Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

The Green Sky is Falling! The Green Sky is Falling! Solyndra is Closing! – Tom Rossi

Several politicians, including President Obama, have made Solyndra their poster “green economy” company – only to watch it shut its new plant, and file for chapter 11. What a shock. A medium-sized company in America closing down. It must be because the whole green economy idea is a failure, right? It must mean that sustainability is a false idol, a dead-end road.

Well… bull. Here’s a list, courtesy of Wikipedia, of companies considered significant to our economy that have gone bankrupt in just two years, 2008 and 2009:

Allco Finance Group

Aloha Airlines

Amtrak Express Parcels

Apex Aircraft

ATA Airlines

Australian School of Business and Technology


Bill Heard Enterprises

Buffets, Inc.

Circuit City

Coast Air

Commander Communications

Countrywide Financial



eos Airlines


Frontier Airlines



Gretna F.C.

Halifax Town A.F.C.


Holley Performance Products

IndyMac Bank

International Race of Champions

iQon Technologies

Kaupthing Bank

Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander

Krispy Kreme Hong Kong


Lehman Brothers


Levitz Furniture

Lillian Vernon

Linens ‘n Things

Luton Town F.C.

Madoff Investment Securities

Mattress Discounters


Meguro Sushi

MFI Group

Montres Villemont

Morgan UK


Nationwide Airlines

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

The Officers Club

Olan Mills

Opes Prime

Peau Vavaʻu


Pilgrim’s Pride

RC Developments


Rotherham United F.C.

Sanlu Group

Sharper Image

Shoe Pavilion

Silver State Helicopters


Skybus Airlines

Super Aguri F1

Tai Lin Radio Service

Tribune Company

Tropicana Resort & Casino

Tuctuc Ltd




Value City

VeraSun Energy



Washington Mutual

WCI Communities

Wickes Furniture

Wilsons Leather

WiQuest Communications

Woolworths Group

XL Airways UK

Yamato Life Insurance Company



Zoom Airlines

3D Realms

A1 Grand Prix Operations


Allied Carpets

Apex Silver Mines


Babcock & Brown



Berkhamsted Town F.C.

Borders UK

CIT Group

Boater’s World

Colonial Bancgroup

Central Park Media

Charter Communications

Christian Lacroix

Crabtree & Evelyn

Darlington F.C.

Denver Newspaper Agency

Empire Direct

Extended Stay Hotels


Fisher Athletic F.C.

First Quench Retailing

Fleetwood Enterprises



Goody’s Family Clothing





Journal Register Company


KB Toys

Land of Leather

LDV Group Limited

FC Lyn Oslo



Magna Entertainment Corp.


Midway Games

Monaco Coach Corporation

Nortel Networks

Peanut Corporation of America

Philadelphia Media Holdings[84]


R. H. Donnelley

The Reader’s Digest Association

Ritz Camera


Send the Light

Setanta Sports

SETA Corporation


Silicon Graphics

Smurfit-Stone Container


Spectrum Brands


SsangYong Motor Company

Stanford Financial Group

Station Casinos

Steve & Barry’s



Sun-Times Media Group

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker


Trump Entertainment Resorts


Waterford Wedgwood

Young Broadcasting

Pretty impressive, eh? A few of these are actually foreign-owned and some of these actually went down due to criminal activities of one sort or another, while some were just good old-fashioned empty-cash-register-itis. I don’t think any of these failures had anything to do with some sort of “sustainable economy curse.”

Empty-cash-register-itis can be caused by any number of things including sinking company money into bad investments, but one reason, shared with Solyndra, is the inability to compete with out-sourced products. This is because the people that run our country (no, not the politicians, but their bosses… and no, I don’t mean, “the people”) are getting even richer than they already were by investing in foreign operations. For this reason, they have convinced us all that free trade is the greatest thing since the Beatles’ “White Album”.

“We can’t fall back into protectionism! That would be horrible for everybody!” That’s what we’re always told. But, as Ian Fletcher says in his excellent book, “Free Trade Doesn’t Work,” we have a huge trade deficit. That means that hundreds of billions of dollars are going overseas each year, and are not coming back (of course our wonderful wars have a similar, if not much worse, effect). It means that we, as a nation, are LOSING the free trade game, and have been for a long, long time.

It’s time to say the ultimate four (three?) letter word… tax. Import tariffs are essentially a kind of tax, so let’s not mince words. Let’s tax those who take our economy away from Americans and do something direct to protect American jobs and American products.

Republicans keep beating the same old drum that what we need to do is drop corporate taxes (and worker wages!!!!) to levels similar to so-called “third world” countries in order to attract manufacturing back to America. For one thing, many of the biggest corporations in America already pay nothing or almost nothing due to loopholes in the tax code. So what Republicans really want is a free ride for corporations, and for them to be free of cumbersome safety regulations, environmental standards, and the threat of being sued when their products cause someone’s death. They want regulatory agencies cut down or cut out.

Right now the tax burden, as a function “disposable income”, is heaviest on those who can least afford it. Let’s tax the corporations who have taken the jobs away from these people instead. Protectionism MEANS protecting OUR jobs. What could be wrong with that?

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


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