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Green Companies Tire of Government Finance

Following the Solyndra debacle, the Energy Department’s “green technology” loan program has hit a familiar new snag—massive slowdowns and bureaucratic red tape have brought the program to a standstill. The New York Times reports that a wave of companies have had their loan applications withdrawn or rejected, and many green energy companies are complaining that this change may be politically motivated. “Since Solyndra became politicized last fall, the Department of Energy has failed to make any other loans,” laments one green tech CEO.

That’s pretty much how government programs often work. During the heady early days of the Obama Administration, sloppy, ill-considered loans were handed out left and right to companies like Solyndra. With an election on the way and the Solyndra debacle close behind, the pendulum is swinging the other way; bureaucrats are afraid of getting it wrong, and are taking the safe route: doing nothing and demanding more paperwork. The end result is a slow, erratic, and frustrating process, and these companies are walking away from government finance as a result.

Not that the private sector has a perfect track record, but government bureaucratic culture and investment banking do not mix well. In three years of trying, the Obama administration has yet to get its green energy loan program working; there isn’t much sign that it will ever get this right.

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  • Gary

    This is as it should be. The government should be the funding source of last resort. It should be so troublesome, inconvenient and intrusive to get government funding that you would exhaust all other avenues before considering it.

  • Kris

    How can this possibly be? It’s the private sector that’s supposed to be ruled by its animal spirits, prone to boom and bust cycles! The raison d’etre of our technocratic government betters is to save us from this unseemly chaos.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    As part of the Blue Model, Big Government is as inefficient as Big Labor, and Big Business, and is incompetent at picking winners and losers in the market place. In fact a Government limited to doing only those things the founding fathers gave it authority over in the constitution, would make for a thriving economy which wouldn’t have to compete with the government for capital, nor be as tax burdened carrying such a bloated government. Such an economy would be described as fast, flexible, creative, thriving, and free.

  • La Marque

    Government should not be guaranteeing any loans for production. The private sector is the venture capital’s area, not government.

    NIH and DoD have it right: seed projects and maybe a prototype. If they pan out, the government gets royalties.

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