Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the fiscal conservative hero of the Republican Party, once supported a US Energy Department loan program aimed at developing greener cars. Furthermore, Ryan even called for DOE to hand out lump-sum payments to companies. My, how times have changed since 2008 and 2009.
In a 2008 letter to then-Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman Ryan outlined a series of steps that the department should take as it finalized the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
The setup of the ATVM loan program was to send out the money incrementally to loan recipients to ensure that those recipients met financial and performance milestones. By slowing handing out the money safe guards are created so that loan recipients who are not meeting finical and performance goals could potently be discontinued from the loan payouts. This would save federal money from going to failing companies – shades of Solyndra anyone?
Oddly, the 2008 letter showed Ryan taking a different approach. In place of incremental hands out, Ryan suggested that loan recipients have immediate access to the lump sum of the loan. This would allow the loan recipients to have more money to work with at the start. However, this method of money distribution complete removes any safe gourds and open the door of the possibility of a failing company to just take tax payers money and run. One could say that this “Ryan Plan” was not fiscally conservative at all.
But that is not all. The 2008 Ryan letter laid out other factors the Energy Department should consider when approving ATVM loans. They include prioritizing green projects that have ceased production or closed down – in other words breathe new life into already failed green industries. This would be the equivalent of Paul Ryan suggesting that government funds should go to Solyndra.
It is important to note that the 2008 Ryan letter was signed by three other Wisconsin politicians; Democrats: Sen. Herb Kohl, then-Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Tammy Baldwin.
One company that did take advantage of the ATVM loan program was Fisker Automotive; the maker of the high end Karma electric vehicle (EV). To say that Fisker is a shining beacon of the EV movement would be outright crazy. The company has experienced an almost comical amount of problems in recent months and has become a target for Republicans looking to sully the name of green technology. However, in 2008 2009 Fisker is one of the companies that Ryan supported through the ATVM loan program.
In 2009 Ryan wrote to the Energy Department looking for additional stimulus money for two Wisconsin energy conservation companies – stimulus money that Ryan has been staunchly against. Ryan initially denied having made the 2009 requests but has since acknowledged it.
This is why the American public is losing faith in their leadership. Politicians either need to be for something, and be able to explain why, or be against something and be able to explain why. The Romney Ryan ticket just cannot seem to figure this out. For Romney and Ryan there is no message – well, I take that back, there is a campaign message but it depends on the day and the pop political issue of that day. But how can there be a message when both Romney and Ryan have shown an astonishing ability to be for an issue and then against that very same issue? This is not the style of leadership we need right now. Now is a time for consistency, slowly laying the ground works for a better tomorrow, and growing with the changing global market. We do not need to take this country back; we need to move it forward.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison