Before 2009, the U.S. was supplying less than 2% of a tiny global market in advanced batteries. When the stimulus-funded factories are all complete, they’ll have the capacity to supply 40% of a rapidly growing global market, about 500,000 batteries a year. The stimulus will also boost our supply of electric-vehicle charging stations by more than 3,000%. And the Obama administration has provided loans to help Tesla, Fisker and Nissan build electric-car factories in the U.S., all part of Obama’s pledge to put 1 million plug-ins on the road by 2015. That is what change looks like, even if the President doesn’t beat his chest and call for mass beheadings on Wall Street while it happens
A few random thoughts
- Doesn't this sound like an old Soviet press release about the highlights of their last 5-year plan?
- This is a kind of weird economic nationalism that drove a lot of the bad behaviors in the 19th century. Who cares what percentage of world battery output our country controls? Don't we just care that there is an adequate supply at good cost from somewhere? This sounds like chest-thumping for the American Raj.
- Left unquestioned is why we should care or be excited. Consider it this way -- a guy with no business experience is making major investments of our money in companies that were not able to get private investment. Did you really elect Obama to be venture-capitalist-in-chief? And if that were truly the President's job descriptions, how many tens of millions of people would you consider more qualified for the job than Obama? Would you let Obama manage your retirement portfolio for you?
- No government investment is at all interesting to me unless I am told what private use of the money was foregone. All such public investments use money that is taken from private actors and would have been used for some private function. How many jobs, and what market outcomes, would have occurred if the money had remained in private hands?
- Let's see how many Democrats are claiming these successes in a few years when these ventures start going bankrupt. I expect a lot of this stuff to mysteriously disappear from poloitician's web sites in a few years.
- This is the corporate state in spades. The government creates an industry, and in the future will create protectionist laws for it, and customer subsidies, and bail it out when necessary. In return, all of its employees and managers know they owe their jobs to the party that sponsored the industry, rather than to any competitive prowess.