The Great Mark Fields PHEV Beg-A-Thon
It's no secret that we treat GM's plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) with a healthy dose deal of skepticism. But at least GM is actually trying to develop a production plug-in car. The PHEV strategy at Ford is considerably less admirable, being largely composed of procrastination and panhandling. When asked to speak at a Brookings Institute/Google symposium on the question "Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2008: What Role for Washington?," Ford's President of the Americas Mark Fields had THE answer: writing checks. To that end, Fields touted the "success" of the as-yet-unreleased Escape plug-in. Sure, only 20 of these wunder-autos will ever be made. But that's where your tax money comes into play! The feds should be "creating a new industry/government partnership to aggressively advance battery research, development and commercialization; injecting significant federal funds into advanced plug-in vehicle technologies and into facility retooling to produce these vehicles; enacting comprehensive climate change legislation; requiring regulatory policies that stimulate innovation, rather than just imposing new mandates; and, enacting one national standard for fuel economy – rather than allowing a patchwork of state and federal regulations." In short, you give us our entire lobbying wishlist, and we'll build a plug-in. Ah, modern capitalism.
There's no shortage of these types of Government/Private partnerships here in Canada. The qualifications are you must speak a lot of Quebecois, and have a track record of voting Canadian Liberal Party. BTW - you don't have to pay the 'loans' back either. Just sickening.
So would we call the Bear Stearns bailout a partnership? I'd say putting the tax payers on the hook for $30 billion was a pretty good screwing. I'd like to see the manned space program killed and that money, along with a good number of retrained-as-necessary people reassigned to such real problems as battery and hydrogen production research. Personally I don't give a damn if there's ice on Mars.
Differences for sure. But even taking a chance of putting out $30B is huge. My point is that the taxpayer's money is spent daily in huge sums for various 'reasons': endless farm subsidies, including ethanol, eternal feeding of the military/industrial/congressional complex, foreign adventures and earmarks for questionable benefit and possible/probable damage. Certainly we have to move to new energy sources for vehicles, and I think investment in technology would be a good deal if done reasonably well. I would not include bailing out the Big 3 in this.