Good news! Over half a million dollars in stimulus funding has gone towards building an electric car company and producing hundreds of manufacturing jobs!
Only problem? It's in Finland.
In a stunningly wasteful move, apparently made with no research, the Obama administration approved a loan to Fisker Karma, makers of sporty electric vehicles...that can't even be produced in the US.
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.
"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here."
And what would yet another botched Obama green-jobs-stimulus measure be without cronyism...starring Mr. Green Fallacies himself:
The loan to Fisker is part of a $1 billion bet the Energy Department has made in two politically connected California-based electric carmakers producing sporty -- and pricey -- cutting-edge autos. Fisker Automotive, backed by a powerhouse venture capital firm whose partners include former Vice President Al Gore, predicts it will eventually be churning out tens of thousands of electric sports sedans at the shuttered GM factory it bought in Delaware. And Tesla Motors, whose prime backers include PayPal mogul Elon Musk and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, says it will do the same in a massive facility tooling up in Silicon Valley.
Company executives insist they're not another Solyndra, and that they've take great pains to avoid squandering funds as the failed solar panel manufacturer did:
In a lengthy interview, Fisker said he apprised the Department of Energy of his decision to assemble the high-priced Karma in Finland after he could not find an American facility that could handle the work. They signed off, he said, so long as he did not spend the federal loan money in Finland -- something he says the company has taken care to avoid.
OK, great. The company didn't spend its money in Finland. But that doesn't change the fact that the point of the exercise was, ostensibly, to create jobs in America. If the factory itself is in Finland, then clearly the Obama administration still failed, and doled out a bad loan.
Furthermore, there is widespread speculation that the start-up car companies won't meet preset production quotas--meaning taxpayers money will have, yet again, been wasted:
Yet an audit this year by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, criticized the Energy Department for not keeping close enough tabs on its fleet of auto loans -- including those to Fisker and Tesla -- to ensure they meet benchmarks. The funding was issued under the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, one piece of a giant umbrella of DOE loans and loan guarantees going out the door.
"DOE cannot be assured that the projects are on track to deliver the vehicles as agreed," said the GAO report examining the department's ATVM program. "It also means that U.S. taxpayers do not know whether they are getting what they paid for through the loans."
Yikes. If this is Obama's idea of a good investment, I hestitate to ask what his stock portfolios look like.