The Obama administration is joined at the hip to Solyndra, the company that in happier days manufactured solar panels. The Obama administration touted Solydra as a model. According to Obama, Solyndra pointed the way to the future. It served as the administration’s flagship example of using taxpayers’ money to boost clean energy manufacturing and create jobs.
In late May 2010, when Obama was in California for his fourth fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer, dropping by Silicon Valley to praise his own stimulus package, as it was called in those happy days. “It is here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter, more prosperous future,” Obama said of Solyndra.
David Freddoso reported on Obama’s appearance at the company, noting that Obama cited Solyndra as an example of how the stimulus package was creating jobs all over America: “We can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra,” Obama said. “[T]hrough the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations. This new factory is the result of those loans. Since the project broke ground last fall, more than 3,000 construction workers have been employed building this plant. Across the country, workers in 22 states are manufacturing the supplies….Solyndra expects to hire 1,000 workers to manufacture solar panels….”
Freddoso also noted that Solyndra was the first company to receive a Department of Energy loan guarantee under the stimulus bill. When it was awarded, Vice President Biden said the project was “exactly what the Recovery Act is all about.” Bingo! Energy Secretary Steven Chu said it would help “spark a new industrial revolution that will put Americans to work.” Chu is the Nobel Prize winner of the smart, smart, smart, stupid! variety, to borrow the formulation of Norman Podhoretz’s grandmother.
Freddoso sounded a cautionary note at the time that Obama was touting Solyndra:
Jim McTague of Barron’s noted over the weekend that, two months before Obama’s glowing speech, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a fear-filled note in its audit of the company, which has accumulated losses of $558 million in its five-year lifetime. The firm noted that Solyndra “has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”
Freddoso drily observed: “Obama seemed almost unaware of this when he spoke.” How could the smartest president of all time have missed that?
Solyndra proved to be a model alright — a model of the wreck Obama has made of fiscal and economic policy, a model of crony capitalism, a model of waste and/or corruption. Solyndra has filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers. Before filing for bankruptcy Solyndra blew through the $535 million loan guaranteed by taxpayers’.
On the morning of Obama’s job’s speech on Thursday, FBI agents executed a search of Solyndra’s headquarters. Now ABC reports that federal agents have paid a visit to the homes of Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison, company founder Chris Gronet, and a former executive. ABC also reports that Department of Energy officials have been sitting in on Solyndra board meetings for months as observers, getting an up-close view as the company burned through its cash.
One of the lead private investors in Solyndra was George Kaiser, the Oklahoma billionaire who served as an Obama “bundler,” raising big bucks for Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. ABC cruelly reminds readers that investors including Kaiser’s company — which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year — stand in line before the federal government and other creditors to recoup losses. As I say, Solyndra is a model alright.
Here is a collection of White House tributes to Solyndra as a model of the Obama administration’s approach to the economy. Glenn Reynolds has posted a link to the White House video (below) touting Solyndra. This thing really should go viral.