Reward for failure: Solyndra employees get federal aid package worth $13,000

Tack on an additional $14.3 million to the half billion the taxpayers have already sunk into this turkey. In the topsy turvey world of green business, failure is rewarded because as we all know, it's not that Solyndra had an idiotic business plan, it's those evil Chinamen who are at fault for the company's collapse.


The Labor Department today announced that it had approved Trade Adjustment Assistance for the former employees of the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra.

That means all of the firm's 1,100 ex-employees are eligible for federal aid packages, including job retraining and income assistance. The department has valued packages at about $13,000 a head.

Taxpayers will have to cough up yet another $14.3 million as a result of Solyndra's bankruptcy. They are already on the hook for $528 million in federal loan guarantees to the company that are unlikely to ever be paid back.

The department's decision also bodes well for a trade complaint made against China by a coalition of domestic solar panel makers. The request for the TAA was based on the claim that Solyndra failed because China was underselling U.S. manufacturers. By granting the assistance, the Labor Department has indicated it believes those charges have at least some merit.

The announcement was made quietly today by the DOL's Employment and Training Administration on its website. The decision was reached Friday.


As it happens, the decision to grant the aid was made the day after Energy Secretary Steven Chu had a long-expected and highly contentious hearing before a House panel over the Solyndra failure.

Lamont said the administration did not delay the decision until after Chu's testimony.

The Obama administration has apparently pushed to delay bad news regarding Solyndra before.

The TAA program offers help to domestic workers who have lost their jobs due to the trade practices of foreign countries. The assistance includes job retraining, allowances for job searching, health benefits and up to 130 weeks of income support. The average recipient gets about $13,000 in assistance.

"Highly trained" workers who need retraining? I think it a fine idea that a worker has the get up and go to add to their skills in this tight job market, but there are already other federal programs for which you can apply for a loan or grant to receive that training. Why a special program for uncompetitive firms?

This is the argument some Republicans were making that evidently did no good. Meanwhile, the government continues to punish succcess and reward failure - a curious plan to make our economy stronger and more competitive.

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