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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

$535 Million To Solar Panel Company That Cut Jobs - Some Senate Dems Want to Cut Spending - Sens. Reid and Schumer Say No

Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 22, 2011:
The Senate and House are in recess Feb. 28th. When the Senate returns, the chamber is expected to take up a patent reform bill, S. 23, and two more district judge nominees.

Two years ago, President Obama and Democrats in Congress passed the $814 billion stimulus bill with predictions that it would “save or create up to 4 million jobs over the next two years,” in the words of the president, and keep unemployment from exceeding 8%, according to White House economic advisors Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein. As Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell explained last week, “[I]t was predicated on the notion that government spending — spending borrowed money on government programs — was the recipe for a rebound. A plan that said if we ‘invest’ in government, we’ll get out of this mess.”

Among those “investments,” Leader McConnell pointed to “[h]undreds of millions of dollars [loaned] to a solar panel company that was supposed to double its workforce but ended up cutting jobs instead.” ABC 7 in San Francisco reported last November that solar panel maker Solyndra “was the epitome of what the government envisioned to be our green tech future. . . . Confidence was so high that Solyndra got a $535 million stimulus program loan to build a new factory along I-880 in Fremont.”

But, according to ABC 7, “Now there is word it will shut down its older plant down the street -- 40 employees will be laid off and 150 contract workers won't be renewed. . . . Suddenly, the future isn't as bright as it was a year ago and taxpayer money is on the line. Solyndra's shiny new plant cost $733 million -- $535 million came from federal funds. Only $198 million is for private financing, so the government's stake is 73 percent.” And The Oakland Tribune reported , “Solyndra Inc., the high-flying solar panel maker once touted by President Barack Obama as a model for a green energy future, said . . . it has scuttled its factory expansion in Fremont, a move that will stop the company's plans to hire 1,000 workers. Solyndra said it will also close an existing factory in the East Bay. . . . The moves mean that instead of having 2,000 workers in Fremont, Solyndra will cap its work force at 1,000, which is about the current level.”

The Daily Caller notes today, “The Energy Department estimated in a March 20, 2009 press release that the loan guarantee would create 3,000 construction jobs and a further 1,000 jobs after the [planned new] plant opened. And President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden each personally showcased Solyndra as an example of how stimulus dollars were at work creating jobs, during appearances at the company over the course of the following year. Biden personally announced the closure of Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee in a Sept. 9, 2009 speech, delivered via closed-circuit television, on the occasion of the groundbreaking of the plant.”

Further, The Daily Caller reports, “A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. And Solyndra’s auditor declared that ‘the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern’ in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement.”

This is the kind of project that was financed with government money in the stimulus, all of it borrowed. Despite the stimulus promises, two years later, unemployment is still at 9% and millions of jobs have been lost.

So what did all that borrowed money result in? The Washington Post reported Sunday, “The daunting tower of national, state and local debt in the United States will reach a level this year unmatched just after World War II and already exceeds the size of the entire economy, according to government estimates. But any similarity between 1946 and now ends there. The U.S. debt levels tumbled in the years after World War II, but today they are still climbing and even deep cuts in spending won't completely change that for several years.”

As Leader McConnell said, “Nearly a trillion dollars was added to the debt as a result of this [stimulus] bill in the name of investing in our future. And in the two years since it was signed, we’ve lost millions of jobs. . . . The bottom line here is that two years after the President told us he was investing in our future, here’s what we have to show for it: higher unemployment than they predicted and trillions more in debt. The fact is, dangerously high debt has actually slowed the recovery, making it harder to create private sector jobs.”

Last week, House Speaker Boehner made it clear that the House would not pass a short-term CR at current spending levels – the House needs to see cuts in spending. There seems to be some bipartisan, bicameral agreement on this. Roll Call reported this morning that, “Several moderate Senate Democrats told Roll Call they are considering supporting additional cuts beyond the domestic spending freeze that Reid and Senate Democratic leaders backed last week.” And CNN quoted a Senate Democrat aide saying, "If they send something over with cuts we could probably accept it.”

The only people who refuse to consider ANY spending cuts in the short-term CR are the Senate Democratic Leaders like Sens. Reid and Schumer. With a massive federal deficit and record-setting debt, the idea that we can’t cut one penny worth of federal government spending is indefensible. And the American people know it (as do many Senate Democrats, I suspect).

Today, Speaker John Boehner called on Senate Democratic leaders to take up House legislation that will keep the government running while cutting spending: “The House has passed legislation to keep the government running until October while cutting spending.  If Senator Reid refuses to bring it to a vote, then the House will pass a short-term bill to keep the government running – one that also cuts spending.  Senate Democratic leaders are insisting on a status quo that has left us with a mountain of debt and a stalled economy with unemployment near 10 percent.  That is not a credible position.  Republicans’ goal is to cut spending and reduce the size of government, not to shut it down. Senator Reid and the Democrats who run Washington should stop creating more uncertainty by spreading fears of a government shutdown and start telling the American people what – if anything – they are willing to cut.”

Tags: US House, US Senate, Washington, D.C., government spending, lost jobs, debt, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 5:48 PM - Post Link

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