Solyndra's Real Scandal

As the Solyndra story has unfolded, there have been a lot of blog posts and columns written about the "real scandal" of the situation.  The "real scandal", it turns out, encompasses everything from the GOP attempting to make political hay out of a vital environmental program, to the fact that the government was wasting all this money on the chimera of "green jobs".


I too, have had my candidate for the "real scandal"--the poor decision making that seemed to have surrounded the loan, especially in its later stages, as DOE threw good money after bad.

But these days, the real scandal is starting to look like . . . real scandal.  Contrary to earlier White House denials, we recently found out that major Obama fundraiser George Kaiser does indeed seem to have discussed Solyndra with members of the administration (In fairness, it was after the loan had closed.  However, given that there were ongoing approvals required for disbursements, and later, for modifications in the loan, this is not very comforting.)  

Meanwhile, Hoover's Peter Schweizer's new book claims that 80% of the loans in the DOE program that Solyndra tapped went to companies owned or run by Obama backers.  Of course, one would expect that most "green energy" types would be enthusiastic Democrats.  Still, the thing has a certain whiff about it.

Then today we learn that Solyndra, which was originally going to announce layoffs in late October 2010, held off on the announcement until November 3rd (aka election day).  And they seem to have done so at the behest of the White House.

I think the very least you can say is that the political side became inappropriately entangled with the technocratic side of this loan.  It undermines one's faith in both the program, and the administration.

Obviously, this is not the worst thing that any president has ever done, or even in the top 100.  But it's not a good thing.  And the people who support these sorts of technocratic subsidies should be the first people, not the last, to decry the actions which have tainted the program.


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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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