Even by the low standards of government, here are a couple of remarkable stories about government waste from Obama’s failed stimulus scheme.
Let’s start with an example of crony capitalism. The federal government decided to subsidize the wealthy shareholders of company working on an electric car. That’s not too surprising. After all, politicians have been bilking taxpayers for the benefit of well-connected campaign contributors for centuries.
But you would think the Obama White House would at least be smart enough to give money to companies that create jobs in America (such jobs, of course, are offset by jobs destroyed in the private sector). But, as ABC News reports, that was not the case.
With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work. 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. …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.
Let’s now travel to Oregon, where taxpayers were coerced into subsidizing more jobs for foreigners. Here are the sordid details from the DC Examiner.
A Labor Department Inspector General report released this week found that $7,140,782 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds went to four Oregon forestry services firms who hired no U.S. workers. From the report:
Only two Oregonians were listed on the employer recruitment reports, indicating that workers in Oregon were likely unaware these job opportunities were available. In fact, although 146 U.S. workers were contacted by the three employers regarding possible employment, none were hired. Instead, 254 foreign workers were brought into the country for these jobs.
…Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who asked the OIG to investigate the program in September 2010, was also displeased: “The goal of the stimulus bill was to put Americans back to work, not foreign nationals. … Oregonians have been logging for over a century, our workforce is one of the best in the world, and these contracts should have been awarded to companies that hire Oregon loggers.”
You’d almost think, after reading stories like this, that government was incompetent at being incompetent. And you’d be right.