It took President Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney to shock me to my senses.
As someone who favors cutting government spending on clean energy and eliminating government subsidies in general, I was particularly distressed to learn (in Carney’s words) that “I am “aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century.” Even worse, I learn that “I have a severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century.”
And I had thought that if clean energy technologies were going to dominate the 21st century, private enterprise would figure this out and develop them itself. In my ignorance, I thought that subsidies are dictated by and for special interests not by economic rationality. I also believed that Solyndra and SunPower were not aberrations but representative of what is going on in Secretary Chu’s and Obama’s energy department. What I fool I have been.
I fear there may be many like me. I suggest the President go on television to explain to why we are better off with higher energy costs and lower standards of living so that wealthy green lobbyists fill his campaign coffers and force ordinary people like me buy Volts and solar panels. Without Presidential direction on these things, we will be lost.
Now that I understand the error of my ways, I have resisted the urge to return my Ph.D. in economics to Harvard University, resign my research professorship at a prestigious German economic research institute, and return my endowed chair in economics. I even thought of stopping the publication of my new book: The Global Economy and its Economic System (Cengage). Instead, I shall follow the lead of my liberal friends and work with a therapist to resolve my psychological issues with, what Press Secretary Carney calls, aggressive ignorance. I am confident I will emerge from therapy a better person.
Paul R. Gregory is a Research Fellow, Hoover Institution Cullen Professor of Economics, University of Houston. Gregory has a regular blog http://blogs.forbes.com/paulroderickgregory/at Forbes.com