Obama’s energy loan program is no boondoggle after all

   < < Go Back

by Dan Primack,

from Fortune Magazine,

During last year’s presidential campaign, federal loan guarantees for alternative-energy companies became a GOP punch line. Mitt Romney referred to some of the recipients as “losers.” Paul Ryan said they addressed “make-believe markets.” Marco Rubio claimed that the Department of Energy was “wasting more taxpayer money,” based largely on the well-publicized failure of solar-panel maker Solyndra. But a funny thing happened on the way to the burial: The loan program began to work. Thousands of jobs have been created. Domestic energy production is more diversified. Most important, the U.S. taxpayer is being set up for a possible profit.

Before continuing, let me be clear: I’m not really a proponent of the loans, or of any other government effort to play venture capitalist, private equity investor, loan officer, etc. Not because subscribe to stringent free-market dogma, but because such programs too often lose money. That’s why I’ve taken notice of this DOE program. It is proving either an exception to the rule or a new model for such programs going forward.

The DOE program began under President G.W. Bush and was supercharged by President Obama as part of the 2009 stimulus.

Read More: