An undeterred President Barack Obama, heavily criticized for his Administration’s support of spectacularly unsuccessful green energy start-ups, told an Illinois audience last week the government should expand its role in helping fund private green projects that wouldn’t survive in a free market.
Obama expanded on a topic he’d mentioned in his State of the Union address: the creation of an Energy Security Trust, funded from revenues the Federal government collects on oil and gas leases on Federally owned lands.
Its purpose? To destroy the oil-and-gas economy and replace it with other sources of energy, nearly all of which are still in development.
“So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil,” he said.
Crediting “a coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs” with the idea, Obama proposed the fund as an alternative way of subsidizing green projects — one that perhaps might anger the public less than the series of tax-funded venture capital green energy debacles during his Administration.
But why dwell on the past? Obama maintains that green energy is an idea whose time has come, if only it can develop a production and supply infrastructure to rival that of oil and gas. And since the marketplace often rejects green projects for one reason or another (or several), it’s the job of government to shoulder the economic risk.
[A]nd, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive. It’s too risky. They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines.
So we’ve got to support it. And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it. That’s who we are. That’s been the American story.
Wait, what? The executive branch forcing citizens to support venture capital (without giving us so much as a prospectus) is the American story?
Late last year, The Heritage Foundation compiled a “Green Graveyard,” a list of 19 companies that have declared — or were in the process of declaring — bankruptcy since receiving a combined $2.6 billion in government loans and “taxpayer-funded handouts” as part of Obama’s stimulus package. The list, it cautioned, will likely continue to grow.