Words, words, words

Bush did his last State of The Union gig last night, which usually ends up being a very cathartic political experience for me. I invited a few people over to heckle. I don’t remember which channel we watched it on, but the camera person managed to locate all the sleeping and yawning people in the audience and show closeups of them during the blather, so it was very entertaining- all until the Democratic response, which actually made the President’s speech look good.

While the president has addressed climate issues in the last couple of SOTUs, this year he said greenhouse gases exist and that we should do something about it- big talk! His plan is to let his successor take care of it, though- he’s proposing a three-year commitment to give $2 billion to an international fund, so that other countries can develop clean technologies. This allows him a two-year getaway, plus it’s a bad idea in the first place. First off, $2 billion is a small sum and shows indicative of Bush’s real lack of concern about these issues- even the UAE beat Bush by 2 weeks and $13 billion, and Japan set up it’s own international fund this weekend with $10 billion in financing. Secondly, if we’re in such a financial crunch, why are we giving money to other countries for technologies we don’t have enough of here at home?

Invest the $2 billion in the US for clean technology, Bush, then we can sell it to the rest of the world. That will give us something valuable to export, stimulate the economy,  create good jobs, and it’s a lot better than that ridiculous plan of yours to mail me a $600 check to fix the recession.

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4 Responses to “Words, words, words”


  1. 1 Mrcalculo February 1, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    That is 2 billion too much!

  2. 2 virescent February 1, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Why, Calc?

  3. 3 MrCalculo February 6, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I think the idea that the federal government has the authority or the expertise to encourage optimal international investment in alternative energy sources is laughable.

    If you think that carbon emissions present a negative externality not being priced into products that emit carbon, the solution is a carbon tax equal to the cost of the carbon emitted. This would encourage optimal behavior, though it does have the unfortunate effect of giving the government an additional source of revenue (since only in my wildest dreams would they cut a truly stupid tax like the capital gains tax or the tax on dividends to compensate). Howerver, one of the reasons we have a government at all is to deal with certain public goods problems and pollution is about the clearest case one can conceive of.

    I really can’t imagine why us funding other countries to use clean energy is an efficient way to spend two billion dollars. Even if it seems like a good idea, I also do not understand from whence the Feds draw the authority to spend the money. This is a very marginal way to improve our well-being and it is a stretch to give some national security justification.

  4. 4 virescent February 6, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I agree on the ridiculousness of the international investment- we need that money right here for clean technologies that work in the US. We shouldn’t be funding other countries to use it until we can use it here. And I also agree that we need a carbon tax, or a credit trading system.

    I think you’re entirely off base about the national security justification. The energy our nation runs on is imported from overseas, and most notably from the Middle East, which observation has recently shown to be full of people who hate the US and our “way of life”, and who are willing to kill over that. This energy dependence has influenced all sorts of unconscionable, hypocritical, and losing foreign policy decisions that have only hurt us, here at home and overseas. We must become energy independent to keep us from the uncertain mercy of other countries, and limit our exposure to rising energy prices that will come with demand from China. The only way for us to become energy independent is to develop our energy resources here at home.

    If we only develop energy sources like ANWR here at home, though, we still have the problem of pollution. Even with your carbon tax or a trading system idea, reducing pollution from fossil based energy sources without other energy sources to fall back on is tantamount to sticking a fork in the bicycle spokes of the economy. We’ve got to have clean, viable sources of energy to fall back on for that. There are dozens of ways for Bush to spend at least that 2 billion to bring the most promising alternative energy technologies to market quickly. If he wanted to, which he doesn’t.

    That entire conclusion is based on the assumption that Bush wants our country to succeed and prosper, financially and internationally. His very low offer of money for alternative technologies, directed toward international projects to boot, prove that assumption to be poorly founded. He is interested in allusions at making good energy decisions- ones that cost him very little and that he can point to as an attempt- not actually making good decisions. I will continue to dream of a government that is capable of wise and insightful decisions, and the fact that that was his last SOTU and I’ll get to vote for anyone but him soon makes me very hopeful.


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