Aletho News


Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential | December 21, 2011

Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

The Volt subsidies flow through multiple companies involved in production. The analysis includes adding up the amount of government subsidies via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle. For example, the Department of Energy awarded a $105.9 million grant to the GM Brownstown plant that assembles the batteries. The company was also awarded approximately $106 million for its Hamtramck assembly plant in state credits to retain jobs. The company that supplies the Volt’s batteries, Compact Power, was awarded up to $100 million in refundable battery credits (combination tax breaks and cash subsidies). These are among many of the subsidies and tax credits for the vehicle.

It’s unlikely that all the companies involved in Volt production will ever receive all the $3 billion in incentives, Hohman said, because many of them are linked to meeting various employment and other milestones. But the analysis looks at the total value that has been offered to the Volt in different aspects of production – from the assembly line to the dealerships to the battery manufacturers. Some tax credits and subsidies are offered for periods up to 20 years, though most have a much shorter time frame.

GM has estimated they’ve sold 6,000 Volts so far. That would mean each of the 6,000 Volts sold would be subsidized between $50,000 and $250,000, depending on how many government subsidy milestones are realized.

If those manufacturers awarded incentives to produce batteries the Volt may use are included in the analysis, the potential government subsidy per Volt increases to $256,824. For example, A123 Systems has received extensive state and federal support, and bid to be a supplier to the Volt, but the deal instead went to Compact Power. The $256,824 figure includes adding up the subsidies to both companies.

The $3 billion total subsidy figure includes $690.4 million offered by the state of Michigan and $2.3 billion in federal money. That’s enough to purchase 75,222 Volts with a sticker price of $39,828.

Additional state and local support provided to Volt suppliers was not included in the analysis, Hohman said, and could increase the level of government aid. For instance, the Volt is being assembled at the Poletown plant in Detroit/Hamtramck, which was built on land acquired by General Motors through eminent domain.

“It just goes to show  there are certain folks that will spend anything to get their vision of what people should do,” said State Representative Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills.

According to GM CEO Dan Akerson, the average Volt owner makes $170,000 per year.

Greg Martin, director of Policy and Washington Communications for GM, wrote in an email, “While much less than the hundreds of billions of dollars that Japanese and Korean auto and battery manufacturers have received over the years, the investments provided by several different Administrations and Congresses to jump-start the country’s fledgling battery technology and domestic electric vehicle industries (not just specifically for the Volt as Ford’s offering will also use LG Chem batteries and Fisker will use the A123 system for example) matches the same foresight and innovation  leadership that other countries are exhibiting and which America has historically taken pride in.”

Martin added that the Mackinac Center’s math was “simple and selective.” However, he offered no data or specifics to support his assertion.

“This is a matter of simple math,” said Hohman. “I added the known state and federal incentives that have been offered and divided by the number of Volts sold. If GM has additional information to add to the public data on the use of taxpayer money, I look forward to seeing it.”

December 23, 2011 - Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular


  1. More subsidies for the rich on the backs of the poor amazing how easy it is to get credit and capital if you are already a large organization of wealthy but if you are middle class or poor with a great business idea the bank will tell you in so many words to G.F.Y. Zero credit for 99% of America so everyone must accept being a wage slave for someone who only exists because they get financed with wage slave’s tax dollars while all the economic and creative potential of 311.4 million Americans is wasted so some 28 year investment banker’s son can buy one of the new 6 billion dollar solid gold yachts which will eliminate 2 tons of a precious metal every time one sinks and cost Americans more money when their insurance company raises rates on them to cover Mr. banker boy’s policy.

    Capitalism in America? Hardly more like Monetary Aristocracy.

    Stop paying taxes, stop paying on any type of insurance policies, hoard your income in cash in a safe don’t let these freeloader basterds get one thin dime anymore on YOUR LABOR. America needs a second revolution.

    Comment by Dave Mowers | December 23, 2011

  2. Everyone, collectively take your “taxpayer” nonsense and the “money” that it thrives on and shove it directly up your own ass. I’m so tired of people referring to human beings as “taxpayers”. Fuck taxes and shut the hell up about “taxpayers”. If you don’t like paying them and funding planet-wide terrorism, then stop paying the taxes. Don’t bitch about the tax man coming to knock on your door. Don’t whine about “tax law” or mock the free-man-on-the-land movement. Just stop friggin’ paying. If we all did this en masse, then the powers that be would have a REAL problem, wouldn’t they? But, instead, lets keep paying taxes, complaining about wars and expansion of fascist policies, and talk about how bad the gov’t is. Also, let’s continue spending the rest of the money we don’t yet have on 70″ televisions, Mercedes Benz, three different video game systems, and a new IPhone every 8 months. Then we can bitch about how we don’t have any of this wonderfully worthless MONEY!

    Millions are annihilated on a yearly basis, weaponized viruses are being developed by governments, corporations are copyrighting and claiming as property all things on the planet, a police state is building up at home by the hands of BOTH the government AND the private sector, rich getting richer etc, and people are still bitching about taxes? Please, God, find a way to wake these fucking people up! Make that my Christmas present. I don’t want any of the materialistic, consumerist bullshit, just give me a little sanity from humanity. You people shouldn’t be bitching about taxes, you should be bitching about MONEY and what it does to us as humans.

    Let’s consider for a second, logically, what it is to be human.

    It has been hundreds of thousands of years since humanity first organized into tribes and we’re still “fighting” for “survival”. Only, instead of “fighting” tigers and bears in the jungles and forests to survive, we’re working retarded “jobs” whose only real outcome is consumerism, finance capital (which is basically NOTHING), industrial waste byproducts, propaganda, and the war materials that we chattle use to murder each other in the name of God or the elite or whatever bullshit excuse “they” come up with. Human evolution my ass. The only thing that sets all economic and governmental systems apart from pure slavery is the fact that we are paid for our labors. But you are not permitted to have adequate shelter, HEALTHY food, CLEAN water, and LASTING clothing without DECENT AMOUNT of money. So, there really is no difference.

    Slavery, as a general system (not any specific implementation of the system), can provide the same crap without having to deal with money. So why not just take all the bullshit out of the equation and go straight slavery? We’ll make up a contract that would disallow physical violence, abuses, and provide protection for the slaves (gee, sounds like the Constitution!) and in return for their tireless labors, they can eat, drink, have a house, some new clothes every year, and transportation. See… not so different from our current system, just without having to be your own part time accountant.

    But, really, the root of all of humanity’s woes is not money, per se. To find the truest root, we must ask “Why do we have money?” As a method of exchange, of course. So we can trade our labors for “goods”. So we can own and take possession of things. Ownership, eh? There’s an interesting concept and it ties in, nicely, with our previous discussion of slavery. Native Americans, native African tribes, and all manner of aboriginal peoples didn’t understand the ideologies of “ownership” because their social evolution did not encompass the claiming of lands and resources for one’s own personal use. This all springs from spirituality. The idea of ownership originated with the idea of having a “right” or “rite” to land and resources that was ordained from a God, or one of many gods. Monarchy, patriarchy, Divine Right, and other forms of deity-deigned “ownership” seemed to develop in the cultures that became known as “civilizations” (a title that is usually reserved for cultures that organized into hierarchical societies ruled by “governments” [any type]) and not so much in cultures that remained tribal.

    -*-An aside for misinformed people who think that Native Americans had property, slaves, and ownership rights (they did not)-*-
    Some may argue that Native Americans did have ownership, slaves, and even cities. But they are confusing the Native American tribes with the CIVILIZATIONS of Maya, Aztec, and Inca (who are NOT considered to be of the North American native tribes). Native American tribes only started territorial aggressive hostilities between each other after the Europeans arrived. People love to argue about this, but the plain truth is in their spiritual belief system which taught that Great Spirit is the only thing that can “own” (for lack of a better term) anything. All that is Great Spirit’s is to be shared by all living things. This is why they would pray for an animal after they hunted it and would never waste any part of the animal. Because it would be a great crime to waste any part of Great Spirit’s living creatures.
    -*-End Aside-*-

    There is no way for a civilization whose entire existence is based on expansion of ownership, accumulation of property, and gathering of “wealth” (resources) to flourish in the presence of a tribal society who teaches that all things are to be shared by all in existence. And so we see the systematic genocide of tribal societies all around the globe at the hands of “civilized” empires (regardless of government type or economic system). The proletariat began to desire a piece of the pie once their numbers grew so large, so a system had to be devised in order to keep the chattle in line while still encouraging them to slave for the elitist masters (the ones who God designated as owners oh so many millenia ago). Here we see the birth of economics and free market system as well as the proliferation of nationhood and nationalism and the invention of the constitution (a worker’s protection contract which could be altered at any time). Using these tools, the elite could make legal arguments for ownership of all things on the planet, animal, vegetable, and mineral. They just needed a medium to implement the plan. Money (which they would own and control the flow of) would be used as a medium of “exchange” in order to obtain the legal rights of ownership to land, resources, works of art, and anything else that is of practical value. Why do you think the “rights” that were “provided” by the Constitution have been passed over to corporations? It is because the corporations are the legal people who are carrying out massive amounts of accumulation of REAL wealth for the people who actually own the companies. Not the sucker “share holders” that get MONEY in return for their MONEY investments (remembering that money is worthless). No, I’m talking about the guys who actually get to claim ownership of the machines that produce, the lands that provide, and the products that are produced. Try going up to an IBM factory and telling them that you’re there to pick up one of YOUR computers. HA! Show them proof of your “shares” in IBM… see how far that gets you.

    Money was also the final keystone to the ingenious method of fooling the chattle into thinking they actually “owned” something. Money (whether backed by gold, silver, or nothing) is actually quite worthless. You can’t eat, drink, bathe in, wear (well, not practically, anyway), build a shelter with, or grow crops & fertilize the land with money. It is a symbol of debt slavery and the money system was actually developed in Babylon long before the free market system came about. All those things (shelter, food, water, clothing) would still be around even if there was no such thing as money. Crazy right!

    Finally, I must answer to the inane idea that human “progress” and “motivation” has been driven by money. An interesting idea. First of all, the man who created the Polio vaccine did it for FREE, didn’t file a patent for it, didn’t copyright it, and gave it away totally free. He did this because he loved his work and he worked to help save lives, not to earn MONEY. So, right off the bat, we can see that the idea that progress and motivation needs MONEY to drive it is false. It does not need money. We were born into a system that propagandizes money from the second you are born. So, naturally, you think you need money to get things done. Many people farm because they like to farm! Many people build houses, do plumbing, electrical work, demolition, and welding because they ENJOY the experience! They feel they’ve accomplished something. There are endless numbers of musicians, doctors, computer programmers, actors, etc etc etc that do what they do because they love it and feel they are adding to society. Yes, there are people who do things simply for money, and they are usually the people that you want to steer clear from with regards to their quality. And let’s not forget the subjects for which money has been the most significant driving force of: murder, war, dirty drug trade, prostitution, and lying (just to name a few). Barring a crime of passion for murder, there’s very little to be gained from any of these subjects that doesn’t have money or ownership at the base of it.

    I hope someone made it through the whole post. Honestly, I could probably write a lengthy book on the subject of ownership and money. I try to sum things up here, but there are always gaps to be filled and subjects/details left out of the discussion. Honestly, though, when thought about objectively and logically, there is little defense for the idea of private “ownership” of land and resources. And don’t call me a commie because a government ownership program is the same thing as private ownership it just has a different name. Both are systems that are used to usurp land/resources from the human race to be used by a select few people whose lineages claim to be ordained by God to own the planet and herd the chattle as they see fit.

    Comment by Ben Franklin (pre-death) | December 23, 2011

    • You were doing real good until you got carried away and decided to write a book instead of a comment. If you expect people to read what you write, keep it short and to the point.

      Comment by carroll price | December 25, 2011

      • I felt it necessary to address the issue of “ownership”. I would be willing to read through something this large that someone else posted. It is a matter of patience and interest.

        However, I do understand what you are saying. Most people probably didn’t read any of it, let alone the whole thing. I should probably write a book instead of an 8 paragraph comment on a wordpress posting! ;)

        Comment by Ben Franklin (pre-death) | March 9, 2012

  3. It is true that more research should be done to determine the best programs to subsidize, but there is nothing wrong with the governemnt subsidizing programs that could lessen our dependence on foreign oil imports. The same people who complain when nothing is done (by the government) to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, are the same ones who complain when programs (like the Chevy Volt) do not live up to expectations. Grow up and assume some responsibily or STFU.

    Comment by carroll price | December 23, 2011

    • Carroll,

      Just wondering.

      Should government subsidize programs to lessen our dependence on imported manufactured goods as well?

      I’m wondering how this imperative of reducing energy imports fits with the “free trade” globalization paradigm that has upended the US economic structure over the past few decades. Is there something special about oil in international trade other than the race of people in many of the nations which export it?

      Does it perhaps have anything to do with the Israeli demands that we all stop doing business with Arabs and Iranians?

      I suppose what is really needed here is for us all to “grow up and assume some responsibility” for our government’s supplication to the Israel lobby. But I don’t think that STFU will work very well in achieving that.

      Comment by aletho | December 23, 2011

  4. My Geo Metro gets 40 mpg and has simple cheap parts as well. The engine(with unknown maintenence, got to 180,000 miles before failure. others get 250,000 and more.

    Comment by Howard T. Lewis III | December 25, 2011

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