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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default US taxpayer funded hybrid battery plant, bottoms up...

    President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence "manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.

    Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.



    The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant's batteries also were intended to be used in Ford's electric Focus.

    Production of the taxpayer-subsidized Volt has been plagued by work stoppages, and the effect has trickled down to companies and plants that build parts for it -- including the batteries.

    “Considering the lack of demand for electric vehicles, despite billions of dollars from the Obama administration that were supposed to stimulate it, it’s not surprising what has happened with LG Chem. Just because a ton of money is poured into a product does not mean that people will buy it,” Paul Chesser, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center, told FoxNews.com.

    The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.

    The factory was partly funded by a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. LG also received sizeable tax breaks from the local government, saving nearly $50 million in property taxes over 15 years and another $2.5 million annually in business taxes. Landing the factory was hailed as a coup when shovels first hit the ground.

    “You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America,” Obama told workers at the ground-breaking ceremony. “Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we're seeing results.”

    Randy Boileau, a spokesperson for LG Chem in Holland, told FoxNews.com that battery production is expected to pick up once Volt assembly lines in Detroit resume production on Oct. 15. He said the facility has spent the past two years building infrastructure and conducting pre-production “test runs.”

    “The market conditions haven’t been as favorable, but this hasn’t slowed down plans one bit,” Boileau said. “LG Chem has repeatedly said that this facility is a critical component for them globally.”

    Boileau pointed out the workers who are on furloughs one week a month are eligible to collect unemployment for that week, and he said the company covers the contributions to their individual benefits during the period.

    The Volt has been plagued by low sales since it first rolled off the line three years ago. Orders have picked up for 2012 but are still well below projections.

    Chesser said no amount of government subsidies can counter the practical problems posed by plug-in cars.

    “Electric car batteries do not perform much better than they did 100 years ago," he said. "Research has not conquered the battery storage issue, and therefore the electric transportation ‘stimulus’ did not boost the ‘technology of the future,’ but instead a century-old technology as far as performance and capability goes.”

    He added that the LG Chem plant's problems show that the unpopularity of electric cars despite heavy taxpayer subsidies has had more widespread negative effects than most realize.

    “Billions of dollars were put into Volt research, and Ford received $5.9 billion in stimulus loans to retrofit plants to produce [electric vehicles]," Chesser said. "The battery companies like LG Chem that were supposed to service them have no customers to speak of. Their existence was solely based on access to taxpayer money.

    “Had it been private investors rather than government bureaucrats making the decision, there either would have been a reality check about the industry, or only those who made individual decisions to invest would have lost their money, not taxpayers.”
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
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    10.30.17 @ 05:08 AM
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    At the time I liked the idea of "throwing money" at Industry to see what would "spark" and create jobs

    This one can be chalked up as another "green" failure, though one I would not assess as a total failure. We all know these batteries will be needed, but only when the cars do not cost as much as a Mercedes or BMW

    We're not there yet
    It is what it is

    I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said

    I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default

    throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick, maybe...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:27 PM
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    I also heard on WCBM radio in Baltimore that since the plant opened it has produced 0 batteries. Where did the taxpayer money go?
    Last edited by edwardv; 10.09.12 at 06:32 AM.
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardv View Post
    I also heard on WCBM radio in Baltimore that since the plant opened it has produced 0 batteries. Where did the taxpayer money go?
    Redistribution of wealth...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    10.30.17 @ 05:08 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick, maybe...
    Remember, this administration truly seems to believe they are very much in line with FDR and his policies. The issue is that good ol FDR was able to supply arms to England, and then he had WWII to get the economy off its dead ass

    Not to mention FDR was much smarter than the current POTUS (and yes, that would apply to many recent as well) so Barry's action was not that well thought out. Tax rebates be damned, the average worker will not pay $20K more for a vehicle "up front" even though if you put pencil to paper you can show the savings over a 3-4 year time frame. Forward thinking is not a common place occurrence.

    Of course, since the taxpayers now own a chunk of GM, the warped logic mandated we own part of battery plant too.........
    It is what it is

    I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said

    I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:21 PM
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    Default

    In defense, a large percentage of businesses do go belly up. Blaming Obama for every one that does seems a little excessive.

    If Romney becomes President, company's will still go belly up, even ones that receive federal funding.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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  8. #8
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    06.02.16 @ 09:13 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    In defense, a large percentage of businesses do go belly up. Blaming Obama for every one that does seems a little excessive.

    If Romney becomes President, company's will still go belly up, even ones that receive federal funding.
    But if it is done so through blind ideology and ignoring plain facts, then I see reason to lay the blame there. If a business venture is gone into like a business venture should, calculated risk, crunching numbers, reality, then survive or fail I would agree with you.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence "manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.

    Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.



    The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant's batteries also were intended to be used in Ford's electric Focus.

    Production of the taxpayer-subsidized Volt has been plagued by work stoppages, and the effect has trickled down to companies and plants that build parts for it -- including the batteries.

    “Considering the lack of demand for electric vehicles, despite billions of dollars from the Obama administration that were supposed to stimulate it, it’s not surprising what has happened with LG Chem. Just because a ton of money is poured into a product does not mean that people will buy it,” Paul Chesser, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center, told FoxNews.com.

    The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.

    The factory was partly funded by a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. LG also received sizeable tax breaks from the local government, saving nearly $50 million in property taxes over 15 years and another $2.5 million annually in business taxes. Landing the factory was hailed as a coup when shovels first hit the ground.

    “You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America,” Obama told workers at the ground-breaking ceremony. “Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we're seeing results.”

    Randy Boileau, a spokesperson for LG Chem in Holland, told FoxNews.com that battery production is expected to pick up once Volt assembly lines in Detroit resume production on Oct. 15. He said the facility has spent the past two years building infrastructure and conducting pre-production “test runs.”

    “The market conditions haven’t been as favorable, but this hasn’t slowed down plans one bit,” Boileau said. “LG Chem has repeatedly said that this facility is a critical component for them globally.”

    Boileau pointed out the workers who are on furloughs one week a month are eligible to collect unemployment for that week, and he said the company covers the contributions to their individual benefits during the period.

    The Volt has been plagued by low sales since it first rolled off the line three years ago. Orders have picked up for 2012 but are still well below projections.

    Chesser said no amount of government subsidies can counter the practical problems posed by plug-in cars.

    “Electric car batteries do not perform much better than they did 100 years ago," he said. "Research has not conquered the battery storage issue, and therefore the electric transportation ‘stimulus’ did not boost the ‘technology of the future,’ but instead a century-old technology as far as performance and capability goes.”

    He added that the LG Chem plant's problems show that the unpopularity of electric cars despite heavy taxpayer subsidies has had more widespread negative effects than most realize.

    “Billions of dollars were put into Volt research, and Ford received $5.9 billion in stimulus loans to retrofit plants to produce [electric vehicles]," Chesser said. "The battery companies like LG Chem that were supposed to service them have no customers to speak of. Their existence was solely based on access to taxpayer money.

    “Had it been private investors rather than government bureaucrats making the decision, there either would have been a reality check about the industry, or only those who made individual decisions to invest would have lost their money, not taxpayers.”
    2-14-13

    Workers at a Michigan battery plant built with a $150 million federal stimulus grant but never opened played games and watched movies while their wages were paid for by U.S. taxpayers, according to a government report.

    South Korea-based LG Chem, which used the grant money to build a factory that was supposed to make batteries for the Chevy Volt, has paid back $842,000 in wages it improperly billed to the government, but still has no plans to start production in the facility or return the grant. The company makes Volt batteries at another plant in South Korea.

    “Our review revealed that LG Chem Michigan inappropriately claimed and was reimbursed for labor charges incurred by a variety of supervisory and staff employees for activities that did not benefit the project,” stated the report, by the DOE’s Inspector General. “… we confirmed that employees spent time volunteering at local non-profit organizations, playing games and watching movies during regular working hours.”

    The report blamed company officials as well as the DOE, charging the federal agency failed to make the grant conditional on the company actually starting production at the plant. LG Chem claims production has not been expanded to the U.S. plant because demand for the Volt has not yet required it.

    “Until the shift in production takes place or some alternative use for the plant is developed, U.S. taxpayers will receive little direct benefit from a plant for which they provided up to half of the funding,” the report stated.

    The report was begun after the DOE received complaints that idled LG Chem workers were playing games and watching movies inside the dormant factory.

    The Inspector General said getting LG Chem to return some of the labor costs – a drop in the bucket compared to the overall grant – was the best taxpayers could hope for because the grant was awarded without sufficient strings attached. And even the labor costs could be low, the report stated.

    “We were unable to calculate the exact loss to the government because LG Chem Michigan did not track labor activities in detail,” according to the report.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  10. #10
    Eruption Dr5115's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 10:32 PM
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    Im probably alone on this, but here goes. The Gov imo should not be investing in private companies. In fact, the GOV should stand back and allow the market to have it's ups and downs.

    Giving loans to start ups or new technology maybe, but direct investment or funding using taxpayer money is destined to fail. Of course Im also of the opinion that anything that Obama and or the GOV touches that has to do with money ends up a disaster.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 05:21 PM
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    A LOT of the medical and technological advances of the 20th and 21st century were due to government grants and loans, the failures get a lot of attention, but there are a lot of great things that are done with government (taxpayer) money as well.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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