Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Gov’t Energy “Investments” Need to Be Structured for Returns

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Government investments in energy infrastructure, which I see as potentially very positive and soon maybe even absolutely necessary, should be structured so that there will be returns on those investments. Yeah, so obvious it almost goes without saying, but a quick look at government projects in the past shows diverse aims and results, with successful and woeful examples.

Similar or at least tangential to what I argued in a post earlier this summer, government is often necessary to lay the groundwork on worthy projects that may not be profitable for years to come but will be highly beneficial to our country’s citizens and our economy.

Airplane travel would not likely be anything like what we enjoy today were it not for massive government spending in aviation earlier in the 20th Century. The luxuries we enjoy with our cars would not be possible if not for government spending on roads and, as we are seeing ever more clearly, the auto industry.

Some might argue that government spending on the auto industry has been a disaster. This is my point exactly: If energy spending is not structured properly, it will simply be a drain on our tax dollars for decades. But if these government programs are strategically designed with the aim of gaining actual economic returns on tax dollars invested, they will be hugely beneficial to our country.

One could also argue that these examples of government spending have been an enormous and destructive drain on our energy resources. I can’t disagree with that point either, but that’s for another discussion.

  • OCTOBER 2, 2010, 6:50 A.M. ET

Obama Touts Clean Energy in Weekly Speech


WASHINGTON—U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday touted his administration’s energy policy agenda, predicting that his clean energy programs will create “hundreds of thousands” of new American jobs by 2012.


“There is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now—and growth in the coming years—than clean energy,” said Mr. Obama.

Read the entire article here.