Sunday, September 27, 2009

Your Tax Dollars Are Paying for Finnish Cars!!

Thank you, Al Gore:

WASHINGTON -- A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.

"This is not for average Americans," said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-tax group in Washington. "This is for people to put something in their driveway that is a conversation piece. It's status symbol thing."

Sweet! Be a Democratic contributor and get to stick your hand in the taxpayer trough! So now my taxes (and yours, dear reader) are going to benefit some Finnish eco-car company because Al Gore has convinced enough lemmings that the global apocalypse is nigh. Arrrggh!

But this also highlights some of the folly of having government, through tax payer funds, attempt to pick winners and losers in a market. In this case it's electric cars. Invariably, taxpayer dollars are going to go where taxpayers probably would not have wanted it to end up--in the hands of foreign capitalists trying to make a buck on our dime.

I still can't get over Al Gore, though. That fat cat is sitting pretty. He probably rubs his Nobel every night before he goes to sleep.


Harrison said...

Ha great minds think alike! I have a post on this later in the week. Don't forget about Telsa which got almost $450 million! Not surprisingly, many of the investors of this company are Democrats!

Anonymous said...

The first cell phone, the first video players and the first computers were all only affordable by the rich.
The $109,000 Tesla Roadster is available now to those that can afford it without the use of tax payer dollars.
The loan to Tesla is to bring the Model S to production in the USA at a projected price of $57,500.
The government have also given loans to GM for the Volt range extended electric vehicle which will start to approach the prices average joes like you an me can afford.
Certainly, you may not like the government acting as venture capitalist but I can't think of any government where I agreed on everything they spent tax payer money on.
Did someone say War in Iraq?

VH said...

Anon: You are conflating two different things: Cell phones, video players and personal computers were developed by private enterprise without the use of taxpayer funds. That means that if these technologies did not become popular or if they failed to deliver a service they would fail with great financial loss to the entrepreneurs or companies that backed them. These products have become more affordable over time because of companies competing against one another to bring their versions of these products to market and because of the economies of scale that this incurs.

If the Finnish company (or Tesla) fails to create a car that the public wants to buy then the American taxpayer is on the hook for any funds that were provided. Let these companies risk their own capital--the more skin they have in the game the more sensitive they will be to market forces and potential customers--just like the risk takers that created cell phones, video players, personal computers, automobiles, airplanes, oil wells, and televisions: these products became affordable WITHOUT taxpayer funds.

Lastly, our government has spent billions of dollars subsidizing hydrogen and electric car technology with little to show for it. When does the waste end?

Did someone say synfuels?

Harrison said...

I'm sure some taxpayer monies helped with cell phones like they did with aviation, however your point is a valid one overall. Without tax dollars Tesla would have dried up and blown away. Top Gear thought the car was crap which is good enough for me. It is for Liberal guilt (the car).

The BoBo said...

aaaahhhhh! This kinda shit just really irks me to no end. When the hell is the rest of this country gonna wake up already and realize they were duped and this country is in real serious shit right now?!?!?!

Anon is an idiot - there's a reason why he/she posted as anon.

Delphi Supervisor said...

I remember when this Telsa broke down on Top Gear. The electric battery for the sports car lasted about 50 miles.