The Corner

Solyndra and the DNC

Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden declared that he could see greatness in our future (if the American people elect Obama for another four years), and that this would include the end of favoritism:

A future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector.

Incidentally, Elizabeth Warren hit a somewhat related message during her speech at the DNC.

And we gave the little guys a better chance to compete by preventing the big guys from rigging the markets. . . .

No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.

They run this country for people, not corporations, I get it. And these people include the ones who run the well-connected corporations.

Case in point: In memory of the one-year anniversary of the Solyndra bankruptcy, the Republicans just released this video:

It’s no secret to anyone reading the Corner that the Solyndra debacle is only the tip of the green-energy-crony iceberg. #more#Since 2009, the 1705 loan program is actually mostly extending loans to firms that could be getting funding on their own because they are backed by large and well-established companies (Cogentrix, backed by Goldman Sachs, or Brightsource, backed by NRG Energy, just to name a couple). These companies are, of course, happy to benefit from very generous financial terms offered by government involvement. I suspect that the competition — which is probably made of much smaller companies – feels that the government loan program is giving a serious advantage to these hand-picked winners and knows firsthand what it feels like when the government intervenes and destroys the level playing field (in favor of the big guys, to add insult to injury). On this topic, check out this video.

Interestingly, some of the green-energy actors were present at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week. Some even took the stage. For instance, Steve Westly, the California venture capitalist who informed senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett that Solyndra represented a gigantic risk, but was ultimately ignored, spoke. Solyndra champion Steve Spinner — the guy who helped fast-track the Solyndra loan and whose wife was a partner in Solyndra’s law firm — was there too. And, according to the Free Beacon, Spinner had to  run from ABC News to avoid answering questions about his involvement in the Solyndra’s funding decision. 

I am hoping that the above video is a commitment from the Republicans to end the 1705 loan program, and while they’re at it, they should end all loan guarantee programs. These programs either fund companies who shouldn’t get funding in the first place or they give a subsidy to firms who could get capital on their own.

Tim Cavanaugh of Reason has a good recap of the Solyndra even; you should also read this article by Andrew Stiles over at the Free Beacon about other green-energy investors and beneficiaries of the administration’s policies who are attending the convention. I particularly like the title: “The One Percent Gets Its Turn.”

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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