Friday, September 2, 2011

High Stakes Gambling With No Payoff?

In the wake of Solyndra--a solar panel manufacturer--shutting its doors, members of Congress have decided to investigate the company and the the means through which it garnered some half billion dollars from the DOE.

It's now pretty clear that the company received that loan guarantee--for $535 million--without a full assessment from the government. And there's some speculation that the loan was political payback for an Obama campaign contributor. Crony capitalism, right? But that seems like a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. Far more likely is that the DOE simply jumped the gun--partly from WH pressure--since the admin has been so eager to invest in green energy sources/technology.

Investing in such things isn't a bad idea, as a matter of course, but it's probably not a good idea to gamble with federal monies, given the economy and the deficit. Did I say "probably"? Okay, it's a bloody stupid idea. Government bailouts of private industry are bad enough, but tossing start-ups loads of cash without a proper risk  assessment? Come on. Not only that, there's no pay-off! Just the potential repayment of the loan, plus interest. At least venture capitalists roll the dice in the hope of a huge payoff.

The feds would be better off staking some professional gamblers at the next high stakes poker tournament...

Cheers, all.

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