The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    Taxpayer dollars for Tesla pay off: Clean-energy loan program reaffirms role of government

    Tesla, the electric automobile maker based in Silicon Valley, recently paid off a $465 million government loan nine years ahead of schedule, providing a lift for the Obama administration, whose clean-energy loan programs faced heavy criticism from Republicans in the last election.

    This shows that contrary to popular right-wing ideology, there is a crucial role for government to play — one of spurring innovation.

    Richard K. Templeton, chief executive of Texas Instruments, summed it up aptly when he said: “Research conducted at universities and national labs underpins the new innovations that drive economic growth.”

    A prime example is Google, now employing 54,000, was started by two graduate students working on a project supported by the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency created by Congress to “promote the progress of science.”

    Story continues below advertisement

    Moreover, the $3.8 billion taxpayer funds invested in the Human Genome Project between 1988 and 2003, helped to create and drive $796 billion in economic activity by industries that now depend on the advances achieved in genetics, according to the Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit group that supports research for the industry.

    As risky as new investments in technologies are, few if any – private companies would take on such large-scale investments.

    The emphasis in spurring innovation is the primary reason President Obama is proposing that the United States boost its overall national research and development investments, including private enterprise and academia as well as government – to 3 percent of gross domestic product – a number that would still lag behind Israel, Sweden, Japan and South Korea, according to the New York Times.

    The Republican budget plan, in stark contrast, would “cut overall nondefense science, engineering, biomedical and technology research by a quarter over the next decade, and energy research by two-thirds,” according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    A strategy from a political party that claims to be pro-business in its economic proposals for the country, yet clearly fails to promote government research and development.

    In determining the government’s role in technological investments, it’s time to trust a proven track record instead of listening to right-wing rhetoric that rarely makes any sense in how to spur innovation and job growth.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    La Voz Weekly intends this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments should be respectful and constructive. We do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or language that might be interpreted as defamatory. La Voz does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid name and email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comment.
    All La Voz News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest