buy a beater that gets good mileage to drive to work, grocery...

    What you used to be able to pick up for $2K, now costs $4K. I'm better off driving the diesel.

    Great program! (sarc)

  • ||

    Couldn't find a beater for my 16 year old for less than 6K. Another failed program by the Obama Admin.

  • ||

    P. Brooks,
    I don't know how you managed to come up with the kind of numbers that you did in your hypothetical "Man on the Street" poll that you're referring to. But, I can tell you as a fact, that of all the people I have spoken with, regarding the "Cash For Clunkers" program, at least 75% of them thought it was essentially a "joke" - including many that had actually benefitted from it themselves.

  • ||

    Threadjack:
    Whenever I see the president I am reminded of teh "whiteface" character that Dave Chappelle used to portray on his show. Just a perfect Obama impression.

  • ||

    Ha ha.

    Article theme: "Crony capitalism" and energy subsidy.

    Article subject: Federal loan-subsidized small solar manufacturer goes bankrupt.

    Number of corporate bankruptcies across the country in a year: Over 1.5 million.

    Reason this bankruptcy is notable: "Government subsidy of energy industry is wrong."

    Number of times article mentions failing Koch refinery applying for Alaskan public bailout: Zero.

    Number of times article mentions Koch Industries' free leasing of federal land: Zero.

    Number of times article mentions Koch Industries owning 10% of the super-subsidized ethanol market: Zero.

    Number of times article mentions Koch logging of public forests: Zero.

    Number of times article complains about the Koch abuse of eminent domain to clear the way for its Keystone XL pipeline: Zero.

    Major recipient of Koch financial support: Reason Foundation and Reason.com.

    Outraged, deluded peeping in Reason.com comments section by enthusiastic fellators of big buisness: Unlimited, as per usual.

    Ha ha: Ha ha.

  • ||

    KOCHTOPUS!

    Danny Casolaro would be so proud

  • ||

    http://www.desmogblog.com/koch.....l-pipeline

    "The short video outlines the various ways that the billionaire Koch brothers may stand to benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline - that is, if it is ever built."

    Yeah, super notable. Nevermind the whole thing is being organized by TransCanada.

    The fairbanks example is a joke - it was the government of Alaksa who first floated out the idea of a bailout, not Koch industries. In fact, they needed that money because the EPA demanded expensive and costly upgrades.

    There are plenty of articles on this site criticizing ethanol subsidies.

    "Free leasing" of "Federal land" and logging "public" forests - this is a quote from thinkprogress: "“Logging companies such as Georgia-Pacific strip lands bare, destroy vast acreages and pay only a small fee to the federal government in proportion to what they take from the public,”"

    So, they do pay for that? Interesting lack of numbers there. LOL!!!

    You forgot to mention their daddy's friendship with Stalin btw. Kochtopus fail.

  • ||

    Great. Max AND Orel are back.

  • ||

    Wait - are you accusing me of being max? My post was meant as a rebuttal to Orel's Kocktopus hand-wringing.

  • ||

    I think it's just cause of the threaded comments, but maybe I'm wrong.

  • ||

    It's quite interesting that the most notable group talking about the poor management in the Forest Service, especially with respect to the extremely low fees charged for cutting leases has been the Koch-funded Cato Institute.

  • ||

    If you want real information on the ethanol debacle here are some valid sites.

    http://www.businessweek.com/li.....927461.htm
    http://www.businessweek.com/au.....493909.htm

  • ||

    "Ha ha: Ha ha."

    It's always a pleasure to see brain-deads squeal.

  • ||

    Number of corporations receiving $500 million or more in loans from Obama last year?

    Number of corporations donating $100,000 or more to Obama's campaign funds last year?

    Same number.

  • ||

    Institue net zero carbon tax, then stand back and let market forces work.

    Simple easy, and effective. Probably why it won't happen.

  • ||

    Exactly.

    Offset a carbon tax with a reduction in income tax.

    Tax the bad, not the good.

  • ||

    Theoretically that makes sense, with "theoretically" being defined as "not in the real world". If you believe in government can fairly tax THAT WHICH YOU EXHALE, there's a picture of you in the dictionary under "credulous".

    PS, What if CO2 really does cause warming, but warming is good?

  • ||

    Correction: Number of corporate bankruptcies across the country in a year: over 60,000.

    Given what kind of anti-democracy creeps hang around here, ethical compulsion to correct post: Not really warranted, but offered anyway.

  • ||

    Are all your posts smug, angry and sarcastic, Orel?

  • ||

    "Correction: Number of corporate bankruptcies across the country in a year: over 60,000."

    Correction: You're an imbecile.

  • ||

    Asswipe,

    Companies can go bankrupt left & right. Let 'em do it without $1/2 billion of public money. And while you're at it, go fuck yourself.

  • ||

    Harsanyi had an article with the same title 7 months ago: http://reason.com/archives/201.....capitalism

    Some things never change.

  • ||

    The time to worry about crony capitalism is obviously after past crony capitalism has entrenched a bunch of industries. The status quo is the freest possible world!

  • ||

    *barf*

  • ||

    So, what would happen to GE without crony capitalism? Status quo, rrrrright.

  • ||

    Why did crony capitalism only start to matter when it was GE and green tech companies?

  • ||

    Corporatism only just started to matter to who? The libertarians you are arguing with, or your spotlessly consistent ideology?

    Also, funny that you have just categorized General Electric with "green tech" companies.

  • ||

    I've never claimed that Democrats are pure with regard to crony capitalism. The capitalists are trying to buy them lock stock and barrel just as they long ago did the GOP.

    It's just curious why, in these parts, it's never crony capitalism when it's the oil companies.

  • ||

    "Trying" to buy the democrats? As in, hasn't happened yet? Way to argue in good faith.

  • ||

    "I've never claimed that Democrats are pure with regard to crony capitalism."
    Thanks for another lie, shitehead.

  • ||

    When oil companies receive plain subsidies, or benefit from protectionist regulation, and even when they get tax favors, you'll hear plenty of bitching. When you start talking about less tangible "externalities", and your arbitrary, government-centralized solutions, no one wants to hear it.

  • ||

    Making "V" sign: "I am not a crook!"

  • ||

    trying to lock them? Are you serious, they were bought decades ago...

  • Normalcy||

    Because Oil is a commodity which is necessary for the country to function. Would I and many others prefer that "Big Oil" did not receive "subsidies" and "protections"? Yes, but is that going to happen? And what exactly would happen to the price of gas if we reduced the so-called "subsidies" at this point?

    Oh, and the so called "Capitalists" have held the DNC AT LEAST since Bill Clinton took office. People tend to forget that Neo-Liberal policy requires a somewhat friendly business climate.

  • ||

    You don't get out much, do you? People have been griping about corporate welfare for decades.

  • ||

    in other news, 2 white guys trash the company & the black guy gets blamed ! classic

  • ||

    Race counting, the favorite pastime of the impotent, self-branded 'intellectual'.

    Boner pills dude, they will solve all your troubles, no more pre-K color matching problems or laundry confusions.

    Also, you do realize that you typed your message with tiny little black characters onto a predominantly white page?

  • ||

    "in other news, 2 white guys trash the company & the black guy gets blamed ! classic"
    In other news, brain-deads try misdirection.

  • ||

    ...shake down "Solar" whitey for campaign cash in return for taxpayer's hard-earned dollars?

  • ||

    So, two white guys trash the company... the Gubment stuck it's whole foot in it's mouth by ramming thru the $535 million loan. All evidence by real loan makers would indicate this was a Titanic loan. The company couldn't survive. China beat the pants off Solyndra, but those "cronies" of O and company weren't smart enuf to understand how to weigh risk assessment. Oh well, it's only $535 mill of the tax payers money... F 'em.

  • ||

    "This is known as the political allocation of economic resources, and it entails all kinds of problems. The first and most basic: It's wrong. Government should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace."

    This is an untrue statement. To date, the Obama administration has picked only losers.

  • ||

    Is it just me or is it silly that we're going to spend 3.2% of our GDP to grow GDP 2% in the rosiest predictions? Maybe I'm looking at this wrong but since government spending is already factored into GDP, doesn't this mean essentially we'll be losing 1.2% of our GDP compared to doing nothing, because the money would get drawn out of the private sector to pay for the government spending? I'm probably not looking at this right. Politicians couldn't be THAT stupid. Enlighten me?

  • ||

    Maybe because it's supposedly paid for via $450 billion in cuts? (*guffaw*)

    Point being, assuming their rosiest predictions are true, if it's not offset by $168 billion in actual spending cuts (1.2% of GDP), it seems we'd be actually losing money. Am I wrong?

  • ||

    The underlying message is that for Obama it is always about UNION jobs, UNION projects and UNION campaign funds. Note that most of his proposed programs would require union labor. That's not a coincidence. This is the guy who panders to Hispanics in El Paso while conveniently glossing over the fact that he voted against Bush bipartisan immigration reform because it would erode UNION wages and UNION jobs.

  • ||

    It's just a scam to inflate the GDP growth so that nobody has to say they caused a double dip recession.

  • ||

    Spending 3.2% of GDP to grow 2% would be an improvement over running consecutive annual deficits of 10% of GDP in order to have 1% annual GDP growth.

    Don't be so negative.

  • ||

    "Crony capitalism?" I thought Reason retired that term when they realized it applied to practically every major company in existence.

  • ||

    Mr. Hinkle's article on the folly of government intervention in the private markets/economy is spot on. The analysis is cogent and compelling. It explains, in Spades, why this administration has been such a failure. It is not a matter of competence or incompetence; it is, rather, an elitist ideology which preaches government knows best when it really doesn't.

    Thank you.

  • ||

    Excellent article, and the perfect reason for a carbon tax: let the market decide the best investment options for making the economy more energy efficient.

  • ||

    Why not a flatulence tax too?

    Methane kills!

    And then tax all fart making foods out of existence.

    And then the free-market will rush to provide fart-free options for consumers.

  • ||

    You forgot about the market for "offsets" - where Bonnie Raitt takes her giant tour bus on the road, but salves her conscience by paying for a guy in Thailand to promise not to fart.

  • ||

    Yeah, because 9.1% unemployment isn't high enough. We're going for 15%!

    Of course, when we reach 15% we'll just "adjust" the way we calculate unemployment. Again.

  • ||

    Why should it be the government who wins when I poison my neighbors with "carbon"?

  • ||

    The idea is that government knows better than the people. However, it was the people who chose that government, so how smart can they really be? The criteria for public office is an ability to pursuade voters to elect them. Any other expertise they may have is coincidental.

  • ||

    the most important part of your article deteriorated into shite, write a follow up.

  • ||

    There is not such thing as "crony capitalism". Call it by the right name--corruption.

    In capitalism, you are perfectly free to steer business to friends and people who benefit you--so long as it is your money. Pay more for something because your cousin is selling? Be my guest. It might even be good business--in that you might have to support the cousin somehow, anyway.

    On the other hand, politicians are spending OUR money.

    Don't call it "crony capitalism"; it is corruption, pure and simple.

    Corruption only exists in the government context. Look it up.

  • ||

    But the Lord will not suffer His Holy One to see corruption.

  • ||

    I guess He got distracted by all the gays marrying in New York and some stuff slipped by. He hates them, you know.

  • ||

    Bravo.

  • ||

    CORRUPTION!!!!

  • ||

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu is just plain stupid when it comes to the light bulbs. My wife has had cataract surgery on both eyes and fluorescent and/or CFL bulbs hurt her eyes and cause migraine headaches. The doctors say that this will always be with her and it is not an uncommon side effect of this surgery. Therefore when the CFL's are the only thing that we can buy we will have to use candles. Only kidding because we have already bought out the local Lowes Hardware store of their incandescent light bulbs and the staff there tells us that we are not the only ones "stocking" up on the incandescent bulbs.

  • ||

    Gov. Perry is seeking an injunction to manufacture incandescent bulbs in Texas. Frankly, I have found CFL's to last no longer than conventional bulbs and I bet not one in ten is disposed of properly when they stop working.

  • ||

    Will the TSA let you take CFLs on board a plane? I mean, if you break one on a plane you have to evacuate and get a hazmat crew in right?

  • ||

  • ||

  • Normalcy||

    I think someone should write the TSA and ask for an opinion. I am not in the mood to do so, as I don't want to risk being put on the no fly list at such a young age.

  • ||

    The Democrats will never, ever admit it, but they tried to coopt the idea of socialist Europe to make America seem cooler. As the Democrats see it, America is filled with backward rubes educated at state universities who don't see the merit in supporting causes over people. It's not a coincidence that green jobs are failing here-it's estimated that for every green job created in Spain two conventional jobs were lost. Sometimes it is better to make change in incremental phases. But Obama would not be stopped. He would not listen on stimulus, on GM buyouts, on cash for clunkers or for his abysmal and economically staggering healthcare bill. To be seen as a man of action, Obama believed he must pass sweeping legislation while Democrats still controlled the Congress. This plays right into the quid pro quo of stimulus coming back to the administration as campaign contributions. Let's not forget, Obama's Daddy Warbucks, George Soros, scored millions in aid to drill for oil in Brazil while America oil fields are closed and huge projects like Transcanada pipeline which would employ so many people sit stagnant due to lack of political will on the part of Obama. This kind of partisan thinking is what Obama spoke against last night, but it appears to be just more playacting and posturing for media attention. Obama doesn't have a clue what to do except throw good money after bad. We cannot afford him anymore.

  • ||

    Ellen K,

    I think I love you. And I love you at TheHill, too. How old are you, where do you live and what do you look like?

  • ||

    Solyndra=Greenron

  • ||

    Lest we forget Enron had more friends in the Clinton Administration than it ever did among Republicans.

    I will never know what Ken Lay was thinking giving all that money to the Shrub.

    If only he had given it all to the Democrats so that Al Gore could have stolen the election, Enron would still be in business today.

  • ||

    Thanks for reminding me about one of my favorite supporters: Enron....

  • ||

    Billy and Enron's wife-dumping, stripper-marrying, gravy-boat-filled-with-cocaine snorting Chinaman executive could have been wingmen. Clinton would be the squirrel-chaser/dragon-slayer of course.

  • ||

    I think the choice is between a war mongering corporatist democrat or a freedom loving peace loving Republican and I'm kind of disappointed in reason: http://www.oakparkrepublic.com.....ic-or.html

  • ||

    Obama's stimulous failed! To the extent that growth in government and massive borrowing and spending was destined to fail from the beginning its no surprise. That you could spend nearly a trillion dollars and not get anything except damage to the economy is because Obama gave us Solyndra and it is almost certainly the tip of the iceberg. Throwing the stimulous money out the back of Airforce One on a cross country trip would have been more effective. Now Obama wants to do it again with nearly $500 billion. I see more Solyndra's in our future. Also the FBI was at Solyndra's offices. I think they should be searching office at the White House as well if they want to know how 1/2 billion could disapper so fast?

  • ||

    What you have said is obviously true, the free market does a fine job when it comes to things like creating jobs. However, the private sector is motivated by money, if there is profit to be made,you can bet someone somewhere is doing it. The problem with this is that the free market tend to ignore public wants. Why should we build this(blank)if we are going to lose money from it? But sometimes, we need things that won't be profitable to business. Society can't be run by market forces. That is the reason behind government intervention in the economy. It's not economics that's the question. The fact is the gov intervening in the market tend to make things much worse. It's not economic goals, but social and political ones that justifies it. There are a lot of things we could do to improve the economy, we could abolish the minimum wage, turning the economy into a manufacturing one again. We could abolish federal agencies like the FDA, letting drug companies do whatever the hell they want, we could get rid of EPA, allow oil companies to drill in Alaska and tap into the vast oil reserves there. The list is endless, and from a economic perspective, this should happen. But do you really want to allow companies to take over our society?

  • ||

    Economics and politics is are powerful forces indeed. Much like certain chemicals, they should not be mixed.

    "Society can't be run by market forces", then who shall run it, you, me, a meth addict? Society is the sum total of our activities; yours, mine, the meth addict's and countless others work, leisure, spiritual, and other activities; legal and otherwise. These activites bind us together, but it is also what gives us choice.

    If "society" is run by 537 folks in Washington then we get the corrupted view of 537, I will take my chances of the blended view of 315 million (including the meth addicts) every time because they are acting in their perceived self-interest, economic and otherwise, even when they make poor choices.

    Think about it; if the 315 million each make 10 decisions every day most of them will probably be good ones for them and those that are bad will be inconsequential to me. If only the 537 make the decisions, they will most likely be made based on what’s good for them as well (long pause, yes, good for them), that could be very consequential and negative to me. I’ll stick with sum total of the 3.15 billion decisions.

    You say “Society can't be run by market forces. That is the reason behind government intervention in the economy. It's not economics that's the question. The fact is the gov intervening in the market tend to make things much worse. It's not economic goals, but social and political ones that justifies it.”

    I am sorry, when the states formed the federal government, I don’t see where they gave the authority to regulate society. We have a constitution that limits government.

    If one believes that the banks of a river should be preserved then they should organize their like-minded friends-of-the-river and purchase the land to prevent the factory or the luxury housing development from locating there, not petition the government to take my money and do with it what you want.

    Similarly, if I want to have a house on my land on the outer banks of NC or on the Susquehanna River, that is my business and I don’t expect you to protest my building that house nor do I expect you to repair or replace my house when it is taken by a hurricane or flood. The government should neither promote nor prohibit my foolishness.

    Don’t mix politics and economics, even for our “own good”, government never, ever knows what’s best for me in such matters.

  • ||

    to the comment above, BS, pal. who's "social and political goals" are pursued? Goal's that you select? I'll pass. As this story proves, the market does a far better job of selecting new technologies, selecting the winning players, all for the profit motive (people want clean energy, they want to be off fossil fuel, they don't need your "social goals" to figure that out. But when an empty suit faux dictator is in the white house, play acting at his job, exhibiting his hubris in failed attempts to select winning players, it's an indictment of government's role, and an embarrassment for the country. "companies" made this country great in less than 200 years. I'll take a businessman over a lying corrupt politician any day. If you had the brains, you'd conclude the same.

  • ||

    "Problem No. 2: corruption. When government puts its massive thumb on the market scale, corporations have a huge incentive to try to win government's favor. Hence: campaign contributions and lobbyists galore. Progressives who want to keep money out of politics should help libertarians build a high wall between economy and state."


    I live in the san francisco bay area so the solyndra debacle is close to home. While the project was under construction I discussed it with my friend who is a run of the mill liberal, though a passionate one.

    My friend is against special interests influencing government. So I explained to him that if that his his belief, he should be against the loan guarantee provided to solyndra.

    But he wasnt. he was for it. He believes in "green jobs." He believes the government must act to save the world from environmental devistation.

    so what I found out, is that my friend is against special interest politics as long as they are not his special interests.

  • ||

    "so what I found out, is that my friend is against special interest politics as long as they are not his special interests."
    There's a term for that:
    Hypocrite.

  • ||

    Damn you Sevo, stole my comment 12 hours before me. What I get for being on vacation so long.

    Also, who the hell knowingly befriends hypocrites?

  • Normalcy||

    The same kind of people who believe in NIMBY-ism.

  • ||

    @Mark: I've had the same experience with self-described liberals. Just like conservatives are always about small government unless it's gays, drugs, immigration, religion, etc... They don't realize that they're just the other side of the same coin.

  • ||

    Immigration? Really?

  • ||

    "In retrospect, it seems as smart as paying people to burn down their houses to stimulate demand for new ones."

    Sssshhh...
    Don't be giving Obama any funny new ideas.

  • ||

    What if the new houses were more energy-efficient than the torched houses? Wouldn't that make it more better?

  • ||

    Build a man a fire, keep him warm for a day. Set a man on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life.

  • ||

    History, including recent history, has shown that the beneficiaries of such privileges will enlist the assistance of inherently violent people in order to retain their privileges. Every honorable cizitizen must be prepared respond to the threat of violence with violence. An old properly trained lady with a cane can take down any untrained thug. Ready to roll?

  • ||

    President Zero is focusing his laser beam on putting the millions of Illegal Aliens that dominate the Construction industry in this Nation back to work alone with public unions members.

    Great plan for the Democrat party very bad plan for unemployed Americans citizens and American!

    Union leaders will charge Union Scale hire Illegal,s at 10 bucks per hour with benefits like Medical, Housing, Schooling, Food Stamps etc. all paid by the tax payer,s.

    Pocket the vast profits and have lots of unions funds to buy more Democrat politicians with to continue the progress of rewarding the union thugs and Democrat politicians, while pushing the rest of the population that is not Illegal,s or Union members deeper into poverty!

  • ||

    With Obama at first I was full of hope and thought finally maybe we would have a real President again.

    But after his first few hype & rant speeches I realized the man was the world,s greatest liar or that he had a real mental problem and was disconnected from reality!

    While all politicians make promises they know they cannot keep Obama was so far from reality it was like he was living in a altered reality with his cult like brainless followers screaming “Yes We Can, Yes We Can” it was more like a religious cult then a serious and intelligent plan addressing problems and providing a feasible plan for improvements.

    But they say we get the leaders we deserve. We have a press that refused to question and inform but lies and slants reporting to confirm to their views and a population so poorly educated and so easy beguiled by a radical Socialist spewing lies that makes it frightening similar to watching old film clips of the rise of Hitler and his adoring public!

    Now I am even more worried and seeing Obama and the Democrats encouraging hate speech from Unions thugs and Radical politicians I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of the USA as we know it. We are headed for a fast decline to third world status on the order of Russia. We are still able to kill billions with our
    stock pile of weapons but unable to provide a secure safe living for our citizen

  • ||

    Agree with you guy...

    http://www.aimengcrystal.com

  • ||

    From the company press release: Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers.

    America is late to the alternative energy game. We lost the race. I guess that's Obama's fault, too, somehow. Keep spinning, guys.

  • ||

    ....it is a race for subsidies, nothing else. Obama is just a part of it, so yeah, a lot of it is his fault.

  • ||

    Wow. How hard-line can you get? Spin chutzpah par excellence.

  • ||

    Dufus,

    If winning the race requires never-ending subsidies, it'd be better to lose the race.

  • ||

    Fucking tides. Fucking planet.

  • ||

    You can take it out on the Afghanistanis. And Libyans. And Somalis. And Yemenis......

  • ||

    Talk to democrats. They have NEVER had a problem with this. When 50% of a country has a moral lacuna this large you have a big problem.

  • ||

    I had to google "lacuna". Hope I remember it for future use.

  • ||

    Obama is up to his neck in it.

  • ||

    Let's see. Where to start?

    Evidence of corruption? Nope. The program pre-dated Obama, the loan guarantees was consistent with the others awarded.

    Evidence that the government is bad a picking winners and losers? Nope. Most early stage, VC-backed ventures fail to take off. The government has backed a large number of firms, of course some are going to fail.

    Evidence that the government shouldn't be chosing winners and losers? Umm, market failures, anyone? Or how about those Chinese loans that went to the companies that undercut Solyndra (and Evergreen, and SpectraWatt)? They only got government loans an order of magnitude bigger.

    Libertarians need to start dealing with reality. People are dumb. Markets fail in any number of ways, including many that have no relationship to government. Our competitors are engaged in a trade war with us, and morons like you keep trying to disarm us.

    Just dropping by to say hi!

    The good old Chad

  • ||

    Statists need to start dealing with reality. People are dumb, but our leaders are no smarter and have the foible of hubris. Give me the idiot who only makes bad decisions for himself over the idiot who styles himself a ceasar any day.

  • ||

    True that. It's why I'm actually not worried about a President Perry. As Harry Callahan said, "A man's gotta know his limitations".

  • ||

    Evidence that Chad missed the point? Failing to recognize the difference between venture capitalists choosing where to invest and losing only their money and the government taking money from everybody to invest in ventures based primarily on politics and losing it for them.

  • Normalcy||

    There still is the fact that the heads of the company gave funds to the Obama Campaign. Now no matter who you are, I think we can all agree that there is something fundamentally WRONG about giving money to a political campaign when you are receiving start-up money from the Federal Government in excess of 400 Million Dollars.

    As well you state that China and other Countries are involved in a trade war with us. Last time I checked the US economy is still the worlds largest, far larger than China's economy by at least 2/3rds. Additionally consider that most of China's GDP does not come from consumption like the United States, but from exporting cheap consumer goods and building factories. China is now overbuilt and completely dependant on the U.S. Market and manipulates its currency in order to ensure that it can have more money in order to continue building so that it can continue to squeeze money from the U.S. Economy. I do not think it is really a "trade war" more than a dangerous co-dependency (co-dependencies if you consider the confusing place the European Union is in) that now essentially holds the current world order in a very sticky (and bad) balance where if even one small country were to fail such as Greece it could have repercussions from Athens to Beijing to Hong Kong all the way back to Main Street USA.

  • The Positive Sum Strategist||

    There's a fifth problem for the government. They can't judge the success of the two games that matter most to Solyndra: the zero sum game vs. Solyndra's competition and the positive sum game with Solyndra's customers. If you're interested the full analysis of Solyndra's game tree, it's at: http://positivesumstrategist.com/?p=244

    Bottom line: The Obama Administration placed a bet without even knowing the odds.

  • ||

    The program pre-dated Obama, the loan guarantees was consistent with the others awarded.



    Just because the program pre-dates Obama doesn't mean a thing.

    It's not like crappy programs started with Mr Hopey-Changey.

    Although there does appear to be some suggestion that ruling party contributors are getting handouts more blatantly than in the past.

  • ||

    The Solyndra debacle is the kind of thing that can bring down a presidency. There is the whole question of how the debt to Solyndra's backers became senior to the debt to the Government. A good post on this is here

    http://brucekrasting.blogspot......ction.html

    Campaign investments really pay off, don't they?

  • ||

    If you want a hilarious example of Obama economics, look here: http://www.swjournal.com/index.....category=0

    It also features an unflattering photo of Al Franken looking like a 'tard.

    $300,000 to install a solar array on an auto body shop in Minneapolis. When it's -14F on a cloudy January, I guaruntold you they won't be using the solar to run the shop. Of course, it will pay for itself quickly - if you exclude the $300,000 federal stimulus subsidy from consideration! Thank you President Obama ! (Unless of course, you're under the age of 65 and don't appreciate another $300,000 of federal debt that you'll be slaving your entire life to pay off!)

  • ||

    That's it! That's it! Obamanomics is based on an LSD trip! I was wondering what economic principle this Administration was using to justify it's total waste of my money!

    Free LSD for all, research grade, and much more for my bankers and investment advisors!

  • ||

    But one thing ignored in this article is that the government already covers many soft(?) costs of our current energy structure - mainly defense, protection, and many infrastructure costs. As long as it is argued that those are appropriate costs for the government, isn't also appropriate for government to try to lessen those costs - short and long term - by sponsoring research into alternative energy?

  • ||

    "Progressives who want to keep money out of politics should help libertarians build a high wall between economy and state."

    The most progressive candidate in recent history raised the most amount of campaign money in recent history. Progressives have a few objectives, less money in their campaign coffers is probably not one of them.

  • 925 sterling silver jewelry||

    That's it.

  • kicksneakerboxes||

    good

  • John Kirno||

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