I think the government can help pick winners and losers effectively- by offering prizes or fixed price contracts. Dr. Diamandis offered an X-Prize, and it spawned several efforts to build suborbital vehicles. NASA offered milestone contracts to supply the space station. The Department of Energy offered a prize for an affordable and efficient light bulb. Paying for results is better than paying for trying.
derF, sir: not at all. That is not at all how the wealthy operate, or, at least, the important part of what they do. The "wealthy" become that way by evaluating opportunity and risk. They are good at it. True, they sometimes convince other people to put their money into the pot: if you are smart, you do so, and you get a share of the action. We call this "the stock market". I cannot do what many successful businessmen do: so I let them do it with my money. This is called "division of labor". I have no problem with it: I am a worker bee in the hive of capitalism, not a member of a herd of cattle in the socialist state.
Bert has stated my objection to the government's "investing" programs perfectly well. (Thanks, Bert.) It is disquieting that within the civil service halls, they talk about their "business model" and their "customers". This shows the fundamental disconnect between what a government agency is, and what they think they are, which is definitely not a business.
Bob's statement was far from disingenuous. One thing is for an investor to freely put money on some project or other, knowing he is taking a risk.
Quite another is to have our money taken from us, no questions asked, and then "invested" in something we never would have invested in, if left to our own devices.
I'll grant you that most government spending is done this way. But that's why government should only spend our money to do things we legitimately task them to do. It mitigates this sort of risk.
No one hired the politicians to be our venture capitalists. They aren't remotely qualified to do that job.
Dear "IFindNickNamesAnnoying": yep, me too. That's why I use my name. I am a professional, addressing other professionals, and under those circumstances, I use my name. You may or may not, as you please.
"We" aren't afraid of spending money to make money. There's an institution to help us do that, it's called the "stock market". You pick a likely company, ante up money, and as long as they are successful, they pay you a dividend, and maybe the price of the stock increases. All is well. Winners are rewarded, losers get to try again.
No one asked me if I wanted to invest $1.78 in Solyndra. I didn't. And since it was taken from me by threat of force, it's theft, pure and simple. Worse still, even if Solyndra had made money, I would not have realized a return. So, the mantra seems to need to change to "you have to spend other people's money to make money." Of course, that's nonsense. Only a parasite, like a government official, thinks he can take your money for his own profit, and that of his friends.
Lastly, I don't care what China does with its money. China is a totalitarian regime, not a free-market capitalistic environment. They are not in any way, shape, or form a good model for anything that takes place in the US economy. China will eventually reap the rewards to which it is entitled.
The unfortunate thing is that in seeking to be different they unfortunately forgot to be better. A better product that costs more still has a chance, an inferior product that cots more needs a miracle marketer or it is doomed. This one had no miracle marketer.
Actually, we are afraid to have our money thrown down the toilet. You can't make valid business decisions, when your bread and butter comes from creating catchy slogans and saying what the masses want to hear.
On the other hand, if everyone would just contribute a mere 50 cents a year to me, which is hardly noticeable to them, I would be most appreciative. I promise. I will think up great things of you do this.
Everyone seems concerned that Solyndra went insolvent after a $535 million loan. If you divide by the number of people in the country, just over 300 million, that's only $1.78 apiece. Next when you read that China subsidizes (not a loan) their manufacturing heavily, it's no wonder that our manufacturing has trouble competing. We're afraid of spending money to make money.