The Washington Post would have its readers believe Energy Secretary Steven Chu has accepted responsibility for his role in the Solyndra debacle. There's only one problem: it ain't true.
First off, he's still the Energy Secretary. It is one thing to have loaned taxpayer money to Solyndra back in 2009, even after the Bush administration had denied Solyndra the loan earlier that year; I have issues with that in and of itself, but it isn't relevant to my point. But when Solyndra found it didn't have the cash reserves required, Chu and the DoE should have killed the deal then. But instead, the Nobel Prize physicist had the loan restructured in such a way as to leave taxpayers on the hook if Solyndra went into bankruptcy, which happened in August of this year. That is inexcusable. President Obama should have immediately fired Chu and everyone else involved with the loan restructuring.
Second, and because Obama didn't fire him, Chu rushed through a series of loans this week in order to use up whatever he had remaining from the money appropriated via Porkulus. Again, much of this money went to solar companies, most of which are funded or managed by wealthy Democratic Party supporters and operatives who double as campaign bundlers for Obama.
Third, like his boss Obama, Chu is way out of his league running the Department of Energy. I'm sure he's a nice man and a brilliant scientist, but that isn't the role of a political appointee to a Cabinet-level position. It appears that Chu thinks he is playing with Monopoly money and exhibiting very little common sense, a trait he shares with his boss. If Chu handled his private finances the way he handles the public's money, his creditors would take everything he has. Instead, he keeps on with his cushy job while the rest of us who pay taxes are the ones on the hook to repay the federal government's creditors for his extremely expensive mistakes.
Regardless of whether or not there are legal problems with the government or with Solyndra and our money they received from the government, Chu and those involved with this have no business remaining employed by the federal government.
On a related note, the blog at John Boehner's Speaker of the House website has a post regarding a promise candidate Obama made in 2008 (which, apparently had an expiration date of January 20, 2009) to use the same 2005 Energy Loan program as was used to loan public money to Solyndra to loan the funds needed to build an Ohio uranium enrichment plant. After three years, and to make a long story short, USEC, Inc. still hasn't gotten the loan approved even though Chu had stated that one of his goals was to eliminate the red tape in place with the Energy Loan program. According to information in the post, USEC had long since gotten all of its particulars together in order to get the loan approved, but the money still hasn't come in. Worse, the post notes USEC may have to lay off some 450 workers if the money isn't forthcoming. And, according to the post, Boehner is indicating the Solyndra fiasco is harming USEC from getting its money.
Is there a problem here? Absolutely. I have no doubt that Boehner is right in saying the project could bring in thousands of good jobs to Ohio. Also, we aren't talking about funding some pie-in-the-sky alternate energy project, but a proven clean energy project for nuclear energy. Lastly, this isn't a handout; it's a loan that is more likely than not going to be repaid, unlike the loan for Solyndra.
With all the venture capitalists out there, why isn't USEC going out to the private sector for the funding? I mean, this is what they do. If USEC can get financing from the private sector, there is no reason USEC should be asking for this loan from the taxpayers, and no reason at all for Boehner as Speaker of the House or as a Congressman from getting involved, especially with the perilous state of the economy and the federal government's finances. It would probably be a good idea to find out from USEC and Boehner if this could be a completely private venture and leave the federal government out of it.
Cross-posted at Scipio the Metalcon.