Confirmed: Obama administration sunk $535 million in Porkulus funds in green-energy turkey

posted at 9:30 am on February 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not that there was much doubt about the question of the White House backing of Solyndra in California.  The report from November, when I first wrote about the dissipation of more than a half-billion dollars, covered the facts well.  In fact, let’s watch the original report from the local ABC affiliate one more time:

Congress has now confirmed the waste in a letter from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

Solyndra, Inc. was supposed to have showcased the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s stimulus and green jobs initiatives, but instead it has become the center of congressional attention for waste, fraud and abuse of such programs.

According to a Feb. 17 letter signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Fremont, Calif.-based solar panel manufacturer squandered $535 million of stimulus money. …

According to Biden’s speech, the $535 million loan guarantee was a smaller part of the $30 billion of stimulus money the administration planned to spend as part of its Green Jobs Initiative.

Obama made similar claims in a May 26, 2010 speech at the plant, but the 1,000 jobs he and Biden touted in their respective speeches failed to materialize.

Instead, Solyndra announced on Nov. 3 it planned to postpone expanding the plant, which cost the taxpayers $390.5 million, or 73 percent of the total loan guarantee, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It also announced that it no longer planned to hire the 1,000 workers that Obama and Biden had touted in their speeches and that it planned to close one of its older factories and planned to lay-off 135 temporary or contract workers and 40 full-time employees.

Gosh, who could have predicted that the Solyndra pork project might fail? Perhaps all of those Wall Street investors that avoided Solyndra for one obvious reason:

A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

And Solyndra’s auditor declared that “the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern” in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement.

Just another object lesson in why government’s role shouldn’t be to pick winners and losers in a market. They’re usually no good at it. And in this case, we had two people — Barack Obama and Joe Biden — with no experience in private investment, management, or even energy production making those choices.

That’s a half-billion-dollar lesson that we’d all better heed in the future.


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