Your tax dollars, hard at work:
Of the 18 existing or would-be carmakers we identified as having applied for loans under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, 10 have since faded into bankruptcy or ceased operations.
Numerous car companies, startups and parts manufacturers have applied for the loans since the program was established during the Bush administration in 2008. However, most of them were turned down or simply did not receive the funds they requested. To date, about $8 billion has been doled out to just five carmakers: Tesla, Nissan, Ford, Fisker and the Vehicle Production Group. The last two have ceased production and appear headed toward bankruptcy.
The goal of the ATVM program was to use taxpayer loan money to fund the next generation of American fuel efficient vehicles, whether they came from small startups or large established automakers, all while adding thousands of new jobs.
The problem with government “investment” in these sort of projects is that the sort of companies that need government investment are those with marginal or even downright unprofitable business models.
Good ideas attract people willing to invest their own money. Bad ideas attract politicians looking to invest other people’s money.