Amid all the stimulus noise, bailouts, loans, bonuses and all the other dilemmas that occur when a gaggle of gangsters gather to give out gifts to grifters ( ok I quit but at least you can decide which side fits the bankers and politicians in my alliteration), I have still the following puzzlements that are making my noggin itch:
1. Has anyone noticed that there is some stimulus going to clean coal technology (Duke Energy has a plan in the works with some stimulus monies) while at the same time Appalachian coal mines are trashing the streams and rivers in direct violation of the Clean Water Act? Wouldn’t it have been stimulating to put shovels in the ground to clean up that mess and at the same time to put some regulators on site to collect the fines from the coal mines who have been allowed to spoil the areas in which they create profits? Does it make sense, that if we want to use coal, we have to pay for the price of coal which includes the costs of preventing massive damage to aquifers and for the costs of cleaning the exhausts at plants that burn it?
2. What has the nuclear energy business done or not done at the political level that it has been totally ignored in the stimulus plans? Wouldn’t bucks dedicated to safer technology for and the start up of nuclear plants be good for this country in many ways?
3. While I am no fan of Boone Pickens, I am constantly digging at my scalp over why we are not seeing stimulus money going to or a mandate developed for requiring Pickens’ idea of shifting to natural gas powered transportation. According to Pickens (he has a company which converts and supplies natural gas to urban centers for powering buses and taxis), we have an abundance of natural gas, it burns cleaner than gasoline, and it would be an industry that would spur new business. If all this is true, why is none of the Big Three planning autos and trucks that burn this fuel? How come Exxon, Conoco Phillips, or any other mega-oil companies are not developing fuel stations and infrastructures to deliver natural gas to the consumers? How come no states are supporting expansion of natural gas lines to rural developments where it could be used for fuel?
4. How come the Big Three are not retooling to build cars that will get 50 plus miles per gallon? Is that standard so far out of possibility that it could not be a condition of loans to help the automakers out of their present dilemma? Are folks not buying autos because they are waiting for a vehicle that will provide sensible, safe transportation and yield high miles per gallon of gasoline?
5. Why is there nothing in the stimulus plans to promote or require use of plants other than corn and soybeans as bio-fuels? Doesn’t it make sense to find and promote alternative sources other than major food grains? (Actually, they have been found: switch grass, sugar cane bio-mass and hemp are sources.)
6. Why are the Feds or state governments not requiring a shift to electric-powered vehicles where they could be used despite their limitations in miles per charge ratios? For example, how many postal vehicles travel less than 30 miles per day and could be charged in the parking lots of all the post offices across the country? How many state vehicles are provided as perks for school superintendents, prison wardens, superintendents or whatevers that could be switched to electric powered vehicles?
7. Wouldn’t it be fabulous and stimulating to put money in R and D for conversion kits or motors to replace the gas guzzling SUVs to which the American consumer became addicted? Ain’t that possible at all? Just a little?
I claim no originality in these ideas for they have all been discussed for decades; I do claim a degree of disgust that we have not demanded an investment of our tax dollars in directions that would encourage invention and or improvement in technologies that would create jobs. We have no jobs and are doing nothing to develop sustainable ones in the present bailout plans. Maybe none of these ideas would work, but I sure would like to know why? And I surely would like to see any other ideas for improving our economy and for creating jobs at the same time.