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August 10, 2023

Democrats have a completely unfounded belief that liberals in Washington who have law or poli-sci degrees and have spent their entire lives in politics and government should be in charge of deciding what new technologies are funded or suppressed. As a free market Republican, I think that the market is the best source of innovation and the government should get out of the way. But time and again, Democrats waste billions of our tax dollars, backing stupid ideas (electric cars, anyone?) and showering money on their cronies and backers, only to see these companies go belly-up when some superior technology pops ups and they can’t compete if they aren’t being propped up with heavy federal subsidies.

My favorite example has long been the solar panel company Solyndra, which got $500 million in taxpayer-backed loans under Obama and was going to revolutionize energy and create those famous “green jobs” Democrats are always going on about. After building a lavish headquarters building, Solyndra went bankrupt. But now, I might have a new contender. Remember this name: Proterra.

Proterra is a maker of electric buses that stood to make millions from the “green energy” tax credits and grants in Biden’s money cannon laughably known as the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Biden even took a virtual tour of their facility in April 2021. He declared that they were “getting us in the game” and predicted their EVs would “end up owning the future.” Because predicting future trends in automotive technology is one of his fields of expertise.

This was good news for Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who was on Proterra’s board and owned 240,000 shares of their stock. Amid ethics complaints, she sold it weeks after Biden’s tour for a cool $1.9 million. Biden continued to praise Proterra throughout the next year. But his predictive abilities proved no better than Al Gore’s. Proterra customers, like one Michigan school district, had trouble with their school buses’ batteries and drivetrains, and they spent more time off the road than on.

Granholm was lucky she cashed out when she did, since on Monday, Proterra’s shares dropped by 60% after it was announced that they are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Proterra blamed "various market and macroeconomic headwinds," although I suspect that the real problem with headwinds is that they cut the driving range of EVs in half.

Hey, here’s a crazy idea: if the market wants more energy efficient buses, how about if politicians who know nothing about automotive technology shut up and let people who do compete to come up with the best product to fill that demand? And if there is no demand, then stop flushing our tax dollars down your low-flow toilets to try to create one.

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Comments 1-4 of 4

  • Barbara Walsh

    08/13/2023 01:32 PM

    Dear Governor Huckabee,

    Why has America never looked into natural gas to fuel cars. They do it in Europe. It's clean and it's readily available when the right people are in office running the country efficiently and it's safer than electric.

  • Pauline Becker

    08/11/2023 03:40 PM

    I know the maker of the wind and rain. It seems they don't. Oh and it isn't Biden or any of his leftist cronies.

  • Patrick Barrett

    08/10/2023 08:03 PM

    Too bad, we can't produce a vehicle that runs on hot air! We got an over abundance of hot air in Washington DC! If we could only process it into a positive energy source. We would be set for life!

  • Melinda Smith

    08/10/2023 07:06 PM

    Congress should pass a bill preventing Presidents from picking green initiatives at the expense of taxpayers. Obama and Biden pick losers because they are losers.