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Republicans, Some Democrats Backed Failing Energy Company

It turns out there’s an energy boondoggle worse than Solyndra out there:

Public support for the United States Enrichment Corp. far exceeds what was lost on the infamous Solyndra solar energy boondoggle, and funding provided ostensibly to build a new plant will almost certainly yield the same results for taxpayers — nothing.

The company has over $2 billion in debts and liabilities and is valued at only $28 million on the stock market.

Company executives have acknowledged to shareholders that the firm has no viable business plan and lacks financing to build its proposed American Centrifuge plant — even as it collects money from the government as a down payment.

The company’s main plant, which is now being vacated, is in Kentucky, home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and in a town represented by Rep. Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on energy and power.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers is also a Kentucky Republican. Kentucky’s other senator, Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, is yet another Republican USEC backer.

Republican support appears to be run-of-the-mill pork barrel, bring-home-the-bacon sort of politics, rather than ideologically-driven environmentalist claptrap, but the effect is the same, and one could argue that that racket is more insidious.

The point here isn’t that Rand Paul isn’t a bad guy because he backed this.  There’s a lot to like about him, and I hope he’s a highly-effective senator from Kentucky for a long, long time.  It’s that he’s no less driven by political interests than any other politician.

There’s been a trend to hold him (or other) politicians up as paragons of incorruptible principle, and to portray others who know how to work the system to move the ball down the field on some issues as sell-outs, “establishment,” or RINOs.  Hopefully, this will be a lesson for those who hold by the political equation that just because 1 ≠ 0, 1 = 100.

Posted in Politics.

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