Romney Labels Tesla and Fisker “Losers” in Debate

By · October 05, 2012

Mitt Romney

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney took aim at U.S. automakers Tesla and Fisker in the first debate.

Neither U.S. electric car manufacturers nor Sesame Street’s Big Bird were safe from political barbs during the first Presidential debate held on Wednesday, October 3, in Denver. Republican nominee Mitt Romney took aim at everything from government support for PBS broadcasting, to electric car companies such as Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, which he labeled as “losers” in President Obama’s plan to support green energy firms with billions of dollars in loans and tax breaks.

In 2009, Tesla Motors received $465 million in U.S. loans to help expedite production of the Model S sedan, which went on sale this year. Fisker Automotive received a loan of $529 million and is presently working to bring the smaller and more affordable Atlantic sedan to market. Perhaps in response to Mr. Romney’s labeling his company as a loser, Tesla Motor’s CEO Elon Musk issued an online statement regarding an accelerated repayment plan of the government loan.

“Far from being worried about our survival, the DOE [Department of Energy] is highly bullish about our future and doesn’t want us to delay early repayment of the loan if we have the cash on hand to do so,” wrote Mr. Musk, as reported by Bloomberg. “I am happy to announce that we will be initiating an advance payment today to prefund the principal payment that is due in March 2013.”


Fisker was given a loan of $529 million, partly to bring vehicles such as the PHEV Atlantic sedan (pictured here) to market.

Fisker has not commented directly to the Presidential debate comments, though the company’s chief executive officer, Tony Posawatz, recently told reporters Fisker has a long “to-do list” and has been in discussions with “strategic partners.” While not every aspect of the Federal government’s green initiative has gone according to plan – failed solar panel maker Solyndra was also hit with Romney’s L-word – it seems remarkably premature to completely write off upstart EV makers like Tesla and Fisker.

Both companies have had their fair share of difficulties, be it production delays or mysterious engine fires. Yet Mr. Romney, who was widely accepted as the winner of Wednesday’s debate, underlined his opinion of these new enterprises with the brusque comment that they should already be considered failures.


· Brandt Hardin (not verified) · 5 years ago

If lying is a sin then Mitt Romney’s Magic Mormon Underpants are on FIRE! How can any intelligent American vote for a man clouded in secrecy who habitually bends the truth? Income inequality is endangering the Middle Class and making paupers of us all who don’t have those millions upon millions of dollars. Read more about the role of Romney’s riches in this election and the power of his sacred undergarments at The working class of our country can’t AFFORD to allow this election to be bought and sold!

· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

I don't believe that Fisker or Tesla will survive, either, but I don't think that alone makes my assessment a political one. If I were lobbying against the subsidies that prop them up, that would be political. Of course in the debate it was political.

Outside of politics, though, I just don't expect to ever see batteries become good enough to allow pure BEV's replace a significant portion of the cars in use today. I do see electric cars eventually becoming dominant... just not with batteries. The way I see it, electric vehicles have been successful for over 100 years now as subways and trains. These vehicles draw power directly from the grid as it is generated, instead of cycling it through a battery. Trying to put all of their energy needs through a battery would greatly increase their expense. The delivery of the power to every inch of electrified rail right-of-way is more effective and practical. Don't let the fact that US passenger rail is subsidized obscure this fact. There is at least on electric freight railroad operating (completely unsubsidized, I believe,) and at a profit. It hauls ore somewhere in Scandanavia. (The electric locomotives that pull it are about the most horsepower multiple units in service, according to Wikipedia.)

I'm not trying to be controversial here. It's obvious that most everybody who reads or posts here is very much in favor of electric cars. I think though, that most everybody would be most pleased if electric cars were successful with or without batteries, as long as they manage without petroleum. I see this as the eventual future... electric cars with batteries used only to cover short distances to and from the electrified roads.

Actually I am working hard on a concept kind of like this that, if it proves successful, should make everybody here very pleased. In my position, it is frustrating (at times,) to work from a shoestring budget out of my own pocket while witnessing the copius governement support for these (in my opinion,) less viable options. Oh well. I did managed to discover a funding oppurtunity, NYSERDA PON 2584, and my prototype construction proposal is one of only 33 applications submitted. Six more weeks to wait before I find out if my project will be awarded the twelve thousand dollars requested. This program has three million dollars available, and any proposal to build a prototype is elegible for up to half a million.

I would say good luck with your battery electric cars if I believed in them, but just because I don't doesn't mean I don't wish you all good luck in getting to the electric transportation future that you seek. (I'm just trying to get us there the way that looks most viable to me.)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

What a greedy, clueless, opportunistic, sanctimonious, lying prick.

· · 5 years ago

Objective: I think there was a post a long while back or some PBS show on solar panels embedded into roads. Or roads made out of solar panels. One of the two. That could aid with grid-based roads. It would lower the cost of EVs a lot to just have minimal batteries. Granted, it would take an incredible boost in road maintenance funds to get the idea off the ground. Maybe the electricity generated by solar roads would make the whole highway maintenance program self-funded though. :)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Fisker may be in trouble, but Tesla is gradually emerging and their sales are increasing. Watch out, they may be big car company soon. And others may start making similar vehicles.

· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

tterbo, how electrical power is generated is not closely coupled to my concept, (as there are methods by which distribution expenses can be minimized,) but thanks for the response.

· · 5 years ago

Ohio is a key swing state in the presidential election and Romney is way behind Obama in the polls in Ohio. Ohio is third in the nation in the number of jobs in the automotive industry. The Republican tactic of bashing the American automotive industry is coming back to bite them in the ass. Karma's a bitch!

· · 5 years ago

Consider the source.


· HendershottoEmptyChair (not verified) · 5 years ago

What part of "we don't have the money" do you not understand??? When you are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar you spend from China, what difference does it make if you have an electric car??? With 16 trillion in debt our currency is at risk of collapse and a candidate comes along who wants to lead the country in ther right direction and all some of you can do is make fun of his religion. Are you aware that this is another one of Obummers losers where our tax payer money is going overseas when 23 million people in this country need a job. Electric cars are not the issue. We cannot spend ourselves into oblivion. There is an end to our money. Government has no money of its own. Only that which it takes from the people, borrows from foreign countries, or prints. And in every case the people have to foot the bill through taxation. Some people see that and get it. Some people hear it and don't care because that are either too ignorant to get it or they just don't care about America or anyone else except themselves. .

· · 5 years ago

This was an odd debate. Obama mostly stood by and let Romney's "newly revised" positions slide by him. On most issues (taxes, health care,) Romney actually slid slightly to the more moderate political center, presumably to suck up as many undecided voters as possible who haven't been paying close attention to the election until now.

But on the issue of energy policy, Romney is sticking to the far right-leaning position that he's had for the entire campaign, while stating flippantly during the debate that he "likes green energy" before proceeding to verbally tear it down.

It's the ultimate irony that just 9 years ago, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he was very gung ho on a green energy future, but flipped overnight when he knew he was going to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2008 . . .

Did someone here earlier say " . . . sanctimonious, lying prick"?

During the debate, Romney complained of Obama's 90 billion dollar green energy investment, but that figure - and how it actually breaks down - is worth a little fact checking . . .

Even if 90 billion dollars has been spent (it hasn't,) that's what's already being spent every 45 weeks for fighting the war in Afghanistan (2 billion per week) . . .

If you divide 90 billion dollar by 300 million , which is the approximate population of the United States, that would be $300 for every man, woman and child.

300 bucks for each of us, folks. That's a bargain for what we have already gotten and what we will get for our money. It's certainly a better deal for the American people than Romney's proposed 2 trillion dollar increase in defense spending . . . which is about 22 times as much as 90 billion, or about $6600 for every US citizen!

· Tom Mac (not verified) · 5 years ago

Drill Baby Drill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
or as I like to say "Strength through Exhaustion"

Hurry hurry pump it up so we can be energy independent
Just as soon as we drill, spill, pump then we will ...... Burn it up. Poof it is gone.

This is Mitts plan.

Glad I have a VOLT, wish I had a Supercharger network and Tesla

· HendershottoEmptyChair (not verified) · 5 years ago

Its funny how some people think electricity falls out of the wall. It has to be generated using nuclear or fossil fuels. So, your VOLT is essentially a coal car. A whole generation of battery powered cars will be old and need to have there batteries replaced at a cost that makes them forever too economically non competitive to say nothing of their initial costs requiring gov't subsidies to even get them sold. Just consider something like a dryer in your house. An electric dryer is about three times more expensive to operate than one that uses natural gas. So if you are generating power with natural gas or coal at the power plant the transmission losses make it much more expensive to operate. Point is, you still have to generate electricity
until someday 'poof' the fuel you use to produce it is suddenly gone because you have failed to realize where it really comes from! Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are the way to go. Then we could produce enough cheap electricity to put electric cars on the grid. So called green energy will finally come to be when it is economically competitive and feasible. Not when it is being forced by government into the market place by misguided politicians and uninformed people that buy into their crazy ideas and lack of leadership.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

To HendershottoEmptyChair...

You may want to check the Union of Concerned Scientists report - "Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States" at

(so that you can at least try to deny it)

The report divides the US into three regions, based on relative proportions of electricity generated by gas, coal, and nuclear powerplants.

Here is a brief summary, and the website has much more information for you to read.

* Nearly half of Americans (45%) live in the “best” regions where EVs produce lower global warming emissions than even the most fuel-efficient gasoline hybrids on the market today (greater than 50 mpg).
* Another third (38%) live in “better” areas where EVs produce emissions comparable to the best gasoline hybrid vehicles (41 – 50 mpg).
* A minority (17%) reside in “good” regions where emissions from EVs are comparable to the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid gasoline vehicles (31 – 40 mpg).

I have a Chevy Volt, and nobody forced me to buy it. I have burned 3.6 gallons of gasoline in the one year and 7200 miles that I have owned it. The costs to charge the Volt are mostly lost in the noise of my average electric bill. Put another way, imagine paying less than $1 per gallon for gasoline, which is effectively what I am doing.

The car is responsive, very quiet, smooth, and handle spectacularly. I prefer it to a similarly priced BMW or Mercedes that I could have bought.

Electric car batteries are likely to get much cheaper and get higher capacities and have longer lifetimes, provided the batteries follow the same path followed by all other technology in recent decades. In California, the Volt battery is warranted for 10 years or 150,000 miles, and the battery is the same design as my Volt battery here in the southeast US.

In Romney, we have a guy running for president who craps all over the American worker, craps on American innovation, craps on our energy security, and is willing to turn the world into a wasteland to benefit a few thuggish rich old men who will die before all the bad stuff happens.

· igh (not verified) · 5 years ago

Man I am tired of this Coal car argument. My Volt is solar powered OK. Every single kwH that my Volt consumes - the WHOLE 3000 KWH per year is generated by my rooftop solar panels. They also generate enough juice to power my all electric home and by Ford Focus Electric and there is some leftover so that people like you can get some electricity for free. Stop this coal car thing once and for all. We have better ways of generating electricity.

· · 5 years ago

My PHEV is currently coal powered (because, well, Utah) but will also be solar PV powered (because rooftop PV is installed and will be feeding power any day now, I think the final inspection is signed-off now but the power company still has to approve or do something before we're allowed to turn on the switch—all I know for sure is I'm still waiting for the "go" signal, anyway).

But ... so what? Powered by coal, my electric miles are cleaner and more efficient than my old gasoline-powered vehicle. Not to mention roughly five times cheaper, and I am no longer funding the other side in wars for oil. Better, cleaner, cheaper, and American jobs instead of dead American soldiers. Where's the problem?

· · 5 years ago

It's probably pointless to even argue with 'Empty Chair' and his ilk, guys. So far, he appears to be just another flat-Earther internet troll who randomly showed up here looking for a political fight. Perhaps it's instructive that he points out in his first post here that "Electric cars are not the issue." Hmmm . . . it isn't? I thought this place was called Plug In Cars.

He goes on to declare, in regards to Mitt Romney, that "all some of you can do is make fun of his religion." Huh?!? Where did that come from?

No, 'Señor Silla Vacía,' I could give two turds in the gutter as to what religion Mr. Romney practices. That's his own damn business and I'm glad it wasn't exploited as a campaign issue this year on a grand scale, as it might have been. I hope we've thankfully also moved beyond this crazy birther bullshit, which seemed to be an obsession coming from the other side of the political spectrum these past few years. What I DO care about is if ANY political figure belonging to ANY religion imposes it upon a populace under the power of national political office . . . and so should you.

'Empty Chair' . . . you've managed to land an electric car blog that will, on occasion, post a topic with political relevance. You might find it amazing that we have honest yet civil discussions here daily among a fairy large cast whose politics and religions (or lack thereof) run the gamut.

Interestingly, though, the most impassioned discussions usually revolve around the assets and deficits of the vehicle technologies themselves. Are pure battery cars better than ones with gasoline range extender engines or vice versa? Is hydrogen nothing but hype or is it going to make batteries obsolete in the next decade? Those are the sort of things we legitimately get in each other's faces about.

About the only things I've found of particular relevance in your two posts that you allude to is pebble bed nuclear reactors in favor of anything that could be described as "green" energy.

Well . . . tell us all about it. Make your case for that being the only thing that will save us from running out of non-renewable fuels. You've got real engineers here who can digest the numbers, so don't be afraid to make a real detailed analysis for us.

· Mark Davies _ UK (not verified) · 5 years ago

Governor Romney is anti electric vehicle, anti green power, in fact anti anything that frees us from the stanglehold of power that keeps ordinary people slaves to the powerful few. We are at the crossroads of a future that belongs to the open-minded, free-thinking who want a better world for all; or the ignorant, greedy, power-hungry few who will preside over the destruction of our planet. The choice is ours.

· Anonymous1 (not verified) · 5 years ago


What part of "we don't have the money" do you not understand???

Funny how we seem to have no problem borrowing money to kill people or to keep cutting taxes for the rich.....

· Tony Myers (not verified) · 5 years ago

In the debate Romney referenced a comment a friend told him about Obama picking losers, which he does have a good tendency to do. Also most of the companies that he supported were those that supported his campaign in 2008. If the government wants to subsidize green energy why not put the money into American colleges and universities. This is where the true innovations are more likely to originate. I am not in favor of the government picking winners and losers of private industries. Political favoritism needs to stay out of the mix.

I drive a Leaf, use LED lights and will be installing solar panels. My decisions were based on economics and a strong desire to not fund the countries that support terrorism. Several universities have prototype batteries that have much higher capacity and quicker charging times. I’ve also read where the price for Lithium batteries is expected to drop dramatically within the next 5-10 years.

The free market has served this country well for the past 2 centuries and big government has track record of doing a very inefficient job of just about anything it tries to take control of. I am in favor of letting the consumers pick the winners and losers based on quality and economics, not some government officials who have been bought and paid for.

· · 5 years ago

Tony Myers said . . .

"If the government wants to subsidize green energy why not put the money into American colleges and universities. This is where the true innovations are more likely to originate. I am not in favor of the government picking winners and losers of private industries. Political favoritism needs to stay out of the mix."

Tony . . . Please tell me that you aren't naive enough to think that a sizable portion of energy research ISN'T going to universities . . . and that industry is inclined to always take their profits and reinvest in true research without government grants and loans. There is so much FUD out there right now about what's going on, it's scary. This recent news article about ARPA-E might help you and others find out whats going on . . .

· · 5 years ago

Also, from this article . . .

"Universities win more grants than any other type of prime contractor, but that’s no surprise. Universities have helmed 44% of total winning ARPA-E projects, followed by small companies at 30%. This doesn’t, however, indicate that you need to be at a university or start-up to win a grant – just that these are the places where high-tech innovation tends to arise. Differences between the programs prove this out: For example, lots of start-ups have been funded to pursue grid-scale energy storage and many big companies like ABB and General Atomics have R&D projects in the domain, so it’s unsurprising that the GRIDS program was dominated by these entities. In contrast, the nascent art of coaxing microbes to turn electricity into fuels is practiced almost exclusively at universities and national labs – which, unsurprisingly, claimed more than nine out of ten electrofuels grants."

More here . . .,8599,2092953,00.html

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago


Longtime readers of this blog will note that some of us (mainly ME I guess, have no big problem with a Scrubbered Coal Plant that optains its coal responsibly with the community's wishes in mind (the coal community where it is mined) ), and deals with the, essentially plasterboard waste responsibly), for instance Lowe's would have done better to obtain its drywall from an environmentally responsible coal plant rather than that Chinese Formaldehyde-Filled drywall that ruined all the wiring and copper plumbing in new homes, ruined home values and gave little kids headaches.

Nuclear, while initially sold in this country as being "TOO CHEAP TO METER", has always had a huge subsidy on it, (Price-Anderson being the biggest), and is the only technology that Fairewinds Energy Education Chief Enginneer Arnie Gundersen has stated is the only technology "That can destroy a Country".

It looks to these eyes like 3 million japanese will die prematurely due to the Fukushima Level 7 disaster.

The fact that I'm using electricity to dry my clothes, light my home, and push my cars is only generating more jobs in my community (which for the past few decades has been hard pressed for good paying jobs), is denying Saudi Arabia more dollars for various nefarious activities, and is paying local gov'ts large property taxes and state govt carbon taxes. (I'm against the last one, and suspicious that the money actually goes to my state).

Prolificy is more important than efficiency, but, you'd be hard pressed to find a more efficient mode of motorized personal transportation than Electric Plug In Cars, with ANY source except Nuclear.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Someone should do some financial digging - the few venture capital firms that own a small part of Tesla MIGHT have some investment from Romney, and a real coup would be to show that he's invested in Tesla!!

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

errrrr; polificacy

· Tony Myers (not verified) · 5 years ago


Thanks for the links. I very much enjoyed the article about ARPA-E.
I know money is going to universities. I don’t like the idea of the US borrowing money from China to loan to a company in Finland. I believe a little more research on Solyndra would have been very prudent as well. That money should never have been borrowed from China. It’s not like we have nor had a surplus. If we must borrow, put it where it will do the most good.
I hope you don’t believe there wasn’t some political back scratching going on. I still believe the government should not be picking winners and losers in the private sector. We have enough “quid pro quo” in that arena.
I hope ARPA-E is all it was designed to be. The idea sounds great. To me it looks like every time we give the Feds lemonade, we’re lucky if we even get back lemons.
I drive a Leaf, and like you, have a minivan. To my knowledge Nissan did not borrow any money from the US to make the Leaf or do the research. There are also building a factory here, where it will reduce our unemployment and generate more taxes to hopefully get out of debt.
I have no complaints about the car other than it’s ugly, but then so is my dog, and I’m keeping him too. It meets my needs perfectly. I even use the GPS and the backup camera. LA is big and it’s much nicer to key in an address than carry around a MapQuest printout. Something else I’m starting to enjoy about the GPS on the Leaf is how it will find charging locations near my destination. I’ve actually used this feature a few times.
Aptera was a company trying to start up here in California, but met with a lot of red tape. My guess is they didn’t contribute to the right party, or maybe not enough. It was to be a 2 seater, 3 wheel, carbon-fiber body, with a very low drag co-efficient. It would have been a great commuter, American made and ahead of the Leaf. Looked like something out of a George Jetson cartoon.

· · 5 years ago

Glad you found all those links informative, Tony. You've brought up quite a bit here and it deserves a detailed and nuanced reply to cover it all . . . far more than I'll be able to devote at the end of very long day and in a single post.

Comments regarding bumpy Leaf styling, GPS, backup cameras (all favorites of mine,) Nissan's government funding (yes, they've gotten some) ungainly yet loveable household pets (I've got some) will have to wait until tomorrow. That said, I'll cap off the evening with some comments on all some of those companies you mention (save for Aptera right now) and how government funding plays into their existence.

I think that the very nature of government funding of tech projects dictates that some of those projects are destined to fail. If all of them instantly succeeded, it probably wasn't very worthwhile research . . . sort of like playing tennis without a net. An unvarnished appraisal of the process also indicates that these companies and universities are probably having to work very hard to get those loans and grants. But there's always a chance in such a rarefied environment that even the most promising prospects will unexpectedly capitulate for any number of unexpected reason. A quote from one of those above linked articles rings true (I'm paraphrasing here, since I can't relocate the exact source at the moment) "Even a certain percentage of Rhode Scholar students end up becoming unemployed drunks, living on the street."

Solynda , sadly, became more of a political football than it should have been. Their expertise, apparently, was geared towards developing a more advanced and next generation PV system. Ironically, it was the sudden influx of cheap and current-tech PV panels that did them in. The industry ramped up production with what they knew how to produce today, the public perceived it's good enough for now and prices dropped due to economies of scale. Solydra's investors pulled out all at once and the defaulting of the government loan was then inevitable. That's a grossly simplified telling of the tale, but probably not too far off in the long view.

I really haven't been following Fisker as closely I should be, perhaps. My understanding is that the Finnish manufacturing provision was something that was clearly spelled out years ago and didn't become a big deal until the current election cycle came around. Plans - also announced years ago - are in the works, apparently, to bring the lower cost, next generation Fisker (I think it's called the Atlantic) to a manufacturing facility in Delaware. The defective cells from A123 (an excellent product, by the way, but with an embarrassingly large production batch flawed by a now-diagnosed assembly line failure) that were sold to Fisker didn't help their situation. Fisker is gobbling up a lot of money, but they're not gone yet.

That Romney would describe Tesla as a failure in his debate quip is most unfortunate. They are one of the few who are approaching EV manufacturing from the top tier down . . . subsequent models becoming more affordable and being manufactured in larger numbers than previous ones, which is very different from how almost all others have tried before (and failed.) Tesla's critics would argue that the taxpayer was having to finance sports cars for rich people and, as someone who many never be able to afford a current generation Tesla, I would initially yet begrudgingly agree. But Tesla's intention, sold to their government investors, is that subsequent products would be less expensive and more utilitarian. It appears, with the Model S, that they're keeping their word. The deployment of the Supercharger network, I think, is nothing short of brilliant, in that it's a private industry project, but financed with government loans. All that taxpayer money will, in all likelihood, be paid back in full and with interest . . . perhaps early. But without that investment - and investments are never sure bets - none of it would be happening.

More later . . .

· Tony Myers (not verified) · 5 years ago

I always love an intelligent debate. You have definitely brought up some points I would like to have more information on. I would really like to hear more about the Nissan government funding. As a Leaf owner this is of special interest to me.

My wife and I recently drove down to a Tesla showroom in Santa Monica. We both loved the model S and came very close to convincing ourselves to trade in the Leaf for the Tesla. Beautiful car, well built, but expensive. The Leaf more than suits my needs for the time being, I’ll wait a bit for the Tesla. I anticipate battery prices, charging times and range to improve in the next 5-10 years. I can wait.

Perhaps my memory isn’t serving me correctly, but when I watched the debate I understood Romney to reference what a friend had told him about Obama picking losers. I don’t recall Romney saying that Tesla was a loser. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I watched the debate twice and paid special interest to this segment because of my desire to see more electric cars on our roads and I have a strong affinity for the Tesla. Whether the comment was right or wrong, many people have the same opinion about Obama and his lack of response did not help his argument. If anything that response, or lack thereof, made Romney’s case stronger.

Were the financial situation of this country different lending to private industries would not be as much of an issue. I cannot say that I would support lending to foreign companies, nor do I like the idea of the government getting involved in this aspect of private industry. In this scenario it is far too easy for those who make political contributions to get preferential treatment. I prefer my ugly dog than government watch dogs. This country is in dept, our children and grandchildren are in debt and our credit rating is dropping. The Fisker is a beautiful car, but why are we borrowing money from China and lending it to Fisker? How is this helping solve the problems we have in this country. American can and should lead the world, especially in this arena, but financial irresponsibility, huge government debt, high unemployment (including those who have quit looking for work) and the largest corporate tax rate in the world, is not my opinion of leading by example.

One of the main reasons for my use of LED lights, the Leaf and high efficiency appliances is monetary. They are more expensive to purchase, but total cost of ownership makes them cheaper. If more people realized this one issue a lot of our problems would either go away or be substantially reduced. The work you and people like you are doing is absolutely wonderful. The information needs to get out to the masses. Many people have told me that this technology is too expensive; I constantly tell them it is only expensive if you look at initial purchase price. Total cost of ownership is actually cheaper than older technology.

Second to that is the security of our country. We should have never gotten into a position of dependence on unfriendly countries for our energy needs.

Last, but not least is stewardship of our planet. I would like to leave this world better for my children.

We may disagree on some of the details, especially the political ones, but I believe we are of a kindred spirit on the EV’s. I admire what you have done to advance this cause and would enjoy helping you promote these issues. I truly believe it is the correct road for us to take.

The political debates are fun too!!

· · 5 years ago

Thanks, Tony. Here is the New York Time's complete transcript of the October 3rd Presidential debate . . .

There's a lot to plow through, obviously, so I've taken comments relative to corporate tax and energy policies below. These first bits are edited from much longer exchanges, but I did not edit anything within the sentences I extracted . . .


OBAMA: . . . When it comes to our tax code, Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high. So I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25 percent. But I also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States.

On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we’ve got to boost American energy production. And oil and natural gas production are higher than they’ve been in years. But I also believe that we’ve got to look at the energy source of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments. . . .

ROMNEY: . . . Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and license in half. If I’m president, I’ll double them. And also get the -- the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I’ll bring that pipeline in from Canada.

And by the way, I like coal. I’m going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent, so we can create those jobs. . . .

OBAMA: . . . the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don’t get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money when they’re making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate that?

Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.

When it comes to corporate taxes, Governor Romney has said he wants to, in a revenue-neutral way, close loopholes, deductions -- he hasn’t identified which ones they are -- but thereby bring down the corporate rate. Well, I want to do the same thing, but I’ve actually identified how we can do that.

And part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense. And all that raises revenue . . .


So, it appears both are in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate. What I find disturbing about Governor Romney is his pledge to double drilling permits on public lands, his willingness to extend oil drilling to the Arctic Wildlife refuge and bring the Keystone pipeline - which contains the extremely high carbon intensive Canadian shale oil - down here, as well as a defense of so-called clean coal.

I agree, though, that President Obama missed an opportunity to defend an environmental position in words that has otherwise been backed up with legislation. I'm certainly not the only one of the president's supporters who thought he could have be more proactive here.

This next exchange is an unedited quick back-and-forth one Here is where Governor Romney cites Tesla . . .


ROMNEY: . . . oil to tax breaks and companies overseas. So let’s go through them one by one. First of all, the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it’s actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that’s been in place for a hundred years. Now --

OBAMA: It’s time to end it.

ROMNEY: And -- and in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives, and you say Exxon and Mobil -- actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.

But you know, if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why, that $2.8 billion is on the table. Of course it’s on the table. That’s probably not going to survive, you get that rate down to 25 percent. But -- but don’t forget, you put $90 billion -- like 50 years worth of breaks -- into solar and wind, to -- to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I -- I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers. All right? So -- so this is not -- this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure.


Note that Obama declared earlier that the oil industry tax break is $4B and Romney cites it at $2.8B. Regardless . . . Romney said that the elimination of this tax break would be "on the table" if the overall corporate tax rate is dropped to 25%. Sorry . . . but that doesn't sound like a firm commitment. Obama actually attempted to wipe out the oil industry tax break about a year ago, but it was defeated in congress.

As for Romney $90B green energy comments, here is the Washington Post's careful annotation of what all of that entails. Rather than a long series of failures, as Romney characterizes it, I tend to think that it's money well spent . . .

· · 5 years ago

This was a very good article. There is no question that we all need to do a lot of things to clean up our addiction to crude oil. There is definitely a role that the government can play in helping.

Fisker is in Finland, why are we borrowing money from China to loan to a company in Finland?

It is my understanding that Solyndra was having problems before we made the loan. I expect more due diligence from someone handling my money.

Did any of these companies make contributions to the Obama campaign? I’ve read where they had, but am reluctant to believe everything I read.

There is no doubt that many companies have received tax breaks and stimulus money in the past they should have never received. Many were the results of political favoritism. This should never have happend in the past and we need to make sure that it isn't happening now.

I remember about a year ago some talk about a $5 billion oil and gas stimulus. I did find a $5 billion stimulus, but from what I read it did not go to the oil companies.

In the link you sent me it mentions $5 billion home weatherization program. When applied to one million homes it saved the consumers and estimated average of $400 per year on energy bills. $5,000 is a lot of money to weatherize a home for a 12 year payback. What did they do? Where was it spent? Who did it help? My mother was on Social Security and my brother and I weatherized her home for a lot less money and much quicker payback. None of us heard of any offer from the government for a weatherization program. You would think an elderly person on a fixed income would have received a letter saying this was available.

I am investing my money in green energy and I believe it to be well spent. I can be off the grid and minimally addicted to oil in less than 1 year.

I would have loved to have seen the transparency in government that Obama promised when he was elected. The only thing I’ve seen is more secrecy. Where is there a report showing where the money went? Why is he not being more open, and not just about what he has done, but what was started before he got into office (as was mentioned in your link)? We need more honest information and the masses education to the benefits of green energy. One LED light bulb will save about $400 over the life of the bulb when compared to incandescent. More electric vehicles will reduce our dependence on crude from unfriendly countries and may help in drying up terrorist funding. I've been pushing green technology since the 80's when I build a house with all fluorescent lighting, 12 inches of attic insulation and 8 inch walls in Louisiana. My utility bill was half of my neighbors. We were recycling in the 60’s and 70’s. We need leadership that will push the benefits of green tech to the people so that they will embrace it, not be forced into it. I haven’t seen that type of leadership in Washington and don’t expect to see much in the future. That must come from you and I and others on sites such as these who can convince others of the benefits.

True leaders lead by example. I seem to remember a lot of very expensive vacations taken in recent years while many people were losing homes and going on welfare. Not much of an example.

We are borrowing too much from China and have too many people out of work. I don’t agree that we have the luxury of the 1705 loan program with the expectation that some companies would fail. Were this country’s financial situation the reverse of what it is I would have a completely different opinion.

I put money into Aptera with no guarantee that it would succeed, but it was my money not borrowed money that my children and grandchildren would have to pay back.

· · 5 years ago

"Where is there a report showing where the money went? "

Tony . . .

· · 5 years ago


I followed your link further down and found a post from “waxfree” listing companies that had gone bankrupt. The implication was these were all funded by the stimulus, but some were not and a few were funded at the state level. I googled the companies and found information at several different sights. Wikipedia had a lot of good information on most companies and I feel that it gives a more unbiased assessment.

Those companies who received federal funding and file bankrupt include:

Abound Solar: $400 million lone Bankrupt June 2012.
Solyndra: $475 million + $13,000 per employee Bankrupt September 2011
Beacon Power: $43 million Bankrupt October 2011
Ener1: $118.5 million Bankrupt October 2011
Range Fields: $76 million DOE + $80 US Biorefinery Foreclosure January 2012
Raser Tech: $33 million Chapter 11 May 2011
SpectraWatt: $500,000 DOE Chapter 11 August 2011
Thompson River Power LLC: $6.5 million Bankrupt

Those companies who received state funding and file bankrupt include:

Evergreen Solar $4 million Bankrupt 2011 Massachusetts
Mountain Plaza $424,000 Bankrupt 2010 Tennessee
Olsens Mills: $10 million Received funding after filing bankruptcy
Energy Conversion Devices: Applied for but did not receive a loan from the 2009 economic-stimulus bill.

My point is our government is gambling with borrowed money that our children will have to pay back. Looks to me like a very bad track record and the years not over. I wonder how many of the others will be able to pay back their loans plus the interest we’ve had to pay China?

· · 5 years ago

I agree, Anthony, that the government is gambling with our children's economic future.
Rather than annotating it all here in this message, I'll also offer a Wkipedia link.
This time, though, it's for U.S. Department of Defense spending . . .

Note, within that link, is the budget totals for 2012, which are on the order of 1.4 TRILLION Dollars! That's right: the United States spends more on military expenditures annually than the next 17 countries combined . . .

Are we safe enough yet? I certainly hope so! It's clear to me that we could easily get rid of multiple hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown away each year in what Dwight Eisenhower called the Military Industrial Complex. Where is the outrage, Anthony?

Maybe if we don't proceed with the scheduled repainting of a few nosecones on some ICBMs stashed away in desert silos next year, we'll be able to write off a few of these green energy grant/loan failures . . . maybe all of them.

· · 5 years ago


I’m in 100% in agreement with you. We elect government official to be good stewards of our money. The only thing I’ve seen most of them do well is line their own pockets, or the pockets of friends and family. We need to hold our elected officials accountable. We need more transparency. We need to be energy independent. We need to leave our children with something good, not an overbearing debt. We don’t need to be the police for the world. We definitely don’t need the ability to destroy the world several times over.

Just because they’ve been elected does not make them experts any anything. NASA once spent a large sum of money developing a pen that would write in zero gravity. The Russians use a pencil.

We should not be giving our politicians an open check book and expecting them to do the right thing. Pelosi’s remark about having to sign it before you can read it is a good case in point. I agree that the government can and should do more for the good of humanity. The problem is they usually don’t. They usually take very good care of #1 and most of the time we are not included in that number.

I’m proud to be an American and pay my taxes, but I could be just as proud for a lot less money.

· · 5 years ago

The biggest Loser calling companies that's trying to make a difference a loser(laughable). Gov. Romney after 11/6/12 you can go back to Mass and run that state into the ground!

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