Uncle Sam Can't Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy

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9780062292698: Uncle Sam Can't Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy

Drawing on examples from the nation's past and present--the fur trade to railroads, cars and chemicals, aviation to Solyndra--Uncle Sam Can't Count a sweeping work of conservative economic history that explains why the federal government cannot and should not pick winners and losers in the private sector, including the Obama administration.

From the days of George Washington through World War II to today, government subsidies have failed dismally argue Burt and Anita Folsom. Draining the Treasury of cash, they impede economic growth, and hurt the very companies receiving aid.

Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? As the Folsoms reveal, federal officials don't have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always equals political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others.

Filled with examples of government failures and free market triumphs, from John Jacob Astor to the Wright Brothers, World War II amphibious landing craft to Detroit, Uncle Sam Can't Count is a hard-hitting critique of government investment that demonstrates why business should be left exclusively to private entrepreneurs.

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From the Back Cover:

In their fascinating history of government misadventure, Burton and Anita Folsom show why the Obama administration's urge to pick winners and losers in the private sector is doomed to fail.

From the days of George Washington through World War II to today, government investments have failed dismally. They not only drain the Treasury of cash but also impede economic growth, and they hurt the very companies they try to support.

Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? Simply put, federal officials don't have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always produces political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others.

Uncle Sam Can't Count is filled with examples of government failures and free market triumphs, including

  • John Jacob Astor, who owned a fur company that defeated a government-funded rival--supported by George Washington himself--by actively cooperating in trade with the Native Americans instead of trying to tell them what they wanted.
  • The Wright brothers, who, with two thousand dollars of their own money, successfully flew the first manned flight, while the government threw money at Samuel Langley, whose two failed attempts at flight both landed in the Potomac River.
  • George Mitchell, who spent seventeen years developing fracking, after the high taxes on oil drilling were repealed, while the government subsidized ethanol.

Uncle Sam Can't Count is a hard-hitting critique of a government completely incapable of either picking winners or learning from its many mistakes, which demonstrates why business should be left to private entrepreneurs.

About the Author:

Burton W. Folsom Jr. is the Charles Kline Professor of History and Management at Hillsdale College, and the author of New Deal or Raw Deal?, The Myth of the Robber Barons, and FDR Goes to War, written with his wife, Anita. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Policy Review, and Human Events.



Anita Folsom has pursued a career in both politics and the teaching of history, including teaching American history at Hillsdale College. She served in the Electoral College in 1988. Since 2006 she has directed Hillsdale College's Free Market Forum, a national colloquium for college teachers. She is coauthor of FDR Goes to War and has written for the Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Human Events, and the Detroit News.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 229 x 155 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Drawing on examples from the nation s past and present--the fur trade to railroads, cars and chemicals, aviation to Solyndra--Uncle Sam Can t Count a sweeping work of conservative economic history that explains why the federal government cannot and should not pick winners and losers in the private sector, including the Obama administration. From the days of George Washington through World War II to today, government subsidies have failed dismally argue Burt and Anita Folsom. Draining the Treasury of cash, they impede economic growth, and hurt the very companies receiving aid. Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? As the Folsoms reveal, federal officials don t have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always equals political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others. Filled with examples of government failures and free market triumphs, from John Jacob Astor to the Wright Brothers, World War II amphibious landing craft to Detroit, Uncle Sam Can t Count is a hard-hitting critique of government investment that demonstrates why business should be left exclusively to private entrepreneurs. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062292698

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 229 x 155 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Drawing on examples from the nation s past and present--the fur trade to railroads, cars and chemicals, aviation to Solyndra--Uncle Sam Can t Count a sweeping work of conservative economic history that explains why the federal government cannot and should not pick winners and losers in the private sector, including the Obama administration. From the days of George Washington through World War II to today, government subsidies have failed dismally argue Burt and Anita Folsom. Draining the Treasury of cash, they impede economic growth, and hurt the very companies receiving aid. Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? As the Folsoms reveal, federal officials don t have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always equals political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others. Filled with examples of government failures and free market triumphs, from John Jacob Astor to the Wright Brothers, World War II amphibious landing craft to Detroit, Uncle Sam Can t Count is a hard-hitting critique of government investment that demonstrates why business should be left exclusively to private entrepreneurs. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062292698

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