Friday, September 23, 2011

"How Did Solyndra Spend All That Money?"

Megan McArdle asks the question, and she gives some answers from a financially savvy friend of hers and also from a Solyndra insider.

McArdle concludes:

I don't think this is going to end up being a story about corruption. I think it's going to end up being a story about bad decision making: at Solyndra, among its investors, and in the Obama administration. People took large bets with low expected values, because the alternative was admitting that the money they'd already spent was gone, and not coming back. They doubled down, just like some chump who lost his stake at the Vegas blackjack tables.

This does happen in the private market, of course. The difference is, when Argonaut Ventures takes a flyer on a longshot, they're not doing so with my money. The administration was supposed to have the economic dream team. Couldn't they have spared a moment to sit down with the folks at DOE and explain the concept of sunk costs?