Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), a Mitt Romney campaign surrogate, compared the government’s investment in failed energy company Solyndra to the Soviet Union and Cuba, during an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point this Tuesday.
“President Obama simply doesn’t understand that it’s the free enterprise systems, the private sector, the productive sector, not the government sector that creates long-term self-sustaining jobs,” Johnson declared. “Take a look at the Soviet Union, Venezuela’s economic basket case, and is anybody moving to the island paradise of Cuba?”
The comments perplexed host Soledad O’Brien, who pressed Johnson to clarify the comparison:
O’BRIEN: You’re surely not suggesting that the idea and the concept behind Solyndra and other green energies like Solyndra is comparable to the Soviet Union and Cuba, right?
JOHNSON: No, I am suggesting that, because when you take taxpayer money and you invest that into businesses, that’s the taxpayer money put at risk. And let’s face it, the lesson of the Soviet Union and other socialist nations is that governments are very poor allocators of capital. It’s an economic model that doesn’t work.
O’BRIEN: Didn’t it work in Massachusetts? Isn’t that exactly what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts in green energy when he was the governor of Massachusetts?
JOHNSON: Listen, the path we need to take this country on is with free enterprise system, the private sector that creates long term self-sustaining jobs and that’s exactly what Governor Romney would do as President Romney.
Romney has repeatedly reiterated his debunked claims that Solyndra’s bankruptcy symbolized the corruption and cronyism of the Obama administration, despite his own efforts as governor of Massachusetts to secure state loans for green developers that later went belly up.