Obama’s Knack for Picking Losers

February 15, 2012 06:06

Obama is spending immense sums for subsidies to particular industries and technologies, almost $40 billion for clean-energy programs alone … Meanwhile, the administration blocks shovel-ready private investment such as the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast, which would create thousands of American jobs, increase energy security, and even improve the environment. – WSJ


By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN at The Wall Street Journal


Despite his record of picking losers—witness the failed “clean energy” projects Solyndra, Ener1 and Beacon Power—Mr. Obama appears determined to continue pushing his brew of federal spending, regulations, mandates, special waivers, loan guarantees, subsidies and tax breaks for companies he deems worthy.


Favoring key constituencies with taxpayer money appeals to politicians, who can claim to be helping the overall economy, but it usually does far more harm than good.


Former Obama adviser Larry Summers echoed most economists’ view when he warned the administration against federal loan guarantees to Solyndra, writing in a 2009 email that “the government is a crappy venture capitalist.”


Mr. Carter was trounced in his 1980 re-election bid by free-marketer Ronald Reagan, who slashed marginal income-tax rates and regulations and lowered trade barriers. The result? The end of the “stagflation” of the Carter years and a return to strong economic growth.



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