Companies And Capital Markets Will Save The Planet Not The Congress

Sen. Jeff Merkley scolded in a post this weekend that the failure of the Build Back Better Act is some reproach on all of us and will be a “climate disaster.”

Jacob Bunn at Twitchy has a good reply from Hugh Hewitt:

True, that’s a good point, Mr. Hewitt. If congressional action is required to prevent imminent environmental disaster, the Democrats can advance a bill that deals with that. Something that is critical alone must deserve a bill of its own, right?

Is it an emergency that Congress must act to stop? And not just pork. Are they stuffing into a way too giant federal grab bag after way too many of those lately?

If Jeff Merkley thinks the climate is in imminent danger of dooming us, wouldn’t he prefer an instrument to address that that moves a little faster than Congress? And is it more efficient?

He could buy some stock in publicly traded companies that are doing the science for real, not these lawmakers and journalists, and doing the research and development that improves cost efficiency and quality of products that generate renewable energy and port it to the infrastructure.

Now Mr. Merkley might say that’s what he and Democrats are trying to do in one fell swoop with significant appropriations that get sent to those people, so they can use the money to hurry up and get it done faster.

But think about it like this:

Most of the money invested in high tech in the late 1990s through 2000 was lost and returned with no products, no services, no discoveries, no innovations, nothing. Even investors were spending their own money or the professionals they trust to manage it lost if they were betting on high tech broadly over a specific timeframe.

The innovations made and products built by the winners were profoundly transformative and highly lucrative, just as nearly anyone expects the revolution in green technology to be. But even the marketplace, which has a profit incentive to get it right and pick the winners, has enormous spillage and “wastes” many of the resources it ventures on the companies that don’t work out, or not as well as the amount of capital they consumed.

The government in Washington DC is somehow perversely inclined to pick the losers, not on an individual company basis. Still, entire losing fronts of activity to pursue with war-sized budgets. It’s every crusade that turns out to be a dud, a multi-billion dollar or trillion-dollar dud that we got nothing but pain or grief for.

If you don’t believe me, you can Google that they couldn’t even run a program called DARE to teach young students not to do drugs without increasing the likelihood that kids who went through the program would do drugs at some point later in life.

And even if Washington were somewhat comparable to capital markets in saving the world once again by picking the winners to invest in, the market would still be a superior system because at least when people lose money in the market, it’s their own money that they chose to venture the way they lost it, not someone else’s money taken out of their paycheck or added as an inflation surcharge to their grocery receipt.