NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser is interviewed on Fox Business Network’s Money With Melissa Francis. Here is a transcript:
Melissa Francis: So another day another $150 million of your taxpayer money up in smoke. Back in 2012 the Department of Energy gave $250 million bucks to a factory in Michigan to produce batteries for the Chevy Volt. President Obama touted this as a step in the right direction to bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Here we are two years later and Compact Power has yet to produce a single battery. Now it is forced to furlough all of its workers. Joining me now is Paul Chesser, an associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. How in the world did this happen?
Paul Chesser: Well, it is just another in a long line of gifts that the Obama Administration handed out to electric vehicles, the batteries that are supposed to run them, and the chargers. It is a big failure. There are six car companies that got loan guarantees in the billions of dollars. Ford got $5.9 billion. Nissan got $1,14 billion. They gave grants to the battery companies, a number of them up in Michigan. And either they have gone bankrupt like Ener 1 in Indiana – went bankrupt about a year ago. We have LG Chem that we just talked about here that is now laying off employees. Another one that is in the same location in Michigan A123 Systems which got $249 million in subsidies for this…
Melissa Francis: That is the exact same story. We are talking about this other company Compact Power. But you are bring up A123 which is another battery manufacturer.
Paul Chesser: Right.
Melissa Francis: Almost the same exact situation. It got millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars and now it in another failed company. When I hear these stories I think about one moment from the debate. Lets listen to that and talk about it on the other side.
Mitt Romney: Don’t forget you put $90 billion, like fifty years worth of breaks into solar and wind – to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?
Melissa Francis: You know he smiles, but it is just situation after situation after company after company after situation where all of our dollars have gone down the drain. And you can’t even say that it is to create jobs no matter how expensive they are, because nobody is working at these places anymore. They are going out of business.
Paul Chesser: Right. Well you know, the Energy Policy is something that is something Governor Romney can really stay on and really embarrass the President. Because the so called green investments have all been failures and gas prices are double what they were when he came into office. I mean energy is a huge issue. People are really ticked off about going to the gas pump. But this is just clear proof that private investment and venture capital should be left in the hands of private investors. The government should not be taking risks with taxpayer money and putting into these speculative companies. Whether it is an established company like Ford or Nissan. They are supposed to create these thousands of jobs in Tennessee and Michigan for these green electric vehicles and they are not going to do it because people are not buying the vehicles…
Melissa Francis: Sure and they make the argument…
Paul Chesser: …or the start-ups like Fisker
Melissa Francis: Yeah. And they make the argument that you have to prop up these companies for a while in order for them to become – you know – be able to stand on their own and that this is what happened to energy companies for years is to traditional energy companies. But here we prop them up and they can’t stand on their own because no one is buying their products because they don’t make economic sense.
Paul Chesser: Well they are not investing in a new technology. This is not the technology of the future. This technology was around a hundred years ago and the batteries don’t last any longer they don’t charge any faster. You know the cars don’t go any farther then they did a hundred years ago when electric vehicles were the rage. You know the cars might go a little faster than they used to, so it is really a failed policy. This is why government and a hand full of bureaucrats are not the people you want deciding to invest money into this industry.
Melissa Francis: Paul, you are right. Thank you so much for coming on our show. We appreciate your time.
Paul Chesser: All right. Thank you, Melissa.