September 19, 2011 10:47AM

The Solyndra Saga Spreads to Trade Policy

My colleagues Tad DeHaven and Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren (among others) have given us enough details about the Solyndra affair to know that it stinks to high heaven. But now we smell that the rot is spreading, as over 1,000 former employees of the failed solar panel firm seek to obtain Trade Adjustment Assistance. So, in addition to the over $500 million worth of federal loans thrown down that hole, taxpayers will now be on the hook for retraining expenses, extra unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for workers in a firm that probably should not have existed — indeed, would not have existed — absent federal cash.

As this IBD editorial makes clear, if the White House and Congressional Democrats succeed in their goal to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program beyond its current funding and scope (a goal for which they are willing to risk passage of trade agreements they mostly claim to support), the cost to the taxpayer will go even higher. 

Let’s give the last word to my friend and trade blogger Scott Lincicome:

So to recap: massive government subsidies created 1,100 “green jobs” that never would’ve existed but for those massive government subsidies. And when those fake jobs disappeared because the subsidized employer‐​company inevitably couldn’t compete in the market, the dislocated workers blamed China (instead of what’s easily one of the worst business plans ever drafted) in order to receive… wait for it… more government subsidies.

Behold, the Circle of Government Life. [links in original]