Solyndra bankruptcy an embarrassment to Obama

The collapse of Solyndra, a California-based solar-panel company, has cost taxpayers $535 million in federally guaranteed loans and exposed the Obama administration to legitimate criticism of how it handled the project.

In a nutshell, the White House seems to have been so enthralled by the prospect of clean-energy jobs, as well as by a desire for a politically useful success story, that it ignored warnings that Solyndra might be a bad investment. In addition, FBI and congressional investigators are looking into more serious allegations, including claims that Solyndra executives lied to federal officials about the company’s prospects and that political favoritism may have played a role.

The Solyndra case has also re-energized a broader debate about government subsidies to private industry. As Paul Ryan, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, put it Sunday on Fox News, Solyndra represents “industrial policy and crony capitalism at its worst. It’s Exhibit A for how this kind of economic policy doesn’t work.”

Personally, I have some sympathy for that position. In fact, if Solyndra is Exhibit A in the philosophical indictment against government intervention, it’s easy to come up with exhibits B, C and D right here in Georgia.

1.) On Jan. 19, 2009, just as the Bush administration was leaving office, the Energy Department approved $80 million in loan guarantees for a new plant in central Georgia that was supposed to convert wood scraps to fuel. (In 2007, the company had been approved for another $75 million in outright federal grants.)

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss lauded the Range Fuels deal “as a great boost for economic growth and job creation in our state.” “This is exactly the kind of project this country needs to move us toward energy independence,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said. But when the plant closed its doors in February, having failed to produce any fuel whatsoever because its technology didn’t work, the federal investment was lost.

2.) The same Energy Department office that approved the Solyndra and Range Fuels loans has also approved $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to finance two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle outside Augusta. As with solar panels and biofuel, the loans are necessary because nuclear power is considered too risky by private investors. So if you take the principled position that government should not intervene, you eliminate nuclear power as an energy source.

3.) One of the most controversial government interventions occurred in 2009, when the Obama administration used government loans to save General Motors and Chrysler. Again, on grounds of principle I can understand why people might oppose that program. But it strikes me as odd that you rarely hear such criticism about the $410 million package of subsidies offered by the state of Georgia to lure a single Kia auto plant to the state. Why is that?

Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who invested and lost a significant sum in Range Fuels, argues that government intervention can be justified because what’s at stake is more important than private calculations of profit or loss.

For example, given that we’ve spent trillions of tax dollars ensuring access to oil from the Middle East, Khosla wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “it seems reasonable to spend a tiny fraction of that on technologies that help end our oil addiction.” And while there are no guarantees of success, “we must take risks: That means course corrections and even failures, and we have to be tolerant of that.”

482 comments Add your comment

Normal

September 21st, 2011
7:01 am

Who cares? And I don’t know if “Solyndra executives lied to federal officials about the company’s prospects and that political favoritism may have played a role”…or not. We will find that out as the investigation goes along, but I do know at least Obama tried to find jobs with it. Something the GOP has failed to do even though it was their “number one priority”.

Guy Incognito

September 21st, 2011
7:02 am

Fair and Balanced again, Jay.
Politicians, regardless of party, are out to line the pockets of their friends and family

Brad Steel

September 21st, 2011
7:08 am

So, are all of the true cost of gallon of gas included in its price at the pump or are the tax payers subsidizing gas costs by paying for wars, international policing, environmental clean-up, diplomatic access through US-foreign policy cost, etc?

stands for decibels

September 21st, 2011
7:10 am

But it strikes me as odd that you rarely hear such criticism about the $410 million package of subsidies offered by the state of Georgia to lure a single Kia auto plant to the state. Why is that?

for the same reason nobody seems to give a good crap about the use of our State Department’s resources over the past half-dozen years to bully other countries into using Monsanto products, I guess. If there’s no easy-pickens political hay to be made…

Jm

September 21st, 2011
7:17 am

Meh. Government should get out.

FSLR is competitive / cheaper than the Chinese.

No need to keep feeding this industry.

jeff

September 21st, 2011
7:18 am

I notice how the CONservatives fail to mention that they also approved several of these projects under the Bush admin yet all of a sudden the Obama administration is going full tilt on Crony Capitialism? When Bush passed the bonus plan for the drug and insurance (Medicare Part D) I noticed how quite the CON’s were, yet now they cry about this president. President Bush passed bill after bill helping his oil and business buddies and all is good with the CON’s yet now that the other guy is in charge they complain. Typical.
Nice work Jay. Keep it up!

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:19 am

willydoit?

September 21st, 2011
7:20 am

COAL!!! COAL!!! COAL!!!
A 500 year supply of it in the USA alone! The cheapest and most efficient way to produce electricity.
It even produces an ample supply of electricity on a cloudy day.

Jm

September 21st, 2011
7:22 am

GA republicans are morons

If they would fix the corporate tax rate in the state they wouldn’t need Kia incentives or ever be able to justify the incentives

But they declined to do intelligent tax reform as suggested by the state commission. Just like Obama ignored his deficit commission plan

Ed

September 21st, 2011
7:22 am

Solyndra had no cash flow, no customers, no track record of business performance, a handful of employees, an unproven and very expensive technology (solar), etc. And Bookman contrasts that pie-in-the-sky company to Plant Vogtle which has the strength of triple-A-rated Southern Company behind it, a customer base, business longevity, a proven technology (nuclear), 26,000 emoployees, 100-years of operations history in the energy field, etc.? Really?

jt

September 21st, 2011
7:28 am

Why are the TEA partiers considered extreme because they do not want to feed the Crony Leviathan MORE?…………………………..Be “tolerant” with your own money.

More to the point, how much private investment capital has been dragged to useless fuels because of the promise of subsidies? Range Fuels alone attracted more than $100 million in private investment. Without subsidies, that money would have gone to projects whose promise was not taxpayer money but market demand — that is, somewhere useful. Our “green” subsidies could be postponing the day we get an alternative to foreign oil.

Range Fuels is a politically connected, mostly through its founder, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. Khosla has given more the $350,000 to federal candidates and campaign committees in recent years, a vast majority going to Democrats. In his home state of California, Khosla has famously and openly bankrolled ballot measures to direct state funding to his own “green” ventures or use regulation to make his investments more valuable.
.
These “private” venture capitalists will have to find a real job in 2012.
Ron Paul will be running these parasites out of town.

Jay

September 21st, 2011
7:29 am

“And Bookman contrasts that pie-in-the-sky company to Plant Vogtle which has the strength of triple-A-rated Southern Company behind it, a customer base, business longevity, a proven technology (nuclear), 26,000 emoployees, 100-years of operations history in the energy field, etc.? Really?

Gee, Ed, with all that going for it, you’d think that Southern Company would have been able to raise that $8.3 billion — that’s with a “b”, by the way — from private investors eager to invest in their project. And yet they couldn’t. Do you think those private investors might know something that you don’t, or choose to ignore?

Like the massive cost overruns that have plagued the nuclear industry? The fact that a single accident like the one in Japan can easily bankrupt an entire company? The fact that per capita energy usage is falling, rather than rising?

Bottom line: SoCo couldn’t raise that capital in the private market because the investment was considered too risky, and had to turn to government.

stands for decibels

September 21st, 2011
7:29 am

an unproven and very expensive technology (solar), etc.

Solar is hardly unproven. China is pumping boatloads of cash into it.

http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/China-dominates-solar-power-20110920

That said, Solyndra was promoting/developing an alternative to what we might think of as “traditional” PV methods that would have been fabulous if it had worked, but it appears not to (I suppose the jury’s still out; that someone else will be able to make cylindrical panels cost-effective and competitive with the environmentally nastier PVs).

Anyway, Ed, care to tell us to what degree nuclear energy is subsidized, versus less “unproven and very expensive” methods?

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
7:29 am

The problem with Solyndra is that like a lot of the presidents plans, it was done in a hurry with no attention to detail. Over and over again, this president continues to show a lack of experience and rushes to “get things done” so he can point to his accomplishments. He does not believe the details mattter and it continues to bite him in the posterior.

stands for decibels

September 21st, 2011
7:30 am

COAL!!! COAL!!! COAL!!!

cough cough cough

yeah, nice planet you have here. Shame if something were to happen to it…

Steven L.

September 21st, 2011
7:32 am

“government intervention can be justified because what’s at stake is more important than private calculations of profit or loss.”

This is precisely what’s wrong with government intervention.

All these companies–solar or nuclear or whatever–are still private profit-making companies. They have to make money or they don’t stay in business.

Private venture capitalists always have that as their major consideration: Which companies offer a good return on investment? Even private “socially responsible” investors won’t invest in a losing proposition no matter how “socially responsible” it is.

The government does not act that way. They’re more concerned with the alleged social good a company does–”green” or employing union members or whatever–than whether the company is going to make a profit. In all the justifications of subsidizing Solyndra from Obama and Biden and Chu and other liberals, I never heard the word “profit” or “return on investment” escape their lips. As if the purpose of a company is to implement liberal social goals.

And in the end, as we’ve seen, these companies can’t profit without including a permanent government subsidy on their balance sheets.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:37 am

“these companies can’t profit without including a permanent government subsidy on their balance sheets.”

Can we hold fossil fuel companies to this standard as well?

What’s good for the sunny goose is good for the oily, sludgie gander.

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
7:39 am

Range Fuel’s business model was put together by a Republican engineer and economist. It was faith-based. He must have sinned somewhere along the line.

Southern Comfort

September 21st, 2011
7:41 am

And Bookman contrasts that pie-in-the-sky company to Plant Vogtle which has the strength of triple-A-rated Southern Company behind it, a customer base, business longevity, a proven technology (nuclear), 26,000 emoployees, 100-years of operations history in the energy field, etc.?

If they have all that, why did the GA PSC allow them to charge customers NOW for reactors that won’t be ready for 8-10 years?

SoCo couldn’t raise that capital in the private market because the investment was considered too risky, and had to turn to government.

:shock:
I CAN raise that kind of money. I’d probably end up locked away for the rest of my life for doing so, unless I managed to grab me a Wall St. CEO position. :)

dB @ 7:29

Don’t forget that the Germans also have a boatload of research going on with solar too.

I was just discussing this topic with a scientist this morning who specializes in silica. Not Solyndra directly, but the whole idea of solar. If we don’t attempt to develop our own technology, we’re gonna end up being even more dependent on China and/or imports. Seems like people tend to forget that. The land of innovation is becoming the crackheads of the world, dependent on every other country to supply our fixes.

Thomas

September 21st, 2011
7:44 am

Does anyone remember the below absurdity? Uh Senator, the technology would be worth billions, a gov’t prize is not necessary. Other peoples money- OPiuM- as addictive as the drug.

Earlier this week, Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, proposed a $300 million federally funded prize to spur the development of a vastly improved battery for electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Jay

September 21st, 2011
7:44 am

If only economics were as simple as jm would like to believe.

Nevada has no corporate income tax. It has by far the highest unemployment rate in the country.

South Carolina has the sixth lowest corporate income tax per capita, and the fourth highest unemployment rate. Georgia has the 13th lowest corporate income tax per capita, and has the ninth worst unemployment rate.

There is no magic button, jm.

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
7:44 am

What the heck, it’s only $1.25 per citizen, oh, but not every citizen pays federal income tax so let’s pass a Solyndra tax on rich folks because they should have invested in Solyndra and didn’t thereby making it necessary for the government to step in and provide the funding on short notice to keep them afloat. I woinder if the Solyndra jobs were counted as part of the jobs that the stimulus created?

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:44 am

Did ya’ll see the announcement that Seimens is getting out of the nuke business. Reading the writing on the wall I hope.

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
7:46 am

Did those Georgia Tech engineers ever come up with a good profitable use for all that fly ash from the coal-burning power plants. There are some land owners that would love to have the power companies remove the stuff from their property.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:46 am

Mad Max

Could you also plese calculate what each of us is paying towards subsidies to the fossil fuel industires?

I imagine it’s a bit more than $1.25 each.

USMC

September 21st, 2011
7:47 am

Good article Jay.

How are you going to feel IF it turns out that Barack Obama invested money in Solyndra stock???

I love how the Obama tried to pin the Solyndra loans on Bush…

Southern Comfort

September 21st, 2011
7:49 am

I love how the Obama tried to pin the Solyndra loans on Bush…

Well, it’s not like the loan paperwork just magically appeared on Jan 21, 2009… :roll:

Everything does not have to be partisaned….

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
7:50 am

Granny, same problem, not everyone is paying for it and at least they are on-going concerns that create jobs, wealth and taxpaying citizens. Solyndra was an ill concieved investment by an administration sorely lacking in experience and good judgement. The only jobs it created were for llawyers and accountants to clean up the mess.

USMC

September 21st, 2011
7:52 am

“The problem with Solyndra is that like a lot of the presidents plans, it was done in a hurry with no attention to detail. Over and over again, this president continues to show a lack of experience and rushes to “get things done” so he can point to his accomplishments. He does not believe the details mattter and it continues to bite him in the posterior”–Mad Max

Great point. This president is ALL about Chicagoland “POLITICS”.
His “jobs bill” is designed only for his re-election bid next year.
It has NOTHING to do with trying to fix our economy. What a shame!

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:54 am

USMC

The President’s Financial Disclosure forms are available on line.

Not as much fun reading as say a certain SCOTUS judge form…..but what the heck.

Normal

September 21st, 2011
7:55 am

Mad Max,
It’s like I said above. At least he tried, which is more than the GOP can say. They spend their energy on anti abortion laws…bringing in more mouths to feed, without the jobs to go with it. Really good job, that.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
7:55 am

Mad Max

Not everyone is paying for it? Say what?

stands for decibels

September 21st, 2011
7:55 am

Everything does not have to be partisaned….

Well, they’ll partisan ya when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll partisan ya just a-like they said they would
They’ll partisan ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll partisan ya when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so like a smarter man
Everybody must get partisaned

Southern Comfort

September 21st, 2011
7:57 am

Jay

Pardon me for the thread jack that’s about to happen, but I find this pretty damn hypocritical coming from a GOP Senator, especially after the GOP has talked about nothing but budget cuts all year.

“With defense (cuts), for example, you’ve got high unemployment of returning veterans to begin with,” Kyl said at last week’s hearing. “You have reduction in end strength. You’ve got more people potentially unemployed. You got people making radios and building ships and so on. And if those cuts, therefore, end up reducing the employment in those industries and the amount of money spent in those areas, obviously it could delay economic recovery.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/defense-cuts-could-lead-to-military-draft-house-armed-services-chairman-says/2011/09/20/gIQAQAjyhK_blog.html

Seems like cutting the budget anywhere other than defense is good for the economy and will steer us towards prosperity quick, fast, and in a hurry. If cuts happen in defense, though, it could delay economic recovery. And people still vote for jackassery such as this… :roll:

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
7:57 am

JohnnyReb

September 21st, 2011
7:58 am

Granny, I see you are still in denial. Have a good day.

Southern Comfort

September 21st, 2011
7:58 am

dB @ 7:55

Partisanship, they put that s**t on everything!!
:lol:

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
7:58 am

Granny – If you’re not paying federal income tax, then you are not paying for those subsidies. It’s really pretty simple.

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
8:00 am

The only jobs it created were for llawyers and accountants to clean up the mess.

Oh goody. We’re still talking about that run down hotel that two of our Georgia Republicans borrowed money to purchase only to leave taxpayers with their mess to clean up and pay for.

USMC

September 21st, 2011
8:02 am

“It’s like I said above. At least he tried, which is more than the GOP can say. They spend their energy on anti abortion laws…bringing in more mouths to feed, without the jobs to go with it. Really good job, that.”–Normal

Yeah Great, Normal. We get it. You are for KILLING unborn babies; while at the same time clutching onto a convicted murderer, Troy Davis. Good Show, boy :-)

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
8:02 am

If you’re not paying federal income tax, then you are not paying for those subsidies. It’s really pretty simple.

Fifty percent of large corporations paid no federal income taxes in any given year between 2001 and 2007 when the study was done.

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
8:03 am

Normal, I don’t have an issue with the trying, it’s the incompetence. The man seems to think every idea he has is good and doesn’t do his blasted homework. He needs to surround himself with good people instead of the yes men he has in place now.

USMC

September 21st, 2011
8:03 am

“Solyndra bankruptcy an embarrassment to Obama”–JAY

I sure hope it doesn’t come out that Obama OWNS Solyndra stock…

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
8:05 am

Taxpayer – Sometimes companies don’t show a profit for the year. So are you saying companies should be taxed on something other than profit?

Good little liberal

September 21st, 2011
8:06 am

It’s not a big mystery. Ideas where the government has a prayer of being paid back should be considered. Ideas where a company was building solar panels that cost twice what they cost to make is probably not a good investment.

Southern Company pays its bills. It should. it charges most of the South p[premium rates for its services. GM would have been a good investment if it hadn’t been for those coal powered cars that were supposed to clean up the environment.

Which all point to the main idea: When the Democrats decided to make the environment a big plank in their platform, the results had no alternative except to become one big cluster f^^k after another. Politicians should stick to politics and leave industrial development to the people with a brain.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
8:06 am

JohnnyReb

And you’re still halucinating and grumpy in the mornings to boot!

Mad Max

Then those same folks aren’t paying for Solyndra either. Doesn’t help your point in the least does it?

For those of us who pay for these things (I do, do you?) what is our share of the fossil fuel subsidies?

Typical AJC Conservative

September 21st, 2011
8:07 am

OMG Jay is so LIBRULLLLLL. He won’t write about the IMPORTANT issues. It’s all Obama’s fault!

Did I get that out of the way early enough or am I too late…. oh, sorry, I guess I thought as a conservative who posts on here regularly about how I am quitting the AJC and Jay has no readership, that he would never touch this subject. No he must denounce taxes on anyone ever, admit that Bush is responsible for bin Laden’s death but not responsible for any part of the economy, and I will be happy.

Oh who am I kidding, I won’t be happy ever, because LIBRULS BAD!

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
8:07 am

We can’t do R & D on sustainable energy because of Roe v. Wade?

Say what?

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
8:09 am

Mad Max – Sometimes people do not have a job or else they earn near poverty-level income and do not pay federal taxes for a year. Are you saying they should give up their first born in cases where they do not have cash available.

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:09 am

Jay: The Solyndra case has also re-energized a broader debate about government subsidies to private industry

Somehow I doubt that it’s that broad. Really only companies that liberals like or conservatives hate can’t have subsidies. It’s fine for the rest, especially if a state does so in order to circumvent worker’s rights.

Good little liberal

September 21st, 2011
8:11 am

TaxPayer

” We’re still talking about that run down hotel that two of our Georgia Republicans borrowed money to purchase only to leave taxpayers with their mess to clean up and pay for.”

Let it go.

Take Atlanta and start at I-20 and go South. In every square mile there are project after project where the state has thrown money down the drain. Yes, I know that it’s cool to go after Rev. Elvis and his buddy but trying to build a homeless shelter in that part of the state that failed is very small potatoes to the massive spending wastes in South Atlanta.

Mick

September 21st, 2011
8:15 am

Thomas

September 21st, 2011
8:18 am

Can we hold fossil fuel companies to this standard as well?

here, here GG

Mad Max

September 21st, 2011
8:18 am

Granny, yes I pay my full share

TaxPayer

September 21st, 2011
8:19 am

GLL,

We’ve already covered the massive spending waste known as Range Fuels. Further, Georgia has had more bank failures than any other state during this Great Recession and the last thing we need are elected Georgia Republicans adding to the problem by failing to take care of their responsibilities. And those failed banks are all over the state — not just south Georgia. Then, there’s Nathan Deal’s little unethical business dealings to add insult to injury. The list just goes on and on. So, no, I will not “let it go”, GLL. You should get a grip instead.

Southern Comfort

September 21st, 2011
8:19 am

Take Atlanta and start at I-20 and go South. In every square mile there are project after project where the state has thrown money down the drain.

Examples? I live south of I-20, and I’d love to see proof of the every square mile stuff. :)

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:19 am

USMC: His “jobs bill” is designed only for his re-election bid next year.

If passed as is, it would have a positive impact. The CBO, INSTRUCTED by John Boehner to do so, scored it as such. The only reason it seems designed for his re-election bid is because Republicans will definitely say no to everything. They can be counted on for that. So now they are all falling into a trap.

They tried first pretending the ideas “deserve consideration.” That angered the “no compromise” base, so they walked back on that and said “class warfare” for about 24-48 hours. That angered most people because they know taxing the rich isn’t class warfare. Now they are trying something new. I am sure as I read more down these comments I’ll find out what the new anti-Obama talking point is. It’s starting to look like it’s all about demonizing clean energy projects as a whole and making Obama seem stupid for backing their development.

Tommy Maddox

September 21st, 2011
8:21 am

Companies [and businessmen] go out of business day after day.

When a lender makes a shoddy loan deal to a company and subordinates its secured interest [the loaned money] to that of the company’s investors [stockholders, political contributors], then the lender must answer to its own stockholders when the deal goes South.

I think the next stockholder’s meeting is slated for November, 2012.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
8:23 am

Mad Max

You do? How do you know?

The question is what is our share?

If you are sure you pay yours you must know what it is.

What is our share of fossil fuel subsidies and is it bigger that 1.25 each?

carlosgvv

September 21st, 2011
8:24 am

The real problem here is that most of us want to end our dependence on oil and just glide seamlessly into the use of some other kind of energy which will be just as good and easy to use as oil, will not cost more than oil, and will be done with no bother to us whatsoever. Naturally, none of our politicians will bother to tell us that there is no current alternative energy on the horizon which will make the above possible. Switching to another form of energy will mean we all will have to make major adjustments in our lives, some of them painful, and no politician wants to tell you that.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:29 am

Jay 7:44 – I never said there was (a magic bullet). But if there’s no corporate tax, then in my book you take subsidies completely and permanently off the table. It is one tool in the toolbox to end the jobs recession we’re still in. Liberals prefer to take rifle shots at fixing the problem when it is too fundamental and large to fix with a rifle shot. You need an elephant gun, and Obama’s stimulus is nothing more than a BB gun.

as far as your 7:29, just as a note, if WH EPA passes new SOX/NOX regs on power plants, SoCo is pretty much going to immediately start switching from coal to Natural Gas for many of its plants.

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:32 am

carlosgvv: I would add to that that some politicians ACTIVELY SEEK to create an illusion that somehow oil is bootstrap and that any other energy should be able to prove itself to be cheaper than oil + subsidies (they pretend subsidies don’t affect the oil cost) before being invested in. Not just cheap, not just an alternative, but CHEAPER, without subsidies to help it. All the while they are raking in the campaign contributions from oil lobbies.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:34 am

Obama toast

The moderate elite isn’t, by definition, an angry bunch but President Barack Obama’s pivot from calibrated centrism to soak-the-rich liberal populism has tapped a vein of middle-of-the-road rage and centrist angst.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64004.html#ixzz1YadFAr7p

Jay

September 21st, 2011
8:34 am

“But if there’s no corporate tax, then in my book you take subsidies completely and permanently off the table.”

And yet, jm, you and I both know that will never happen. Yes, it is possible that Georgia will drop its corporate income tax. But the picture you paint of the Legislature and governor also barring any future corporate welfare is an absolute fantasy, and you know it.

When that happens, I’ll jump in my personal rocket ship and fly to the moon to restock on blue cheese. Should I pick you up some?

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:34 am

jm: So you agree more spending than the stimulus (~$800B) is needed to get the economy going again?

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:34 am

“President Obama is basically tearing apart his own coalition,” said Mark Penn, former top strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and a pollster for President Bill Clinton who prodded the White House to the right after the disastrous 1994 midterms.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64004.html#ixzz1YadKcBEU

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:36 am

jm: From the article: Obama is sacrificing his 2008 vision of a post-partisan presidency and purple national map on the altar of Democratic base politics

No. The antics of the Republicans over the last 2 1/2 years have already destroyed that vision.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:37 am

Jay 8:34 – oh I agree that if, in the absence of a corporate tax, subsidies might (would likely still) happen. But it would set the stage for real outrage about such things (though one would think we’ve already passed that point, and the Teaparty has pretty much signaled we’re there).

But instead, we get the continued charade of, tax all of them, but give these guys breaks cause they need ‘em.

Trotsky Radio

September 21st, 2011
8:37 am

One of your best columns IMO, Jay. Well done.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
8:38 am

jm

Mark Penn? What a fabulous strategist he proved to be! What accumen!
How correctly he reads the political scene!

Mick

September 21st, 2011
8:38 am

jm

Yeah, we should listen to mark penn who did such a fabulous job with hillary’s campaign. You always try to sniff out the negative losers – well done….

Butch Cassidy

September 21st, 2011
8:39 am

I still want to know when I get my Jet Pack and my Flying Car. :)

Peter

September 21st, 2011
8:40 am

8.3 Billion compared to 535 Million…….Looks like the GOP guys got the bigger free handout !

And of course if there is any over runs on the plants, then the Southeast customers will pay for it as all the GOP Energy guys voted for it that way.

Yes the GOP guys got the way bigger hand out !

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:40 am

a few typos above, but I’m sure you get he gist of it

Adam, no, we don’t need an $800B stimulus. That just provides more future uncertainty. That thing called law of diminishing returns. We’re way past it now.

No, the tax code needs an overhaul (eliminating many deductions that favor the wealthy, but lowering the overall rate), entitlement reform, Medicaid reform, and lower defense spending. Future tax regime certainty would do more to spur growth in this country than anything else.

straitroad

September 21st, 2011
8:41 am

Let’s take all of the emotion out of the discussion. You’ll see more of these types of scandals surface as we get closer to election day. We are saddled with a president who was swept into office based on race and feel good emotion. He lacked the experience necessary to manage the job. All of the speeches and rhetoric do nothing to develop management skills and I hope we’ve all learned our lesson on electing presidents who don’t have the resume to manage a Dollar General. You see panic on his face and hear it in his voice each time he speaks because he hasn’t been tested and has never developed solutions to problems in his life. No one should be surprised by his implosion.

Joe the Plutocrat

September 21st, 2011
8:41 am

“In a nutshell, the White House seems to have been so enthralled by the prospect of clean-energy jobs, as well as by a desire for a politically useful success story, that it ignored warnings that Solyndra might be a bad investment.” – hey JB, you ever see “This is Spinal Tap”? remember the scene in the hotel or backstage after the “Stonehenge” debacle? remember how Ian (Manager) blames Nigel for giving him a drawing on a napkin, with an 18″ image of the Stonehenge monument? And David St. Hubbins says; “…it’s not your job to be as confused as Nigel…”? well, you can pen all the excuses you like, but at the end of the day, this is a classic example of why “green initiatives” as policy or the “war on global warming” are just a filthy, corrupt, wasteful and vile as the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, or the war on poverty. we all want a clean, terrorist free, safe, planet; but politicians are not activists; they’re “gamers”. they’re pimps and hustlers and Obama and his crew can cite Brittany Spears all they like; “..oops I did it again…” but like Wall Street reform, the AfPak surge, and ObamaCare; this “investment” was a scam from the git-go. And somebody tell Rick Perry that this mess is more of a Ponzi scheme than social security.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 21st, 2011
8:42 am

Jay, I am a litle confused that you would say that the Soylandra loan was “rushed” through when it was actually undertaken in a twoyear process begun by the Bush Administration. Yes, there was some push at the end to get the loan completed as part of the stim but that actually seems reasonable as it was already in the pipeline and actually Bush has already tried to get the loan approved but it was remanded without prejudice because it was not ready for conditional commitment, which took 3 months more. See timeline

Also Rep Markey had a few comments at the hearing on the subject.

As for those who claim the technology does not work, it is currently being used here in Georgia. The pricing problem comes from the Chinese which is why the market has unexpectedly tanked.

But I do think you are exactly on point with your comparisions to a number of failed state economic development issues….the only problem for the hot sauce crowd is that they haven’t figured out how to blame all of that on Obama.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

And Adam, before you and Jay respond with a string of “that won’t work”s. Consider these 2 facts.

1. You have no idea since it hasn’t been tried
2. We know the stimulus (keynesian) didn’t work very well because we’re pretty much parked in neutral

Only the insane try more of the same when it didn’t work the first time. By that definition, Obama is loco.

stands for decibels

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

Mark Penn? What a fabulous strategist he proved to be! What accumen!
How correctly he reads the political scene!

I posted this yesterday, but what the hay, as long as jm’s spamming us with his usual “Obama is horribler than horribleness itselfs” stuff…

Oh, and f### this fat b#stard, too. Mark Penn, who is more to blame for Hillary Clinton’s failed candidacy than anyone, also scolds Obama for not “bringing the country together rather than dividing it through class warfare.” Blaming Obama for dividing the country is like charging a rape victim with assault because the rapist got a black eye during the rape. Or blaming pie for Mark Penn’s enormous girth.

Jay

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

“Future tax regime certainty would do more to spur growth in this country than anything else.”

Oh brother. That magic button again.

1811/0311

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

“Solyndra bankruptcy an embarrassment to Obama”

……………………… and maybe criminal before it’s over !

“What did he know and when did he know it”

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:43 am

“But the picture you paint of the Legislature and governor also barring any future corporate welfare is an absolute fantasy”

Only because they’re a bunch of rubes

Trotsky Radio

September 21st, 2011
8:44 am

jm, Granny, Mark Penn is a complete idiot. He and that soft-headed protege of everything that brand of dead-end Democratic party strategy promotes, Evan Effin Bayh, any Democrat would do well to turn their back on anything that happens to dribble from the mouths of these second-raters.

An absolute thumbs down to these people, and if the Democratic party has any sense at all it will ruthlessly purge anything even beginning to smack of Mark Penn-ism and Evan Effin Bayh-ism in its ranks.

There, how’s that for a ringing counter-endorsement? :)

1811/0311

September 21st, 2011
8:44 am

“Solyndra bankruptcy an embarrassment to Obama”

Obama an embarrassment to U.S.

Jay

September 21st, 2011
8:45 am

Keep, I neither wrote nor even implied the loan was rushed.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:46 am

Scout yep

“Obama an embarrassment to U.S.”

Exhibit A: US debt rating downgrade from AAA to AA. I’m embarrassed for my country. Time to fire the CEO.

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:46 am

jm: No, the tax code needs an overhaul (eliminating many deductions that favor the wealthy, but lowering the overall rate), entitlement reform, Medicaid reform, and lower defense spending.

You liberal! :D

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:47 am

straitroad: We are saddled with a president who was swept into office based on race ….

Annnnnnnd I stopped reading.

Which side plays the race card? I’m confused.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:47 am

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), one of the few remaining conservative Democrats left in Congress after the winnowing 2010 midterms, has urged Obama to stick with the anti-deficit crusade he embarked upon after last November’s defeat — or risk a repeat next year.

“What we should be focused on is cutting spending,” he said Tuesday. “There’s too much attention on dealing with closing so-called loopholes, eliminating deductions, and changing the tax rates, raising taxes,” adding that he was “doing what I think is best and what I hear from people back home.”

Then there was Brooks, Obama’s highest-profile centrist champion in the mainstream press, who sounded downright distraught in his Tuesday column – a lot like the progressive hand-wringers who once accused Obama of colluding with moderates like, well, Brooks.

“Being a sap, I still believe that the president’s soul would like to do something about the country’s structural problems. I keep thinking he’s a few weeks away from proposing serious tax reform and entitlement reform. But each time he gets close, he rips the football away,” he wrote.

Now, Brooks laments, Obama’s has capitulated to the darker angels of his political nature, who warn him that the base needs shoring up

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64004.html#ixzz1YagbYzXW

Trotsky Radio

September 21st, 2011
8:48 am

In fact, I think we should all collectively join together here — left and right, all of us — and send Mark Penn a picture of himself with the words “mutton-headed muddle head!!!!!” scrawled on it.

Good god why did you have to mention that name this morning. Don’t you know I have to watch my blood pressure! :)

carlosgvv

September 21st, 2011
8:48 am

Adam – 8:32

Excellent point. The actions of too many of our politicians remind me of that old saying “with friends like them, who needs enemies”.

jm

September 21st, 2011
8:48 am

Adam 8:46 – its a fact. And the left only thinks of “higher rates!” as their solution to inequality, when deduction elimination is more effective and better for the economy. Thought I’d point out something libs should consider.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 21st, 2011
8:49 am

Jay, my apologies. I assumed the “legitimate criticism” of the Obama Administration was the rushed loan meme.

Provide Cover

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

The $500 million was a payoff to the execs for fund raising—painted with a feel good “jobs” and “green” company investment. The execs lied, but this will get covered up by operatives inside obama’s group and nothing will happen. But, the execs came out of this extremely rich—and that money will never be repaid. Congrats!

Paul

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

I suppose I should not be surprised.

Jay writes a column not sympathetic to the Administration and asks “is this about scoring cheap political shots, or does the opposition really think we should eliminate such subsidies?”

About 100 comments in and not one of those who find fault with everything Obama has dared answer the question.

So, in reality, they have.

No principle. Just cheap political shots.

Granny Godzilla

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

“We know the stimulus (keynesian) didn’t work very well because we’re pretty much parked in neutral”

President Obama’s stimulus was successful in preventing us from driving over a cliff – sure ’nuff.

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:50 am

jm: Liberals already consider exactly that, and have for a couple of years now. Why do you suddenly think you’ve come up with a revelation? The true fact is Republicans won’t let anything go through that touches defense spending or the tax code, unless it’s more subsidies for their friends.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 21st, 2011
8:51 am

Scout urges everyone to check Box 23 of the loan application certificate! Ignores prior “Neverminds” and says: “this time…, maybe?…., perhaps…., well it could be…., I would like something to show…..”

Adam

September 21st, 2011
8:51 am

Provide Cover: The execs lied, but this will get covered up by operatives inside obama’s group and nothing will happen. But, the execs came out of this extremely rich—and that money will never be repaid. Congrats!

My, what an anti-business President this guy is!

Mick

September 21st, 2011
8:52 am

**Exhibit A: US debt rating downgrade from AAA to AA. I’m embarrassed for my country.**

Yes, so am I but not because of the president. We have a house the is overrun with ideologues who could care less about governing – they brought that rating down, not the president…