Yet another solar company that received loan guarantees from the Department of Energy has dismissed factory workers, lopping off 70 percent of its U.S. employees. Loveland, Colo.-based Abound Solar announced Tuesday it would lay off 280 workers at its production plant near Longmont, leaving 120 still employed. The start-up (2009) company attributed the cutbacks to the need for upgrades at the plant to manufacture more efficient solar panels, with plans to restore production levels and rehire most employees within six to nine months.
An international law firm, which gave substantial political donations to President Obama and fellow Democrats over the last three campaign cycles, received its own significant stimulus award to advise on a controversial Department of Energy loan transaction with a struggling electric vehicle manufacturer.
There has been much written and said about the operating costs of the Chevy Volt. Proponents and critics have both been a bit deceptive on claims about just how much the Volt can save or cost you by mostly running on an electric charge before switching to gas. Snopes.com gives a fairly accurate picture of the true fuel savings in a recent analysis.
I discovered an interesting fact while reviewing the 2011 IRS form 8936 used for the $7500 EV tax credit. While under most circumstances it is the wealthy purchasers of Chevy Volts and other high priced plug-in vehicles that get the taxpayer-funded handout, it appears that General Motors' dealerships that sell the vehicles to government entities are benefiting by being able to claim the credits. These dealers are able to double-dip into the seemingly endless pool of taxpayer funds designated for cronies of the Obama Administration under the guise of green initiatives. Not only do taxpayers pay for Chevy Volts purchased by various government "units," the sellers can claim the credits which were designed to help individuals be able to afford the costly vehicles.
It took about 500 days of negotiation. But on Thursday, February 9, attorneys general representing nearly all 50 states made the announcement: Five banks will pay a combined $25 billion over three years in civil penalties and loan write-downs for having serviced mortgage foreclosure paperwork over the previous four years without proper review. The settlement, say supporters, will compensate homeowners for prior predatory lending practices, reform the banking industry and give the economy a boost. But the context of the case suggests an ulterior motive: socializing the housing market. This by no means is the first such attempt during the Obama years. And the true cost of this shakedown, the largest of its kind since the 1998 tobacco industry settlement, may be far higher than $25 billion.
Last week, Greencarreports.com reported that crony corporation, General Electric, will be purchasing only Chevy Volts for employee use. The move will help General Motors proclaim that the Volt is a success (and help ensure that GE sells more charging stations) as thousands of orders for the vehicle hit the books, conveniently timed to coincide with the run up to the 2012 presidential election.
Last night, NLPC President Peter Flaherty criticized GM's bonuses to United Auto Workers while the company is stil deep in the hole to taxpayers. He appeared on CNN's Situation Room. Here's a transcript:
General Motors reported year end earnings figures today. The company made about $9 billion dollars in 2011. How much of its "fair share" is GM paying in taxes? Zero. In fact, from GM's financial report, they actually received a "benefit" of $110 million for the year. The UAW benefited as well, as they are set to receive $7,000 per worker in profit sharing bonuses.