$40K for a Ford Focus?

by Henry Payne

Would you pay $40,000 for the brand new electric Ford Focus over a $16,500 gas model? You already did.

As part of its Help for Needy Crony Capitalists Campaign, Washington doled out $6 billion to Ford to — among other projects — retool a Michigan assembly plant to build an electric Ford Focus for One Percenters. Taxpayers will also kick in a $7,500 subsidy for those expected to buy the green status symbol: Its target demographic earns $200,000 and up.

But before you grab the pitchfork out of the garage, consider that this was a bipartisan agreement supported by 70 percent of Americans according to polls.

Washington’s 35 mpg-by-2015 CAFE mandate — embraced by both the Bush and Obama administrations — forces automakers to make money-losing green cars, or at least expensive experiments like the electric Focus that give automakers credits towards meeting the pie-in-the-sky mpg targets. So, following the logic of the industry’s high-paid DC lobbyists, the taxpayers should pay some of the tab, too, right?

Thus the $25 billion Energy Department program to send money to Big Auto to make green cars voters want automakers to make but won’t buy. They asked for it.