NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Ex-Solyndra Staff Eligible for Federal Aid

November 23, 2011

The Labor Department announced on November 21 that it had approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the former employees of the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, says

  • 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 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.

Solyndra was given a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009 by the Obama administration as part of a program to boost green jobs.  Behind the scenes, the company was bleeding cash and seeking a second Department of Energy (DOE) loan to stay afloat.  By late 2010 it had defaulted on the original loan and DOE agreed to a restructuring to allow the company to survive.

The renegotiation included giving private investors first crack at the first $75 million recovered in the event of liquidation.  The decision was in apparent violation of DOE loan rules.  It all but ensures that taxpayers will recover none of the original loan.

Source: Sean Higgins, "Ex-Solyndra Staff Eligible for TAA Federal Aid; Packages Worth Average $13,000 Each,", November 21, 2011.

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