Obviously, by now its’ clear that, while a job in private equity means that Mitt Romney can’t be President, Barack Obama finds his forays into picking winners and losers in the American market a perfectly acceptable use of his time and your money.
His next exciting venture? Biotech! Because who needs precious dollars to prevent and prepare for biohazard attacks when we can use those same taxpayer dollars to give Obama cronies awesome jobs in lefty fields?
Buried deep in a 2010 report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entitled The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Review – Transforming the Enterprise to Meet Long-Range National Need is a recommendation to form a Strategic Investment Fund with a goal of “repositioning the U.S. Government as a strategic partner and investor and providing meaningful financial incentives and rewards to private sector partners who succeed in developing the medical countermeasures we need.” Last month, without you knowing, the White House decided that this was the new direction of their alternative energy approach.
Because, clearly, their approach has worked so well. Just last year, we had Solyndra, which cost American taxpayers a cool $500+ million in money that not only went to a failing solar energy idea, but went via one of Obama’s biggest donors in a boondoggle that involved so many key players in the Administration that they’re still trying to unravel the knots.
But luckily for America, the Democratic-controlled Senate pass legislation ending their oversight of the Administration’s dealings with the HHS, allowing the HHS to establish a “strategic investor” based on this two year old report – once again, allowing the Obama Administration, rather than the free market, to pick winners and losers. Then, on June 12, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chaired by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), provided $20 million for the initiative as “seed money” to allow the Administration to head to the casino. This time, unlike its losing gambles in solar panels, the Administration will be betting with money dedicated to national security and keeping the American people safe from bioterrorism as its bankroll. The “strategic investor” wager will jeopardize tens of millions of dollars from already badly underfunded and depleted public health preparedness efforts so that HHS can “partner with small ‘innovator’ companies and private investors to generate novel technologies” in the highly risky biotechnology sector.
Do these guys really believe that their stunning arrogance and striking lack of understanding in the power of market forces will, at some point, allow them to simply pick a winner in this game out of thin air? What, exactly, do they think sunk Solyndra? Bad luck? Al Gore? Dick Cheney in an Al Gore mask, sneaking into the facility after hours and ripping the innards out of all of the solar panels and refilling them with wood glue? Or does it still remain a mystery, one that will take them years of therapy and blaming Republicans to figure out?
In his book Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Harvard Business School economist Dr. Josh Lerner examined why “government investment” is destine to fail. Lerner’s careful analysis makes clear government is wholly incapable of making investment decisions on its own – and is even worse in managing such “investments” once made. Obviously, this would make sense to our elected leaders in a perfect world. But as this isn’t a perfect world, and our elected leaders don’t typically make a lot of sense, I would just safely assume that you didn’t need that biohazard protection to begin with.