No More Solyndras

One would think that Solyndra’s massive failure would leave little doubt in lawmakers’ minds about the viability of subsidizing energy companies, especially those that cannot compete in the free market.  But sometimes logic goes out the window when political motivations come into play for members of Congress.  Needless to say, this has been a bipartisan problem.

Fortunately, the tide is turning.

This week, the No More Solyndras Act (H.R. 6213) is up for a vote on the House floor.  In July, Heritage Action advised Congress to reign in reckless, politically motivated spending on energy projects by passing this act; the message remains the same today.

The No More Solyndras Act was designed to prevent other failures like Solyndra from happening in the future, which is something every taxpayer should like if they recall how much Solyndra cost them – half a billion dollars for those keeping score.  It does so by phasing out the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  It would also require the DOE to report to Congress on the decision-making process and details of the loan, improving loan transparency and further protecting taxpayers.

The Heritage Foundation’s Nick Loris has explained why members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are in favor of subsidizing energy projects and why that is always a bad idea:

But these programs do not create jobs. They misallocate labor and capital by shifting taxpayer dollars away from economical projects and toward political ones.  If these projects were economical, they wouldn’t need help from the taxpayer. And if they are viable, the government is merely taking money from the taxpayers to bankroll private companies who don’t need it.  As Heritage’s David Kreutzer testified earlier this month, “Private investors will finance risky projects, new projects, and projects with long payback periods. None of these conditions is an example of market failure or a call for loan guarantees.”

The loan guarantee given to Solyndra, and Solyndra’s subsequent bankruptcy, are vivid reminders that the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.   Subsidizing Solyndra was not only a failed project, but an egregious disservice to Americans.

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