Corporate welfare: Solyndra the poster child
';After we got the loan guarantee, they were just spending money left and right,'; former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn told The Washington Post. ';Because we were doing well, nobody cared. Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy.';
That';s what corporate welfare does. It changes the behavior of business executives, just as no-strings-attached welfare can change the behavior of the poor. Instead of focusing on profit-making, executives tend to spend more freely, let the business slide and focus on rent-seeking. That was exactly what happened at Solyndra.
';Lobbying expenditures of $160,000 a year in 2008 and 2009 accelerated as Solyndra';s financial and political troubles mounted,'; The Post reported. ';By 2010, such spending had grown to $550,000.';
Solyndra was bankrolled by the stimulus bill. As its inventory of unsold solar panels piled up, it built a new taxpayer-funded factory and sought more taxpayer funds. What was ';once touted by President Obama as the flagship of his administration';s effort to spur the clean-energy industry,'; wrote The Post, became instead the poster child of corporate welfare gone wrong. It is a cautionary tale for politicians of all persuasions who find themselves tempted to spur their favorite industries with jolts of taxpayer cash.