There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute


By John A. Charles, Jr.

Last month, Oregon’s first commercial “wave energy” project near Reedsport was officially abandoned.

The lead developer, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies, had been promoting a utility-scale power project featuring 100 buoys, each weighing 260 tons. That plan was downsized to 10 buoys―and then to none.

The company had previously received a subsidy of $430,000 in Oregon lottery funds, along with millions more from the federal government. Apparently, this wasn’t enough; the company announced plans to move its operations to Australia, where it has been promised $62 million in handouts by the government.

This is just the latest in a string of Oregon fiscal blunders. The state wasted more than $200 million on a non-functioning health insurance website. Another $180 million disappeared in planning studies for a bridge over the Columbia River than never got built. And Governor Kitzhaber hired an “education czar” who was compensated some $400,000 before taking off for New York after less than a year on the job.

Investors all over the world understand that Oregon is the place to come for easy money. The business plan is simple: Profits flow to private companies, while losses are borne by Oregon taxpayers.

A 19th-century circus impresario once remarked, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He wasn’t talking about Oregon, but maybe this should be our new state slogan.

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Energy, Environment | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Native say’n cast out Demspotz

    Article is right on.

  • Jack Lord God

    Oregon is adept at two things – exporting jobs and transfer payments from taxpayers to political cronies. Thats all wave energy ever was, that’s all most Green Welfare programs ever will be.

  • Bob Clark

    Geez, all the GOP needs is to run a person with name recognition and even moderate allegiance to fiscal conservative principles; and the GOP could take the Governor’s office. The last Oregon GOP Party leader in 2010 got Chris Dudley to run, and Dudley came within a percentage point or two of winning, even though he had no previous political office experience. If the GOP had found someone with such name recognition but also with maybe some better debate and public speaking capabilities they could most likely take out Kitzhaber; But instead we get a very good fiscal conservative in Dennis Richardson, but one with little name recognition outside of some places in southern Oregon.

    It’s a chicken and egg thing. To get resources to fund building name recognition, the donors need to believe chances of victory are better than just 50-50. But without name recognition against someone with years of name recognition, if you don’t have name recognition; it’s very difficult to get donors to believe in your chances of winning.

  • raven6

    While this particular snake oil project is our current topic, until the Consercative side of the isle starts promoting bills instead of ( not putting up a bill that will not pass ) this will continue. Why not discuss a bill that dumps Common Core? we only have it because of Federl Bribes. Or, how about a bill that reruns our senators to control under the legislature. Even with the Corntey twins, Peter and Ted, we would at least know what Ron Wyden looks like.
    Bills provide discussion, if there are websites that can ignore the “shewn Fooey”, or whatever they call our current mediocrity.


  • Sally

    I believe the energy of the sea is just waiting to be harvested by us. However, much like the wind farms that kill literally thousands upon thousands of birds each year, these ocean energy farms will kill marine life. Without a doubt.
    So, I guess we should stick with fossil fuels…at least they already are dead.
    This senseless killing in the name of green efforts makes me sick.
    Plus, even the stupid solar farms are killing all sorts of animals….nothing is working…and we thought we had it all covered….strange how that works…man trying to play God….funny, isn’t it?
    Well, not really, as we are incapable of doing so and have proven it time and time again.
    Fools. That is what we are if we think we can do this stuff.
    The Paleo’s had it right….care for our mother the earth or pay the consequences….
    which we are now paying….and with what? We have nothing left to give.

  • Tripod

    So the company initially wanted to place 100 260 ton buoys in the ocean. Why would anyone want to see 50 million pounds of metal flopping around off our ocean shore? Dumb. Kitzhaber is losing his grip, time to begin searching for assisted living arrangements.

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