Solyndra Goes Green — With Tax Dollars, That Is

Fox News online reports: “Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Sunday that the administration’s approval of a loan guarantee for solar power company Solyndra — which went belly up shortly after a half-billion dollar investment by the federal government — is just one example of a ‘breach of protocol’ in approving loans.”

Breach of protocol? Protocol refers to reasonable behavior. It refers to the business equivalent of manners. There’s nothing reasonable or mannerly about government forcibly shifting billions of dollars from private individuals to politically connected companies.

Fox News continues: “Issa said the Energy Department actually approved $4.75 billion worth of loans on the last day that the law allowed for financial backing of alternative energy firms. ‘We’re finding it’s not just Solyndra. It’s a pattern of these sorts of investments,’ Issa told Fox News Sunday. ‘One of the questions we have for (Energy) Secretary (Steven) Chu is, tell us why that last day, somehow, you had everything you needed and you didn’t have it over a period of time before?’ [Issa] said that his committee is less interested in debating the merits of ‘green energy’ and what qualifies as jobs created in that field than at looking to see whether political connections interfered in the approval process for struggling companies …”

The real scandal here isn’t that the Obama Administration handed half a billion in tax dollars over to a worthless private company with nothing to offer but pull. The real scandal is that members of Congress are forced to prove that such transfers of money ever are, or ever could be, about anything other than pull.

These investigations never get anywhere, and never lead to any meaningful change. Why? Because the Republicans who investigate Democrats are no better than the people they are investigating, unless they call a halt to all such subsidies to any company — “green” or not — and do everything in their power to stop them. Unfortunately, when Republicans are in power they do the very same things.

Republicans and Democrats sometimes disagree on which companies should get the billion dollar handouts, and sometimes they agree. In the case of Solyndra, they obviously disagree. But none of this changes the more important principle on which the two parties agree: Their claim that political transfers of wealth are morally and economically justified.

Actually, they’re not.

Government was created, in the American Constitution, to protect private property rights. Nothing in the Constitution stated or implied anything at all about transferring billions of dollars to politically connected corporations.

Are companies who receive these transfers politically connected? Of course they are! Who else but a friend of Barack will get such corporate welfare when Obama and his cronies control the entire federal government, as they did during the years that Solyndra first got these subsidies?

It’s true that the Solyndra scandal represents a particularly egregious example of corporate welfare. As Fox News reports, “Several of the president’s biggest backers have been tied to Solyndra, including George Kaiser, a big investor in Solyndra and a big fundraiser for the president. Kaiser said he did not intervene on Solyndra’s behalf. Another presidential backer, Steve Spinner, raised about $500,000 for candidate Obama back in 2008 and got a top job in the Energy Department, where he reportedly used his post to push for Solyndra to get the $535 million loan guarantee. Spinner’s wife worked for a law firm representing Solyndra at the time. Spinner has since left the Department of Energy and is at a Democratic think tank now.”

Americans have every reason to be outraged by the naked political nature of these loans (i.e., subsidies), masked in allegedly noble intentions to “turn our energy supply green.” Outraged — yes. But shocked? No way. Most Americans have been tolerating and even outright supporting such government intervention in the marketplace for years.

Nobody who supports government loans and subsidies to business in the first place has any right to be shocked when things turn out exactly as they must.

What about the need for cleaner and cheaper forms of energy? These will be discovered by science, and brought to the market by business. Government can do nothing to hasten the day that we have “green” or any other alternative forms of energy. Government didn’t take us from the horse and buggy to the automobile, and government will not take us from oil to whatever the next major form of energy might eventually be.

Part of what makes the Solyndra scandal a scandal is that half a billion in government dollars — at a time of record deficits and a terrible recession — were wasted on … well, on absolutely nothing. It’s as if the money went up in smoke. What does this tell you about the nature of the “green economy” Obama and other liberals hope to bring about by government fiat? Solyndra proves, better than any other single example, that government intervention will not bring new energy and new technology into existence. Only the private market can do that, aided by advances in technology and science that government can only be expected to impede, and never create.

Republicans will understandably use this scandal as an attempt to further cripple Obama’s political future. But Obama will argue back, “I was only trying to renew the economy and bring green energy into existence.” If polls are any indication, about half of America is stupid enough to believe him. And Republicans have no credibility until they renounce all corporate welfare themselves, which the entrenched career Republicans in Washington D.C. have no intention of ever doing.

Solyndra has been called an example of the government picking winners and losers. Unfortunately, the losers are American freedom, American capitalism and another chunk of our private economy … gone with the wind.