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The Real Side | Commentary by Joe Messina
| Monday, Jan 21, 2013

mug_joemessinaLess oil, less pollution, just less. We are told green energy is the direction we need to go. We need solar panels, wind power, battery power. But why? So far, it has mostly been a failure, yet we keep throwing money at it. Your money and my money.

If we have a viable way to use alternative energy, I’m all for it. But I don’t want to keep throwing money at technology that’s not working.

Many major inventions were discovered with private money by great people. When you are using your own money and time, you work harder, waste less, and work with more attention to detail. Why? Because you don’t have an open checkbook and can’t afford to work on it (whatever “it” is) forever.

When the government backs you, there are few restrictions – especially when it comes to green technology.

President Obama is so sure of “green” that he promised to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015.  He has invested more than $5 billion in taxpayer money and offered $7,500 per vehicle in rebates. All of this with your money.

With less than two years to go, we are a whopping 5 percent of the way there.

In the real business world, with limited capital, we would stop the insanity and re-check our plan.

This plan is in such bad health, we should consider applying Obamacare to it. That would kill it for certain.

A few auto companies have jumped on the green gravy train, including Nissan and Tesla.

We loaned a Taiwanese company $160 million to build Volt batteries in Ohio. The money was supposed to help build the plant, hire American workers and lend support to the electric car industry.

As in all American government takeovers, it didn’t work out that way. The owner of the manufacturing plant was a foreign company, most workers and management were foreign nationals, and not one battery was manufactured and used in an electric car. The plant shut down last month, and now Volt batteries are made overseas. Thank you, Obama administration.

Nissan received $1.4 billion in taxpayer money (your and my money). It is at least putting together electric cars in Tennessee – but it needs to build a bigger storage lot for all the cars it is producing and not moving.

There are more than 250 million passenger cars in America. 2012 saw only 34,000 electric cars sold. This is from five car manufacturers. Seriously. Chevy had expected to sell 45,000 Volts in 2012. Yes, Chevy alone. This was with bailout money intended to help the green cause. The only green growing is the moss in those cars being stored by the river because they are not selling. They are in storage and the Volt plant shut down for a few months to slow production.

What a blessing that was to the America taxpayer, because it’s estimated that it costs the American taxpayer almost $50,000 per Volt in subsidies to produce the vehicle. Yep, you’re paying for a car from which you get no use or benefit.

In 2012, Nissan sold 9,800 EVs; Volt sold 23,000; Toyota 12,700 (with an average range of 20 miles); Tesla 3,200; Ford Focus sold 650 EVs; and Mitsubishi sold 92 in 2012 (600 since inception). If these vehicles are such wonderful things and in such demand, why have so few been sold? Especially with a $7,500 rebate?

How long do we hold on for a failed technology? How long do we keep wasting your money? My money? This is wrong.

The government needs to get out of the bailout business, the green business and the healthcare business, and get back to the business of the people. Period.



Joe Messina is host of The Real Side (TheRealSide.com), a nationally syndicated talk show that runs on AM-1220 KHTS radio and SCVTV [here]. He is also an elected member of the Hart School Board. His commentary publishes Mondays.




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