The Scrapbook never intended to become a weekly chronicle of the woes of the Chevy Volt—the boondoggle that only a big -government-big auto alliance could have created. But desperate times call for desperate measures. It seems that a Michigan-based company making batteries for the Volt received $151 million in taxpayer funds via the $800 billion stimulus bill. President Obama showed up for the plant’s groundbreaking ceremony in July 2010. The enterprise is now going about as well as you might expect, according to an investigation by the local NBC affiliate, Wood TV:
Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies. They say it’s been going on for months.
“There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day,” said former LG Chem employee Nicole Merryman, who said she quit in May.
Current employees at the plant declined to be named for fear of losing their, ahem, jobs, but confirmed that they are still collecting taxpayer-subsidized paychecks while “playing video games, Texas hold-’em and Monopoly or doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles—all on company time.” The irony of using $151 million in stimulus funds to pay people to sit around counting Monopoly money is almost too great to bear.
To their credit, the existing employees said they are ready and willing to work. Many are using their time to clean and maintain the building and seek productive tasks related to their job. However, the problems seem to be way above their pay grade. When LG Chem’s public relations specialist was contacted, he told Wood TV he no longer worked for the company. The Department of Energy inspector general, Gregory Friedman, is now on the case. Friedman deserves taxpayer plaudits for opening over 100 investigations into stimulus fraud related to Department of Energy projects.
We wish we could say the same for the rest of the Obama administration. Vice President Joe Biden scoffed at the recent veep debate when Paul Ryan brought up the extraordinary amount of fraud in Department of Energy stimulus programs. But then he scoffed at every Ryan utterance.
You’re probably wondering about Obama’s remarks at the plant’s groundbreaking ceremony two years ago. “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, and this is a symbol of where America’s going,” he said. Prescient.