Opinion: The Solyndra Business Model: Another Lesson in Perils of Liberal Governing
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 10:03 AM
A lot can, and has, been said and written about the Solyndra scandal. In case you're not up to date on it, the short version of the story is the Obama administration gave half a billion dollars to a solar panel company in California as part of its Green Jobs Initiative.
Jon Stewart can sum up the rest of the scandal, but essentially it turned out to be a crony deal for an Obama donor; the White House was told repeatedly that Solyndra was a failing company, and Obama touted Solyndra as the very best example of what his Green Jobs Initiative would do.
That the government invested in a non-viable company because it wanted a "Green" photo-op, and that this investment was part of a sweetheart deal to reward an Obama donor, is disgusting but typical. The fact is, when the government pours money into a business or a program or an initiative, no one cares too much whether it succeeds or fails.
After all, are any of the people who made the decision to fund Solyndra going to see a smaller paycheck as a result? Of course not. That remains the number one argument as to why the government should not have the power to use OUR money to fund their pet projects
It's also the most reasonable argument for why private businesses always do better than public ones. For example, Fed Ex and UPS have to balance their budgets, make cuts when necessary, and care about meeting their bottom line. The US Postal Service? Less.
After all, when they run out of money, the government just gives them more. No skin off anyone's nose; it's not like the government employees increasing USPS's funding are using their own money. They're using yours, which is not painful at all.
The major problem with Solyndra is not all the ways that the government failed to prop up a company, or all the bad reasons why the Obama administration chose Solyndra to receive such an obscene amount of money. Pointing out that the Obama administration is inept and using Solyndra as an example is valid, but it only focuses on a part of the bigger problem.
That bigger problem, of course, is that the government gave out half a billion dollars to a company employing 1100 people, and that this was considered a success (before it wasn't). That's around half a million dollars an employee.
We're at the point where giving away half a million dollars per employee is considered a good use of the tax dollars the government collects—and now the government wants to collect even more.
Why not just give each potential employee $250k, which might actually stimulate the economy while saving a quarter of a billion dollars?
President Obama is playing his class warfare game by insisting "the rich" aren't paying their fair share. He wants to collect more money from those who have been successful in their businesses in a way that he clearly hasn't.
This is a president who has never run anything and never had to succeed in making a profit. Being a community organizer isn't inherently a bad thing, it just doesn't prepare someone for the realities of balancing budgets and making smart investments.
The people that are doing these things successfully are the same people targeted and punished for their success by the president's proposed legislation. It's a backward time for our country when the president's investment in Solyndra is a half a billion dollar failure, and the taxes of those who dare to succeed have to go up to pay for it.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.