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More Stories of Stimulus Waste

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2009 Stimulus Bill Bust

Government waste has reared its ugly head once more.

Everyone remembers the wasted taxpayer dollars ($540 million) spent on the solar company Solyndra. But few Americans realize how many other companies funded by the 2009 stimulus bill went bust.

Two years after President Obama attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a Michigan plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds to make batteries for hybrid vehicles, the company is putting workers on furlough.

Not one battery was ever produced.

Compact Power Manufacturing

The workers at Compact Power Manufacturing in Holland, Mich. have had their work schedules reduced to three weeks a month due to a lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.

Huh?

The plant, operated by LG Chem, a South Korean company, opened in July, 2010 to produce batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle built by GM. The car has experienced epic downward sales from the beginning even with a $7,500 federal tax credit for each vehicle.

Less than 25,000 Volts have been sold through last September. Production delays have caused several plants to simply close.

Is this what can be considered another government boondoggle?

Government infringing on the private sector with public funds with no idea how to utilize them?

"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," Paul Chesser, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center, told Fox News.

"Just because a ton of money is poured into a product does not mean that people will buy it."

Initially the $300 million plant was going to produce approximately 15,000 batteries a year creating hundreds of new jobs. Instead, only 200 workers are employed at the plant and the batteries for the Volt aren't even being made there.

That task is being handled by the LG Chem plant in South Korea.

Meanwhile, the Michigan plant has spent nearly two years "building infrastructure and conducting "pre-production test runs," according to Fox News.

Where does the money come from?

Partial funding was provided by a $150 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department, and tax breaks from local governments upwards of $50 million over 15 years in property taxes and $2.5 million a year in business taxes.

Beginning to sound much like Solyndra? It is and there are many more stories just like this one.

During the groundbreaking ceremonies two years ago, President Obama said, "You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States."

Right.

All that is being produced at the site is a factory that produces nothing and furloughs workers. An LG Chem spokesman said workers who are on furloughs one week a month are eligible to collect unemployment benefits for that week.

Your tax dollars at work.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing. Read more stories by Dwight L. Schwab Jr..

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