Creating jobs is necessary for pulling the US out of this slump, but if the jobs created will cost millions in additional training, they may not be the smartest investment. The Obama administration is wrought with examples of this. In the case of green energy, many of these jobs will force people to receive advanced training. While online graduate programs are available, student loan debt is crushing this country and forcing people to take on more of it is not exactly the stimulus we were promised. Neither was Solyndra.
The deeper we dig into the Solyndra scandal the more we find the fingerprints of officials at the very top of the Obama White House personally rushing the project with political considerations always in the minds of those working on the issue.
We already know that Solyndra was backed by a top Obama fundraiser and that company executives met at the White House at least 20 times. We don't now yet what happened in those meetings but now emails and documents among the various officials working on Solyndra are starting to come out and they tell much of the story.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration, as usual, is trying to point the finger of blame at President Bush. But the very first document in the Solyndra document file points to a refusal by Bush era officials to approve the loan guarantee and points to a number of serious unresolved issues. On January 13th Lachlan Seward, a key official in the Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee program wrote: "after canvassing the [credit] committee it was the unanimous decision not to engage in further discussions with Solyndra at this time." So much for the "it's Bush's fault" argument!
All the concerns which came to light at the end of the Bush Administration were swept away by the incoming Obama Administration. A DOE email from March 10, 2009 (page four) shows how paramount political considerations had become, but also repeats the warnings which were ignored:
"DOE is trying to deliver the first loan guarantee within 60 days of the inauguration (the prior administration could not get it done in four years). This deal is NOT ready for prime time."On page five, another email on March 10, 2009 links approval of the loan to Obama's visit to California on March 19. This is the first of many cross links between White House political needs and Solyndra.
Later in August 2009 the emails among DOE/OMB officials revealed the incredible pressure they were getting to finish work on the Solyndra loans. On August 31 (page 12) one OMB official complained that the announcement was driving the decision making process: "we would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews and have the approval set the date rather than the other way around."
On Tuesday, September 13, the White House pushed back against evidence of political pressure. But the Washington Post report shows examples of just what kind of pressure top White House officials did exert:
In one e-mail, an assistant to Rahm Emanuel, then White House chief of staff, wrote on Aug. 31, 2009, to OMB about the upcoming Biden announcement on Solyndra and asked whether “there is anything we can help speed along on OMB side.”This email (page 18) from an Office of Management and Budget official on January 31, 2011 highlights how political concerns continued to be at the forefront of Solydra concerns:
An OMB staff member responded: “I would prefer that this announcement be postponed. . . . This is the first loan guarantee and we should have full review with all hands on deck to make sure we get it right.”
“Given the PR and policy attention that Solyndra has received since 2009, the optics of a Solyndra default will be bad whenever it occurs. If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will be arguably worse later than they would be today...Questions will be asked why the Administration made bad investments not just once... but twice (which could easily be portrayed as bad judgement or worse).Once again highlighting the political nature of the issue this official went on to warn that the expected default “would likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.”
Failure of Obama's Green Jobs Agenda will cost BILLIONS!
Obama defenders might say of the Solyndra collapse "So what? It's only half a billion dollars." If only the amount wasted were that small.
The loan program run by the Department of Energy for so-called "green jobs" totals $38.5 BILLION. It was supposed to "create or save" up to 65,000 jobs. But the Washington Post reports that after giving out half the total amount only "3,545 new, permanent jobs" have been created. That's $5.4 million PER JOB. That's an even bigger scandal than the Solyndra collapse.
Over 1,000 jobs at Solyndra were lost when the firm closed it's doors. I'm not sure that counts in the current DOE tally. But Solyndra isn't the only green jobs firm that got Stimulus money and went bankrupt. There are at least two more both small potatoes when compared with the $500 million loss at Solyndra but further proof of waste of taxpayer money raising more questions about the ability and the desirability of the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace.
Obama's Favorite Wall Street Firm Goldman Sachs Big Winner
When Obama said he would "reward our friends and punish our enemies" he wasn't kidding. The big Wall Street brokerage firm Goldman Sachs was the second biggest PAC donor to Obama's 2008 campaign. I guess it's no surprise that we find Goldman's fingers in the Solyndra pie when more than $500 million was at stake.
The Solyndra scandal shows a propensity for the Obama Administration to put political concerns ahead of sound financial management practices. Yet, Obama continues to berate Republicans for putting "party before country?" Anyone else see the problem here?
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