By the "Rule of 50 Million" your share of the government's Solyndra loan guarantee scandal, as a taxpaying American family, is $11.00.
As everyone now knows, Solyndra created an innovative form factor for PV panels, and then deftly combined this with (by various reports) dreadful operational management and a wholly uncompetitive cost structure. This amalgam then became a winning ticket for an Obama Administration stimulus loan guarantee.
This federal largess was funded via a program initiated in the Bush Administration and authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005...the '05 EP Act being a fine example of -- wait for it -- bipartisan legislation.
I hold out the possibility that the Solyndra money flush, ultimately, may actually be a worthwhile expenditure. And not just for the scavenger who ends up buying a new $535 million dollar factory for 4 cents +/- on the dollar at auction.
No, I'm referring to the value of this scandal as an enduring cautionary tale against government involvement in commercial ventures. I was under the understanding that "everyone" knows that "government should not pick winners and losers." Evidently this elemental notion needs to be reinforced. So now "Solyndra" can be a pithy reminder that politicians doling out investment dollars to private companies is a really, really bad idea.
Indeed, I hope that the word will lead a handy new epigram, and that the phrase "Solyndra Democrat" will be a cutting insult for a would-be proponent of crony capitalism.
And worse than a "Solyndra Democrat," of course, would be a "Solyndra Republican."
$11.00 might be a reasonable fee if it reduces the future volume of politicians playing banker. And if not, at least we're getting an unusually delicious story line out of the deal to sit back and watch. A nearly insane investment thesis, pots of campaign dollars in play, a tidy electronic record, FBI raids, a President doubling down in support, and an incredibly fast time line from investment to failure -- it may not be Enron, but it's been entertaining so far.