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Silly Proposal

Posted By Don Boudreaux On June 24, 2008 @ 12:10 pm In Energy,Myths and Fallacies,Politics,The Profit Motive | Comments Disabled

John McCain’s proposal [1] that Uncle Sam offer a $300 million prize to whoever develops a battery that “has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars” is silly — as explained well by the Denver Post‘s David Harsanyi [2].  (Full disclosure: Mr. Harsanyi interviewed me for his column.)  Here are Mr. Harsanyi’s closing paragraphs:

But when McCain peddles prize money, he also feeds the perception that industry and scientists aren’t already working diligently on energy breakthroughs — with batteries and areas unknown — or that the market doesn’t incentivize them to do so.

Worse, McCain makes it seem that a cure for oil is just beyond our grasp. Around $300 million away.

In this arms race of goofy ideas between the candidates — windfall taxes and gas-tax holidays, to name two — we’re sure to see more poorly thought-out plans in the near future.

Let’s hope they are just empty promises.

Harsanyi explores McCain’s proposal further in this blog post [3].

Perhaps part of Sen. McCain’s health-care proposals will be to offer a taxpayer-funded prize of $300 million to whoever invents a safe pill that cures cancer.

Anyone who treats seriously successful politicians’ pronouncements about how the world works is about as rational as is someone who reads his or her horoscope in an effort to learn what’s in store for the day.

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URLs in this post:

[1] John McCain’s proposal: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/23/campaign.wrap/index.html

[2] as explained well by the Denver Post‘s David Harsanyi: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_9677242

[3] this blog post: http://blogs.denverpost.com/opinion/2008/06/24/mccains-300-million-prize/

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