Friday, September 2, 2011


Solyndra, a "green" company which produced solar panels, declared bankruptcy and closed its doors this week.  Just like that, $535 million of federal government money, in the form of loan guarantees, is gone.  That is $535 million taken from taxpayers who were engaged in pursuits that generated wealth and then transferred to a company that used it up.

The doors of this company are shut, and there is no more money left. 

Have you ever tried to generate wealth?  Not earn a wage, but start a company and make something of it?  It takes an enormous amount of work to create $100,000, $1 million, $10 million.  Enormous energy, creativity, and guts.

And yet...the government fritters away millions and billions of dollars in poorly-run programs and favors to connected fundraisers.  Money that is husbanded carefully in private companies is funneled into programs where $1 million is a rounding error.  Here is what bothers me:  There is no respect for the amount of work that the tax dollars represent.

We hear "$10 million for this program" and "a billion for that one" bandied about by people who have never tried to make that money themselves.  They have made high incomes, even in government, but they are very isolated from the actual work and guts of making something that creates wealth. 

In Solyndra's case, one prime investor was also a key bundler for the the Obama campaign.  The Department of Energy hasn't been entirely forthcoming but it looks as though corners were cut in the approval process for the guarantee.  And this is not an isolated case.  When you have more than $700 billion to give away, you find yourself with a lot of friends.

You know, Warren Buffett has been awfully outspoken lately about wanting to pay higher taxes.  In the end, I can't believe this (former) capitalist really believes that giving our government more money to spend on companies like Solyndra is truly the best use of his money.  If it were, why would he not have invested directly in it? 

I wonder if the administration had a wider variety of backgrounds in top administration positions, would we see such a cavalier attitude toward business, particularly the small businessman.  This is an aspect of the upcoming Presidential campaign that I will be paying a lot of attention to.

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