Sunday, October 28, 2012

What Could Possibly Go Wrong. The New New Deal and Clean Energy Spending


I may have mentioned I'm reading Michael Grunwald's "The New New Deal," about Obama's Recovery Act. And I may have mentioned the details are so appalling I'm shocked the author could possibly still be in favor of the legislation.

In the category of "What could possibly go wrong?" Grunwald describes the clean energy programs to be run by the Department of Energy:

"The Recovery Act essentially required the Energy Department to transform itself into a venture capital and project finance operation, which felt like requiring Homer Simpson to transform himself into an Olympic decathlete. The lumbering bureaucracy…would now have eighteen months to hand out $37 billion in grants, and even more in loans…For its three decades in existence, the department's main task had been overseeing nuclear materials. Now it was suddenly that largest clean-tech fund in history."
Matt Rogers, the Stimulus czar at DoE,
"knew that a fivefold increase in its nonnuclear budget would be a challenge...but what really worried him were deadlines that would require spending about four times faster than usual."
Create the largest clean-tech fund in history in an organization never equipped to do so. Spend FIVEFOLD the normal amount of money FOUR times faster than usual. What could possibly go wrong? Hubris.


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