Editor’s Note – The business of the people does not include investing your tax dollars into venture capital incubation companies. But when it comes to the ‘Green Agenda’, this administration is using the Van Jones play book for the sake of jobs, at least that is what they are saying. Jobs is one thing but going green is not the solution to our dependence on fossil fuels, foreign or domestic, and never will be. Our energy demand far out strips any solar or wind output, especially in economic terms. The government is chartered with performing policy that adheres to the law, and cozy crony capitalism is anathema to the law, and this activity is following the “Rule-of-Men” not the “Rule-of-Law” our foundations are set upon. Our voices need to be heard that the private sector is our economic machine, not the government picking and choosing winners and the EPA and White House simply throw sand in the gears for others.
59% Oppose Government Loan Help for Alternative Energy Company Like Solyndra
The questionable financial dealings of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra and its ties to the Obama administration are drawing little public attention so far, but most voters agree government help is not the best way to develop alternative energy sources.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely U.S. Voters think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulation to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% believe government subsidies and regulations are the better way to go. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But then 71% of voters say private sector companies and investors are better than government officials when it comes to determining the long-term benefits and potential of new technologies. Sixty-four percent (64%) think it’s likely that if a private company which cannot find investors gets funding from the government, that money will be wasted.
If private investors aren’t willing to put money into a company, only 17% of voters think the federal government should provide loan guarantees or loans to help keep such a company in business. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say the government should not provide money for an alternative energy company after private investors refuse to invest in it. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure.
Solyndra received $535 million loan guarantees from the federal government after private investors refused to invest further. The company had strong political ties to the president including major campaign contributions. A plurality (47%) of voters agrees that when business owners support a winning politician, they get special treatment when applying for government loan guarantees. Twenty-nine percent (29%) do not believe that to be true, while another 23% are not sure.
While most voters oppose government funding help for “alternative energy” companies that can’t attract private investment, they’ve evenly divided when asked specifically about “companies that want to develop solar or wind power.” Forty percent (40%) say the government should provide funding for solar and wind power companies if investors will not invest in them, while an identical 40% oppose such government funding. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Just 39% of voters say they have followed recent news reports about Solyndra, with 19% who are following Very Closely.
Voters consistently express more confidence in the private sector than in government to solve the nation’s energy problems. Most recently, in June, 72% of Americans said the United States is not doing enough to develop alternative sources of energy, but 65% felt private companies were more likely to solve the nation’s energy problems than a government research program.
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulations to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. Just 34% of Democrats agree. A plurality (41%) of voters in the president’s party have more confidence in government subsidies and regulations.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats and a plurality (44%) of unaffiliated voters believe the government should provide funding to companies that want to develop solar or wind power even if private investors will not invest in them. Sixty-three percent (63%) of GOP voters oppose such funding.
Given a case like Solyndra, though, 57% of unaffiliateds agree with 78% of Republicans that the government should not provide loans or loan guarantees to help keep the company in business if private investors refuse to get involved. Democrats agree by a much narrower 43% to 26% margin.
Nearly half (49%) of Political Class voters think the government should help an alternative energy company in a situation like Solyndra’s. Seventy percent (70%) of Mainstream voters disagree. But 53% of those in the Mainstream believe that when business owners support a winning politician, they get special treatment when applying for loan guarantees. Fifty-four percent (54%) of the Political Class think that’s not true.
The loan guarantees for Solyndra which are now unlikely to ever be repaid came from the $787-billion stimulus plan approved in early 2009 by the Congress, and voters have remained lukewarm on that package ever since the president first proposed it.
Most voters continue to believe strongly as they have for years that government and big business work together against the interests of consumers and investors.
Voters remain strongly supportive of a free market economy over one controlled by the government and still think small businesses are hurt more than big businesses when the government does get involved.