Planet Gore

GE Buys Volts, Taxpayers Get Charged

Contrary to its rhetoric, the Democratic party has presided over economic policies that have benefited Wall Street, not Main Street. A chief example is corporate-welfare king General Electric, which has strategically used the Obama administration’s attempted takeover of America’s energy economy to pad its bottom line.

“The Obama administration gave corporate giant General Electric $24.9 million in grants from the $787-billion economic ‘stimulus’ law President Barack Obama signed in February 2009, according to records posted by the administration at Recovery.gov,” reports CNS News. “Despite getting $24.9 million from U.S. taxpayers, GE decreased its U.S.-based employees by 18,000 in 2009. According to Standard & Poor’s, GE took in $156 billion in revenue in 2009.”

Some of those lost employees used to make incandescent bulbs — jobs now shipped to China (don’t Democrats despise China almost as much as Wall Street? Is there an inverse relationship here? The more Democrats hate something, the more money they throw at it?). Shuttering American bulb factories was a small price to pay for increased profits on compact fluorescents, courtesy of a Washington mandate.

Why are taxpayers giving money to a $156 billion corporate fat cat? To save the planet, of course. GE makes “smart grid technology” where the company — along with utilities — stands to gain from Obama’s market-socialist plans that advance the electrification of the automobile. One piece of that electrification model is the Chevy Volt, a key reason the feds bailed out Government Motors with $50 billion in 2009. Subsidized infrastructure, subsidized cars, and now . . . subsidized alliances.

The Detroit News reports this week that “General Electric will convert half its 30,000 worldwide fleet of vehicles to electrics, including purchasing 12,000 cars from GM beginning with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. In all, the Fairfield, Conn.–based company, which makes charging stations, will purchase 25,000 plug-in electric cars by 2015.”

Yes, those charging stations — GE makes the GE Wattstation — are also subsidized by up to $2,000 of your tax money.

“It is . . . a vote of confidence in the Chevrolet Volt, which we will begin delivering to retail customers by the end of this year,” GM CEO Dan Akerson said of GE’s announcement. “We are pleased that the Volt will play a major role in this program, which will spur innovation and benefit our companies, our customers, and society as a whole.”

Akerson’s cynical take on GE’s buy assumes ignorance of the Iron Triangle between federal green subsides, GE and GM. Greased by taxpayer dollars, the corporations benefit from this false market.

“GE’s purchase will drive sales to help GM offset the vast investment it made in pioneering technologies.” said Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs.

Um, yes, And it will also create a market for taxpayer-financed GE chargers. Small world, isn’t it?

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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