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OUR VIEW: Solyndra debacle may be just the start [Gazette, The (CO)]
[October 17, 2011]

OUR VIEW: Solyndra debacle may be just the start [Gazette, The (CO)]

(Gazette, The (CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Solyndra scandal could be just the first glint of the sun over the horizon.

The notorious California-based solar-panel manufacturer, Solyndra received $535 million in federal loan guarantees. Then it went bankrupt and was raided by the FBI. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R- Calif., is investigating what he calls "political interference" by the White House in getting the loans even as Solyndra teetered toward bankruptcy.

There's something else Congress can do to directly reduce such incredible waste: Pass HR2915, the American Taxpayer and Western Area Power Administration Customer Protection Act of 2011. It is sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. It concerns President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill of 2009 - which, as you may have noticed, didn't prevent unemployment from rising from 7.1 percent in February 2009, the month it was passed, to 9.1 percent in September.

HR2915 would repeal the stimulus act's $3.5 billion Western Area Power Administration loan authority, beginning with any projects approved on or after Sept. 15, 2011. Basically, it would prevent the money going to renewable-energy companies that aren't viable on their own in the private marketplace and need taxpayer loans to keep going.

"This program actually is worse than the loans to Solyndra," McClintock explained to us. "Solyndra had to declare bankruptcy. With this program, a company doesn't have to declare bankruptcy. If the project doesn't generate the funds to keep going, taxpayers make up the difference. It's obscene." To say the least.

It is government controlling the means of production, which fits almost any reasonable and mainstream definition of socialism.

McClintock said that, of the $3.5 billion allocated for the Western Area Power Administration, so far only $277 million has been spent. So most of the money, about $3 billion, could be recovered if HR2915 is passed. If it is not passed, taxpayers can expect to artificially prop up all sorts of pie-in-the-sky government enterprises similar to Solyndra.

And McClintock pointed out that the jobs "created" by the loans to Solyndra cost taxpayers $454,000 each. Imagine what could have been done if that money had been left with taxpayers in the private sector, who could have created many real jobs that would have lasted. Imagine how many people may have lost their jobs as a result of the money being extracted from the private sector.

Government's attempts at creating lasting private-sector jobs have been abysmal. All its loan guarantees and bailout schemes should be canceled, the money refunded to taxpayers. A good start would be passage of HR2915. It was scheduled to be heard in the full House in the next week or so. We urge all of Colorado's congressional delegation to support this bill.

Americans have clearly reached their limits with watching government undermine private endeavors, and killing jobs, in an attempt to plan the economy by choosing winners and losers based progressive social values. - A version of this editorial originally appeared in the Orange County Register, a Freedom Communications newspaper.

(c) 2011 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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