Compact Power is the name of a manufacturing plant built in Michigan and owned by a South Korean company called LG Chem. The plant was built with $150 million of taxpayer money. They were supposed to build batteries for the Chevy Volt, a vehicle produced by “Government” Motors that has yet to do anything except lose money. The taxpayer funded batteries plant hasn’t even produced 1 battery yet, and now, 2 years after they received the taxpayer money, they’re having to furlough their workers. FoxNews.com reported:
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 the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.
At Compact Power’s groundbreaking ceremony 2 years ago, Obama said to his audience, “You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America. Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we’re seeing results.” $150 million and 2 years later, all they have to show for are 200 jobs that have to forgo 1 week’s pay per month because of a lack of demand for electric car batteries.
Did Obama learn anything from Solyndra or Abound Solar? If the market doesn’t demand a product, dumping a bunch of taxpayer money on that product’s sector won’t make people all of a sudden want it.
I’m sure if one of Obama’s buddies wanted to start up his own auto manufacturing business producing replicas of Ford Model T cars, the President would give his buddy a few hundred million dollars and tell everybody that his friend is going to create hundreds and hundreds of jobs and is helping to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. It would go the way of Solyndra unless the government kept infusing it with taxpayer funding. And even then, still no one would buy the cars because there would be no demand for them.
This is why the government needs to get out of the way and let the market decide which companies succeed and which ones fail. Obama says he wants to make things fair. But giving some companies lots of taxpayer money through bailouts, federal loans and tax breaks and letting small businesses buckle under onerous regulations is anything but fair. As Romney said to Obama in the debate, “You don’t just pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers.”