Is Level of Obama Direct Investment in Energy Companies Appropriate

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Marc Thiessen raises an issue with President Barack Obama’s public equity record. By public equity, Mr. Thiessen is describing questionable loan guarantees and direct grants made to a number of private firms, mostly alternative energy firms. Mr. Thiessen’ primary issue is that with taxpayer dollars, Mr. Obama has invested in a crapshoot, with a number of these companies going bankrupt or otherwise failing to perform.

Are loan guarantees and direct grants by government poor uses of government funds? Has government stepped out of the “investing in infrastructure” box and given ammunition to detractors like the Tea Party who argue in essence that the Obama Administration is pursuing a command-and-control type of economy?

The Administration’s penchant for ownership in private going concerns has gone too far. Contracting out to private parties to build the conduits through which our goods and services travel is one thing. Playing private equity or venture capitalist is quite another.

What do you think?

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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One Response to Is Level of Obama Direct Investment in Energy Companies Appropriate

  1. Ken Ciszewski says:

    Our government gives businesses in this country various forms of “corporate welfare” that have been decried by some and lauded by others. This is a “crapshoot” also, because no one can be sure that businesses given “corporate welfare” won’t go broke either! Business is about risk, and there is risk in any business venture. The recent investment in GM could easily have been lost if GM had not recovered. The same is true of a number of banks that were helped. I think the bigger objection might be that alternative energy is not a favorite of conservatives, mostly because oil companies don’t want anyone encroaching on their territory.

    In any case, the goal was not venture capitalism, in which the capitalist’s main goal is make a return on his investment. The goal was to try to help alternative energy get started in this country due to a need created by all the money we send to middle eastern countries who use it to fund terrorist attacks against us. It’s in our national security interest to find a way to stop importing middle eastern oil. Oil companies are not going to help with that if it’s unprofitable–they don’t care about either national security or terrorist threats, they only care about their bottom line.

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