Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The News Journal Dutifully Defends Fisker

The News Journal has a story yesterday on Fisker Automotive's survivability.  In it they defend the start-up against every question and call any comment that questions the ideas of the company and the  government "politically motivated".  I'm sorry News Journal, but what's politically motivated, is your fish wrap paper.  This is the longest government propaganda piece I have ever read.  When the Caesar Rodney Institute looked at the Fisker business model, it questioned whether or not the company could meet rather lofty sales goals.  Since then, Fisker has twice drastically revised their sales goals as production delays, cash flow problems and problems with the vehicles battery system.  I wouldn't call that "politically motivated" questioning.  I'd call it looking at the facts and asking questions that make sense instead of blindly buying whatever line of bull that the government throws at you.  Let's tackle some of the problems with the News Journal's defenses of Fisker (why a NEWS organization can't just report the facts and call a spade a spade, I'll never understand).

Fisker's Funding

One of the knocks against Fisker is that it has drawn more support from the government than from private capital.  The News Journal claims in their piece that Fisker has raised $850 million in private capital compared with $528 million in Federal loans, $21.5 million in Delaware direct aid (grants that will not be paid back), a sweetheart no bid land deal on the old GM Boxwood Road plant (saving them tens of millions of dollars on property costs) and untold amounts in California state aid to the start-up company.  USA Today however, gathered different information from the Department of Energy who reviews the funding of companies to whom they give grant and loan money.  They say that Fisker has only brought in $650 million in private equity compared to at least $550 million in government promised aid.  That's a 54% private funding ratio which no other industry could survive under.  That means 46% of the company is subsidized by government funding.

Talking Points

As is typical from the News Journal, they sought out as many left wing sources as they could.  Not hard in Delaware where the far left has bought up every office they can find.  In fact, the only alternative voice they found was Delaware GOP Chairman John Sigler and they took his quotes out of context.  Let's cover some of the more ridiculous statements:
Josh Freed - The Third Way (Progressive Soros funded group)

“Frankly, it would be the equivalent of the Internet sector finding themselves under political attack in the early ’90s as they emerged or automobile companies coming under attack in the early 1900s as they were becoming competitive with horse-drawn carriages and trains as a mode of transportation,” said Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a centrist Washington, D.C., think tank.
Now this sounds incredibly thought provoking but it's not the first time we've heard it...Obama's Delaware bred messaging czar David Plouffe said this:
“Well, let’s step back for a minute. We have to win this race, you know, we–if we don’t win the clean energy race in terms of technology, innovation, and jobs, and cede it to other countries, we’re not going to have the century–we need this. It’d be like us ceding the automotive industry race or the Internet and computer race.”
Similar points, same problems.  Here they are.
  1. Auto companies - The automobile industry wasn't subsidized by the government in the 1900's.  Henry Ford didn't get government help to develop the assembly line and even the oil and gas industry didn't receive government tax breaks until 50 years after it launched.  So if we want to treat the green energy industry like the auto companies, we should remove all funding.
  2. Internet - The internet's backbone was indeed created by the government but that was in the 50's and 60's when the government was using it as a defense network.  By the 1990's, the backbone existed and there was little to no government funding for private internet companies.  In fact, the 90's internet boom was such a boom because the government WASN'T pocketing profits.  The money was changing hands in the private sector.
Senator Anthony DeLuca

Senator DeLuca was quoted as saying that "tax incentives and government backed loans are not new" concepts.  Well Senator DeLuca is right but that doesn't mean that tax incentives and government backed loans are right and proper simply because we've been doing them for a while.  Holding individuals as slaves wasn't any more right in 1860 than it was in 1776 simply because it wasn't a new idea.  It was wrong all along the way because it's wrong.  The government picking winners and losers is simply a losing proposition and Delaware has proven that first with Blue Water Wind and now with Fisker.  Both are government supported programs and both have or are failing.

Alan Levin

Alan Levin, DEDO Chief and resident Markell Administration "Republican" whose very presence on the staff deflects most criticism of the Markell Administration's failed economic policy from Republicans, said that the "shortest way to fail is to not try".  An awesome bumper sticker for sure but light on substance.  In this case, you don't have people saying do nothing.  You have people saying that what you're doing doesn't make sense and that you should look to solid, tried and true methods to lift us out of the depression we are in.  You have people who understand that when the chips are down, every dollar counts.  You don't spend your last dollar on a lottery ticket.  Mr. Levin is known locally for creating "Happy Harry's" a discount drug store that was eventually bought for millions of dollars by Walgreens.  Mr. Levin knows better than anyone, how businesses should work.  It's curious then, that someone so steeped in business acumen would not understand the simple fact that a start-up company with no name recognition, no long term reputation and little to no advertising who plans to immediately leap frog two well funded, long established rivals and capture 20% of  the market within 2 years is a little far-fetched.  Either Mr. Levin isn't as smart as we think he is (unlikely) or he's schilling for the Governor to score political points.

The above points are just a few examples of truth over the fiction of the News Journal puff piece.  Folks, we're dealing with a lack of responsibility here.  From the top of our government to the media who props them up we have a machine that just keeps wasting more and more money, time and prosperity on their friends and campaign donors.  We've got to wake up.  Here's an exercise for you, read the News Journal piece and see if you can find the inconsistencies with reality then post them here.

No comments:

Post a Comment