By on October 19, 2012
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Workers at an LG Chem plant in Holland, Michigan have already been put on furlough before a single battery has come off the line. Workers have three weeks of paid “work”, and one week off unpaid at the $300 million plant.

As early as 2010, the Holland plant was touted by President Obama as the return of manufacturing jobs to America, and green ones at that. The facility was estimated have produced 15,000 batteries a year and added hundreds of jobs. So far, 200 workers are being paid to do nothing.

The Department of Energy provided a $151 million Recovery Act grant for the factory, while LG received property tax breaks worth $50 million over 15 years (contingent on reaching 300 workers over 5 years), and $2.5 million in other tax breaks. While the plant’s largest customer was supposed to be the Chevrolet Volt, all of its batteries have come from South Korea so far.

Target 8, A local NBC affiliate interviewed plant employee Nicole Merryman, who said that

“We were given assignments to go outside and clean; if we weren’t cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside. If there was nothing for us to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines,” said Merryman. “It’s really sad that all these people are sitting there and doing nothing, and it’s basically on taxpayer money.” 

Worers placed on furlough are eligible to collect unemployment for that week, but that’s not the only government subsidy that is used to sustain LG Chem’s work force. Of the 200 employees at the plant, half are being paid via Recovery Act funds. 40 percent of the company’s $133 million expenditures have gone to foreign companies, mostly South Korean, according to Target 8. The station is also reporting other taxpayer-funded expenditures

A Target 8 analysis of federal records shows taxpayers spent $7 million to train workers and have paid more than $700,000 for workers’ health and dental insurance. There’s millions of dollars more at stake for LG Chem if it doesn’t keep hiring, or if its job numbers fall. The state approved a $25.2 million job-creation state tax credit over 15 years, and a battery cell state tax credit worth $100 million over 4 years. Both are tied to job creation. LG Chem has yet to file claims for that money, state officials said.

Workers haven’t produced anything since December, when production of test units of battery cells ended. Sluggish sales of the Volt are one possible culprit, though the plant hasn’t made any components for the Ford Focus EV either, as it was originally planned to do. One possibility is that the Holland plant will produce batteries for the second generation Chevrolet Volt, but even then, there are controversies over the technology being farmed out to LG Chem after it was developed with public funds. The next generation battery is due out in 2015 and is said to be 35 percent cheaper than what’s out there today.

Right now, we are left with a $300 million mystery. The subsidization of unused capacity is puzzling, to say the least, not to mention a horribly inefficient use of stimulus funds. The grants given out by the government are contingent on hiring more workers, but if nothing is being produced, how can LG Chem justify keeping the plant open, even with workers (half of whom are paid via Recovery Act funds) on furlough?

At least there’s one upshot to the whole ordeal. The report by Target 8 has led to an investigation into the LG Chem plant by the  Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a government agency responsible for overseeing the stimulus funds.

 

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64 Comments on “Workers At LG Chem Plant On Furlough As Green Jobs Wilt...”


  • avatar
    dejal1

    Unfortunately, stories like this are the norm instead of the exception.

    Per chance, are there any green businesses that HAVE succeeded sucking at the government teat since the present occupant of the WH has been in office?

    There’s got to be some green companies to offset deals like this. You’d have thought that the WH would have a list of success stories to counter circumstances like this. I haven’t heard of one.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      As no one has an answer about success stories, I did some searching
      and found this today

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/ahead-election-obama-stops-releasing-stimulus-reports_654968.html

      From the link:

      “Section 1513 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “stimulus”) explicitly states, “In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.” (The head of the Council of Economic Advisors, currently Alan Krueger, is appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and works within the Executive Office of the President. He is the president’s chief economic adviser.)”

      So, the WH (sorry the administration, Jay Carney says the WH , Pres and VP are not the administration) is supposed to supply 1/4ly reports to Congress.

      The most current report is June 30, 2011.

      I guess there’s no success stories.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      That’s because you don’t look for them, right?

      It’s trivial to go to the DOE’s website and find this stuff. There are at least 70 battery/EV-related companies or researchers have gotten grants and at least 30 have built plants:

      http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/RecoveryActSuccess_Jan2012final.pdf

      Everyone likes to parrot the “choosing winners and losers” language (a nice talking point because it sounds nice but is meaningless in and of itself), but it’s really no different from venture capital. In the VC biz, only 3 out of 10 investments are successful, and they make a sufficient profit despite subsidizing the rest. Nothing to see here other than political nonsense, move along and call me when government’s record is worse than private enterprise.

      In addition, I’d point out that a lot of tax credits for LG Chem are from the state of Michigan. States provide funds too because they want the jobs.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, of course Solyndra built a plant and yet I would not call it “successful” by any meaningful measure.

        If the Stimulus spent $90 billion, and on the average had 50,000 jobs in any given quarter (actually the maximum in a range per the report), then that means about $1,800,000 per job. Spread over the three year term of the stimulus, that’s $600,000 per job-year.

        What’s especially insulting here is that Democrats have been screaming for years about underspending on roads and bridges, and yet that only got $27.5 billion or about 5% of the amount of the stimulus. We gave more than three times as much as this for green energy projects.

        I’m not even sure if this is justifiable on green grounds, since more highways means less congestion and pollution, which would definitely help out the environment :).

        Finally, I notice how little of the government report talks about “customers”. As in, actual sales of real products to real people. I also notice it avoids company names almost entirely, and of the companies named, I noticed at least one that’s now in bankruptcy (BrightSource).

        I do have a soft spot for Tesla Motors, which I think will do well, but it looks like to give Tesla $465m we had to give all these other nice folks $89.5 billion. Ouch!

        D

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Not enough demand for these kinda jobs right now. This entire green movement has put the cart before the horse for a while. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      After Obama gets re-elected we’ll see this whole cycle of green jobs and green energy investment spin up again through force majeure, because Obama will view his re-election as a mandate from the majority to pursue his vision for the greening of America.

      If the green movement had made this trend more palatable, a lot more people would have seen the merits of the Volt, the Leaf and the MiEV, projects clearly ahead of their time and the answers to questions never asked.

      My state is solidly Obama Blue because of the welfare, socialist medicine, and foodstamp hand outs. New Mexico is one of the poorest states of the Republic and more than 47% here rely on government checks every month, earned and unearned.

      Yet in spite of this overwhelming gratitude to Obama and the ‘crats for the government checks every month, nary a Volt is seen, and the mandated solar and wind energy requirements have driven up the cost of electricity to nearly double what they were in 2000-2008.

      IMO what we see here is just the calm before the green storm that will occur once Obama is sworn in for a second term.

      Did anyone catch that Canada has shut down the Keystone pipeline project? I caught a glimpse on a news ticker today, but don’t know the whole story, yet.

      • 0 avatar
        2drsedanman

        It’s ok. He won’t be re-elected. I’m not sure the country can stand four more years of this loser.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        We can only hope.

        Barring divine intervention, Obama will be re-elected handily because there aren’t enough Independents to form a majority behind Romney.

        Most Independents like me view Obama and Romney as “one is as bad as the other”, and will vote for Gary Johnson for President instead, since he hasn’t got a snowball’s chance to get elected.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Going to be interesting to claim a mandate when if this plays out how the polls seem to be pointing he is likely to lose the popular vote and will likely have a Republican house still.

  • avatar
    TRS_Mike

    What I see here is a total and complete lack of oversight and our dear government getting fleeced in plain sight… Mr. Obama certainly looks a bit the fool here and these failures may cost him the election as the democratic party was so quick to accept responsibility before they realized the scam was on….

  • avatar
    panayoti

    What a dilemma the American people are in. Vote for one guy and he will continue with his green agenda and handing out paychecks for everything we know and sometimes we don’t. Vote for the other guy and he will wholly or partially reverse what the other guy has implemented. If you are an average Joe with prejudices toward one guy or the other, how the hell do you vote??. In both cases the Average Joe gets screwed!! What a great country!!

    • 0 avatar
      TRS_Mike

      Greatest Country on Earth, Sir. Blemishes and all.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Greatest country morally? Economically? We’re definitely not the greatest when it comes to producing the best cars.

        I like the Mark Twain spin on this:

        …the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation ALL the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.

        Our government is bought – special interests, corporate donors, union donors, land developers, etc. This is simply another example of it.

        The government – Obama, EPA Secretary, Mr. Turbo Tax – would gain some much needed cred by firing someone over this garbage. How many more facepalm moments do we need to go through before accountability is introduced to government stupidity?

      • 0 avatar
        Glen.H

        Nah, my country, Australia, is!

      • 0 avatar
        TRS_Mike

        @ JkRoss -

        I couldn’t agree more with your message except one. You’ll note, I made no statements of loyalty to the government. Scroll up and you’ll see my thoughts on the situation.

        I think we do make the best cars. When pressed, when we get off our entitled, lazy, asses and apply ourselves – we can be the best.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I have lost all count on this crap.
    I mean…so how many failed companies are there now with this government give out/investment thing?
    I kind of recall Solyndra.
    Then the 123 battery thing.
    Now this battery company investment.

    I think there is a solar company that bit the dust as well.

    Is anybody keeping a running tab on this????

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Since the batteries are for Volts I guess we can’t bash this situation.

    I want a job where I play board games and watch TV all day long. As long as someone else’s tax dollars are covering it.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      The batteries for the Volt aren’t/weren’t made at this plant. I doubt anyone is planning a bright future on three weeks of make work and a probable plant closure.

  • avatar
    ninja14blue

    I live here in Holland, MI…and this whole LG Chem Battery Plant has just been one big Charlie-Foxtrot since Day 1. I can still hear Obama and Grandholm touting how this plant was going to save the world, one battery at a time.

    They could have taken 1% of that money and re-paved a lot of the roads around here, which is needed a hell of a lot more than a Korean-owned Battery Factory.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Reeks of company mismanagement to me and if the implication is that it’s somehow Obama’s fault. Does any business like to be told how to run their business by the government, ah! No!
    I mean, lets face it. The business gets full backing of the government and piles of cash along with it. It takes gross incompetence and blunt stupidity on the part of the business to eff things up like that.
    Even I could have made that work!

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Why do all these startup companies using gov’t loans bother building a huge, shiny, new building? Why not startoff like Tesla and rennovate something old and unwanted? When there is a profit, THEN build the new shiny factory “campus”.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is the real Ministry of Silly Walks. There are no success stories because green energy is nothing less than economic sabotage via wasting resources on dead ends. Hint: Natural gas was a green energy until it turned out to be real and plentiful.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If gas wasn’t so cheap, this wouldn’t be a problem. Oh wait, I thought $4 gas would send people into Volts in a heartbeat. Or is it $8 gas? $3 is the new ‘cheap’, and $4 is the new normal. As I’ve said before, Americans will pay anything for a gallon of gas.

    At least the Leaf uses an honest-to-goodness Japanese battery.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yes, an honest to goodness Japanese battery that looses about 1% of it’s total capacity for every 1,000 miles driven and Nissan doesn’t have clue one on what to do with the problem.

      The Leaf batteries, and their complete lack of a conditioning system has turned into a total disaster. Here in Puget Sound you can buy them all day long at $99 a month on a lease deal and no you don’t need a wheelbarrow full of cash to get the deal.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Wow. I didn’t realize Nissan was trying as hard as Chevrolet is trying to move Volts. I heard a radio ad today for leftover non-HOV-lane-compliant Volts at the same price.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        OMG CJ!

        Was this radio ad offering 10k off the price of all Volts like you claimed before?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Making stuff up about what I’ve written in the past is going too far in your avocation. What does shilling on an autoblog pay, anyway? You were more entertaining as PintoFan.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        CJ, you may not like the Volt and while it might could be classified as overpriced and perhaps a public relations disaster, all accounts point to it being a decent car.

        As for the Leaf, a car that if driven in certain parts of the United States looses 1% of capacity per thousand miles makes it one of the few, if not the only bonified P.O.S. being sold in the US today. At that rate it is probably the only non 100k car sold in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar

      THAT Japanese battery is sure helping the Leaf keep up with it’s sales that are 1/3rd of the Volt’s, huh?

  • avatar
    AJ

    China will repossess the factory for sure. Obama will soon enough have the time to hand over the keys. ;)

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    *sigh* Money that would have been better spent offsetting the price of fuel or at the very least fixing some roads.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Really? You think we should provide fuel subsidies? Ask other countries how that has worked out for them. Basically people riot every time the government threatens to reduce them, and it’s a never-ending cycle. Market prices for gasoline are far better, among other things.

      • 0 avatar
        reclusive_in_nature

        I’m a pretty fiscally conservative guy, but if I had to chose between green startups or gas subsidies I’ll pick the subsidies. Cheaper gas is cheaper gas even if it’s not meant to last.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Startups have a chance of growing our economy and creating jobs. Gas subsidies only distort the market and are incredibly short-sighted, and certainly aren’t fiscally conservative. It sounds like you are fiscally conservative except when it helps you.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The real solution is to leave the money unborrowed or at least unprinted. If it is borrowed, it would no doubt be serving some more productive purpose invested elsewhere. If it is printed, it should be left in the savings accounts and purchasing power of responsible Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      End oil subsidies and suddenly we’ll have different ideas about alternative energy. I think the average consumer -even the ones quick to bash green stimulus – has no idea how much $$$ the oil industry gets from the US gov’t – directly and indirectly.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I think we as a nation have gotten partiually used to paying three fifty+ for gasoline. I say partially b/c I’m talking to even “good old boys” I know who are planning to ditch their sub-20 mpg pickup trucks for something more frugal next time they buy a vehicle. I followed a friend down the highway on a trip over the weekend and he would not exceed 65 mph in his 6.0L Chevy 4WD/crewcab. Asked him if he was waiting for me or something (in my four cylinder towing a light trailer) and he said no, his truck gulps gasoline and he drives a little slower to get better mileage. Slow launches, shorter trips, slower highway speeds.

        Friend #2 told me over the weekend that he’s going to be buying something more frugal b/c he is putting tens of thousands of miles on his work truck and it is bleeding his budget dry. Something four cylinder even (think Ford Escape) and save the truck for towing only.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        It’s going to take a sustained Five buck+ gas now to make the die hard V-8 drivers reassess how much HP they really want to fund. Seems like each time the greenie tech makes a big leap forward to the mainstream the big oil guys force gasoline prices back down to keep us consumers addicted. EVs still make sense for much of America’s consumers if a person keeps the car long term. The fuel savings will pay off eventually. Unfortunately the general purpose banter that labels them as snobs and smug and other derogatory terms likely keeps much of the mainstream from considering them as solutions to daily transportation needs. Some folks really do worry about what other people think of them.

        I’d gladly own a Tesla S, Focus EV or Leaf (not fond of the looks though) if I could afford one.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        You got a great conspiracy theory there. Big oil, those cunning bastards, are keeping the price of oil just low enough to keep demand for evil V8s high? Huh?

        The only Big Oil really controlling prices are governments, not oil companies. Refiners do, in fact, try to reduce price shocks on the upside and recuperate them on the downside. This isn’t evil, it’s capitalism, and it’s good for the economy. The refiners really only have a small margin to work with though. Wall street has more effect than refiners.

        Lastly, concentrating on mileage and displacement is a shell game. It’s about burn. A 12mpg truck driving 5000 miles a year doesn’t burn as much as a 25mpg car going 25,000 a year.

        Can you draw the line between school vouchers and energy independence?

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        What – you mean big oil can’t adapt to new compettiive technologies like green tech (EVs, solar, wind) to maintain demand for their fossil fuels?

        Why can’t the fossil fuels adapt to maintain demand? Lower prices? Up production? Lower production. Whatever is needed to remain the main supplier of energy needs across the globe. It’s not a conspiracy – it’s simple free market business. They don’t want us consumers to suddenly become independent of their products – they’d go out of business.

        I’m sure there are supporters on both sides of the equation that are rooting for their favorite energy source and just like the online political discussions – people say what they believe right or wrong and some stretch the truth as necessary sometimes to win the argument – simply b/c that is satisfying to some. More satisfying than being right.

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    Canada did not cancel the Keystone project. What has happened is that the Northern Gateway project is running into serious opposition here in BC. This pipeline is intended to transport bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the northern BC coast for shipment to China for refining. Unless you are an Albertan, this project is bad news. It will force Americans to compete with China for supply of oil from Canada, thus raising the price. It will also present an environmental risk to BC that most of the people who live here deem unacceptable. Radical environmentalists and native protesters are going ballistic over the idea, and what the hell are we doing selling oil to Chicoms anyway? Never gonna happen.
    Don’t worry, Keystone will be approved and built no matter who wins the White House. If Obama does win, he’ll dispense with the services of Hollywood lefties and approve it in record time. Romney’s already said he’ll approve it. They’ll be moving dirt on this by Easter 2013 at the latest.

    • 0 avatar
      tiredoldmechanic

      The above was meant as a reply to highdesertcat. Didn’t end up where I wanted it. D’oh!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        t.o.mechanic, I actually DO read all the comments because I value what people have to say. So I do thank you for taking the time to enlighten me about the Keystone project.

        I am a firm believer in utilizing our own resources to the max, and, yes, that includes solar, wind, geo-thermal, hydro and nuclear where feasible.

        Personally I would like to see more extraction of oil in America and more exporting of oil and oil products FROM America. The past four years with the current administration have been a real set back in many ways and many aspects of our economy.

        The ‘crats like to blame Bush, and I’m not all that fond of Shrub, but I also have to be brutally honest and say that I, and many others in America, were much, much better off during Shrub and Clinton, than we are now with Obama.

        This is not meant as a political statement. This is meant to illustrate that we could be creating a lot of good paying jobs in America while at the same time lowering our own energy costs by more fully utilizing our own natural resources.

        I continue to be in favor of the Keystone project because I would much rather deal with Canada than with Venezuela or Africa and the Middle East oil exporting countries.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        But we are doing so. For example, the Obama administration has continued to allow additional drilling, including in deep water, even after the moratorium, although the number of permits have slowed since the moratorium:

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/mar/29/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-claims-there-has-been-just-one-ne/

        It’s funny how much power people think presidents have over the economy in election years.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        corntrollio, the power and control of the American president should never be under estimated! FDR called it the power of the bully pulpit.

        Shrub, Clinton, Reagan, LBJ, Eisenhower, and Truman all utilized it successfully.

        Carter, Bush The Elder and Obama were all unsuccessful, except to their devoted followers who enjoyed being showered with freebies, paid for by others.

        In the case of Obama’s first term, his socialist-liberal agenda took precedence over the welfare of the nation, and in fact put many Americans on welfare. He cultivated a loyal following by making them dependent on his handouts. It’s one way to enlarge your voter support base.

        Obama exercised his power of the bully pulpit to achieve the things he wanted to achieve. That’s his right, supported by the majority who elected him to be their president and advance their causes.

        America ALWAYS gets what it deserves because in America the majority rules. The downside of that is that so many people (who can) have cashed in their winnings and are no longer feeding the slot-machines at Obama’s casino, so Obama’s casino is losing money because everyone wants to eat at the buffet for free.

        Having said that, there is a very large number of Americans and illegal aliens who enjoy getting Obama’s freebies and will continue to do so after he is re-elected.

        Do you remember the withdrawal symptoms when Clinton cut off welfare? That would happen if Romney got elected! That ain’t gonna happen because those receiving the handouts are not going to let that happen! And without voter ID that WILL happen because so many illegal non-citizens will vote for the ‘crats. Happens every election season, without fail, especially in CA, TX, AZ, NM, and FL.

        It is evident that Obama’s ‘investment’ in green energy was a flop, for a variety of reasons, it can be argued. I believe Obama would have been better advised had he supported and focused on economic growth for America, like Reagan and Clinton did instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul to spread America’s wealth around.

        But it really is a moot point because what is done is done. We’ll never get back the lost time and money wasted on other pursuits and the number of people with money who want to support America is dwindling. Tax shelters are a booming business – ask any financial advisor. So is keeping cash at home instead of in the bank. The number of sales for safes is up more than 100%, every year.

        I have mentioned this before, the trend for many small-business employers now is to get below that magic number of employees that requires an employer to adhere to the Obama mandates.

        So by year’s end, I expect a lot of lay-offs and a trend to a part-time employment environment for many small businesses. In my area, many of the merchants started doing this some time ago, and hire people back in on a part-time basis, like in job-sharing.

        They hire two employees without bennies for the price of one with bennies. But if Obama had supported the expansion of our natural resources like oil, coal, natgas, and embraced it, I believe we would be a net energy-exporting nation now, collecting money in payment from Asia rather than having Asia finance our day-to-day federal operations.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “In the case of Obama’s first term, his socialist-liberal agenda took precedence over the welfare of the nation”

        And that’s why we can’t take you seriously with your echo chamber-speak. What “socialist” and “liberal” items can you actually point to? Even the Affordable Care Act was written by Blue Dogs and based on the Republican healthcare plan from the 90s.

        Obama has been ineffective in various ways, but very few of them involve being liberal or socialist (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”).

        People use labels when they don’t have anything of substance to say and can’t make good arguments. I’d note that you didn’t respond to what I said, but rather just went off on a rant.

        Apparently you also didn’t get the memo on natural gas — ever heard of fracking? It’s booming. And so is oil in the Bakken.

        Once again, no president, Republican or Democrat has much power over the economy or jobs, and last I checked, Congress passes laws (well, most of them do, not the recent one). But it’s still amazing how much power uninformed people think the president has.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I was going to stay out of this right wing, anti environment beer hoisting party, partly because Obama, while his intentions were good and the concept sound, did not provide proper oversight. I could get into the more disgraceful example of Enron/Halliburton when it comes to misappropriation of taxpayer money, but instead, I’ll ask highdesertcat about this statement:

        ……..I have mentioned this before, the trend for many small-business employers now is to get below that magic number of employees that requires an employer to adhere to the Obama mandates……

        When the Great Recession started, I was surprised by all the “now Hiring” signs posted at so many business, large and small. How could this be? We’re in a recession and jobs are supposed to be like finding gold crowns. Well, full time jobs with benefits are less likely than that. What happened is all these businesses fired most of their full time employees and replaced them with part timers, since disposable workers were plentiful. So, it seems that whether it is due to a government mandate, or a greedy business decision, employers really don’t care about employees anymore. So, if a worker is so disposable, why should they give two $hits about their employer? In my profession (engineering) we were the sought out ones. Good, varied skills, and a strong work ethic meant you would be the one to get the raises and best projects. Not any more. Once the market got flooded with (mostly) foreign born engineers that were very good at engineering, but little else, and would work for significantly less, all wage progress stalled. The workload sure didn’t. I guess it is true that the lowest rung on the ladder is held by employees…but at least I can freelance when I retire.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Guys, first of all, I’m an Independent. This means I have voted for the best qualified candidate regardless of political party.

        corntrollio, if you are an Obama fan, I’m cool with that. It is my opinion and belief that Obama has not been a good president, at least not for me and mine. He’s been great for all the people on welfare, food stamps and the unemployed, which he blamed on Shrub.

        And as far as me going off on a rant, no way. I firmly believe that America gets exactly what they deserve, and America deserves Obama because the majority voted for him.

        Yes, I’ve heard of fracking. And I’ve also heard of the EPA which is fighting development of our natural resources tooth and nail. We could be an oil exporting country, if not for the EPA led by Obama sympathizers.

        I live in New Mexico and we lost thousands of oil-industry jobs to where the people had to leave New Mexico and find work in Alaska, and the Bakken and various other states where drilling is expanding on private lands. Some even went to Mexico and Nigeria.

        I do not agree with your premise of the limited power of a president because I saw what policies in the past did for the US economy, all the way back to Eisenhower. The president has a lot more power than you give them credit for.

        golden2husky, that was exactly my point about the full-time jobs being shed in favor of part-time jobs.

        After my brothers sold all their new car dealerships last year, the new owners fired many of the long-time full-timers at the end of 2011, but many were hired back at the 30-32 hour work week part-time level, without benefits.

        In my immediate vicinity, which includes El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM, tons of job openings, but the majority are part-time and without benefits. Civil service is very hard to get into.

        I’m above the fray of whether Obama is good or bad for America. He isn’t good for me but has no effect on my daily life. Like many people who can, I quit working at a very young age (38) and haven’t had to pay income taxes since because my income was below the national poverty line. My wife has paid taxes for her real estate business and filed separately, until she retired last year (because she could).

        Better than not supporting Obama’s vision for America and helping to spread America’s wealth around, is actually collecting on my military retirement, social security and medicare I worked and paid for!

        There are a huge number of people who choose NOT to work and not to pay income taxes because under Obama there is no incentive other than to pay taxes in support of Obama’s handouts.

        It would be better if Obama had followed in Reagan and Clinton’s foot steps and applied their visions for America, because people like me would have jumped on that bandwagon, gone to work and paid income taxes, thus broadening the tax base, while enriching ourselves.

        BTW, I would have voted for Hilary Clinton if she had been the candidate because we would have gotten two for the price of one. And during Clinton, things were damn good for me, and even better during Shrub.

        That’s what matters! How good we’re doing during any administration. With Obama, I’m doing worse than I did during Carter. And that’s not a good thing.

        But a great many people are just raking in the Obama bucks each month and living large on food stamps.

        Many people, from all political parties, see Obama’s vision as taking their wealth away from them and giving it to someone else who is perpetually unemployed and uninspired. Hey, even Clinton put an end to welfare! A president has a lot more power than apologists give him credit for.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I never said whether I was an Obama fan or not, and in fact I said I had plenty of criticisms for him. Mostly, I was just pointing out where your particularly weak arguments fell flat.

        And then you helped me out by pointing out that the person criticizing people who live off government payments is…a person who lives off government payments. It’s a hilariously false AM radio premise that Obama purposely put more people into the welfare system. The reality is that more people are in the welfare system because a ton of people lost their jobs.

        Just because you choose to live on the dole because you allegedly think that our tax system and the fact that some people who lost their jobs are getting welfare disincentivizes you doesn’t mean that there aren’t people making $5 million/year trying to make $5.1 million/year at the current tax rates. Studies that have researched the hypothesis you suggest aren’t particularly supportive of it. If 91% tax rates applied to that extra $100K, then maybe we’d have a different story.

        “Hey, even Clinton put an end to welfare! A president has a lot more power than apologists give him credit for.”

        Clinton lobbied Congress and suggested they pass a particular bill, which Congress then passed and he duly signed.

        “We could be an oil exporting country, if not for the EPA led by Obama sympathizers. ”

        That is absolute nonsense by the way. Sure, we could be exporting oil (as we do now), but then we’d be importing tons of oil to make up for it (as we also do now). The US does not have enough oil in ANWR or the Bakken to make us energy independent.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        How do we export oil AND meet our own needs? We might if we had an oil rig on every corner but is that what we need? I suspect that regardless how much we drill, there will be plenty of demand for any oil extracted and that the days of $1.65 gasoline are done for good. It’s doubled since I bought my 1999 car new and it’ll double over the same number years going forward if not more – without or without Barack Obama at the helm.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Oil is not the only game in town. Besides that, the point is to meet your needs, not your wants. If you can be independent, but import extra oil so everyone can have luxury trips and trips in luxury then your suppliers are forced to be competitive and friendly or risk losing sales.

        Oil rigs on every corner isn’t just hyperbole, it’s contradictory to modern exploration techniques. OTOH, unemployable beggars on every corner is a much less hyperbolic possibility.

        If the government has an interest in taxing pollution, then tax pollution rather than production. The market will respond by producing with less pollution. It’s not a free lunch, so it may work. Taxing production is just stupid and leads to imports outstripping exports like they do now. Why is this not obvious to Harvard Econ types? Likely because they commonly get chicken dinners for spouting off baseless macro economic BS. Having learned to get something of value in exchange for worthless drivel, they have been conditioned to believe in free lunches.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    Are they hiring? I am sure tons of Americans would love to sit around and play Monopoly all day and get paid for it. Not much different than the idiot politicians who created these “green jobs”.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    uhhhmn You have a battery plant lying idle. Could the product have a use in another industry ? F’rinstance storing wind or solar power in off grid installations?

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      Unfortunately having a solar/wind system installed and having a large capacity battery system installed, require separate permits. In many states the storage permits are only issued to large emergency or disaster management centers.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Maybe JCI would be interested in taking over this plant seeing as they have a massive presence in Holland MI anyway. Great town is Holland btw. Anyone know where they built this LG Chem plant in Holland?

    • 0 avatar
      ninja14blue

      The 65,000 square feet LG Chem Battery Factory is located at 54 W. 8th Street here in Holland.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I suspect that we’ll be buying Chinese batteries in the future because while the USA is screaming for jobs and low-low-low everyday prices from the Made-in-China store – our nation won’t nurture any industries but oil, gas and coal. Make them all stand on their own two feet and see how green tech prices compete then.

        To me we are double dipping on the “made-in-China” stores. No only are the jobs gone elsewhere for the uneducated here (who might otherwise be working in a factory making stuff in America to sell in America), we are also guaranteeing that there are fewer jobs as a result of those factories which have moved out of the country just in order to have low retail prices.

        Jobs unemployed and under-employed folks looking for a way to make ends meet – be it with a minimum wage job or gov’t check. Either way they can not be part of the consumer economy b/c they are too poor.

  • avatar
    CA Guy

    “FDR called it the power of the bully pulpit.”

    Theodore Roosevelt is the author of that quote.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Should have spent that stimulus to build a dozen nuclear plants. We have ancient run down ones producing 20% of our power. A dozen new ones could produce 20% more and really put us on the road to more energy independence. We coudl then use our natural gas to run our cars..

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Coal and oil are being hugely subsidized, and they have been through the entire history of the industries. The external costs of coal and oil are not born by the producers. The environmental impact from coal is especially nasty. And all these coal miners that are blaming Obama for loss of jobs should be blaming the natural gas industry. Fracking has caused a surplus of cheap gas that is gutting the market for coal market. The low price of gas is not only making it uneconomical to even consider “clean” coal (if such exists), but even dirty coal is priced out of the market.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    Coal and oil are not “hugely subsidized”:

    They get tax deductions, much like other industries. Check out the link below to see a comparison to energy sources that are not only “hugely subidized”, but totally dependent on the government: wind and solar.

    http://media.hotair.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/energy-subsidies.jpg

    Here are some jobs being sacrificed for Obama’s “war on coal” in my neck of the woods:

    http://www.kxlh.com/news/ppl-montana-will-close-billings-power-plant-in-2015/

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Here we go again. Failing to pay for externalities is not a subsidy.

    We could easily solve pollution externalities by taxing it. The result would be a regressive tax. You choose.

    By the way, corporations never actually pay taxes. If you don’t understand this, please get some education. In the end, all taxes are paid by people.


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