Shock! Outrage! The collapse and subsequent default of the solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra, while bad, is otherwise just a blip on the radar.
That’s at least the conclusion of a new independent report from Bloomberg Government analyzing the $16.1 billion Department of Energy’s loan program, which appears to further vindicate Energy Secretary Chu and the rest of the Department of Energy, who have said all along that they did due-diligence on Solyndra and all other energy companies that received loan guarantees. [...]
As of America’s support of the industry, the Bloomberg report finds that to begin with, the DOE’s loan guarantee program has been wildly misinterpreted: The government isn’t handing out loans — or money of any sort — as some Republican lawmakers have characterized it. Rather, the program is designed to hand out loan guarantees, that is, conditional agreements to pay back a private lender if a borrower, in this case, a clean energy startup company, defaults. [...]
Furthermore, the DOE “was appropriated $2.47 billion” to cover failures such as Solyndra, more than enough to pay for the cost of that lone, and a few others, too.
And it’s worth noting that Solyndra was but a drop in the bucket of the overall loan program portfolio: Only 3 percent of the total $16.1 billion, which itself is only “1.7 percent of the federal government’s guarantee commitments across all agencies,” according to the Williams.
While $535 million, which is roughly only a quarter of the cost of the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium, is a lot of money, it’s hardly enough to be a great cause for concern if you keep things in perspective.
Viewed from a distance, it’s further proof that the Republicans will latch on to any little thing they can find to justify a witch-hunt while living under an administration that falls far short of the kind of failure we became accustomed to during previous administrations.
Cash for clunkers worked. Detroit has been resurrected. Solar power is cheaper now than it has ever been. There are few genuine failures and many success stories.
For the Republicans, Solyndra was an early Christmas
scandal present that turned out to be nothing more than a lump of coal.