Valentine: Warmed-over socialism doesn't work

Friday, September 16, 2011

I don't know what's more disturbing about President Obama's jobs speech to Congress, that he's proposing another failed stimulus bill or that he just doesn't realize that the first one didn't work. Let's face it, what we heard was just more warmed-over socialism.

As Europe runs from this kind of policy we're running towards it. For example, what kind of sense does it make to give a company a tax break for hiring new employees? You hire someone for $40,000 a year, someone you don't really need, just to get a tax credit of four grand? Obviously concocted by someone who's never worked in the private sector, much less created a job.

Employers hire for one reason: because business is up. No one is going to hire just to get a tax break. It doesn't make good business sense.

Neither does the centerpiece of this administration's jobs plan: green jobs.

Even the biggest cheerleaders of green jobs are now admitting that these jobs just aren't materializing. In fact, green jobs are losing ground.

Take the case of Solyndra, a solar panel company that was awarded $535 million in federal loans. Mr. Obama held up Solyndra as an example of where the green jobs revolution was headed. As it turns out, he was right. They headed directly for bankruptcy with your tax dollars following them down the drain.

Solyndra may turn out to be more than just another failed experiment in the green jobs fiasco. George Kaiser is a high-stakes fundraiser for Obama. He's also a huge investor in Solyndra although he has now tried to distance himself from the company. But he can't hide from the facts.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation provided $300 million in seed money to Solyndra through their investment arm, Argonaut Ventures. Argonaut is headed by Steve Mitchell who, coincidentally, serves on the board at Solyndra. George Kaiser, who has visited the White House over 20 times since Obama took office (four times the week the loans were guaranteed), denies any knowledge of the $300 million investment from his family foundation to Solyndra. Hardly a credible denial given the large amount of money and his close connection with Mitchell.

But it doesn't end there. Federal law enforcement officials raided Solyndra's headquarters and a day later raided the homes of several executives. The feds were mum on the investigation but speculation has run rampant on the Internet. The most frequent guess is that Solyndra may have been involved in fraudulent loan practices.

Whether that's true or not doesn't address the nagging underlying question. Is green energy viable? That, apparently, depends on what you call viable. There are certainly wind and solar companies out there and I, for one, would love to see this technology become competitive with conventional energy. It's just not there yet. I got a quote to put solar panels on my home. By my calculations, it would take about 20 years just to break even. Not to mention having those unsightly panels on the roof.

This debate is best settled by the free market. The government has no business subsidizing anything, certainly not unproven energy companies. And Obama's ties to Kaiser may end up being his undoing. It's only a matter of time before the news media put a "gate" handle on this scandal.

You ready for the ironic part? George Kaiser is not only a big Democrat and Obama campaign contribution bundler, he's a billionaire oil man from Oklahoma! Yeah. Solyndra would never have even been in business had it not been for Big Oil.

Obama in bed with an oilman. How progressive.

Phil Valentine is a syndicated radio talk-show host. His Web site is