Well, well, It looks like the government CAN pick winners and losers

And they pick more winners than losers, with a better track record than most venture capital investors:

Solyndra loan program vilified by Republicans turns a profit

Federal investing in a clean energy future is entirely appropriate, especially when private equity investors are too timid to support new technologies.

I actually saw someone claim that this doesn’t justify the program because Solyndra was a short term loss while any profits take longer to realize. They must be desperate for talking points.

Well, time value of money and all that. Short-term losses can outweigh long-term profits. But we’re not talking about a really long term here.

So maybe we think we will turn a profit in 20 to 25 years. We think. We hope.

The second paragraph highlights the riskiness. People with money and knowledge won’t loan to these companies because the risk is too great. But the government in spending other peoples money have no problem doing so.

Hell, I’ll take risks all day with YOUR money. Will you let me invest your retirement based on my estimate that it will return a positive return in 25 years when others in the financial community have passed on it because it’s too risky? I thought not.

We might as well play blackjack with the money.

Except the ROI isn’t as good as letting the government invest it in clean tech.

Exactly my point. And what also has to be taken into account is the cost to taxpayers of not moving into cleaner forms of energy. This is less tangible and more difficult to measure but it’s real.

Just a hint: the title of the thread is other than truthful. The director of the program said specifically that they are not picking winners and losers.

So far, the clean energy part has lost $780 million, and expects a two percent loss rate on a further $32 billion. But in twenty years, it will return a profit. Maybe.

No doubt this will turn out better than pushing banks to give mortgages to high-risk borrowers.


Right. We’re not talking just monetary ROI. We could still come out ahead with a loss on the books.

So, you agree with him?

You have to risk money to make money* - who knew?
*absolutely no attempt in the statment to quantify risk
Any assessment of who funds the critics?

“Most”? Where are you getting “most” from?

Well, well, it looks like it isn’t “most”, but “many”. And it’s not “venture capital funds”, it’s only those that “invest in clean energy”. You even quoted that part in your OP. And you bolded it.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. Industry contributions:

John M. Shimkus. Industry contributions:

etc, etc, yawn.

Look, the whole ‘picks winners and losers’ thing is disingenuous on both sides. It’s a nonsense argument that makes all participants look like uninformed, low-information fools.

Of course the government picks winners and losers. That’s what government DOES. Sometimes it’s through good intentions, sometimes it’s through lobbying.

[li]Is a corporation getting grants a winner? What about the one which doesn’t?[/li]
[li]Is the Wal-Mart in a small town that gets a promise from the city that it can collect sales tax and keep it for ten years if it’ll locate inside the city limits a winner? (True story!) What about the citizens who support the infrastructure that makes the Wal-Mart possible?[/li]
[li]Is a single mother getting food stamps and welfare a winner? What about the one who doesn’t qualify because she is just a hair over the income threshold?[/li][/ul]

I actually consider the Solyndra program to be a worthy use of taxpayer funds because of one basic guiding principle of government spending:

“In cases where the public interest is maintained and the profit motive is available, private interests should function. In cases where those things do not maintain, government is within its domain to spend and operate.”

So if we agree that development of alternative energy sources is a societal good - and that research into it is not occurring based on profit - then it is worthwhile for government to spend the money promoting such research. The means by which it’s done - grants, loan guarantees, prizes, what-have-you may be open for debate, but not the existence of such programs.

The fuss and feathers over Solyndra is just partisan nonsense designed to sell ‘buy gold’ and ‘medicare scooter’ ads on yammerhead television news. To use it as the basis of policy discussions and decisions is one more sign that we’re on the edge of political collapse.

how did the american mortgage brokers push the banks?

I guess if you would rather bricker my OP over the difference between “many” and “most”, you can ignore the fact that conservatives tried to spin the whole loan program as a boondoggle, when it clearly was not.

Feel better?

  1. There is a tremendous amount of private money being invested in alternative energy resources without the need for government funds and it is done with a profit motive. The first company to invent a solar-powered reliable car will have more money than God.

  2. This wasn’t sold to the public as a government teat suckling program to fund these companies. It was sold as an investment. It is right to point out that it is a risky investment that no other investors would take. If we want to enact a handout, then let the debate on enacting it be about its true purpose instead of the hidden agenda which you correctly state.

Your whole OP is a mass of misinformation. I picked the part that others had not addressed.

I expressed my disapproval of Republican characterizations in threads that were hyping that characterization, and I’m going to express my disapproval of your hyping the opposite. Both sides can have people who are in the wrong, and you’re in the wrong this time.

Just to be clear, are you saying that private investment is not occurring?

And you missed a step-- if private investment is not occurring, best to understand why it isn’t occurring before saying the government must intervene.

(my bold)

Was that a typo or intentional?

In any case, the difference between many and most is not just semantics. Talking about all areas vs. one specific area is not just semantics. It’s fine to address the larger point after you concede your phrasing was misleading.

That’s the problem with political biases-- one sees what one wants to see.