SEPTEMBER 01, 2011
A fly by night solar panel company that got more than half a billion dollars from the U.S. government to promote green energy has abruptly folded, stiffing American taxpayers while laying off more than 1,000 workers.Shortly after cutting a fat check President Obama touted the northern California firm, Solyndra, as a prominent example of clean energy. “Companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future,” the president said during a visit to the now-defunct company’s Fremont headquarters.The investment in Solyndra had been hyped up by the administration as part of the president’s “aggressive strategy to put Americans back to work” and reduce the country’s “dependence on foreign oil by developing clean, renewable sources of energy.” At least that’s what Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, said shortly before Uncle Sam doled out the cash. He also seemed quite confident that giving money to companies like Solyndra would create “millions of new, good paying jobs.”On the day Solyndra got its $535 million from the government, Vice President Joe Biden appeared in a ceremony—via satellite from Washington D.C.—to announce that thousands of jobs would be created. “By investing in the infrastructure and technology of the future, we are not only creating jobs today, but laying the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st-century economy,” Biden proclaimed.Try telling that to the 1,100 people who just got laid off with little notice, no severance pay or extended insurance benefits. Painful and devastating is how some described it in a local newspaper report as they hauled boxes containing personal belongings. Seeking an explanation from the Obama Administration, the paper published a quote from a low-level Department of Energy spokesman who handles public affairs.Here it is: “We have always recognized that not every one of the innovative companies supported by our loans and loan guarantees would succeed. But we can’t stop investing in game-changing technologies that are key to America’s leadership in the global economy.”
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