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What If You Build It – and They Don’t Come? Send the Bill to the Taxpayers

So-called progressives have no problem taking from the working class to give to the rich – so long as it’s the rich of their choosing… via L.A. Liberty

The Fisker Karma is Back

What if you build it – and they don’t come?

Send the bill to the taxpayers!

Twice.

This is how you make money in the New America. Well, the green America.

Don’t earn it.

Steal it.

The “business model” is simple enough: Glom on to a politically high-fashion issue – electric cars, for instance. Then obtain government (meaning, taxpayer) “help” to fund their design and manufacture. When no one – or not enough – people buy your electric wunderwagen, simple declare bankruptcy and walk away.

With your pockets full of other people’s money.

Then, when the smoke clears, do it again.

This is exactly what electric car company Fisker – which produces (well, produced) the $110,000 Fisker Karma – did.

And is getting ready to do a second time.

Back in ’09, the company secured $529 million in government loans, which were being doled out generously by the Obama administration (and previously by the Bush administration) under the auspices of something called the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Well, “loan” is not exactly accurate – because the government doesn’t really have any money of its own to loan. It only has the money it takes from you and me others via taxation. So what really happened is that the government forced the taxpayers of the United States to loan Fisker $529 million. (It also forced the taxpayers to “help” fund another electric boondoggle, the infamous – but now forgotten – Solyndra debacle.)

Fisker, like Tesla, specializes in high-dollar electric exotic cars that – so far – have not earned an honest dollar but have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Billions, actually. The reason for this ought to be obvious – no engineering degree required.

Electric cars make sense when they are economical cars.

To date, no one has managed to manufacture one. They cost more – overall – to own than conventional cars and they also (unlike conventional cars) have functional liabilities that include long recharge times and limited range. Rather than focus on – and fix – these issues, which might make for a marketplace-viable electric car, manufacturers like Fisker and Tesla build high-performance, flashy and very, very expensive electric cars. On the theory that sex appeal rather than economic sense will sell ’em. … [B]uying a Fisker or a Tesla literally triples or quadruples the cost of driving.

Yes, yes, the cars are sleek and sexy – and even quick.

Which is as relevant insofar as the bottom-line purpose of an electric car… People in a position to buy a six-figure Fisker Karma (like the actor Leonardo diCaprio, for instance) are not struggling to pay their fuel bills.They buy a Fisker or a Tesla as a fashion statement.

But the people who are concerned about gas bills aren’t in the market for a six-figure Fisker.

Hence the need for government “help.”

When you can’t sell ’em, force others to subsidize ’em. Read the rest of this entry »

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Apple’s Big Growth Driver: China

Westlake Apple Store, Hangzhou, China

Daisuke Wakabayashi reports: The biggest growth driver at Apple is not any single product. It’s China. 

The numbers are shocking. Apple’s revenue in greater China – defined by the company as China plus Hong Kong and Taiwan – rose 112% in the fiscal third quarter ended June. This means that growth is accelerating in China after a 71% increase in the previous quarter, which was considered something of a seasonally-inflated surge because it encompassed the Chinese Lunar New Year, a peak shopping period in the country.

“The macro picture looks fantastic. Maybe there are minor thunderstorms now and then, but that kind of goes with the territory. We’re just getting started there.”

— Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said he expects China to become the company’s biggest market at some point in the future. It appears that future is fast approaching. (Apple’s biggest market now is the Americas where revenue was $20.2 billion compared to $13.2 billion for Greater China, but revenue in the company’s home market grew a more pedestrian 15%.)

apple-tim-cook-china-mobile

“China is a fantastic geography with an incredible unprecedented level of opportunity there. And we’re going to be there.”

— Cook, in a conference call with analysts

A growing reliance on the Chinese market does expose Apple to concerns about China’s economy, exacerbated by the recent pullback in the Shanghai stock market. On Wednesday, Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Acuri downgraded Apple’s stock to a “market perform” in part because he said he saw lower-than-expected iPhone sales as a cause for concern due to mounting evidence of “a widespread demand reset from China.”

Cook said the company’s bullish view about China’s future remains unchanged. He said it is still planning to increase the number of Apple stores in China to 40 by mid-2016 from 22 currently. Read the rest of this entry »


FLASHBACK: Obama: “I Refused To Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”…

Barack Obama

Which of course is exactly what happened today.

October 13, 2012:

President Obama on Saturday painted a strong contrast between his record on the auto bailout with that of his presidential rival Mitt Romney, touting his own refusal to “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

In his pre-taped weekly address Mr. Obama, referencing a 2008 op-ed in which Romney argued against bailing out the auto industry (entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”), outlined his administration’s efforts to save the industry upon being elected.

“Just a few years ago, the auto industry wasn’t just struggling – it was flatlining,” Mr. Obama said. “GM and Chrysler were on the verge of collapse. Suppliers and distributors were at risk of going under. More than a million jobs across the country were on the line – and not just auto jobs, but the jobs of teachers, small business owners, and everyone in communities that depend on this great American industry.”

His administration, he argues, “refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”

Weasel Zippers


The Next 90 Days: the Obama Administration will Declare Victory and then Abandon Most of Obamacare

The biggest domestic policy lie ever told by a U.S. president

The president was deceiving either himself or the rest of us about Obamacare.

Obamacare Is Dead. Long Live Obamacare!

Victor Davis Hanson writes: In the next 90 days, the Obama administration will have to declare victory and then abandon most of Obamacare.

The legislation defies the laws of physics—more and broader coverage for more people at less cost—as well as logic: Young people, on average as a cohort with higher debt and less employment, will pay more for coverage they do not use much to subsidize others, often better off, to pay less for coverage they use a lot. It will be interesting how the administration pulls it off, given its past record of often being successful at this sort of dissimulation.

Read the rest of this entry »