By Alan Caruba
If you visited WhiteHouse.gov on the second day of the new administration, you would find a lengthy document about “The President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” You will not find a single word about oil, coal, or natural gas in it, nor nuclear power.
To put matters in context, coal provides just over 50% of our nation’s current electricity. Nuclear provides an additional 20%. The remainder comes from sources that include hydroelectricity and natural gas. Combined, solar and wind energy sources provide 1% and for the fundamental reason that solar and wind farms are unreliable sources of constant energy and must be positioned far from the urban centers that require it. This means adding miles of lines to our electrical grid. That grid, much in need of upgrade and expansion, is not mentioned either. Nor is there any reference to all the gasoline and diesel we need for the nation's cars and trucks.
Instead, President Obama’s plan to “jumpstart job creation and long-term growth” begins with a proposal to “(double) the production of alternative energy in the next three years.” It does not say a word about exploration and extraction of the vast, known oil deposits in ANWR and there have already been hints that the ban on the nation’s coastal continental shelf may be reinstated. It would shut off access to potential new reserves of oil or natural gas in the thousands of miles of the nation’s coastal continental.
This resistance to utilizing any oil found anywhere in the United States continues while President Obama and his administration keep complaining about the billions of U.S. dollars that flow to countries that are “unfriendly” to our values. The same resistance to mining any of the extraordinarily vast reserves of the nation’s coal deposits continues as well.
Second on Obama’s plan is the “modernizing (of) more than 75% of federal buildings and (improving) the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.” It’s hard to be against energy efficiency, but when it includes a ban on the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs, it represents a level of stupidity that has been the only product of Congress in recent years. Energy that is not available cannot be made more efficient no matter what you do.
This reminds us of the Congressional mandates for the production and use of ethanol to be combined with gasoline. Ethanol production drove up the cost of food at home and around the world. Indeed, the cost of corn rose so steeply that many ethanol producers went out of business because they could not afford it! Add to that the fact that ethanol in combination with gasoline actually reduces mileage per gallon and you have no efficiency whatever.
Third on the list of recovery objectives are investments to ensure that “all of America’s medical records are computerized.” The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” How secure will you feel if anyone in the U.S. government, any insurance company or a potential employer can access your personal, private medical records?
The Obama administration plan goes on to urge the equipping of “tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. It wants to expand broadband across America, and finally to invest in “the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.”
May I respectfully suggest that this is not the job of the federal government? That research and development has a long history in America of being the province of private industry and entrepreneurs, competing to produce the best, new products and services?
To return to my original theme, the failure to make any mention of accessing America’s vast resources of energy production bespeaks the years of environmental agitation against the energy America needs to function as a society and as a thriving economy.
America will not recover from its financial crisis by throwing billions at the most inefficient and untrustworthy means of producing electricity, solar and wind.
Americans will not be more secure if their medical records can be accessed by any government clerk or are available to any industry or employer who wants to avoid hiring anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. Millions of Americans have encountered sexually transmitted diseases and surely this is not the kind of information anyone wants known.
This is George Orwell’s “Big Brother” approach to government combined with a willful ignorance and resistance to the production of the vast new amounts of energy the nation will need by 2030.
But then, this is the President who said, “We can’t drive our SUV’s and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and expect that other countries are going to say OK…”
Why not? And who will decide what we can drive and how much we can eat? Who will determine how much we can heat or cool our homes? If it’s the government, then we will have exchanged our freedoms for totalitarian control.
This proposed recovery and reinvestment plan reflects the future that President Obama has in mind for all of us and for the nation.