Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

A nice change from Deputy Dog

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

While I DO NOT agree with a fair number of Mr. Obama’s policies, I must say I do appreciate how engaged and intelligent he is.  It is nice to see him actually WORK and try to connect with people.  He sells his opinion with more than just simple words and his own convictions.  It is such a nice change from the with us or against us bullshit.  Oh yeah, and being able to speak complete and coherent sentences is a nice plus.

Can you be President? Take this test!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I want you to say “Congressional.”  Now try “strategic petroleum reserve.”  If you can say those two phrases without sounding like a retarded chimpanzee, congratulations!  You could be President.

This is all in relation to President Bush’s latest drumming on energy policy.  This rhetoric drives me crazy.  Off-shore drilling and ANWR are on the table, and Republicans are tacking on amendments to both House and Senate versions of the bill.  Politics aside, I’m going to break this down real simply.  It is all economics and timing.

Gas is expensive.  It is expensive for one single reason: there are no real substitutes with the infrastructure already in place to deliver on a massive national scale.  You have to drive to work, with the exception of public transit (if it is available and affordable and timely in your neighborhood, good luck), you have to put gas in your car.  The plastics, most metals, composites in your house (the fish tank, the TV, Playstation, Gatorade and water bottles) are all made by petro-chemical processes.  The nation, and for the most part the world, has no alternatives to using gas in their cars (and freight trucks for transportation) or for the petro-chemical process which brings so many modern amenities to families the world over.  There is no substitute.  If you produce the product that EVERYONE must have, with virtually no competition, how much do you charge?  The sky my friends.  I am surprised this speculation and gouging hasn’t happened sooner.

Which brings us to the SPR and the off-shore drilling argument permeating our national debate.  This infuriates me beyond belief.  New off-shore drilling along California, the Eastern seaboard and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, WILL NOT ALLEVIATE ENERGY COSTS.  The Energy Information Administration (someone please find me a link, I saw it on TV) estimated that the oil from drilling would have a negligible effect on prices, with a probable drop of 2-5 cents per gallon . . . by 2030.  In the mean time, oil companies are still receiving billions of dollars in subsidies (see this link for some useful information on tax subsidies big oil gets with your tax dollars) and Republicans block left and right bills designed to encourage the growth high tech energy jobs outside the oil industry.  I agree releasing a small percentage of the SPR into public consumption is a drop in the ocean and fairly useless, but allowing for expanded off-shore drilling is not the answer.

A national Apollo program is in order.  In 1961, JFK announced a man would land on the moon by the end of the decade.  Being beaten by the USSR to put a man in space and the possibility of Russian advancement in ICBM technology (the foundation of which is based on space flight), the US directed and funded extended research into those technologies required to put a man on the moon.  We had no idea how to do it, but eight years later, Neil Armstrong would walk on the moon.  America has the vision and drive to accomplish similar goals.  We lack the political willpower and drive to decouple our government from the corporations that they serve.  The oil industry, due to subsidies, pays 7% less in payroll tax than the average American business.  Massive policy initiatives, like lifting the ban on off-shore drilling, are brought to fruition for the sole benefit of massive companies without care or concern for the long term safety for our national security, economy, or environment.

Our development of clean energy ideas and technology could be the greatest American export in the 21st century, by transforming the world through the re-alignment of energy independence.  This is the time to look forward beyond the next political cycle, not the dog and money show President Bush is performing.  Off-shore drilling and exploration in ANWR are not the answer, short or long term.  Initiatives to research more efficient solar power, increasing hydrogen infrastructure, and encouraging nuclear plant construction with accompanying strict safety regulation are the answer.