Opinion

Green investment bank should make taxpayers see red

Photo of Chris Horner & William Yeatman
Chris Horner & William Yeatman
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      Chris Horner & William Yeatman

      Christopher Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. William Yeatman is the assistant director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and the Environment.

A July 2010 GAO report exposing the mess was actually the third on the subject. In its 2007 report, the GAO questioned “whether this program [LGP] and its financial risks will be well managed.” The above-cited July 2008 report said that the “Department of Energy is not well positioned to manage the LGP effectively and maintain accountability.” Congress interpreted that as a call for more money!

So it is that, today, in the current climate, this scheme is being rhetorically repackaged for another expansion. Meaning further, spectacular, entirely predictable — and therefore avoidable — waste.

This seems to be the apotheosis of government waste. Despite repeated warnings from federal watchdogs, it grows and grows. Congress authorized $38.5 billion in LGP loans for 2008 and 2009 — four times what the Department of Energy had requested. DOE has made 18 loan guarantees or “conditional” loan guarantees, worth almost $16 billion, to green energy boondoggles. In its 2011 budget, the Obama administration is asking for the authority to make $2 billion more in wholly subsidized loan guarantees to green energy companies.

This makes no sense economically. It would be laughable were this scam not bordering on criminal waste. It is Washington at its worst.

Which Republicans will stand up to support this? Better yet, which Republican will stand up to condemn the program and vow to kill it?

Christopher Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. William Yeatman is the assistant director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and the Environment.