Did Obama dump $140M on NC State to create a few jobs overseas, sometime in the future?

As I wrote yesterday, this “innovation institute” represents the government’s idea of how to bring about innovation. With a political goal in mind, money is taken from taxpayers and handed over to cronies, opportunity costs are immediately forgotten, and of course

“Success” is reaped at the time of the announcement; there is almost no interest in whether the endeavor bears any actual fruit no matter the cost, but its existence always presupposes “the potential” to do so.

The N&O’s report today noted in its opening paragraphs,

The $140 million research consortium announced at N.C. State University on Wednesday came with fanfare as a stimulus for U.S. manufacturing, but the federal grants don’t come with job creation targets and won’t prevent American companies from hiring cheap labor abroad.

Instead, the consortium of five universities and 18 companies represents a bet by government and industry that electronic technology used in modern manufacturing is on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough and needs a governmental push to get it across the finish line.

Some bet — they’re taking $140 million in other people’s money to “bet.” It’s like receiving lottery tickets for Christmas … well, if the giver was threatened and forced into buying them for you (Merry Christmas!). The funds, obtained without any productive effort by taking from others’ rewards for productivity, might as well be Monopoly money to them.

If it fails, the government and their cronies lose nothing and still get credited for “trying” and “caring about jobs.” But that money had other uses, other “bets” that would have resulted in actual job-creating uses when used by actual bettors and people putting it to use in provably productive uses in helping their families.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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