Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

The State of the Union was last night – this is a great American tradition, where the President gets to address both chambers of congress and tout successes in the previous year and layout plans for the future.  The current President, Barack, took his turn to fulfill this legal requirement.  Barack is definitely one who can deliver a smooth oration.  He comes across well in this environment.  But I’m not sure he has any comprehension of reality.  Let’s start at the beginning, with a slight distortion – 6.1 millions jobs created – counted starting after the peak of job losses (Feb 2010) – If you consider during his entire watch, only about 1.9 million jobs have been added.  Obama talked about gas mileage in cars having doubled – well, not yet – won’t happen for another 17 years.  But, lets’ not worry about this spin.  What is more troubling is  all of the new programs the President proposed – oh and it’s not going to add a single dime to the deficit.  What about reducing the deficit – why are trillion plus dollar deficits not worth having a serious discussion on?  We must begin to take a comprehensive look at everything the government spends money on – EVERY THING – including “entitlements”.  We can not sustain continued deficits and ever rising debt ceiling.  The sequester – the President’s idea –  is a childish way to have the government do what the people expect it to do.  Obama and the Senate have failed for 4 straight years to produce a responsible budget – any budget at all.  It’s time to stop spending any more money – proposing any new programs and figure out what truly is and isn’t working.  The word CUT needs to truly mean cut and not just reduce the growth rate.  It is possible to actually improve some programs at the same time you are reducing the cost of the program.  Focus on reducing waste, duplication, and fraud in government programs and we’ll find ways to bring down the deficit.  Yes – some of the issues we face today are due to a sluggish economy and the drop in tax revenue that brings – but let’s encourage the private sector to get things revved up.  Accelerating private sector growth will drive revenue to help in deficit reduction.  Increasing tax rates is counter productive – although some tax reform is in order.

Alternative energy investment should be considered carefully – while global climate change occurs as part of a cyclic phenomenon, it is unclear how mankind can make significant impact to this cycle.  We should not be pouring in tax dollars chasing a theory.  Instead – get Keystone online, continue to reduce dependency on foreign oil, and make investments that make sense in alternative energy.  I’m just wondering what will happen to all the batteries we’ll need to dispose of on all of these electric vehicles?  More money for preschool education – noble idea, but there are studies that show earlier learning opportunities may not contribute to improvements in the later years – but improvements in our current elementary schools will – but that doesn’t mean spend more money necessarily – make elementary school learning more effective – and hold schools accountable for results.

Stop spending, roll up our sleeves, and do the hard work worthy of a congressman, a senator, a president.  President Obama – you were elected for a second term based on misrepresentations and hollow promises – but you have won.  Stop campaigning and start learning how to be a leader, not just a community organizer – Our country is much bigger than that, and the risk of failure is much greater.  You need to put aside your philosophical approach and get down to real facts and worthy bipartisan solutions.  The State of our Union is NOT strong as you suggest – it is in a state of polarization and the time has come to bring this country together – or, with all due respect,  get out of the way and let someone take over who can.

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Gas prices go up and down, driven in part by speculation, part by supply and demand (the two are tied together).  Gas is a refined product made from oil, and as such, the price of oil drives the price of gas.  The current administration is steadfastly focused on green energy, and currently, for green energy to be commercially viable as a mainstream source, oil prices need to remain relatively high.  With oil and gas prices high, the need to look towards alternate energy sources becomes viable – but from a market perspective, they will only be viable if the costs are similar.  America has been dabbling in alternative energy for decades upon decades.  Hydro, solar, nuclear, wind, battery.  Where it made sense, economically, each of these methods has been a viable solution to generate electricity in lieu of fossil fuels, coal and oil.  But as vast as America is, we need to consider our energy needs are a complex mix of ALL sources, including fossil fuels.

Back to supply and demand – oil is a global commodity, and thus the demand is global.  Emerging economies such as China and India are driving up demand, so it is important to push more oil on the market to meet this demand and stabilize and even drive down speculative prices.  America has significant untapped oil reserves that can be added to the global supply – oil in ANWR, the Gulf and East Coast shelf will all add to the supply to reduce speculative pricing, even with unrest in the Middle East.  New technologies and recovery methods have helped tap into additional oil unrecoverable just a decade ago.  This oil can be recovered with minimal impact on the environment.  So what’s the hold up?  Good people with different views, concerns, and visions are putting unrealistic expectations on the speed of market acceptance of “green” technologies.  The realities are the US economy’s successful growth is dependent on a range of fuel costs much lower than the $4-$5 gallon level at this time.  High fuel costs are a serious growth killer, as it takes energy to produce everything, AND, it takes fuel to deliver everything – so higher costs drive prices up across the board.  This is much more of an issue with moderate to low-income citizens – much like a regressive tax.  There is too much political fodder going on today – and this needs to stop.  Embrace Keystone (responsibly routed), accelerate permits for drilling (responsibly), Utilize clean coal technologies, and educate on conservation.  Oh, be careful of what numbers are being bantered about 2% of the world’s oil reserves, 25% consumption…hmmm, not so sure on that 2% number (check this out).

We will eventually move away from fossil fuels, eventually, the global economy will rise such that gas prices will rise to a level that makes alternatives much more viable and marketable.  However, today, in the year 2012, America needs to utilize all the resources at its disposal to drive economic growth which in turn will spur the kinds of innovations required to take us in to the next decade and beyond.  Having the government force a change in market behavior is a waste of our hard-earned dollars (ie. Solyndra).  I just don’t think the people in this administration get it (comparing technological advances in cell phone technology to high power mechanical engines is ludicrous – read here).  For now, we need to focus on conservation,  increased supply,  and alternative energy solutions that make sense.

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