Fox News and a Wall Street Journal op-ed hid the actual economic effect of the auto industry rescue and green energy loans to claim that President Obama has not made successful investments in the private sector.
The Wall Street Journal op-ed by former George W. Bush speechwriter Noam Neusner claimed that, based on the return on government investments, Obama would be considered a lousy investor. Fox's Stuart Varney hyped the op-ed and criticized the government's investments as an attempt to "buy votes."
In fact, Neusner and Varney criticize policies as failed investments have actually been successful at saving and creating jobs and jumpstarting the economy.
Neusner wrote that Obama has a "major stake in an auto company, where he carries a value of roughly $12 billion on an original investment of $26 billion -- pretty shocking considering overall market gains." But government intervention was necessary to save the auto industry since General Motors and Chrysler could not have survived by relying on private investments alone. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out that if the auto industry failed, it would have meant "wiping out probably well over a million jobs at the worst possible moment."
Furthermore, the auto industry rescue can be seen as a great investment even from a purely financial sense. The Economic Policy Institute found that by factoring in the effect on government revenues of saving all those jobs, "federal, state, and local governments saved between $10 and $78 for every dollar invested in the auto industry restructuring plan."
Neusner and Varney also criticized the federal government's investment in green energy. Neusner said that Obama has a "modest portfolio of low-interest unsecuritized loans to speculative solar-energy plants, wind farms and biofuel plants." But 87 percent of the Department of Energy's 1705 loan guarantee program for green energy is made up of low-risk investments, and these loans have succeeded in creating jobs. Furthermore, the investments in green energy the government made as part of the stimulus have been more frequently successful than green energy investments made by the private market.
The Journal and Fox could only attack these programs by ignoring the jobs they created and the resulting economic effects.