Arnold Kling hits it right on the head.
In Washington, the US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, broke with Obama administration renewable energy policy, telling stunned alternative energy developers at a recent meeting on alternative fuels that “if it were up to me, I would put every cent into electric cars,” according to a source present at the meeting.
Unfortunately, he means every cent of our money, not his. Sebastian Blanco writes,
the DOE is in charge of some big things and, this year, it has handed out billions in loan guarantees for plug-in vehicles, including money for Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.6 billion), Tesla Motors ($465 million) and Fisker ($528 million).
Forget a carbon tax. Forget cap and trade. Steven Chu is going straight to picking winners and losers.An energy department spokesman issued a quasi-denial of Chu’s quote. But his actions speak for themselves.
I don’t want the smartest guys running things in Washington, DC. Acting on the pretense of knowledge does far more damage than not acting because you are humbled about how little you know. At least if Mr. Chu were playing with his own money, there would be no consequence to me of his wish to “bet on electric cars” but when he is playing with other people’s money (remember the Financial Crisis, or was that too long ago for a politician to remember?) the consequences of this kind of central planning are disastrous. But that is not where we are here in the U.S. Smart guys running around planning the lives of the rest of us uneducated, ignorant, peasants. Aside from the economic impossibility of these things, is it not more than a little meddlesome? If you don’t think so, I encourage you to set up a chair next to your neighbor’s bedroom. When they are about to get busy, knock on the window and ask them if they are taking proper precautions from contracting diseases or having additional children that they may want to have. My guess is you would have worse done to you that being “kindly asked to leave.” But that sort of behavior is en vogue among the political class.
I wonder if Mr. Chu, who supports electric cars, would also support a massive expansion of clean nuclear technology too?