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Ed Driscoll

‘Government is a Crappy Venture Capitalist’

October 4th, 2011 - 2:38 am

Wow, which right-wing teabagging neocon deathbeast Rethuglican extremist uttered such hate speech?

“Why, it’s former chief economic advisor to Obama Lawrence Summers,” Kyle Smith writes, adding, “This is one of the rare true things said by anyone in the administration that could (and should) fit on a bumper sticker,” and linking to this New York Times article on Solyndra:

A Solyndra investor, in an e-mail sent to the White House in late 2009, asked why the government had been willing to offer the solar start-up so much money.

“One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million,” the investor, Brad Jones of Redpoint Ventures, wrote in December 2009 to Lawrence H. Summers, then the president’s chief economic adviser, referring to Solyndra. “While that is good for us, I can’t imagine it’s a good way for the government to use taxpayer money.”

The investment, Mr. Jones said, demonstrated broad problems with the government loan program. “The allocation of spending to clean energy is haphazard; the government is just not well equipped to decide which companies should get the money and how much,” he wrote.

Mr. Summers wrote back that he shared some of the same concerns, before offering a partial defense of the government effort.

“I relate well to your view that gov is a crappy vc,” Mr. Summers wrote, using a shorthand for venture capitalist. “But suppose we think there are all kinds of externalities to renewable investments. What should we do?”

As is so often the case, the advice of General Allenby in Lawrence of Arabia comes to mind. That’s a suggestion that the Obama administration would never, ever take to heart, even though, as the National Journal reports, “New e-mails released Monday show the White House was warned about Solyndra’s potential problems even before President Obama visited the company’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters and used it as a backdrop for his push for renewable energy investment and green jobs:”

E-mails show the two agencies were on the same page in September 2009, when the department approved Solyndra’s loan guarantee. But by 2010, OMB officials started having concerns about the solar manufacturer’s financial standing.

On Aug. 31, Solyndra — the first company to receive a federal loan guarantee under the Energy Department’s stimulus project for renewable energy — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

OMB’s concerns in 2010 were heightened by an independent audit that expressed doubt about the company’s finances.

“DOE … has one loan guarantee to monitor and they seem completely oblivious to this issue,” one OMB analyst said to another in an April 2, 2010, email.

“What’s terrifying is that after looking at some of the ones that came next, this one [Solyndra] started to look better,” another OMB e-mail exchange said of Solyndra. “Bad days are coming.”

And coupled with the report that “News documents indicate that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder more than likely perjured himself in congressional testimony about Operation Fast and Furious earlier this year,” as Bob Owens writes here at PJM, the bad days are here for Mr. Obama.

No wonder, as Charles Krauthammer said last week that the president has “given up – he’s essentially announced that the governance phase of the Obama presidency is over. And he’s now fully campaigning, with a year and two months to go. That’s some kind of indoor record.”

Who can blame someone who wasn’t prepared for the job he sought — and who was never vetted for it by the MSM — to mentally check out when the going has gotten far too tough?

Related: “Another $98.5 Million Down the Drain… Nevada Geothermal About to Go Bust After Hefty Obama Loan.”

A hundred million of taxpayer schmundo here, another hundred million there, and pretty soon, you’re talking about real money.

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