On May 21st of this year, thousands of expectant followers of cult leader Harold Camping eagerly awaited the end of the world. Some gave away all their possessions and quit their jobs, only to be bitterly disappointed when their prophet’s dire prediction proved to be wrong. While a number of these people undoubtedly learned a tough lesson, you and I both know that many will prepare in similar fashion for the next Armageddon date that sounds convincing. They believe because they want to.
It is a tragedy when people become so blinded by ideology that they waste their life savings or lose their jobs. When the blinded individuals hold power over federal spending, however, they waste other people’s money and lose other people’s jobs. Solyndra—the solar panel manufacturing company which became the graveyard for hundreds of millions of federal dollars—is just one of many such disasters.
Throughout the 2008 campaign and the early days of his presidency, the Obama administration prophesied about the coming “green” economy. They assured their followers that this administration would create no fewer than 5 million green jobs. These would be jobs working for companies that produced environmentally-friendly solar panels, wind generators, geothermal energy units and so on. We were told this was the future of economic growth for America.
To his credit, President Obama followed through immediately on his promise by setting his Department of Energy to work. They gave out millions of dollars to companies that produced such green products. Were these grants and loan guarantees based on sound research into the fiscal sustainability of such endeavors, or were they grounded in blind faith in the coming green economy? Time would certainly tell.
Solyndra was the poster child for this kind of company and these kinds of jobs. Throughout the first half of 2010, both President Obama and Vice President Biden publicly praised Solyndra as the type of company that was the future of American exports. The 1,100 people they employed were just “the first of those five million green jobs that were well on their way.” This was the key, they insisted, to revitalizing the struggling American economy.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.