Solyndra, A123, Now LG Chem: Your Tax Dollars, Not At Work

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Three years ago, at a groundbreaking ceremony for an LG Chem Battery plant in Holland, Michigan, President Obama promised that this and other pants will be “a boost to the economy in the entire region.” Instead, the plant has become an example for what is wrong with a state-directed command economy. It also is yet another chapter in the Chevrolet Volt debacle.

Half of the plant’s $300 million price was funded by the tax payer, courtesy of a $150 million government grant. The plant does nothing. Its workers “had little work to do and were spending time volunteering at local non-profit organizations, playing games and watching movies at the expense of the federal government and taxpayers,” Gregory Friedman, inspector general at the Department of Energy, concluded in a report made public yesterday.

At the groundbreaking, President Obama said:

“The workers at this plant, already slated to produce batteries for the new Chevy Volt, learned the other day that they’re also going to be supplying batteries for the new electric Ford Focus as soon as this operation gears up. That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan.”

Not true. According to a Reuters report, the plant has not shipped “any products used in vehicles sold to the public.” Reports that ask why hear that the Volt did not sell in the expected quantities.

At the groundbreaking, Obama told workers that they are “leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America.” Not true. The few batteries that are used in the Volt are made in Korea. Workers in the plant show how tax dollars go to waste, spending “their time watching movies, playing cards and board games, or volunteering at local organizations – all on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime,” as the Reuters report says. The only batteries this plant ever produced were test samples that were destroyed.

At the groundbreaking, President Obama said:

“This is the ninth advanced battery plant to begin construction because of our economic plan. These plants will put thousands of people to work. This includes folks who are working at a couple of facilities being built in Michigan by another battery technology company called A123.”

A123 went bankrupt. Instead of bringing jobs back to America, the plant was sold off to China.

At the groundbreaking, President Obama said: “This plant will prove that we are headed in the right direction.” The plant did just the opposite.

Even the Detroit News, usually very sympathetic to government programs that bring money to Michigan, can’t help itself, and writes:

“President Obama said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he wants to establish 15 “manufacturing hubs.” Hey, why set up 15 hubs? They can all just come to Holland and talk to the folks at LG Chem about how you succeed as a manufacturer by making nothing and selling nothing – while collecting lots and lots of government money.”

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  • Glen.H Glen.H on Feb 15, 2013

    Just an aside here, Reuters reported this as being on the "taxpayers dime". It should be read as "borrowings from the savings of Japanese housewives, Brazilian car workers and Chinese industrialists". U.S taxpayers have not been paying enough taxes to fund both your military expenses and domestic costs for years.

  • Nonce Nonce on Feb 15, 2013

    > the Detroit News, usually very sympathetic to government programs lolwut?

  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.
  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)
  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good