11.29.2011 0

Solyndra workers hit taxpayer jackpot, again

SolyndraBy Rick Manning — Hold onto your hats, the Solyndra government bailout story has gotten even worse.

To recap, Solyndra, Incorporated, a solar panel manufacturing company which was largely owned by  major Obama political contributor, George Kaiser, scored a $535 million U.S. taxpayer loan guarantee courtesy of the Obama White House and their political appointees at the Energy Department.  Within a year of the guarantee, the company went bankrupt leaving taxpayers on the hook for half a billion of losses, while the private investors were protected due to the government agreements.

Subsequently, there are multiple investigations involving the FBI and Congress attempting to unwind what happened and whether there was indictable public or private corruption.

The Solyndra case has been in the spotlight because as many might remember both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden held the company up as an Obama Administration green jobs success story.

A year later, the company collapsed under the weight of outmoded technology and contracts that committed to company to sell panels for significantly less than they cost to manufacture.

When private investors, who are in business to select winning companies and ideas, rejected Solyndra’s request for more cash, Obama’s Department of Energy stepped in and provided the desired loot, putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook.

Now, the rest of the story is unfolding as the U.S. Labor Department announced that Solyndra employees will receive another $13,000 each beyond their unemployment benefits through the Trade Adjustment Authority provisions which are designed to retrain workers who lost their jobs due to foreign competition.

The total additional cost of Solyndra?  $14.3 million.

Beyond the money, the most galling thing about this Labor Department announcement is that Solyndra workers, who presumably have been trained in the very green tech fields that the Obama Administration has invested so heavily in, will now have millions lavished on them by the Obama Administration, so they can be retrained by U.S. taxpayers to get out of the green tech field.

Compare this treatment to that received by average workers who lose their jobs.  These unemployed workers are entitled to unemployment benefits but nothing more.

Yet, Solyndra workers, whose company already cost U.S. taxpayers half a billion dollars, are now getting special treatment through additional government largesse courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Authority  (TAA) program.

The TAA provisions were set up in the law to assist U.S. workers who lost their jobs due to foreign competition resulting from free trade agreements.

Solyndra failed even though the U.S. taxpayers propped it up in the ultimate example of an unfair trade practice.

Solyndra failed not because of foreign competition, but because they developed inferior technology which was rejected by the marketplace.

Yet, somehow, the Obama Administration has tripled down on Solyndra by forcing taxpaying Americans to provide another subsidy for the failed company through giving their former workers additional benefits beyond those received by the average person.

There is an old saying that government subsidizes behaviors they want to encourage and taxes those that they want to discourage.  In the Obama Administration, subsidizing failure is a way of life and higher taxes on success are a mantra.

Isn’t it time for the U.S. government to get out of the business of subsidizing failure, while attempting to punish success through higher taxes.

At its core, this philosophy is the reason that Obamanomics has failed.

And at the most fundamental level, reversing this perverse economic philosophy is the key to a return to American prosperity.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications at Americans for Limited Government. You can follow him on Twitter at @RManning957.

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