The Solyndra investigation has brought loan guarantees out of the obscure world of political wonkery and into the living rooms of Americans around the country.
The problem is, many in the media are completely misrepresenting how the instrument works and who supports it. So we’ve put together a video primer on how loan guarantees work, posted below.
Some Republicans may want you to believe they don’t support this Obama-era display of government largesse. But in fact, one of the loan guarantee programs for clean energy was signed into law by the Bush Administration. And what did the Bush folks have to say about it in 2007?
“The administration is one step closer to issuing guarantees for loans for clean energy projects that will help reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, boost economic competitiveness, and combat climate change,” DOE spokeswoman Megan Barnett wrote in an e-mail.
If that statement were made by the Obama Administration today, conservative politicians would be all over the airwaves complaining about government manipulation of markets. The fact is, loan guarantees have historically enjoyed bipartisan support — until it wasn’t politically convenient to do so.
That includes Michigan Republican Fred Upton, chairman of the committee leading the investigation into the failed loan guarantee, who was an early backer of the policy. In 2007, he proposed adding $4 billion more to the loan guarantee program in order to help build new nuclear facilities around the country.
But speaking during a subcommittee hearing on Solyndra this week, Upton explained that he thinks they are “speculative”: