Obama warned that green-tech bets would produce a “colossal failure”

posted at 8:46 am on September 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When the LA Times published this story late last night, it sounded as if they had discovered a smoking gun that tied Barack Obama directly to the decision to restructure the loan to Solyndra while being warned that the company was failing.  The article instead reveals that Obama got personally briefed by his economic advisers on overall concerns about his plans to jump-start job creation in the green-tech sector through billions in loan guarantees.  They warned, as one source told the reporters, that “a colossal failure” was completely predictable:

Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company’s rapid ascent.

At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn’t rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn’t need the help.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.

Nothing in the article suggests that Obama was personally briefed at the time about Solyndra’s finances.  Clearly, though, Summers and Geithner understood the financial and political risks associated with big loan guarantees for companies that couldn’t compete on their own, and argued from the beginning that loan guarantees were the wrong way to incentivize growth.  Chu wanted to have even less oversight on loan issuance, and his Energy Department pushed hard to eliminate Treasury and OMB reviews of the individual deals — even though the Energy Department very obviously lacks the expertise to properly analyze the financial stability of loan recipients.

So why is this story significant?  First, it shows that Obama had been told about the possibilities of failure in this program but decided to continue with it anyway, a reckless decision, in retrospect at least.  And, maybe not just in retrospect:

The program that funded Solyndra is set to expire at the end of the month, and the White House is pushing to provide more green-energy loan guarantees through other initiatives and keep the U.S. competitive globally. The Chinese government, the Energy Department says, last year committed $30 billion to solar-panel manufacturers.

Despite consistent opposition within his own economic team and the “colossal failure” of Solyndra, Obama wants to throw billions of dollars more into risky loan guarantees to the green-tech industry.  That’s not just reckless, it’s nearly insane, politically and economically.  We gave $38 billion to this same sector in the stimulus package, and that wasn’t enough to make Solyndra competitive even after getting 3% of all the disbursed funds in that bloc.

Politicians don’t pick winners and losers with taxpayer cash.  They pick losers, because winners don’t need subsidies in the first place.  Government subsidies go to market losers in the hope that investment can turn them into winners, but that’s almost always a bad bet — and in Solyndra’s case, that was obvious from the start, which is why investor George Kaiser’s connection to Obama as a fundraiser seems to have been the most important factor in getting that bet placed.

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B b b but… NOBODY is SMARTER than HIM !!!

singlemalt 18 on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Obama The American people had been told about the possibilities of failure in this program Administration but decided to continue with it anyway, a reckless decision, in retrospect at least.”

Fixed.

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

The best option for Dear Liar is that he’s naive and utterly incompetent.

rbj on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Obama warned that green-tech bets would produce a “colossal failure”

But just like every other failure in his life he knew that someone would cover for him blame someone or something else. He never fails at anything.

darwin-t on September 27, 2011 at 8:52 AM

I smell smoke..

tinkerthinker on September 27, 2011 at 8:54 AM

“Colossal failure” seems to wrap up the entire Obama experience quite succinctly

Hening on September 27, 2011 at 8:56 AM

And so the Green-Tech bets have produced a colossal failure:

Barack Insane Obama

The Rock on September 27, 2011 at 8:58 AM

He’s doing the best he can. This is hard.

a capella on September 27, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I think something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

gophergirl on September 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

It’s not about picking winning companies, though….it’s about payoffs.

search4truth on September 27, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Can we finally acknowledge that Obama is dumber than sh*t?

Let’s not forget that in his only other role as an executive (head of the Chicago Annenburg Challenge), he and Ayers successfully burned through about $100M in a failed attempt to bring some level of improvement to Chicago public schools.

Obama defines failure.

BuckeyeSam on September 27, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Well, America was warned also that an Obama Presidency would produce a “colossal failure”.

hawkdriver on September 27, 2011 at 9:05 AM

*starting the bus*

What if W did this moment once again

This man has gotten away with too much crapola..thank you lsm

cmsinaz on September 27, 2011 at 9:07 AM

There’s a reason the stupid major in things such as Poli Sci. It’s not because they’re otherwise capable of doing things such as running a venture capital firm.

In a perfect world, that would be a life lesson to the typical moron voter. In the United States of America, of 2011, electing the dumbest people in society, pretending they’re experts in all things they themselves flunked out of, is par for the course in a country going Full Greece.

MNHawk on September 27, 2011 at 9:07 AM

It was just a timing failure
They thought the EPA would have required the existence of Solyndra by now.

tomg51 on September 27, 2011 at 9:08 AM

What a 2012 Presidential debate topic this will be…
“Mr. President – you gave half a billion of our taxpayer dollars to a guy that was a top 2008 campaign fund raiser for you and then he went bankrupt, the money is gone, wasted, know one knows where the money went….Mr. President, do you know how many new school books could have been bought with the $524 million you wasted on paying back your campaign fund raising buddy with this favor -one that everyone warned you against???
And is it true this guy is still working for you, raising money for your 2012 Presidential campaign???”

albill on September 27, 2011 at 9:08 AM

So, as many of us suspected, he’s doing it all on purpose.

SouthernGent on September 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Politicians don’t pick winners and losers with taxpayer cash. They pick losers, because winners don’t need subsidies in the first place.

Excellent point, Ed, and one that’s well worth remembering. It’ll come in handy when trying to talk some sense into people.

backwoods conservative on September 27, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Ok, now everyone start adding up all the BIG examples of incompetence and/or corruption emanating from the WH in the last year. How much more evidence does it take to show what must be done here?

Listen folks, don’t be naive in thinking that this is just another corrupt administration. The “scandals” you are reading about are intentional. As has been well documented, the DoJ has basically been telling Congress to F-off, the WH is telling the public to shut up and listen, the military is being hamstrung, our enemies are being emboldened, and our economy is being sabotaged.

It. Is. Their. PLAN.

HomeoftheBrave on September 27, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Cut and paste:

So now we have a clue as to why Summers fled. BTW, Energy Secretary Chu has a history of raising megabucks for controversial pet projects as a Climate Change guru:

Chu was instrumental in submitting a winning bid for the Energy Biosciences Institute, a BP-funded $500 million multi-disciplinary collaborative project between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois. This sparked controversy on the Berkeley campus, where some fear the alliance could harm the school’s reputation for academic integrity.[21][22][23][24]

Buy Danish on September 27, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Buy Danish on September 27, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Were Solyndra employees members of a union?
Do we take over their retirement (after one year) now?

tomg51 on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

What are the chances that Tesla is going to pay back their huge “green” loan?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.

That phrase never has a happy ending does it?

Cindy Munford on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Wow, just wow! The head honcho at the Coca Cola Corporation says it’s easier to do business in China right now than the United States of America. How sad is that?

Susanboo on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Chu wanted to have even less oversight on loan issuance, and his Energy Department pushed hard to eliminate Treasury and OMB reviews of the individual deals

So.

After all, Chu did win the Nobel Prize.

pain train on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Despite consistent opposition within his own economic team and the “colossal failure” of Solyndra, Obama wants to throw billions of dollars more into risky loan guarantees to the green-tech industry. That’s not just reckless, it’s nearly insane, politically and economically.

How many times have you seen the story of the $200 million lottery winner who manages to end up back in poverty within a few years because they have no concept of financial responsibility and just blow through the cash, because they never worked hard to earn it in the first place? That’s Barack Obama — winning the presidency to him was like winning Powerball and Mega Millions at the same time, and he has no concept of there not being a never-ending flow of cash, so why not spend it like a drunken sailor?

jon1979 on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

That phrase never has a happy ending does it?

Cindy Munford on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Why does algore suddenly come to mind?

pain train on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

The head honcho at the Coca Cola Corporation says it’s easier to do business in China right now than the United States of America. How sad is that?

Susanboo on September 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

And Obama has said that it would be easier to be president of China. Looks like they’re in cahoots.

Wait…

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM

PBHO’s advisers are in name only, meant merely to provide a patina of supposed respectability and intellectual prowess, nothing more.

Can you really see PBHO taking advice from anyone, the man lives and breathes his own awesomeness.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM

pain train on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

How about Fannie & Freddie, we are still “enjoying” the fruits of that push for easy money?

Cindy Munford on September 27, 2011 at 9:17 AM

so why not spend it like a drunken sailor?

jon1979 on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

False. I spent quite some time as a drunken sailor (a drunken Aircrewman, really) and I can assure you the government spends nothing like I did.

For example: I spent my own money and nothing but my own money. I also stopped spending when my money was gone.

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Obama needs to go. Generic Republican is my choice

clnurnberg on September 27, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Can you really see PBHO taking advice from anyone, the man lives and breathes his own awesomeness.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Someone needs to photoshop this onto Obama. Please.

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM

so why not spend it like a drunken sailor?
jon1979 on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

As a former drunken sailor, now merely a drunk (unless you count pontooning on the lake as sailoring) I take great offense to your post.

We will have to duel now to assuage my honor.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:21 AM

One big difference between giving out subsidies here and in China is that the execs get to plead the 5th, in China they get to plead for a blindfold and cigarette. The loan was always about a payoff to a political backer. How many more FOB’s are hiding in the landscape?

Kissmygrits on September 27, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I don’t know what a patina is, but it sounds racist.

The Mega Independent on September 27, 2011 at 9:24 AM

So, as many of us suspected, he’s doing it all on purpose.

SouthernGent on September 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM

I go back and forth on that point. I just can’t figure out if it’s evil or incompetence. Just when you think it’s a concerted effort, you see him do something and think, “Wow, that was really, really stupid.”

hawkdriver on September 27, 2011 at 9:24 AM

“Thank you Mister President!”
/crr6

Khun Joe on September 27, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Someone needs to photoshop this onto Obama. Please.
Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM

I’m sure PBHO has that shirt on under his suit, only the strenuous pleadings of his image consultant have kept him from wearing it openly.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:25 AM

The One.

blatantblue on September 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM

B b b but… NOBODY is SMARTER than HIM he is!!!

singlemalt 18 on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

..FIFY.

(signed)

~The Grammar Nazi with far too much time on his hands.

The War Planner on September 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I don’t know what a patina is, but it sounds racist.
The Mega Independent on September 27, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Quite the contrary, it’s Spanish, you heard Sotomayor use it during her confirmation hearings: ““I would hope that a wise Patina woman…”

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM

So, as many of us suspected, he’s doing it all on purpose.

SouthernGent on September 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM

This.

Fallon on September 27, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Chu’s actually name is Nobelprize Chu. That’s how Obama says it, anyway.

No Niks on September 27, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Quite the contrary, it’s Spanish, you heard Sotomayor use it during her confirmation hearings: ““I would hope that a wise Patina woman…”

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Sorry, my spanish is a little rusty.

The Mega Independent on September 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I’m sure PBHO has that shirt on under his suit, only the strenuous pleadings of his image consultant have kept him from wearing it openly.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Bahahaha!

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I don’t see the failure from a democrat perspective. A percentage of each loan was kicked back to their re-election coffers, and the taxpayers funded it, which sounds like a no-lose situation from their standpoint.

Vashta.Nerada on September 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

The War Planner on September 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM

But him just talk in thread talks like you doing in previous comment’s. Why for we have take offense some thread speaking yet not others be?

Do we need grammar police?

hawkdriver on September 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Politicians don’t pick winners and losers with taxpayer cash. They pick losers, because winners don’t need subsidies in the first place.

Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. How do you think the internet and semiconductor industries first started? To this day, the military and intelligence agencies actively fund many R&D projects that are eventually commercialized. The CIA has a venture capital arm which makes direct investments in the high tech industry.

Solar is still in its infancy, yet China has already done the unthinkable- outmaneuvered the US and decimated US market share while establishing dominance in R&D. To believe that the ‘market picks winners’ and no other factors are at play is naive.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

I don’t see the failure from a democrat perspective. A percentage of each loan was kicked back to their re-election coffers, and the taxpayers funded it, which sounds like a no-lose situation from their standpoint.

Vashta.Nerada on September 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

The only way they lose is if the taxpayers who funded this get angry enough to punish them at the ballot box.

If O and Co. don’t rate that as a realistic risk though, it’s a no-lose.

Washington Nearsider on September 27, 2011 at 9:36 AM

If I get any more wee-weed up, I’d burst.

Fuquay Steve on September 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

That really misses the point about the specifics of this one company though. I would love for Obama to succeed with a company that could develope photovoltaic and solar cells and compete with the Chinese. I would love to buy such products for a new home.

The point is that this company was clearly not one to bet that pot of cash on. Another aspect is the political butt-patting which I don’t think anyone can deny.

hawkdriver on September 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM

This is the most positive thing I have ever read about Timothy F. Geithner.

burt on September 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:31 AM

That really misses the point about the specifics of this one company though. I would love for Obama to succeed with a company that could develope photovoltaic and solar cells and compete with the Chinese. I would love to buy such products for a new home.

I agree with you in that the problem was in how the program has been administered- very poorly. Today’s solar technology is actually quite inefficient compared to what most American scientists agree is achievable over the next 5 years. The sad reality is that this kind of failure casts a shadow over the importance of continued support for the type of R&D that will allow the US to leapfrog China later this decade.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:46 AM

This is the most positive thing I have ever read about Timothy F. Geithner.

burt on September 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Then you don’t read WSJ or Barron’s nearly enough.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:47 AM

What China does or doesn’t do to fund green scams is irrelevant here!

shanimal on September 27, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Despite consistent opposition within his own economic team and the “colossal failure” of Solyndra, Obama wants to throw billions of dollars more into risky loan guarantees to the green-tech industry. That’s not just reckless, it’s nearly insane, politically and economically.

This is the quality of decision-making you can expect from a guy whose first executive experience is running the largest, most complex economy on Earth.

Thanks again, 52 percenters.

Cicero43 on September 27, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus and his name is Barack Obama and he is above doing anything not in the interest of American taxpayers. Now I’m off to sell your Daddy a bridge.

Herb on September 27, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Sorry, my spanish is a little rusty.
The Mega Independent on September 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Mein Kampf (that’s Spanish for “no problem”).

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

tomg51 on September 27, 2011 at 9:08 AM

LOL!

burt on September 27, 2011 at 9:58 AM

What China does or doesn’t do to fund green scams is irrelevant here!

shanimal on September 27, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Solar energy production is a technology, not a political issue. Anyone who makes even the slightest effort to follow the industry realizes that progress is advancing at an exponential rate. Corning, Intel, and Dow Chemicals are among the heavyweights investing hundreds of millions in R&D and pilot projects. Venture capital firms are investing billions in the sector. Yet when a foreign government invests $30 bil in their domestic industry, it threatens to make the US irrelevant.

China, by the way, has closely studied and emulated the way the US military reviews, selects and funds private companies in dispersing those billions of investment dollars. It’s a much more efficient, less politically influenced process than what occurs in the US.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

So why is this story significant? First, it shows that Obama had been told about the possibilities of failure in this program but decided to continue with it anyway, a reckless decision, in retrospect at least.

As if anyone with an ounce of economic knowledge needs to be told that the Federal Government providing loans and loan guarantees to companies that cannot get them in the free market is a colossally bad idea and almost guaranteed to result in failure.

But let’s not kid ourselves…this has nothing to do with making good loan decisions. This was a giveaway to his base, the kook-enviro-douche-left. Nothing more.

Jaibones on September 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM

It’s a much more efficient, less politically influenced process than what occurs in the US.
bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I hear that China’s criminal justice system is more “efficient” than America’s too.

ROFL

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

the Energy Department very obviously lacks the expertise to properly analyze the financial stability of loan recipients.

As I understand it, this is why they hired outside counsel by the name of Morrison, Foerester (don’t know if the spelling is correct, they reportedly like to go by the moniker MoFo, which seems appropriate), who were paid nearly two million dollars in fees by DOE to review the loan documents for DOE.

As a taxpayer, I’m curious to know just what we received for our two million dollars. MoFo reportedly issued some type of statement in 2009 that Solyndra’s prospects were rosy — around the same time that PriceCoopersWaterhouse (the accountants) were predicting that Solyndra would likely be belly-up by 2011.

What I want to know is was there any actual work done by this MoFo firm for the two million tax dollars they received to protect taxpayers’ interests in the loan, or were they just another Obama campaign contributor getting their payback from Barry’s stash?

AZCoyote on September 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM

I hear that China’s criminal justice system is more “efficient” than America’s too.

ROFL

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

It’s disturbing to watch those evil bastards outmaneuver us in building private enterprise… and part of their success seems to be in objectively identifying what parts of our system work well, and then emulating it.

US military funding of early stage technology has been a critical factor in our success and in the rise of silicon valley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM

It is sad that this is the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history. What makes it even more sad is the eunuchs in the establishment are too cowardly to make a whimper toward correcting the madness. The leadership in the democratic party is composed of liars and thieves and the GOP is composed of cowards. What is happening now is inevitable when there is such a void in leadership.

volsense on September 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

When I read this headline on the front page and at top I was led to believe that it was Obama who warned that green-tech bets would produce a “colossal failure”.

fbcmusicman on September 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I hear that China’s criminal justice system is more “efficient” than America’s too.

ROFL

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

I heard Japan’s political class, thinking they’re better at science and business than…scientists and business people, were going to take over the world. I wonder how that turned out?

Maybe as good as the Chinese choo choo train system that America’s Poli Sci retards also want to emulate?

MNHawk on September 27, 2011 at 10:27 AM

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM

With the force of gulags, firing squads, secret police, and all sorts of unofficial measures available to make sure things go smoothly and as desired.

Our process may be messy but I’ll take it over China’s any day.

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 10:28 AM

He doesn’t strike me as one who cares how much it cost.He’s living ____ rich.

docflash on September 27, 2011 at 10:28 AM

481 days. Could we get a shortened sentence while Obama gets jail time? Please? With sugar?

RDE2010 on September 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Could we get a shortened sentence while Obama gets jail time? Please? With sugar?

RDE2010 on September 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

I think obambi deserves another term…….15 to 20 sounds about right.

VegasRick on September 27, 2011 at 10:46 AM

the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn’t rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn’t need the help.

No way. That could never happen with a government program.

Missy on September 27, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The title is totally misleading.

“Obama warned …” means that Obama warned someone. “Obama was warned …” means that he was warned. I don’t why people do this shorthand headline thing. Clarity, I would think, is more important than a “saved” three-letter word.

Aardvark on September 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Chu wanted to have even less oversight on loan issuance

Another “smart” guy in the Obama administration.

GarandFan on September 27, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn’t rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn’t need the help.

Wow. When even Timothy Geithner says you’re not being careful enough with your finances…

logis on September 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Solar energy production is a technology, not a political issue. Anyone who makes even the slightest effort to follow the industry realizes that progress is advancing at an exponential rate.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I disagree: solar energy production is mostly a MILITARY issue. Solar cells are more portable than other means of energy production (or, more properly in the case of solar, energy capture).

As one who has followed the industry for over 50 years, I say that very little technological progress has actually been made. There have been some advances in manufacturing and materials, but these are hardly revolutionary. And solar energy still cannot promise, even applying the latest and most optimistic theories, anything close to a capability to replace fuels such as coal, oil, gas, or nuclear: it is, at best, a gap-filler in low-power applications where sunlight is available…such as satellites, isolated communications facilities, and isolated low duty cycle school crossing signals.

landlines on September 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM

The title is totally misleading. “Obama warned …” means that Obama warned someone. “Obama was warned …” means that he was warned. I don’t why people do this shorthand headline thing. Clarity, I would think, is more important than a “saved” three-letter word.
Aardvark on September 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

You have to understand the first rule of news reporting. The goal is not to convey information; the goal is to stimulate interest.

Making every story into a “Man Bites Dog” headline is really the only way to get ahead in the business. An unfortunate side-effect of mass-media’s inevitable bias toward frenetically perverting common sense is what created the modern liberal movement.

logis on September 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

This scandal is getting so big that not even Left leaning papers like the LA Times can keep a lid on it and are calling it what it is.

Yakko77 on September 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

The program that funded Solyndra is set to expire at the end of the month, and the White House is pushing to provide more green-energy loan guarantees through other initiatives and keep the U.S. competitive globally. The Chinese government, the Energy Department says, last year committed $30 billion to solar-panel manufacturers.

Could somebody please remind the Energy Department that “the Chinese government” is COMMUNIST, and controls ALL industries in China where people work dirt cheap? How do we know whether Chinese solar panels of the future will be the equivalent of a Trabant against our Mercedes?

If fuel prices go high enough, somebody will invent a solar panel efficient enough to provide cheaper electricity, and people will buy them, and the company will make lots of money. Or maybe they might invent a more efficient power plant, if the EPA would let them have a permit.

Steve Z on September 27, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Failure from the point of view of jobs creation, tax payer return on investment, and actual ‘greening’ effect.
-
But… for Obama it’s a success in that it passes tonnes of cash to his friends and donors, feeds the myth that he is concerned about the countries future, and increases government intervention in the private sector.
-
There are all levels of win-lose with Barry… and as has been pointed out by other here… even a lose-lose disaster for him is covered over by the usual suspects of the LSM… to mention his most glaring butt-kissing gaggle of losers.
-

RalphyBoy on September 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM

*starting the bus*

What if W did this moment once again

This man has gotten away with too much crapola..thank you lsm

cmsinaz on September 27, 2011 at 9:07 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVh75ylAUXY&feature=player_embedded

IowaWoman on September 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Solar energy production is a technology, not a political issue. Anyone who makes even the slightest effort to follow the industry realizes that progress is advancing at an exponential rate.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

If that were even close to true – that solar energy is making huge advanced such that it is a viable product – gov’t largess would not be needed to prop up the industry.

That gov’t largess is absolutely and totally required for any of these companies to remain in business, demonstrates that it is in fact a political issue not a technological issue.

You see, when technology is promising – when advances are showing that the technology is viable and will be profitable, individuals invest in the technology. when technology is not promising – when it has demonstrated no ability to come to a point where it is viable and can produce returns on investment, then people turn to teh gov’t for that sweet, sweet free money.

Which case do you believe this is again?

Monkeytoe on September 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

ISM SORRY ABOUT BAD LINK

IowaWoman on September 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Krauthammer says “Obama governance phase is over“.

When did it ever begin?

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2011 at 11:42 AM

As one who has followed the industry for over 50 years, I say that very little technological progress has actually been made. There have been some advances in manufacturing and materials, but these are hardly revolutionary. And solar energy still cannot promise, even applying the latest and most optimistic theories, anything close to a capability to replace fuels such as coal, oil, gas, or nuclear: it is, at best, a gap-filler in low-power applications where sunlight is available…such as satellites, isolated communications facilities, and isolated low duty cycle school crossing signals.

landlines on September 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM

In a leftists mind, real world results don’t matter. the issue is whether they can claim “advances”. In this case, I’m sure they can claim “advances” in the sense that solar technology is now only 400X more inefficient than gas/coal/nuclear energy rather than 1,000X as it was 20 years ago (numbers completely made up).

Yes, it was an advance. It was not the type of advance that takes the technology out of the “political” realm, where people are deciding to invest taxpayer money in the technology b/c they like the idea of solar energy (to save the earth!) and into the “technological” realm (by which, I assume Bayam means the useful or reasonable investment realm), where the technology is showing signs of being efficiently useful and therefore profitable.

Here, the technology has not moved past the political realm b/c the decision to invest is still based on well-wishing and belief in AGW, not in any tangible results showing the technology will be efficiently useful any time soon.

That is not to say that there is no gov’t place in such investments, but that is not the argument that Bayam was making, and I don’t think anyone can argue that the Solyndra loan was of the type that teh Gov’t should have made.

Monkeytoe on September 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Bishop on September 27, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Cut Throats — Not Budgets

Yes. The tea party people are being accused of wanting to kill blacks. That is because they annoy liberals.

The Chinese, as the Italian Fascists and Stalinists before them, are fine with leftys since they want big government and who cares what happened to all those beggars, anyway?

That expression about the throats is one is one I made up. It works on several things leftys do to keep spending up.

IlikedAUH2O on September 27, 2011 at 12:02 PM

It was just a timing failure They thought the EPA would have required the existence of Solyndra by now.

tomg51 on September 27, 2011 at 9:08 A</blockquote

Yeah, they got that timing wrong…they should have waited a little until the new 230,000 EPA bureaucrats get hired and start working effectively :-)….

jimver on September 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

That’s not just reckless, it’s nearly insane

Maybe he is mentally ill. Why does he expect different results from the same failed actions repeatedly? Something is wrong with the guy.

dogsoldier on September 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM

bayam = Thomas Friedman sock puppet????

VelvetElvis on September 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Another fine argument for ending the goddamn ethanol subsidies.

hillbillyjim on September 27, 2011 at 1:16 PM

If AGW is such an emergency!! eleventy!, why doesn’t Obama just give us all solar panels for our roofs? That way, at least his loser companies would provide usable goods or services.

Truth is, we have been subsidizing these “clean” energy boondoggles since Jimmy Carter and they don’t work in any economic model.

Give it up or give it away. At this point, the only winners are the execs who I’m sure have squirreled away the millions into their own private offshore bank accounts.

PattyJ on September 27, 2011 at 1:22 PM

US military funding of early stage technology has been a critical factor in our success and in the rise of silicon valley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM

And here are the take-aways from this presentation:
1) Cold War military spending was crisis driven, that is that there was a national crisis mentality that accepted the high overhead of military contracting to get things done.

2) Such military spending (including NSA/CIA and other organizations) had absolute, definite objectives in the way of technology: research was driven to find answers to specific problems and then specifications were made so that new instruments could fit into existing platforms. Many of these were developed with high overhead sole-source agreements that did not have regular budgetary oversight, especially on the development end as no one could predict what costs would be involved.

3) These products had a definite known quantity that had to be built and, therefore, government was a ‘customer’ for these things. Thus a company had a guarantee of X number of products at Y price per unit which allowed the factoring in of profit, which on R&D could range up to 12%.

4) VC investment was puny and even trying to put the SBA into being didn’t help get commercial firms off the ground to expand R&D and consumer products. The greatest thing that helped was reducing high capital gains taxes from near 50% to 28% and lowring the taxes on investment returns. When that was done VC firms that had been around were able to change their investing strategy to drastically increase it far beyond what it was prior to that point in time.

Thus the role of government is very much as it was in the aviation industry, save that the government was to let airmail contracts and planes had to be safe to fly over the Rocky Mountains with one engine out. With guarantee of contracts for set amounts over time, that allowed competition to flourish. In the Cold War once the government got out of the way with its inefficient contract systems and allowed people to keep more of their returns on investment in VC start-ups, Silicon Valley soared.

If anyone hates the overspending by the military in the Cold War and $600 hammers then it is the system STARTED by the military for electronics that drove that cycle and would do so for the next 30 years. This became an impediment to adapting new technology as by the time you could specify for it, get contracts put in place and get systems delivered they were obsolete in the micro-electronics arena. Systems specified for procurement in the early 1980′s arrived in the early 1990′s and were far over original costs, over priced per unit, underpowered per unit and were outpaced by the civilian electronics industry that didn’t have the wasteful overhead of military contracts.

Beware of trying to show how ‘good’ the government is at doing these things. You may be surprised that when it gets OUT of the role of being a CUSTOMER and into that of a VC firm, that the government sucks like an Electrolux at it because it was never made to DO THAT.

ajacksonian on September 27, 2011 at 1:38 PM

If China wants to bear the burden for R&D costs and subsidize trial and error searching for a successful commercial model for solar technology, then let them. Our course don’t interfere with our private entrepreneurs taking a crack at it too, but why should we waste any taxpayer money on it?

How many new technologies has America born the cost of only to have the rest of the world take advantage of the new technology at no cost to themselves? Prescription drugs anyone? I doubt our private sector will have any problem ramping up solar panel production and installation to the extent that solar is or becomes commercially viable.

willamettevalley on September 27, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Politicians don’t pick winners and losers with taxpayer cash. They pick losers, because winners don’t need subsidies in the first place. Government subsidies go to market losers in the hope that investment can turn them into winners, but that’s almost always a bad bet…

(emphasis added)

Probably the most succinct and accurate critique of government intervention and tampering in the market place I have ever read. Bravo, Ed.

novaculus on September 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

You see, when technology is promising – when advances are showing that the technology is viable and will be profitable, individuals invest in the technology. when technology is not promising

You clearly don’t understand the level of R&D spending by major US corporations in the space and investment by venture capitalists. There’s no lack of funding- the issue is another nation pouring billions into domestic R&D to kill off foreign competition to the dismay of the US industry. Solar is the only manufacturing industry on the horizon that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

You people clearly don’t understand that we need to funnel more money to connected leftist trash. Because of China funding R&D kills off competition. And space! Or something.

Precisely why I say to leave the venture capitalism to people who actually strived for something more than a Poli Sci degree.

MNHawk on September 27, 2011 at 3:57 PM

You clearly don’t understand the level of R&D spending by major US corporations in the space and investment by venture capitalists. There’s no lack of funding- the issue is another nation pouring billions into domestic R&D to kill off foreign competition to the dismay of the US industry. Solar is the only manufacturing industry on the horizon that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide.

bayam on September 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

So, you are arguing that there was no need for the Gov’t to fund Solyndra? Making it an even bigger gov’t fraud and probably theft of money for Obama’s cronies?

Or, what is your point? That it is such a good investment that tons of private money are pouring into it, but it still requires gov’t subsidies? On what planet does that make sense?

You really have no idea what you are talking about do you? You just will spout any nonsense that comes into your mind.

Here is the argument you must made:

1) the industry is so strong and the technology so good, that people are clamoring to spend money on it

2) therefore, it was imperative for the gov’t to pour taxpayer money into it b/c obviously it needed the money!!

11!!

I guess your last sentance there – the ever promised green jobs – is boilerplate for such inane arguments. I can simply make shit up as well. Did you know that the market in cat feces will be the only industry that will create millions of $100,000 year jobs in teh next ten years.

Monkeytoe on September 27, 2011 at 4:19 PM

You people clearly don’t understand that we need to funnel more money to connected leftist trash. Because of China funding R&D kills off competition. And space! Or something.

Precisely why I say to leave the venture capitalism to people who actually strived for something more than a Poli Sci degree.

MNHawk on September 27, 2011 at 3:57 PM

You left off “and green jobs!!!”

I wonder if someone like Bayam actually believes what it types or just likes to lie.

Monkeytoe on September 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

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