Pollak: In Fisker’s Failure, Joe Biden Broke Promises of ‘Green’ Jobs

Joe Biden (Jeff Fusco / Getty)
Jeff Fusco / Getty

Former Vice President Joe Biden promised earlier this month that his climate change policies will bring new jobs — “good, paying union jobs.” He has made — and broken such promises before.

In 2009, Biden promised that $529 million in new Department of Energy loan guarantees to Fisker Automotive to produce electric cars in Delaware would provide “billions of dollars in good, new jobs.” Four years later, Fisker filed for bankruptcy — without producing a single car in the U.S.

As Breitbart News reported at the time, Fisker was granted the loan guarantees to produce a hybrid sports car called the “Karma” for the luxury auto market, with a price of $103,000. High-profile political figures lobbied for the deal. Fisker filed for bankruptcy failed in 2013 and taxpayers lost $139 million on the venture. Republicans noted: “The jobs that were promised never materialized and once again tax payers are on the hook for the administration’s reckless gamble.”

Along with failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, Fisker was one of the highest-profile failures of the stimulus, which Biden oversaw, and which he has touted on the campaign trail as proof of his ability to handle America’s economic recovery.

Moreover, Vice President Biden admitted pushing for Fisker to build its new “Karma” plant in his home state of Delaware.

As the Wall Street Journal reported: “A spokeswoman for Mr. Biden said that he had made no direct appeals to DOE [Department of Energy] on Fisker’s behalf before the loan was approved, though he did talk to the company several times afterward to put in a plug for his home state.”

The Delaware site, an old GM plant, was located across the continent from Fisker’s corporate headquarters in Southern California.

The Washington Post noted:

Even current Vice President Joe Biden was drawn into the Fisker debacle. To build its planned Project Nina vehicle–to be dubbed the Atlantic–Fisker maneuvered itself into a purchase of a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del., that had once built the smart Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. The plant was one of many properties split off during GM’s 2009 bankruptcy filing, and was to be sold as a part of the “old GM.” While the plant had some physical advantages of being near a port, it had several big disadvantages–namely, it was a world away from Fisker’s U.S. headquarters in California, needed expensive retooling, was far too large for the task at hand, and was ostensibly more expensive to retrofit than some other “old GM” properties, such as Doraville, the suburban Atlanta plant that once built GM minivans.

The Wilmington plant did have the huge advantage of lying in Vice President Biden’s backyard. Lobbying by all local politicians is said to have won the day for the Wilmington plant, but like much of Fisker’s financial history, the details are blocked from view. Vice President Biden would not respond directly to questions about Fisker posed by ABC News, his office insisting only that he supported the ATVM [Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing] program–but failing to address how a site from his hometown was given a Federally-backed reprieve.

As the left-wing Nation later noted, the new Fisker facility was less than five miles from Joe Biden’s Delaware home.

Biden proudly announced the deal in 2009: “We knew that we needed to do something different – in Delaware and all across the nation.” He declared: “We’re making a bet on the future, we’re making a bet on the American people, we’re making a bet on the market, we’re making a bet on innovation.” When Fisker won the loan, Biden celebrated: “The story of Fisker is a story of ingenuity of an American company, a commitment to innovation by the U.S. government and the perseverance of the American auto industry.” He proclaimed: “This is seed money that will return back to the American consumer in billions and billions and billions of dollars in good, new jobs.”

It was a pledge that would be described, in retrospect, as “delusional.”

Fisker produced exactly zero cars in the U.S. Instead, it produced its first cars in Finland. In addition to the losses for the federal taxpayer, Delaware had committed over $20 million to the deal by the time the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Biden learned nothing from the Fisker fiasco. In his climate speech, he promised once again to promote electric vehicles, saying he would deliver “more than a million new jobs in the American auto industry.”

We have heard such promises before.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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