Yet another example of crony capitalism rolls off the assembly line soon, in the form of the GM Volt — an electric hybrid that’s absurdly overpriced and woefully underperforms.
It’s set to sell for $41,000, and travels an underwhelming 40 miles before needing a charge (340 miles when the gas engine is invoked, defeating the basic purpose). It seats four, uncomfortably (thanks to the battery pack down the middle).
But there’s more to the story than just a poorly designed, expensive car subsidized with taxpayer money.
Not satisfied with violating bondholders’ rights during bankruptcy proceedings, Obama twisted GM’s arm into producing the car, despite a lack of projected demand to justify the investment economically. As is usual in such arrangements, Obama added some large carrots to the stick. According to the New York Times:
Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to GM last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan GM got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.