By Jim DeMint || A year ago, President Obama jetted off to Solyndra’s California headquarters to sing its praises and tout other green energy companies his stimulus bill was funding. “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra,” he said. This was part of the justification for giving the solar panel company a whopping $535 million in loans. Vice President Joe Biden also promoted the loans, saying, “These jobs are gonna be permanent jobs. These are the jobs of the future. These are the green jobs. These are the jobs that won’t be exported.”
A year later, Solyndra has gone bankrupt, 1,100 workers have lost their jobs, and the FBI is investigating the half-billion dollar bust.
Solyndra proves President Obama’s investment strategy doesn’t work. Venture socialism never will. Making investments based on political goals, not competitive merit is an outdated European notion—not a successful American one.
The Obama Administration’s decisions to favor companies like Solyndra, while targeting thriving job-creators like The Boeing Company and Gibson Guitar is not only unfair, it demonstrates sheer ignorance of economic principles that have made America the most prosperous country in the history of the world.
As USA Today editorialized, “Even if Solyndra’s collapse is nothing more than good intentions gone awry — a big if — it is a cautionary tale about why government should be extremely wary about betting tax dollars on specific companies. If there’s one thing the marketplace virtually always does better than government, it’s picking individual successes in an uncertain and highly competitive business. In fact, government involvement can unfairly tilt the playing field toward one company and away from competitors.”
“Extremely wary” the president is not. The White House is defending the Solyndra loan by calling it a “high-risk, high-reward” venture and asking for even more money to hand out to favored companies and causes. Obama is now demanding that Congress pass a $450 billion bill that, if made law would create a permanent National Infrastructure Bank to fund future Solyndras of the world.
The Obama Administration shouldn’t be given another chance to attempt to pick winners and losers in the market. The government should not be permitted to micromanage the economy and decide what industries will thrive or perish. The only economic system that works is one based on free people making free decisions. Venture socialism will never produce the success that free-market capitalism has. Solyndra is proof.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Jim DeMint is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.