Bad Government Economics

How Government Ought NOT to Act Economically

I am often mean to Obama, all the more as I know that, after all, he is just the president. So he presides over a whole system of oligarchies. Best economic advice? For the “Democratic” establishment, it meant Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, Bill Clinton, Greenspan, etc. Who was he to contradict Summers or Krugman? Those two were within the White House nearly 30 years before Obama got there. They both, and all other very serious economists, told Obama he had to save the banks, no strings attached.

In the matter of energy and science policy, Obama made apparently the best choice: Chu, a Physics Nobel Prize winner who was also the successful manager of the giant Lawrence Berkeley Research Laboratory.

But getting a Nobel in something does not mean one has the best ideas, especially in other fields. It can make one arrogant, stubborn, over-confident in one’s brains.

In the end, the government of the USA intervened erroneous, moving away from fundamental research (both in science and the foundations of technology).

Dr. Chu cancelled all research in fuel cells, while instead diverting money towards… start-ups. He may as well have financed hamburger stands. In particular, Chu decided to finance electric cars. This means, in practice cars made by Elon Musk, an expert on how to get government support.

A French electric car held the world’s speed record, and was first to reach 100km/h. That was in… 1900. So electric cars are not exactly new. Batteries are better than 115 years ago. But still, not good enough.

Battery technology will require a breakthrough: one could not make a bus, or truck, using electric batteries. The battery pack would be too heavy, the range too limited, the time to refuel, too great.

A number of Asian companies, including Toyota, are leasing Fuel Cell Cars. They work by transforming hydrogen into electricity. The city of Berkeley has been using, for years, Fuel Cells buses. They proudly carry the mention that their waste is pristine water.

Elon Musk called Fuel cell cars, “fool” cars. At best, he does not know how to spell. At worst, he knows no physics (and that’s the case). Fuel cells have enormous efficiency. Musk’s “electric” cars, actually run on COAL electricity for 50% (as the whole USA does). I know Musk talks about the sun to recharge his cars, but that’s not the case. The solar case would have to go through hydrogen!

But of course, this is not about physics, but politics. Musk got billions from the Federal Government, from NASA.

So the fools are those who believe the crafty politician, Elon Musk.

OK, electric vehicles have their uses, for short commutes. They are great against local pollution. But let’s not run out of lithium? OK? As it is, the Tesla Model S, which gets a $10,000 subsidy per vehicle, is perfect for Californian plutocrats who want to have priority on the roads, while enjoying the money they get from taxpayers for driving in style.

The main problem with renewable energies, right now, is that there is no way to store it efficiently (aside from dams). Cracking water to make hydrogen would be an obvious way. Liquid Hydrogen has about THREE times the energy of gasoline per mass. As existing fuel cells have twice the efficiency of the hypothetical maximum of a thermal engine (where electric vehicles get their electricity from), one sees that a fuel cell cars, far from being foolish, if the hydrogen were from renewables, would be at least six times more efficient than electric vehicles.

Under Obama, Secretary Chu, in an apparent act of corruption, quit all fundamental research of fuel cells, and diverted money to his friends. But fuel cells allowed Americans to land on the Moon. Now Chu is sitting pretty in Stanford, complete with start-up money, a few miles from Tesla.

Chu in his own words:

http://www.thenewsdaily.org/steven-chu-lives-in-fantasy-world-public-states-the-kickback-scheme-that-got-him-his-stanford-job-as-part-of-his-payoff-was-not-failed/

A Hydrogen Economy is necessary. See:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/terminal-greenhouse-crisis/

This Chu misadventure shows the superiority of Direct Democracy: had Chu’s policies be widely debated over the Internet, and had Obama got a digest of the conclusions, it is highly unlikely that he (and scientifically ignorant, dubiously enriched very wealthy California Senator Feinstein, etc.) would have decided to go along with Chu’s craziness.

Recently Paul Krugman, still uninformed in that respect, was lauding Chu’s policies in the New York Times, and how much money they made (this is not just false, but it shows further misunderstanding of the role of government… Which is not to compete with for-profit companies).

The truth is that, the fundamental research breakthroughs are not coming up at the rate they would be, if the opposite of what Chu did had been, instead, implemented (that is massive more fundamental research).

It’s not just a question of the advancement of civilization, but of national defense.

Patrice Ayme’

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Bad Government Economics”

  1. gmax Says:

    Obama was as a bleating lamb. When he learns his job, he will be out of it. The whole plan?

  2. Lovell Says:

    Speaking of bad government, the EU is turning out to be one.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, nothing wrong with France running a 5% deficit in the next three years (that is basically what the French government announced). Right now, investors are ready to lend to France at 1% over the next ten years. With unemployment at 11%, no choice.

      Everybody can see the German austerity thing has not worked: Germany had a total growth of 2% in 6 years. That’s about .3% of GDP per year. Merkel herself is switching to unemployment first: the German Federal government will employ 10,000 workers, to start with, among the long term unemployed.

      What has been catastrophic is all the austerity. Even the Pope Francis made such a case in Strasbourg a few days ago, and that was well received (including by Atheists!). His predecessor, Jean-Paul, in front of the same prestigious assembly, had been booed.

  3. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to Salon. Hartmann article.
    http://www.salon.com/2013/11/12/thom_hartmann_libertarians_are_pushing_us_over_a_cliff/ ]

    1.Plutocracy can rule for centuries. There is no 80 year rule.
    2.A lot of good things in the article, but nothing really new
    3.Things will change when people realize they are being had. More, tons more, on Patrice Ayme (Google, and hunt for “plutocracy” essays)

What do you think? Please join the debate! The simplest questions are often the deepest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: