The Obama administration can't catch a break these days when it comes to green jobs. To be fair, the promise of jump starting a new industry with public appeal for support is nothing new for Washington. It has been done before in various different ways from subtle tweaks in tax code to favor one industry over another such as the employer provided health care subsidy that created the "Cadillac Policies" for unions to regulations designed for the same outcomes, such as the madates on ethanol standards for automobiles designed to push alternate fuel agendas and raise prices for corn growers.
However we have entered a new era of careless spending disguised as "investments" for technologies and other agenda items. This careless spending has finally come back to haunt the administration in the form of one large scale and very public bankruptcy ... Solyndra.
Senator Jim DeMint R-SC coined the phrase "Venture Socialism."
"I would love to be able to work with the president on something, but he’s basically practicing what we call venture socialism. He’s basically taken the approach where it’s the government that needs to stimulate jobs," DeMint said Wednesday on Fox News’s "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
"There are a number of Democrats ... and this is the scariest thing of all, who really believe that government spending is the major part of our economy," DeMint told Van Susteren.
Local and state governments do things like this all the time under the guise of economic development, yet while well intentioned, the picking of economic winners through tax subsidies, loan guarantees and targeted regulatory relief means that other companies that compete with the favored entities have to work harder to succeed.
The Financial Fallout
The fallout has been big for the administration. Solyndra has been the poster child for how poor the green jobs movement has performed at actually creating jobs. Solyndra closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy on Sept 11th, 2011. Lets calculate the numbers to be clear. They had 1100 workers and took and investment from the Obama Administration in 2009 of $535,000,000 (535 Million) dollars. That's taxpayer money. Our money. Now its gone and so are the jobs. That is the equivalent of $486,000 per job lost.
The worst part ... Its was a known bad investment in a company with a failed business plan and an inferior product. So why the investment? Theories abound and with the Solyndra executives taking the Fifth Amendment stance and not co-operating with investigators it will take some time to unwind the true cause. However, one theory is taking on a life of its own, and is hurting the Administration and democratic allies as well.
The Political Fallout
Everyone can remember the Speech to Solyndra that President Obama Gave, putting Solyndra on a pedestal as the poster child of a green energy investment. (See video for a refresher).
The company that the Obama administration had helped catapult from relative obscurity to poster child for the green energy movement has instead become a symbol for critics to exploit of environmental and economic recovery policies gone awry -- and for assertions of cronyism. The company's prime investor had been a major fundraiser for President Obama's 2008 campaign.
Criticism continues and is now being used by opponents, pundits, talks shows and media as a potential talking points for uses and excuses for democrats for the 2012 election.
The loss of half a billion dollars on a poor (and politically motivated) investment will not sit well with voters who have seen their 401k and pension funds depleted over the past few years. For the government to to this with other peoples money may be a seen as some as a last straw for support. 2012 will tell.
Venture Socialism Hurts Everyone
Solyndra Puts Dept of Engergy in Hot Seat
Calls for Justice Dept to Probe Solyndra
Solyndra will Blunt Obama's Renewable Engery Drive
John Stewart Mock Obama on Solyndra