Does Obama Believe in Big, Government-Directed Breakthroughs?

Hilzoy, like Yglesias, was put off by this passage of mine:

Here’s one way to understand the “going Galt” dramatics. Obama is causing a lot of Rand fans to completely flip their lids in part because Obama and his devotees are Bizarro World Randian romantics in the grip of an adolescent faith in the generative powers of the state.

I agree. This isn’t fair. I don’t mean that all liberals or Obama supporters are statist romantics, just that lots of them are. Hilzoy in particular wonders where I get the idea that Obama might seem to think that the state has special great-leap-forward powers. I guess I’ve developed that impression from all the speeches Obama has given informing us of his intention to use the state to transform the entire economy into one based on completely different sources of energy. 

I have to get ready for a fake prom party, so I’ll just leave you with this bit from the non-State of the Union Address:

Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We’ve also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history — an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine and science and technology. 

The largest investment in American history that will spur “new discoveries” and “breakthroughs”! 

Why didn’t we think of this before? I know, I know. We did. Bush promised us hydrogen powered cars by yesterday and something crazy about switchgrass, which just goes to show that an adolescent faith in the generative powers of the state is not uncommon among presidents.

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