Despite the dubious track record, a Washington Post report noted that as of June, half of the president's trips to visit private businesses outside of Washington were related to promoting green technology. In all, Obama visited 22 clean-technology projects in 19 separate visits in a two-year period. That's nearly one a month.
What motivates the president's fanaticism? Is it simply blind faith in green technology, or is he chasing another shade of green -- namely, cash for his campaign coffer? In 2008, Obama raised twice as much as his Republican opponent from those in the green-tech businesses. Republicans are routinely accused of being the pawns of big oil, but where is the concern that Obama is beholden to the green machine?
Whatever his motivation, the real issue is that government cannot "create" jobs -- other than those on its own payroll. There are plenty of private businesses that fail. But the difference between Solyndra's failure and that of, say, the restaurant down the block or even a national chain like Kmart, is that Solyndra was artificially propped up from the get-go by federally guaranteed loans.
If Solyndra's technology, which rested on a new design for solar panels, was as promising as the Obama administration seemed to think, investors willing to risk their own money should have been plentiful. Where were Warren Buffet and the president's other billionaire supporters?
Capitalism has worked to create more jobs than any system since the dawn of civilization. But it works because individuals take risks with their own money or with borrowed money that they're personally liable to repay.
What doesn't work is commandeering other people's money in a crapshoot where there are more losers than winners. But Obama has yet to learn that lesson. And we can expect more government-funded fiascos like Solyndra on the horizon as long as he is president.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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