“Investing” is one of those incantations often used by politicians with bodies under their beds to hide the rotting corpses. It is the moral duty of a healthy media to lift the concealing covers.
Unfortunately, as Henry Mencken once put it, “What chiefly distinguishes the daily press is its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion.”
The same tactics are deployed – sadly but effectively -- by used car salesmen and disreputable politicians who use words not to clarify and define but to throw people off the scent.
An investor is someone who places his money on a project he supposes will succeed in producing for himself a healthy profit. Occasionally, people hire investment firms to swell their profits, and these investors are acutely aware of their fiduciary responsibilities. A fate worse than death – losing a client to competitors – hangs threateningly over their heads. If they do not perform, they will be dismissed.
In the public sphere, dismissal does not always follow rank incompetence.
Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnefeld of the Yale School of Management has recently supplied us with a research paper showing that Connecticut’s pension funds “have one of the worst investment track records of any state in the nation with long-term, chronic investment underperformance.”
There is no question that pension fund investments are investments.
It is far less certain that political efforts at legislating, say, “investments” in our precarious futures are, in any recognizable sense, true investments.
It is true that policy prescriptions are attended by consequences, some favorable, some not. More than (a year ago), we were told by “experts” of every stripe and hue that Connecticut’s “investment” in “clean energy,” i.e. wind turbines, would in the future pay rich dividends to “investors,” by which our politicians meant taxpayers, not the mega-corporations that stood to profit from a cost sharing deal arranged by Governor Ned Lamont, our Democrat dominated neo-progressive state legislators, supportive environmental groups, and two companies monetarily involved in the project, Ørsted and Eversource, the latter having recently announced it was withdrawing from the project.
Problems, many of them outlined by some wide-awake political commentators, began almost immediately to raise their horned heads.
There was the problem of “cost overruns” that were not exactly “overruns.” Initial bidding for the development of a new pier in (New London, Connecticut) that would serve as a transmittal point for turbines in the Northeast came in at $93 million. As of January, 2023, the cost of the project had ballooned to $255 million.
Most recently, CTMirror reported, “The Connecticut Port Authority announced Tuesday that the cost of redeveloping the New London State Pier into a launching point for offshore wind turbines has skyrocketed by more than $47 million, driving the overall price to more than $300 million… The price increases mean that the port facility will cost more than three times the initial estimates.”
Is it possible that those mentioned above concerned with advancing the project had underpriced its initial cost to make it palatable to scattered nay sayers?
Is wind turbine energy production more environmentally acceptable than, say, nuclear energy production? Would it not have been more prudent and less costly for Connecticut to tie future “investments” to nuclear or hydropower production? The state, after all, has a river running through it, and recent advances in the prospective development of small fusion reactors or, better still, fission reactors now seem very promising.
Since no one disputes that the nation runs on energy, at what point should we decide that the current administration of President Joe Biden made a bad investment when it decided to throttle both the combustion engine and necessary oil and natural gas production.
Acerbic cultural and political commentator Dwight MacDonald, by no measure a conservative, every so often presented in his writing the gnawing question: If the world were to enter a second Dark Age, would any of us know it?
If we were unknowingly steaming towards a new Dark Age, what are the chances it would be denominated by our neo-progressive, postmodern media as a “poor investment?”