By Rich Lowry
Sept 3, 2011
We have seen the future, and it went bankrupt.
If the praises of high-ranking Obama-administration officials were a viable business plan, the solar-panel maker Solyndra would be an industrial juggernaut. Vice President Biden insisted that the jobs created by the California-based firm would “allow America to compete and to lead like we did in the 20th century.”
In a visit to Solyndra in May 2010, President Obama called it “a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism.” He all but redefined the traditional statement of Americanness to encompass motherhood, apple pie, and the conversion of sunlight into electricity through cylindrical thin-film solar cells, the specialty of Solyndra.
Obama and Biden were literally invested in Solyndra’s success. The company got a half-billion-dollar federal loan guarantee, the first in a highly vaunted Department of Energy green-jobs program, as part of the stimulus. This was supposed to be the new economic model: government and its favored industries cooperating to lead the country into a green, politically approved recovery.
The showcase firm is now filing for Chapter 11 in an embarrassing blow to the premises of Obamanomics. At least the Obama administration can’t be accused of practicing industrial policy the old-fashioned way and picking winners. It is evidently quite ready to pick losers, too…