Charles Cooper of News.com is upset that on President Bush's recent trip to Silicon Valley, he didn't speak with more substance on how technology could help ease our energy problems. Specifically, Cooper would have liked to see Bush call for a new Manhattan Project, this time focusing on alternative energy. First of all, he should know that you can never get much more than rhetoric from a politician. Second, we don't need another Manhattan Project -- the market is already taking care of that. VCs are pouring record amounts into energy technology, none of which required the President's approval. There's even some reason to believe there's overinvestment in new technology, which could be bad for VCs, but great for the economy on the whole. While centrally planned projects might be appropriate for military applications, a pending proposal to provide prize money for hydrogen breakthroughs is much more intriguing. As in other areas, getting people to compete for prizes and profits is a better solution than just throwing a bunch of money at them.
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