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Picking Winners and Losers?

Should the government gamble with taxpayer money?


ABCNEWS: Energy Dept. Gives Half-Billion-Dollar Loan to Electric Car Company Building Cars -- in Finland...
Ties to Major Obama Bundlers...

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/car-company-us-loan-builds-cars-finland/story?id=14770875

Tax Funded Electric Car Gets Worse Mileage Than an SUV...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2011/10/20/update-fisker-karma-electric-car-gets-worse-mileage-than-an-suv/

E-mails show Energy Department was moving toward second loan for Solyndra
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/solyndra-e-mails-dept-of-energy-was-poised-to-approve-469-million-for-firm/2011/10/05/gIQA0IvgNL_story.html?hpid=z2


GM - At current trading prices, the government would lose about $16.5 billion
http://www.detnews.com/article/20111003/AUTO01/110030437/1361/Treasury-will-be--patient--before-selling-GM-stake
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carsRST
Asked:
carsRST
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4 Solutions
 
leonstrykerCommented:
Yes, they should, but they should have better criteria and oversight.

What do you think the Space Program, and Star Wars program, were all about? A lot of technological research does not, at least initially, have commercial application, or is financially viable. I am ok with a certain amount of losses here, because the long term benefit far outweighs the cost.

What I do not want is government making those decisions based on political considerations as with Solyndra. Not do I want the taxpayer to be singularly responsible in case of failure, or uncompensated in case of success.
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beetosCommented:
Golly Cars,

Maybe they have better monkeys in Finland?
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TlingitCommented:
No they shouldn't be gambling with my money.  The government is trying to force a new technology.  They are taking place of innovation that typically people come up with.  Can you imagine if the government jumped into the business of using whale oil and pushed businesses to make another form of lamp light like kerosene back in the 1800s, instead of having the transition from whale oil to kerosene to coal to oil, a natural evolution of improving lamp light over the years.  I think you would have a similiar problem like we are having right now: failing businesses.  In time we will be using something cleaner and more efficient and more friendly to the environment, but it has to evolve naturally instead being pushed down our throats.  It also needs to come from the private sector and not from the government.  The government tends to mess things up too many times, and Solyndra is just one prime example of this.
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CCSOFlagCommented:
Totally Agree Tlingit.  The government should not be involved in any of this.  The Private sector will always research stuff to make thigns more efficient and cost effective.  That's how the business model works.  The Power industry knows that oil is only going to last so long.  You don't think they are already researching better more efficient means?  You ahv eto remember it needs to be cost effective.  Sure a company can be forced to make some solar cars, or natural gas, etc.  But are they cost effective?  Can't people afford them?  Can they handle the same job?  Look at Locomotives.  Steam engines were perfectly capable of carrying the loads.  They did for years.  Even when the first diesel engine came out it was laughed at because it couldn't do the work it needed to.  It lagged.  But companies worked at it and finally it surpassed the steam engine.  It's the same with anything else.  You can't force anything before it's time really comes.  It has to be researched, developed, and perfected first.
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beetosCommented:
I disagree  ( surprisingly :)

Government funds research.  That's why the US is advanced in so many areas.  This Internet we're communicating on?  What company was it that invented it?

The Oil companies have a vested interest in their current products, and lots of money.  I don't believe they're investing the necessary capital into finding energy alternatives. If they were, I believe we'd have it already.  That's why the Obama administration is trying to get things going in the renewable energy sector.  I remember when I was a kid, some college kids had designed an engine that could get 50mpg.  The oil companies bought the rights and quickly shelved it.   Same thing with the electric car.  

When Carter was President, he was touting conservation and renewable energy such as solar.   He even put solar panels on the Whitehouse.  Had industry been working on a solution since those times, solar power would be a reality now and we wouldn't be so dependent on foreign oil.  

Industry will act in Industry's best interest, which is always on the side of profits.  

Some companies will design things well and their contributions greatly advance our society.   But you'd be surprised how many consumer products had their roots in military research and technology.
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carsRSTAuthor Commented:
>>Yes, they should,

Leon, where in the Constitution does it say this?



>>Government funds research.  That's why the US is advanced in so many areas.

Should be left to the private sector.
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leonstrykerCommented:
>Leon, where in the Constitution does it say this?

You asked: Should the government gamble with taxpayer money? and in my opinion I believe it should, to a degree. I do not believe the Constitution Fathers were omniscient, or diviners.

>>Government funds research.  That's why the US is advanced in so many areas.
Should be left to the private sector.


Yes, it is preferable, but not always viable. There are other considerations such as National Defense for example. Without government financing we would never have been able to maintain a technological edge vs the Soviet Union and China. Which language do you think we would using now in that reality?
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carsRSTAuthor Commented:
>> I do not believe the Constitution Fathers were omniscient, or diviners.

That's why they gave us the ability to amend the Constitution.
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leonstrykerCommented:
>That's why they gave us the ability to amend the Constitution.

Not only that, but they also instituted the Supreme Courts which has the authority to render a decisions in Constitutional matters. And, under that authority, the Supreme Court has affirmed the Congress right to regulated Interstate Commerce, which Congress has used to justify a whole slate of economic policy including investment of taxpayer funds for purposes other than monetary profit. So by extension, the Constitution allows such investments to be made.
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CCSOFlagCommented:
beetos wrote:
I disagree  ( surprisingly :)


HA!  It's ok, this would be boring if we all agreed on everything, don't you think?

Government funds research.  That's why the US is advanced in so many areas.  This Internet we're communicating on?  What company was it that invented it?

Well honestly there is much speculation still on who "invented" it because what defines invent?  Is it the idea?  Is it the infrastructure?  is it whoever successfully creates one?  On what scale?  Does a business network count?  My point it there were many many fingers in the pot for the internet itself.  I don't agree that the government is responsible for it.


I don't believe they're investing the necessary capital into finding energy alternatives.
Maybe not, but why should they be required to?  When they find that we are running short on oil, don't you think they will?  I guarantee you they aren't just going to stand by and watch their company die.  There is still plenty of oil supply out there, so there really is not a good reason to spend a fortune on alternative energy resources.  This is why I don't like the government being involved.  There's nothing wrong with gasoline at the moment.  This alternative energy push is simply a political election issue.  When the time comes that we really do NEED to seek alternative means of power it'll happen.


When Carter was President, he was touting conservation and renewable energy such as solar.   He even put solar panels on the Whitehouse.  Had industry been working on a solution since those times, solar power would be a reality now and we wouldn't be so dependent on foreign oil.
But if the consumers WANT to be dependent on foreign oil, why can't they be?  In my opinion, it's our right to be able to choose what we want.  Making changes needs to be cost effective for the consumer.  Also we can't lose the capability that we had before.  I know a lot of problems with early electric and solar cars was they couldn't produce the power/torque needed to do the same job as petrol vehicles.  I haven't kept up on them and I do not know what the latest is out there, but it all comes down to the cost.  Even looking at electric cars, can you imagine the cost of putting in electric fill up stations all over the nation?  Especially considering a lot of states have electricity shortages?  California is in no condition to switch to electric vehicles.  AZ sells them a lot of power, because CA can't handle their demand.  A lot of that is due to their govt regulations on power plants, but that's beside the point.

Some companies will design things well and their contributions greatly advance our society.   But you'd be surprised how many consumer products had their roots in military research and technology.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying govt funding for research doesn't help in any ways.  I just do not agree that they should be funding research.  IT should all be left the private companies, universities, etc.  MY big issue is the ridiculous things our taxpayer money DOES go to as far as research.  I'd rather be able to choose which research project I support, because the govt is too irresponsible and likes to funds things that are ludicrous.



leon wrote:
Without government financing we would never have been able to maintain a technological edge vs the Soviet Union and China.

We do not have the technological edge over china actually.  There are a lot of countries that have a technological edge over our military.  The difference is we spend a large fortune on training so we know how to use the weapons we have better than most other countries.  I used to think that we were technologically superior as well until I joined the Air Force and learned that in fact we weren't.  Granted I can't go into details because a lot of what I read was classified, so I guess you'll have to just trust me.  There are quite a few nations out there who we are actually afraid of because of their superior technology.  This is why you don't see us bullying around certain countries, but we do others.

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leonstrykerCommented:
>We do not have the technological edge over china actually.  There are a lot of countries that have a technological edge over our military.  The difference is we spend a large fortune on training so we know how to use the weapons we have better than most other countries.  I used to think that we were technologically superior as well until I joined the Air Force and learned that in fact we weren't.

I would debate you on that, but as you pointed out, I too cannot go into details. What I can point to however is the amount of industrial espionage that China has been involved with in the last 60 years.
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