Take The Alf Pen! The Alf Pen!

By Jesse Taylor
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 22:27 EDT
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imageThe first thing that comes to mind when thinking of McCain’s $300 million electric engine prize is that if we’re willing to sock that much money away for it already, why not just spend the $300 million as startup costs for actually doing it rather than hold it in reserve as a token prize for our next gazillionaire?

My second thought is that if we were going to pursue a program like this, we need to go full force. $300 million for an enterprise needing billions to succeed and promising tens of billions when it does is eerily reminiscent of the insulting-yet-satisfying redemption rewards you got as a kid (or last week) from Chuck E. Cheese. Sure, you spent ten dollars to get enough tickets to get a $1.50 notebook and 30-cent pen, but dammit, it was still somehow worthwhile, because it was stuff. The money you get from the government has the right proportion of input-to-reward, but it lacks the sort of bubbly uselessness that propagates the entire idea.

I think we should have more useless prizes for otherwise good ideas. An Iron Man-branded defunct Bradley Tank for inventing cold fusion? Yes! HDTVs for planes that are 25% more fuel efficient? Damn right! Successful replanning of an entire metro area to reduce gas usage, pollution, and sprawl? You, my friend, get a Family Guy DVD box set. Season 2. Just Season 2.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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