Vice President Joe Biden has unveiled a new report that claims last year’s politically unpopular – and, gulp, $787 billion — Recovery Act contains $100 billion in investment in innovation that is not only “transforming the economy and creating new jobs,” but helping “accelerate advances” in science and technology.
More than the usual political folderol is involved here, in my opinion, as the Democrats turn up their rhetoric in defense of their management of a sputtering economy in the face of what appears to be an upcoming huge political backlash directed at tax and spend incumbents in the mid-term elections this fall. Biden’s assertions could also be the forerunner of a new move to propose another gigantic stimulus package if the Democrats remain in Congressional power after November.
The claims in the report, “The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation,” are dubious in my view given the current state of the technologies involved, but ideal from a campaign perspective since they cannot be verified until years after the election – if anyone bothers or remembers.
And of course, there is no taxpayer “money back guarantee” offered from the Administration if the promises vanish into the ether and the companies and universities receiving the funding don’t deliver the innovations.
Remember the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, which channeled millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars into national labs and the Detroit Three automakers in search of an 80 mpg car? Not one has been built to this day.
Worse, the real outcome was that Toyota, which was excluded from the pork festival for political reasons, went on its own innovation tear and with the help of the Japanese government developed its world leading hybrid technology while Detroit went back to investing in and building gas guzzlers and issuing press releases about a green future car that never arrived.