Fisker Failure was Easy to See Coming

Biden/FiskerWhile hindsight may always be 20/20, foresight should be pretty clear in many instances as well. The Fisker failure was one of these times. Many saw the folly in spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to support the green debacle. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that even the Obama Administration had warning of the Fisker loan risks back in April of 2010 when the Energy Department began emailing their concerns.

Congress will be holding hearings starting today to address the scandalous waste of taxpayer money on Fisker. Reuters states one of the goals of the hearing, “‘The Obama Administration owes the American taxpayer an explanation as to why this bad loan was made in the first place, and what they are going to do to minimize the loss that taxpayers face,’ said Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, chairman of the subcommittee holding Wednesday’s hearing.” Perhaps we should also … Read More ➡

Incompetence and Dysfunction Rampant at Energy Department

Chu photo“Ineptocracy” is a new Internet-popularized word in wide circulation, which came to my inbox with the following definition:

“A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

Clearly the word’s creation was inspired by the current presidential administration, where the ineptocrats abound. And as NLPC has documented for 4+ years, nowhere has that been more evident than in President Obama’s Department of Energy, under the management of soon-departing Secretary Steven Chu.

Most of those stories have documented the foolishness, misjudgment and cronyism surrounding the distribution of stimulus funds. But another area of mismanagement and incompetence has been revealed at DOE, and this time it has security implications.

Inspector … Read More ➡

Will GM Earnings be Driven by Channel Stuffing?

GM logo and ObamaEarlier this year, I reviewed General Motors’ first quarter earnings report and annual results. My take-away from the report was that GM relied upon shady accounting techniques and a build-up of US dealer inventories to produce some rosy-looking results. Channel stuffing to the tune of an over 20% increase in inventory from year end 2011 provided for GM’s revenue growth. The trend continues as GM has further pumped-up inventory for quarter one.

The reason that dealer inventory figures are so important is that automakers record revenue when vehicles are shipped to dealerships, not when they are actually sold to consumers. It becomes fairly easy for a company like GM, which operates more with an eye on perception and politics rather than on sustainable profits (why else would they focus so much on the money-losing Chevy Volt?), to manipulate revenue and earnings by getting vehicles into dealerships’ lots. The first … Read More ➡

Lawsuit and a Congressional Hearing as Fisker Bankruptcy Nears

Fisker logoAs green energy stimulus recipients raked in billions of dollars the last few years, with President Obama declaring what a great “investment” they were for taxpayers, friends of mine would jokingly ask, “Where’s my dividend?” “Where are my stock certificates?” “Where’s my free electric car?!” 

In the case of our $193-million stake in Fisker Automotive, thanks to a Department of Energy loan guarantee, it looks like American shareholders will end up with the whole company itself.

With the Anaheim non-automaker (no cars produced since last summer) firing about 160 of its 200 remaining employees on Friday, a bankruptcy law firm hired, and no buyer to pick over the $102,000 Karma model’s carcass, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday the imminent insolvency “could leave the federal government essentially owning” Fisker.

That would be quite a feat, since it’s been widely reported that Fisker drew more than $1 billion in private investment … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Battery Technology Questioned After Billions Wasted

Akerson and VoltIt appears that the Mainstream Media folks may finally be starting to expose one of the worst cases of taxpayer abuse that this country has ever seen. Kudos to Deepa Seetharaman who wrote a piece for Reuters which questions the feasibility of the government-subsidized, lithium-ion based battery technology behind electric vehicles (EVs) like the Chevy Volt. While Seetharaman acknowledges the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, what remains unchallenged is the continued waste of billions of taxpayer dollars to support the failing, pseudo-green technology.

The evidence that the Obama Administration’s EV subsidization has been a costly fiasco (particularly regarding the Chevy Volt hoax) continues to mount. While I’m certain that green extremists and General Motors’ supporters will claim that the criticism is limited to right-wing parties with ties to the evil oil industry, a simple review of the facts reveals that some very credible and unbiased sources are admitting that, despite … Read More ➡

Plan to Discharge College Student Loans through Bankruptcy Avoids Real Issues

Higher education debt suddenly has become one of the nation’s hottest domestic issues. In response, a number of lawmakers believe they have a way to preserve both the integrity of the financial system and the opportunities to attend college. Several weeks ago the House and Senate introduced legislation to enable adults to discharge outstanding student loans in bankruptcy court that had been underwritten by private-sector lenders. The bills, the Fairness for Struggling Students Act (S.114) and the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act (H.R. 532), would repeal the portion of the 2005 bankruptcy law overhaul removing this option. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. (in photo), declared in late January, “We can no longer sit by while this student debt bomb keeps ticking.” Yet the details lead the conclusion that the legislation would enable irresponsible lending more than curb it.

It’s a growing fact: People are struggling with student loans. And … Read More ➡

BP Finds Sustainability in Oil and Gas, Sells Off Wind

Only a month ago BP – which not long ago promoted itself as “Beyond Petroleum” – released an “energy outlook” video that projected 99 percent of America’s energy will be supplied domestically by 2030, in part because it says the U.S. will grow production from renewable sources 202 percent by that time. Just don’t expect BP to participate in the alleged alternative energy “boom.” The London-based petroleum producer announced last week it would dump its investments in U.S. wind energy projects, which were said to be worth $3.1 billion. It’s hard to believe they’re really worth that much, however, especially without government subsidies – not to mention the fact that BP is so easily discarding “assets” that are supposed to hold great value. The move follows a December 2011 announcement that the company would exit the solar business.

So where does BP think – its “outlook” notwithstanding … Read More ➡

Modica Blasts New EPA Rules on Gas

March 29, 2013- Mark Modica, Associate Fellow of the National Legal and Policy Center, debated Dan Weiss, Sr. Fellow of the Center for American Progress. Host is Gerri Willis of the Willis Report on Fox Business Network. Below is a transcript:

Gerri Willis: Well, the Environmental Protection Agency proposing new standards for cars and gas. But will these higher standards lead to higher prices at the pump. Here to weigh in, Mark Modica, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center and Dan Weiss, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Dan, to you first, we know that the EPA wants to reduce sulfur by sixty percent in gas and now we hear that this is going to have a cost at the gas pump. One penny per gallon, according to the EPA, up to nine cents according to the American Petroleum Institute. Dan, who is right? Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Sales Plunge – Obama’s Flagship EV a Failure

Obama and VoltThe Chevy Volt has inarguably been the poster child for President Obama’s push to electrify America’s auto fleet. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to produce and subsidize the plug-in electric car. For years we have heard about the supposedly amazing technology for the Volt which would lead America to energy independence, be a “game-changer” for General Motors and provide a multitude of new green jobs. Proclamations were made that supply for the wonder-car could not keep up with the demand. Well, March’s sales figures are in and give further confirmation that the lofty claims were all lies.

March’s sales for the Chevy Volt plunged over 35% from last year to a paltry 1,478 units. To put that in perspective, that’s about one Volt sold every two months per dealership. The number is also down from an only slightly less paltry 1,626 sales in February. GM’s excuses for the … Read More ➡

State Senator Malcolm Smith Busted in Scheme to Rig New York City Mayoral Race

Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith, a close crony of embattled U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), was arrested by the FBI this morning, along with several Republican party officials. According to various news reports, the arrests result from a scheme to bribe Republican officials to allow Smith to run for New York City mayor as a Republican. Smith is the former president of the State Senate.

From afar, the scheme seems bizarre, but in the context of the endemic graft in New York City, it is not far fetched at all. NLPC has played a key role in exposing a rotten political culture that is corrupt from top to bottom, and spans both parties.

In January 2010, NLPC exposed the involvement of Smith and Meeks in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation. The group appears to have served as a slush fund for Smith, Meeks and their associates. Among … Read More ➡