The Department of Energy’s disastrous loan program lost taxpayers at least $780 million as companies like Solyndra, Fisker Automotive, and Abound Solar crashed and burned.
But as I write today, after a four-year hiatus, the Energy Department has announced a new fuel-efficient-vehicle loan — a $259 million conditional award to Alcoa. It’s a pretty sweet deal: The Energy Department touts on its website how this loan program “offers attractive financing for U.S. auto industry,” including no application fees, a closing fee of just 0.1 percent, and interest rates estimated at no more than 4 percent.
Of course, one might wonder why a company like Alcoa, which brought in $23.9 billion in revenue last year, needs government (read: taxpayer) help.
But it turns out Alcoa has major Obama administration ties.
One of its top executives was a major Obama bundler; another was recruited by the administration as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; and the CEO serves on one of the president’s committees and has also partnered with the Obama administration on a few manufacturing initiatives.
Alcoa’s “green” loan is supposed to fund the production of lightweight aluminum automotive bodies.
Of course, the Department of Energy fails to note that aluminum is far more carbon-intensive to extract than iron—but that production occurs in Australia, far beyond the reach of U.S. regulations.
Read the whole story here.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.