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Graphic: The Solyndra Hypocrisy Illustrated

By Stephen Lacey on October 1, 2012 at 6:00 am

"Graphic: The Solyndra Hypocrisy Illustrated"

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I previously dubbed the manufactured political outrage about the Department of Energy’s clean energy loan guarantee program the “Solyndra Standard.” While legislators and candidates hammer away at supposed “taxpayer giveaways,” they completely ignore the billions of dollars in defense boondoggles, fossil fuel subsidies, and agricultural subsidies — all of which dwarf investments like those to Solyndra.

The graphic below illustrates this double standard quite well. Personally, I wouldn’t tell the House to “shut its face,” as Dave Llorens of Solar Power Rocks does. After all, I do believe strongly in Congress doing its job and looking into whether programs like this are working for taxpayers. The problem is that the Solyndra “investigation” has turned into a complete political circus with no proof of any wrongdoing. Rather than an actual investigation, it’s become a messaging platform against Obama during an election year — and even Republicans have admitted they’ll stop after the campaign season winds down.

And so, here’s how that $535 million stacks up with some other major expenditures:

Here’s some sources:

  • http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/china-will-spend-75b-annually-clean-energy-technologies
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/05/opinion/05KRIS.html?ex=1027081396&ei=1&en=6415bc0232476bf2
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures
  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-775-billion-in-fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-hardto-scrap/2012/06/18/gJQABaQUlV_blog.html

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4 Responses to Graphic: The Solyndra Hypocrisy Illustrated

  1. clays says:

    Translation:

    Flushing money down the drain to the benefit of campaign donors is fine as long as it’s small compared to other expenditures.

  2. jimvj says:

    Just a clarification:

    The $770 Billion figure is for annual GLOBAL subsidies for oil, coal & natural gas.
    Whereas the bank bailouts ($700 Billion) are for US banks only.

  3. Gillian King says:

    Clay – it sounds like you want to live in a perfect world where every speck of dust is polished away.

    I’m more mop and bucket – it makes sense to clean up the BIG messes before doing the final ‘dust and polish’.

  4. Gillian King says:

    There are a couple of flaws in this graph.

    Firstly it muddles global and US expenditures, as noted by jimvj. This makes it gimmicky and easier to dismiss.

    Second, the graph would be clearer to me if the Enron and Solyndra columns were the same as the others – same width and same colouring. The switch in width and added images add clutter and confusion.

    I don’t know why ‘big oil’ appears on the Solyndra column because I know it as a solar panel developer. Don’t confuse the main message with added geegaws.

    Keep it simple. Resist the impulse to add more.