Bailout Watch 47: The "battery-development Gap"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 47 the battery development gap

Detroit steadfastly refuses to call their $25b – $50b trip to the federal begging bowl a bailout. No suprise there. Any such admission would lead to a golden parachute unfurlment to rival those old films of WWII paratrooper assaults, if not some serious strictures and sanctions. So, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may say it’s about jobs, jobs, jobs, Motown’s mavens need some other way to justify their assault on the public purse– especially in these times of incipient bailout fatigue. The increasingly worried spinmeisters are returning to Mark Fields’ rallying cry: our national security is at stake! Or, it’s all about the batteries stupid. The Wall Street Journal feeds the beast: “But securing an adequate supply of batteries over the next few years has become a growing concern for auto makers everywhere. The U.S. industry is leery of depending too heavily on foreign battery makers allied with Japanese auto makers, for fear those suppliers would give priority to filling the orders of their Japanese partners.” To be fair, teh WSJ mentions American battery makers, but concludes with a whiny bitch [paraphrasing] from Johnson Controls. “Mary Ann Wright, vice president and general manager for Johnson Controls’ hybrid-battery business has been lobbying Washington for a national effort to establish research labs and manufacturing technology to make the U.S. a battery-manufacturing leader… ‘[Asia’s dominance of the battery biz is] our punishment for inventing this stuff and allowing manufacturing to go somewhere else.'”

Join the conversation
4 of 12 comments
  • Mel23 Mel23 on Sep 16, 2008

    If US companies don't have the ability or foresight to invest wisely, but foreign companies/countries do, we end up exporting our wealth to get what we need. Assuming wise investment, our govt could do this and save us all money. Look how many billions of taxes we're pouring into the pockets of those who gambled on financial schemes with no national benefit at all. I'd much rather take some chances on manufacturing ideas with promise.

  • 97escort 97escort on Sep 16, 2008

    How can anyone begrudge the 2.8 a piddly $50 billion when the government just committed $85 billion to AIG to keep it from bankruptcy? It's all getting crazier and crazier faster and faster. Doesn't Congress and the President have to approve this stuff? Or can private companies tap the treasury willy nilly if the sob story is bad enough and the Treasury Dept. agrees? It looks to me that there is no control at all anymore over government spending. Money is disappearing down rat holes on Wall Street and no one seems able to stop it. Oh, the government now owns 80% of AIG. If this keeps up the government will own everything. Isn't that called communism? Where's the outrage?

  • Blindfaith Blindfaith on Sep 16, 2008

    Giving Detroit or any business R/D money to develop products just helps level the playing field. The only reason Korean/Japanese/German products are price cheaper is the government pays for R/D. As long as the product is cheaper, the American consumer will find it and buy. They do not understand the social effects of failed companies and lost retirement funds. Remenber the P/C CPU was developed with government funds to aim our guns/rockets/tanks etc. So, where is the complaints about our PC we are talking with thru the internet another goverment funded product.

  • DetroitIronUAW DetroitIronUAW on Sep 17, 2008

    Better my tax money goes to this than supporting a bunch of welfare professionals. At least this way the money goes back into companies stimulating the economy somewhat. Versus just giving it to the leaches in our society. I support this, take 50B from welfare and immediately funnel it into a big 3 R&D incentivation plan.