Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obama’s venture capital : Administration re-energizes electric car discount program for celebrities

The Washington Times reports:
Hollywood celebrities were thrilled by Tuesday’s report that the Obama administration is getting back into the venture capital business. Bloomberg News revealed the Energy Department’s plan to pour another $16 billion into the automotive companies most favored by the White House.

President Obama doesn’t want anyone to call this corporate welfare, because that’s something he firmly opposes. “I don’t think oil companies need more corporate welfare,” the president explained last year. “Congress should end this taxpayer giveaway.” He loved the line so much he repeated a version of it 17 times in the space of two months, complaining about the $4 billion in “tax breaks” the oil industry “exploits.” (They’re actually manufacturing tax deductions available to anyone.)

The administration wants to give the impression the energy loans aren’t corporate welfare because the money is going to the little guy who will take on big, bad oil, which has been standing in the way of the technology of the future. In reality, it’s just business as usual.

Since 2008, the Energy Department’s electric car subsidy program has handed out $8.4 billion in public funds to carmakers. Two-thirds of the loot went to Ford Motor Co. and another $1.4 billion helped Nissan underwrite the cost of building and selling cars that the public isn’t interested in buying. Nissan used its U.S. taxpayer cash bounty to set up factories capable of churning out 250,000 of its all-electric car model, the Leaf, each year. Americans took one look at the vehicle’s $35,000 sticker price (recently slashed to $29,000) and realized they could buy a more comfortable economy car capable of long-range journeys for nearly half the price.

Taxing the successful to subsidize failure.