Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Government "Help"

Solyndra taught us a lesson about government "help." Now it's Fisker Automotive's turn.

Federally Backed Car Maker Hits Bump says this about the ongoing "taxpayer protection" program being waged by our always vigilant elected officials:

"Hybrid car maker Fisker Automotive Inc., one of several high-profile clean-energy ventures backed by the Obama administration, has skidded into trouble with its federal lenders, raising political risks for the White House.

Fisker was promised $529 million in loans from an Energy Department program to boost development of electric vehicles. The Anaheim, Calif., company said it would use the money to retool a former General Motors Co. factory in Delaware to build a new plug-in hybrid car, employing some 2,500 workers. The project had the strong support of Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator from the state.

But late Monday, Fisker disclosed that the Energy Department had frozen further payments from the loan, following the firm's failure to meet certain deadlines for developing the car, code-named Nina. The firm also said it had laid off 26 workers connected to the Nina project. Fisker has drawn down $193 million of the total it was granted.

An Energy Department spokesman said in a statement Wednesday that the department was reviewing a revised business plan with Fisker. "Our loan guarantees have strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers," he said. . . .

The Obama administration's efforts to use federally backed loans to bankroll start-up clean-energy companies have come under fire from Republicans in Congress since the collapse last September of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC. Solyndra sought bankruptcy protection, owing the government about $527 million.

Mr. Ormisher (CEO of Fisker) said his company wasn't in peril. "We are still continuing to raise equity. We raised $260 million in the last three or four months," he said. The company said in a statement that it had raised $850 million in equity from private sources. But the future of the Nina and the 2,500 jobs in Delaware will depend on whether Fisker can revive the federal loans, or replace them, Mr. Ormisher said.

"There comes a point where you say, 'We can't keep putting money into that project,' " he said."

So it appears that we the people, thanks to our vigilant and interfering politicians, may "only" lose $193 million on Fisker. That's an improvement over the $527 million wasted-er lost-on Solyndra.

How lucky we taxpayers are to have our government place such "strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers," as the Energy Department spokesman said.

Oh well, it's only money.

Thanks. Bob.

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