Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When Government Ventures Into Capital

This always happens.

The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company.

All of that money is now gone, according to Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan.

The start-up company set up shop in Salinas in the summer of 2009, after the city gave Ryan a $300,000 community development grant.

When the company still ran into financial trouble last year, the city of Salinas handed Ryan an additional $240,000. Green Vehicles also received $187,000 from the California Energy Commission.

The city fathers were very excited, of course, about creating a "green" jobs-creating industry right in their own fair city. So much so that they "invested" over a half-million dollars of taxpayers' money.

It's another example of why politicians and bureaucrats should be forbidden from using the people's money to dabble in business. Their incentives are all wrong. The government in Salinas (all honest and honorable people, I'm sure) had the goal of creating jobs and tax revenue for the city, but the goal of a successful business is to avoid both of those to the extent possible.

They were also blinded by the "green" jobs fantasy that has gripped liberals. But, as we see over and over, so-called alternative energies are not yet developed enough or economical enough to be profitable. Government must stick to its core purposes of maintaining the public infrastructure and safety.

If it accomplishes those efficiently, business will locate there on its own.

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