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« Liberty teeth: George Washington never said ‘Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself’ | Main | First advice to President Obama: Don’t give Wesley Clark a job »

June 29, 2008

Comments

George

Don't go to college, either, because you won't make any money for four years.

Frank Warner

Right. If your bicycle breaks, give up biking forever if it takes a week to get the new part.

Kevin

I heard someone liken this idea of not drilling to a starving man.

"When a man is starving and sees half a sandwich, you don't tell him not to eat it because there is no way it will completely fill him up!"

Frank Warner

Or don't tell a starving man that, because it would take one whole day to find a meal, let's just decide never to eat again.

jj mollo

That's the point Kevin. We are starving for oil. We are addicted, and since oil is ultimately a finite resource, we are in deep trouble. We need a program for transitioning to a more reliable, sustainable substitute -- or rather many substitutes. I have nothing against imitation gasoline -- biofuels of various kinds -- and I have nothing against CO2 as long as we are finding ways to control it. The petroleum monoculture, however, makes us extremely vulnerable to political, economic and ecological surprises. Flexibility is what's called for. When the addict is focused only on the primary desire, there is little hope for a cure. Constant references to hidden caches of the "good stuff" are an indication for a negative outcome.

In practical terms, flexibility means electrical power as the prime energy transport mechanism. All kinds of sources can be applied and all kinds of applications can result. Do we need 100% dedication to electricity? No, I think that would also be risky. Do I think it has to happen today? No, but it has to start happening.

There is no reason to believe that the transition must lead to economic collapse. IMO, anything that transitions us away from petroleum is a very good thing, even if it is technically worse than petroleum. Coal would be a vast improvement simply because it's not oil; it's not controlled by OPEC; it's not subject to the same economic extortion.

As you may be aware, my energy program would encourage diversity in alternative energy by the simple expedient of keeping oil prices high -- as high as the economy can endure without lapsing into recession. How do we do that? First of all, repeat after me: the government is not capable of flexible response.

We need to separate the tax on oil from the clutches of Congress. The Federal Reserve or some other independent body should be responsible for controlling the amount of tax on oil and the various forms of carbon. Its mission should be simple. Discourage the use of oil while protecting the economy as a whole.

Congress can deal with the redistribution of the tax income. They're pretty good at that. In particular, it should be used to subsidize those alternative energy industries that are most likely to preserve the planet while creating jobs. My candidate for that investment would be nuclear power, of course, but it really doesn't matter. Simply lowering the general tax would make up for the economic impact of increasing energy taxes.

Frank Warner

You hear Democratic leaders saying the same thing about clean electricity: It takes 10 to 20 years to build a nuclear power plant, so don't bother.

And since we need a permanent place to store spent radioactive fuel, let's not look for that place; in fact, let's stir up the Indians of Nevada to oppose using the most obvious storage site.

Oh, and windmills: Ask the Democrats in Massachusetts and Maryland about how excited they are about clean windmill power.

It appears Democrats have too long been in the business of closing their eyes to problems and then adding obstacles to solutions.

That's one reason I want Democrats to win the White House this year. It's time to come back to reality. Taking responsibility would wake up a lot of people from their hallucinatory cynicism.

Christopher Taylor

That's what I fear: we're engineering a recession, if not a depression; all in the name of climate change and eco nanny state. You heard Senator Obama: high gas prices are great! Even higher! Just tough on people they went up so fast, time for more government to help them through this time. Matthew Yglecias has the same reaction, and he has a solution: raise gas prices and take that money to help the poor!

That's one reason I want Democrats to win the White House this year. It's time to come back to reality. Taking responsibility would wake up a lot of people from their hallucinatory cynicism.

What a strange perspective: they clearly do not deserve power and are irresponsible, they're destroying the economy. LETS GIVE THEM MORE POWER! What's that, Senator Obama likes this situation and refuses the idea of more drilling? Oh yeah vote for him so he can be in a position to enforce that idea.

Great thinking, Frank.

Frank Warner

I notice even McCain says he won't drill in Alaska.

Christopher Taylor

That's the point Kevin. We are starving for oil. We are addicted, and since oil is ultimately a finite resource, we are in deep trouble.

We're not addicted to oil any more than you are addicted to breathing. It's critical for the continued existence of the republic and civilization. It's the lifeblood of civilization until we find a better alternative, of which there is none at the moment. There's no more addiction to oil than your child is addicted to food.

I notice even McCain says he won't drill in Alaska.

Yep, he's an idiot too. We have lousy and lousier running for office, it's just that you're supporting "lousier" out of sheer mindless, kneejerk loyalty to a political party.

Frank Warner

Oh, yeah, I'm blindly loyal to the Democratic Party. When have you seen that?

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