Solyndra: A Microcosm of Market Intervention
The solar panel manufacturer Solyndra has received widespread media attention as an example of the problems of subsidizing “green energy.” The Obama administration gave Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee, and the firm subsequently tanked. Obviously, there may have been a quid pro quo as many of the company’s big wigs were major Democrat donors.
This kind of apparent Democrat party kickback at taxpayer expense isn’t an anomaly, as the case of LightSquared shows. Between green energy and union cronyism, the Democrats are kings at using the budgetary process as an ongoing slush fund to route taxpayer money into party coffers.
It might be politically incorrect to say this, but some might call that stealing.
When the government has arbitrary power to intervene into the market, there is always the potential for corruption, as the fates of businesses are decided by regulations and tax rates. Politicians can tacitly blackmail businesses into paying protection money in order to leave them alone.
As government power has grown over the years, so has its hubris. This is not unexpected, as our Founders foresaw the perils of a dominant state, and for that reason designed a Constitution that limited and divided government powers.
But oddly, there is a large contingency of Americans who see the marketplace, a forum where people voluntary exchange goods, services, and labor for capital, as more of a threat than the government. History does not bear their apprehensions out.
Corporations in and of themselves are nothing to fear. They do not do anything but hire people and sell demanded goods and services. They cannot even maintain monopoly position in a market while abusing consumers. Competition will always undercut companies that try to bully customers.
But when politicians and corporations team up, then you have real trouble. It is the government’s power of coercion that is the heart of real corruption, not money in and of itself. Blaming an inanimate object for people’s behavior is childish, dodges personal responsibility, and excuses immoral actions.
Money is just a means to an end, and a measurement tool for the economy. It can be used to build companies, finance charities, or to accomplish other innumerable personal and group goals. Of course, if what one is offering in the market is worthless or comes at too high a price, then one might not get any takers.
That is why green energy had to turn to the government. In a free market, their products are just too inefficient and too expensive. And that is why green companies and research organizations have to push the debunked myth of manmade climate change: To take the unearned in exchange for the unvalued.