When I was governor of Michigan, we worked with private companies and the legislature to apply for federal government stimulus grants to be the place where the electric car, and its guts, the battery, would be built. Amazingly, we received 12 grants worth $1.35 billion -- more than half of the total awarded nationally. For just the lithium-ion battery alone, we were able to attract 18 companies to the state to build the various parts, with a potential boost of 63,000 jobs. That's 63,000 jobs!
I know the only reason those jobs were even possible is because the federal government, led by our president, made a commitment to battery technology. But as we've heard, there are huge challenges facing the industry. If we don't get this right, we'll lose a lot of those high paying, advanced manufacturing jobs. Forever.
That's where the government can do even more, with policies to encourage demand. George W. Bush created a tax break for SUVs, we should extend the one we have for electric cars. We need tax credits for these early electric vehicles until the price of making an electric vehicle comes down to the price for making a regular internal combustion engine. Not a permanent commitment -- but a glide path to energy independence, to jobs, to national security, to reducing climate change.
Anti-Obama partisans and those who are beholden to the oil industry need to get over it: Get over the election. Get over it, Rush Limbaugh, and support American products and American jobs. Get over it, Neil Cavuto, and support the great American manufacturing sector. Quit aiding and abetting our economic competitors, and start and abetting our economic growth.
The progress in electric cars is a true American success story. Those who want General Motors or electric vehicles to fail are motivated by nothing but partisan politics. Come on, you naysayers. Let's innovate, and support the innovators -- yes through government policy. Let's manufacture, and support the manufacturers. Let's win the race for clean energy jobs, and support those job providers.
Those who know me know about my love affair with my Chevy Volt. And I take no small degree of pride knowing it was all built in America, at the hands of about 1,000 U.S. workers in Hamtramck, Michigan. Although it's a green product, it doesn't get any more red, white and blue than that.