In administrating its stimulus-fed loan and grants programs, the Department of Energy has been accused of incompetence, carelessness, recklessness, and cronyism. Now it can add inconsistency to those distinguishing characteristics.
Among the objections about taxpayer subsidies for the high-profile Chevy Volt, manufactured by Government Motors, is that the many grants, loans and tax breaks that lowered the sticker price on the electric hybrid car facilitated its (paltry) sales for the benefit of wealthier individuals who were purchasing it – those with average annual salaries of $170,000. So can you imagine how happy the affluent customers (like Leonardo DiCaprio) of the heavily subsidized, $102,000 electric Fisker Karma are, to be able to purchase their gimmicky sports sedan at a discount, with a $7,500 tax credit to boot?
Last week yet another treasured Obama administration “Green” energy company – electric vehicle battery manufacturer Ener1 – went bankrupt, after having been granted $118 million in stimulus funds in August 2009. But the gift did more than just sustain it and subsidiary EnerDel; the cash enabled the company to bail out what would be its top customer, a Norwegian electric car company that had already been drained of cash on at least three previous occasions.
As the U.S. government Venture Capitalist-in-Chief (and President) Barack Obama and his Department of Energy investment guru (and Energy Secretary) Steven Chu pour other peoples’ money into their favorite “clean” technology schemes, private backers appear to be following them off the cliff, “as publicly traded battery makers watched their stocks tank and their businesses stumble,” according to a Dow Jones report late last month.
A scandal that won’t go away for Duke Energy CEO James Rogers revealed over the weekend, once again, that he will turn over every government rock he can to try to find money to pay for his irrational Green agenda, with reckless disregard for taxpayers and his customers.
The Indianapolis Colts’ loss of future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning (neck surgeries) has led to a winless (0-7) season so far, which places the team in the lead for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft. By unanimity football experts project Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck – considered by many the best to emerge from the draft in many years – to be the top prize, so the “competition” to fail in order to attain the top choice has been deemed the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes.
Duke Energy’s business approach has been to reap favors, tax breaks and advantages by virtue of its cozy relationship with government, with benefits that have redounded to them in the form of subsidies, tax shelters, government grants and mandates for wind farms (despite its failure to provide energy on a broad scale, even though it has been around forever) and other unproven cockamamie ideas.
The Wisconsin and Indiana union protests, and the disappearance of union-allied legislators, is an assault on democracy. An election was held in November. There is no Constitutional or legal basis for the union bosses to substitute their decisions for those of elected officials.
We must do more than renegotiate contracts. We must end collective bargaining for public employees, which has warped the democratic system in the states. Right now, when the two sides sit down, it's the union negotiating with the union-backed politicians. Taxpayers are not at the table. It's the old story of a concentrated interest of the unions vs. the diffused interests of taxpayers at large.
We need paycheck protection for public employees, allowing them to opt out of paying union dues. My father was a public school teacher in Massachusetts for forty years. Not only did he not wish to be represented by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, he was forced to bankroll causes that violated his political and religious beliefs.