DC Trawler

BREAKING: When government doles out huge bags of taxpayer cash, they’re frittered away recklessly

Obama’s way doesn’t work. Here’s why. Washington Post:

Former employees of Solyndra, the shuttered solar company that exhausted half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, said they saw questionable spending by management almost as soon as a federal agency approved a $535 million government-backed loan for the start-up.

A new factory built with public money boasted a gleaming conference room with glass walls that, with the flip of a switch, turned a smoky gray to conceal the room’s occupants. Hastily purchased state-of-the-art equipment ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar, still in its plastic wrap, employees said.

As the $344 million factory went up just down the road from the company’s leased plant in Fremont, Calif., workers watched as pallets of unsold solar panels stacked up in storage. Many wondered: Was the factory needed?

“After we got the loan guarantee, they were just spending money left and right,” said former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn. “Because we were doing well, nobody cared. Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy.”

UH YEAH WE’VE NOTICED

Matt Welch explains why this happened, and why it’s going to keep happening if everybody doesn’t wake up:

The lesson of government waste, whether on $16 muffins or $535 million loan guarantees to solar power companies or $48 billion in “improper” Medicare payments, is one worth relearning every day.

Managers whose budgets do not depend on customer satisfaction and who do not face competitive pressure in the marketplace, will not, on balance, spend their money wisely. Vendors selling to those managers know that price matters much less than it does to, say, Wal-Mart. And anywhere there is political urgency and official involvement high up the command chain, conditions will begin resembling a gold rush.

As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama’s stimulus was announced in 2009, “There’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.”

There is no such thing as war without the brutal, violent death of innocents, including children. Similarly, there is no such thing as government spending without gobs of disgusting waste, graft and corruption. It’s all cooked right into the system.

If you want to create jobs and stimulate the economy, quit trying to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Leave us alone. We got this.

P.S. Great minds think alike, but so can mine and P.J. O’Rourke’s: “If I ruled the world, I’d leave people alone. Humans are a self-organising species. Paleontologists say we began making tools two-and-a-half million years ago. I doubt we did so in response to a Stimulus Act from the president of United Homo Erectus.”