When government is involved in invention, the absence of profit and loss almost always results in inventions that make society worse by wasting resources. The government invested billions of dollars to force General Motors to produce the Chevy Volt. Meanwhile, sales figures show that customers would much rather have the Chevy Cruze — a gasoline-powered equivalent. To produce one Volt requires $60,000 of society’s resources. One Cruze requires $15,000 of resources. The Volt saves some resources over its life because it is coal-powered rather than gasoline-powered (the electricity that powers it typically comes from burning coal). But the resources it saves do not come close to making up for all the additional resources it takes to produce.
Government’s entrepreneurial vision is blind to the demands of the people because government’s incentives are isolated from real economic conditions. That is the difference between motivation by profit and loss, and motivation by government command. Biden and Obama believe only government is capable of satisfying the needs of society. In reality, the most useful inventions come from the private sector, where the people judge the value of an entrepreneur’s innovation by whether it benefits them.
What government views as its greatest contribution to society, replacing the greed of profit and loss with beneficent mandates, is actually society’s greatest hindrance. Let’s hear Vice President Biden try to defend that position during the debate.
Kelsey Rupp has worked for the Washington Examiner and Red Alert Politics. She is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is editor in chief of the conservative journal Carolina Review.