Obama Says Stimulus Worked at Battery Plant Where CEO Remains “Frustrated” at Losses

(p. A12) JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — President Obama on Friday [February 26, 2016] used a visit to a high-technology battery plant in Florida to argue that the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies he signed into law during his first days in office had bolstered the economy, transformed the nation’s energy sector, and positioned the United States for a strong rebound.
But Mr. Obama’s trip to the Saft America factory here, opened in 2011 with a $95.5 million investment from the Department of Energy, also highlighted the challenges that have tempered the economic recovery and the difficulty that the president has had in claiming credit for it.
. . .
After touring the facility and watching a large robot named Wall-E assembling one of the batteries, the president called the factory “tangible evidence” that his stimulus package had worked and said that the economy was better off for it. “We took an empty swamp and turned it into an engine of innovation,” he said.
That engine, though, has sputtered as it has struggled to start here. Saft, based in Paris, announced last week that it was reducing the factory’s value because it had still not gained profitability in the competitive lithium-ion battery market. Saying he was “frustrated,” the company’s chief executive projected the plant might not be profitable for a few more years.

For the full story, see:
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS. “Obama Praises Stimulus at Battery Plant.” The New York Times (Sat., FEB. 27, 2016): A12.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date FEB. 26, 2016, and has the title “Obama Points to Florida Factory as Evidence That Stimulus Worked.”)

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