As everyone knows by this point, the Obama Administration is in deep over the Solyndra scandal. Obama badly needed to have a poster child that would show the stimulus was working by creating jobs in the green energy arena. This would be a trifecta: stimulus, jobs, green. Only problem is that Solyndra was a bad investment by all measures. Well, almost all: it would appear that Solyndra looked like a good investment if you weren't actually investing your own money, didn't care that you were going to lose said money, and you could get short-term political points by essentially lying. Obama gets to claim that either he was misled by the Solyndra executives, or that this is simply an investment that should have worked, but for the influence of outside forces...like tensions in the mideast...or the tsunami...or his predecessor...you know the line: if the economy was stronger, this investment would have panned out beautifully.
It serves as a great example of why we should expect failure when the government moves outside of its core duties. The federal government is not a hedge fund or investment bank. The fact that expert analysts at hedge funds and banks were all taking a pass on Solyndra should have been clear signal...well, at least almost as clear a signal as the OMB taking the position that Solyndra was a bad idea. Can't wait to see what GM ends up looking like...
Today the Drudge Report ran a headline about the First Lady's initiative to reduce childhood obesity. Sometimes I wonder if Michelle takes her lavish and frequent vacations as a way to escape the reality that she has degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law, yet her time is spent trying to fight the increase of fat kids by blaming restaurants and food companies instead of educating parents about nutrition. The notion that parents won't be able to let their kids get fat eating sodas and pies and french fries if restaurants can't sell them in the first place is merely belying the mindset that these folks do not believe that parents are capable of making good choices. Good thing we have these civic-minded bureaucrats and politicians (and their indolent wives) to save us. Now's a good time to go read Thomas Sowell's Vision Of The Anointed .
Anyway, I was thinking of a solution to both Obamas problems. Here's what I came up with: let's use a few billion dollars of freshly-printed taxpayer money - call it stimulus if you want. Or don't. - and hire a number of small companies (big companies are evil!) to construct a bunch of giant mouse wheels. These mouse-wheels will be fashioned with generator devices so that as they turn, they will generate electricity. Then, stick a bunch of fat kids in them and make them run until they aren't fat anymore. It's win-win: Michelle gets a KO punch in at childhood obesity and Obama gets his stimulus-created jobs that yield green energy. You could probably power the entire White House on a few hundred fat kids. I know what you're thinking - that eventually we will run out of fat kids because current fat kids will slim down and other kids will resist becoming fat for fear of being put in the wheels, and that therefore this energy plan is only a short-term solution. Well, my answer is that all alternative energy plans that could be put into place TODAY are some combination of short-term, inefficient, or otherwise unreliable given today's technology. Which is fine - the goal is to find a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while we research the energy that we will use tomorrow. Fat kids in mouse wheels can get us part of the way there, and we can all feel good about the by-products.