This column adds further justification to my view that libertarianism is nonsense (and dangerous): it reflexively dislikes government (save for its barest functions) and hence encourages the policy cynicism that Krugman notes at the end:
The moral of these stories is not that the government is always rightOh, and by the way, the most important part of the column as an example for Australia was about the actual success of the US government's clean energy funding program. Here's from the link to Bloomberg:
and always succeeds. Of course there are bad decisions and bad programs.
But modern American political discourse is dominated by cheap cynicism
about public policy, a free-floating contempt for any and all efforts to
improve our lives. And this cheap cynicism is completely unjustified.
It’s true that government-hating politicians can sometimes turn their
predictions of failure into self-fulfilling prophecies, but when leaders
want to make government work, they can.
The U.S. government expects to earn $5 billion to $6 billion from the renewable-energy loan program that funded flops including Solyndra LLC, supporting President Barack Obama’s decision to back low-carbon technologies.
The Department of Energy has disbursed about half of $32.4 billion allocated to spur innovation, and the expected return will be detailed in a report due to be released as soon as
tomorrow, according to an official who helped put together the data.
The results contradict the widely held view that the U.S. has wasted taxpayer money funding failures including Solyndra, which closed its doors in 2011 after receiving $528 million in
government backing. That adds to Obama’s credibility as he seeks to make climate change a bigger priority after announcing a historic emissions deal with China.
A $5 billion return to taxpayers exceeds the returns from many venture capital and private equity investments in clean energy, said Michael Morosi, an analyst at Jetstream Capital
LLC, which invests in renewable energy.