Barack Obama has put on his public face of concern over high gas prices. Steven Chu has reversed his 2008 insistence that American gas prices needed to rise to European levels in order to make alternatives more competitive and people more desperate for them. Is any of this sincere? Morgen Richmond of the now-moribund Verum Serum blog found this nugget from Obama himself in May 2008, explaining that Hope and Change meant big change — in energy prices. When an attendee to this town hall asked Obama what sacrifices he would ask of Americans, Obama leaped at the chance to explain the outcome of his energy policies (via Ace):
I like Ace’s approach to technological development:
I prefer the “Old” approach to emerging technology: We adopt new technology when it is better and cheaper than the old technology, not when it is worse and more expensive, forced to convert over by a government demanding we pay more for less. So we can reap all these speculative benefits in a hypothetical future.
You know what I liked best about the old approach, other than the fact that it worked? It didn’t require government to place bad bets on companies like Solyndra that wouldn’t have survived otherwise to ruin more capital and resources. Think about that for a moment: these government interventions cost us money whether we get more energy efficient or not. And what has it produced? Nothing of consequence, and nothing that would last once the subsidies that make them artificially competitive now (to the extent they’ve even achieved that status) once the subsidies end.
The old method of allowing capital to produce innovation and consumers to choose winners brought us prosperity and technological advancement. Obama’s has brought us bankruptcies, soaring debt, and no progress at all. That’s change, all right.