Solyndra subsidies fuel federal housing using Enron-style accounting

· April 20, 2016  
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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, greets witnesses, from left, Antoine Halff, program director of Global Oil Markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy Columbia University, Adam Sieminski, administor of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and James Lucier, managing director of Capital Alpha Partners, LLC, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, prior to the start of the committee's hearing to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What happens when you mix green energy social engineering with the affordable housing agenda? You get the worst elements of venture socialism that led to our economic collapse. You also get a bill from your GOP Senate pushing this very left-wing ideal of central planning.

To begin with, the Republican-led Senate is pushing a dubious energy efficiency bill at a time when they should be focusing on bold and popular conservative legislation, especially pertaining to homeland and national security. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012), sponsored by Lisa Murkowski (RINO-AK), uses the boot of government to promote “energy efficiency” and steer funds toward specific products and services offered by corporate cronies. It also provides subsidies and low interest loans for various forms of energy preferred by federal policy makers.

While this bill is being sold as a positive step forward because it also contains a provision expediting liquefied natural gas export applications, we are unlikely to actualize any benefit from that until we have a Republican president. In that case, we can pass an even better bill — minus the green energy social engineering.

To make matters worse, the Senate voted yesterday on an amendment sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), which will require the Federal Housing Administration to count the projected savings from “energy efficiency” in the home towards the income of the borrower for a prospective mortgage. This “increased income” will in turn allow the home buyer to qualify for a larger government-backed loan.

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. This is a mix of Solyndra, Freddie Mac, and Enron accounting all in one. Republican lawmakers are now doubling down on the same failed affordable housing social engineering agenda and are using notional and intangible green energy savings as income in order to encourage riskier loans on the taxpayer’s dime. This proposition will further distort the private market and force housing appraisers and underwriters to ascertain the voodoo-value of energy savings in the house.   Overall, this amendment passed 66-31, with the help of the following 21 Republicans:

Alexander (TN)
Ayotte (NH)
Blunt (MO)
Burr (NC)
Capito (WV)
Cassidy (LA)
Cochran (MS)
Collins (ME)
Cornyn (TX)
Graham (SC)
Hatch (UT)

Heller (NV)
Hoeven (ND)
Isakson (GA)
Johnson (WI)
Kirk (IL)
Murkowski (AK)
Portman (OH)
Rounds (SD)
Sullivan (AK)
Tillis (NC)

This is a quintessential example of the problem with the Republican Party. They accuse conservatives have harboring unrealistic expectations in terms of how much government they have the ability to cut. The problem is, far from cutting any government intervention, almost every piece of legislation they pass expands government involvement in the private sector. This bill combines two of the worst federal policies — green energy social engineering and the federal housing scheme — and doubles down on the very impetus for our economic failure.

Update: The underlying energy efficiency bill, which included the ludicrous Isakson housing amendment, passed the Senate 85-12.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.