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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trickling The Wrong Way

President Elect Obama laid out his plans for getting 2.5 million people back to work by 2011. Unfortunately, it's the standard liberal plan. Spend a bunch of government money on projects, instead of trying to create long term sustainable jobs outside of the government.

His major proposal is to put people back to work fixing our infrastructure. And it's hard to disagree that it needs it. However, road and bridge construction aren't long term projects for the most part, and with a $500 billion dollar deficit next year, where does the money come from?

One proposal that will gain steam come January is to jack up the gas tax. In fact ideas of raising the baseline gas tax, then having a "punitive tax" added on to keep gas prices at a certain level are very popular on the left.

If you set the level high enough, you have tons of cash for building those roads and bridges. Never mind that the "fair for all crowd" is championing one of the most regressive taxes there is, getting rid of SUV's is more important than making sure low income workers can afford to drive to work.

The downside is another price spike in oil and suddenly the punitive tax is wiped out, and they still have a money hungry group of road builders to pay.

Another proposal of Mr. Obama's is to put folks to work building new solar and wind farms. Great idea, because renewable energy is a great idea. Utilities actually don't mind wind and solar power. They cost much less to operate and maintain than coal and gas fired plants. However, they balk at "minimum renewable" requirements for various reasons, and the fact that most legislatures put the onus on them to create the power, but limit their ability to recover the higher than normal start up costs.

The different wings of the same environmental lobby that wants those wind and solar farms sues to prevent the construction of the transmission lines to get the power to the grid. Here's a site from Rhode Island that is trying to prevent government bodies and utilities from building either the wind farms or transmission lines. It's not limited, just google wind farm lawsuits.

Yet another group sues to stop the wind farms based on the birds and bats that might fly into the blades.

Solar is another good idea, but it costs so much per kilowatt hour that most consumers couldn't afford electricity if it becomes a major source. The second problem with it is the industry itself. Most of the solar industry loves the idea of the "roof top" installations where individual homeowners make their own power, or a portion of it. Unfortunately it's also the least efficient manner of installation, since it's normally a fixed installation, where you never really get maximum benefit of the solar panels,

Utilities, on the other hand, like the "solar farm" plan, where you toss thousands of KW worth of panels in an area, and have them on movable platforms to produce the most power possible whenever the sun is out. It's also the most cost effective way of producing solar power, with the lowest cost per user.

All of these plans seem to have one common thread. The federal government is central to their planning, implementation, and execution. In other words, the least economical mode of operation is the default setting. While roads and infrastructure are probably best handled at the government level, the state and local levels are better for it than the feds. Power issues are better handled by utilities, unabashed by government mandates, regulations, and interference.

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3Comments:

Blogger Improvedliving said...

I do believe these are crazy rantings , but enjoyable.


Solar Panels

3:11 AM  
Blogger Improvedliving said...

well i completely agree with your point of view.

Solar Panels

3:16 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

When I redid my roof, which has 40 feet of unobstructed southern exposure, great for solar, I looked into it. Unfortunately the lowest price I could find for a system that would power the house was in the $55k range. Smaller systems that could take part of the house off the grid were impractical, as the house is 60 years old and would have need major rewiring to separate some weird circuits that exist to make it feasible.

If I did a new place from the ground up, and had the extra money, I wouldn't mind solor, and/or a small wind turbine to cut my energy costs.

6:00 AM  

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