For well-connected private sector cronies, government investment generates massive returns. But for the rest of us, it has cost us rather dearly. I present to you some recent and not-so-recent failures of bureaucratic investments.
Clean Energy Projects In Bankruptcy:
- Solyndra, total cost to you: $535 million
- Abound Solar, total cost to you: $400 million
- Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP), total cost to you: $98.5 million
Other Clean Energy Cronyism:
- Navy pays $424 a gallon for biofuel, for 20,055 gallons
- BrightSource Energy, total cost to you: $1.6 billion
- Total cost of clean energy cronyism to you: $80 billion
Automotive Industry Bailouts:
- JP Morgan subsidies: $14 billion a year, or about 77 percent of its net income for the past four quarters.
- Banking subsidies, total cost to you: $76 billion a year
- Total bailouts as of 2011, $23.7 to $29 trillion depending on how you calculate it
U.S. Post Office Monopoly on First Class Mail:
- Total cost to you, $1 billion a month in losses for the first half of the fiscal year
- $14.1 billion in losses by the end of this year; without legislative changes. Annual losses will exceed $21 billion by 2016.
- Estimated $60 billion a year in fraud
- Over $1 trillion a year in program costs for Medicare and Medicaid
- “Amtrak officials project an operating loss of $506 million in the fiscal year (2011) ending Sept. 30, up from a loss of $419.9 million last year. Officials have projected a loss of $616 million next year.” Losses are paid by the taxpayer.
Boston's Big Dig:
- $22 billion for a 3.5 mile long tunnel
Miscellaneous Waste (from The Economic Collapse blog):
- Approximately $1 million of U.S. taxpayer money was used to create poetry for the Little Rock, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago zoos. The goal of the “poetry” is to help raise awareness on environmental issues.
- $615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.
- A total of $3 million has been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft. The goal of this “video game research” is reportedly to study how “emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.”
Total Budget Allocated for “Defense” Purposes:
- $1 trillion a year (1 out of every 15 dollars spent in the U.S. is on “defense”)
If you happen to be on the receiving end of one of these deals, life must be pretty sweet. No need to worry about paying back investors. No need to worry about market competition. No need to even justify your business model! Hell, just slap a “green” label on your company and suddenly you're eligible to get hundreds of millions in handouts no matter how dumb, inefficient, or economically unsound your business idea may be! And if you produce weapons, issue loans to deadbeats, or provide medical care, the sky is the limit!
I don’t know how bad things need to get before people wake up to what the state actually is, but I assume it will take a total implosion of the currency before the message finally sinks in. The state is a criminal organization of thieves and scoundrels writ large. The notion that the public has any real control over this monstrosity of a system is ridiculous.
In the video below, Milton Friedman points out why things never change, and why no one seems to care. While the video is on the subject of tax reform, Friedman makes some very astute observations about the nature of our political democracy that have a direct bearing on the insane cronyism going on all around us.