Why are Romney and Giuliani promising massive new government spending on alternative energy sources? Don't conservatives understand that the best solution is for government to provide market incentives for new technologies, rather than trying to come up with the solution itself? Sure, some basic research support - but then leave it to the private sector to generate new ideas, and the market to see which ones will fly. James Pethokoukis draws the obvious parallel:

Think about stem cells. The apparent breakthrough in stem cell technologyit appears skin cells can be reprogrammed into stem cellsis not-so-good news for some half-dozen states that have invested in embryonic stem cell research, including California, which has committed to spending $3 billion over 10 years. Essentially, what those states decided to do was engage in a bit of industrial policy. They decided to let government rather than private enterprise and the market decide what the most promising stem cell technologies were. And now they appear to have bet on the wrong technological horse.

One good yardstick. Find out which politician is promising a Manhattan Project for some technological innovation. If you want real progress, vote for his or her opponent.

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