Energy Policy Key to Obama Success

President-elect Obama now has a couple of months to set his priorities.  Instead of sending out tax rebates or stimulus checks, he should use the money to solve the country's energy problems.  A fix would help the economy, improve national security, and combat global warming.

Energy is the linchpin of our economy.  When prices are high, it puts severe stress on the entire world and is a major precipitator of recession.  Energy also controls our foreign affairs and national security.  We are in Iraq because of oil.  Does anyone doubt that we would care an iota about Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia if they weren't such a crucial piece of the world's energy needs.  The $700 billion we send abroad to pay for oil helps fund regimes that are less-than-friendly in their intentions towards the US.

Energy is also the key component of an environment policy.  The burning of fossil fuells is the key contributor to global warming.  And while the sick economy has taken the spotlight off global warming for now, the problem is not going away.

Obama and the Democrats talk about a financial stimulus bill.  As we have seen though, sending out checks to consumers results in a short-term blip in spending and GDP that quickly fades.  The impact of tax rebates are short and shallow.

What I urge Obama to do instead is take the money he was going to use in a stimulus packace, and instead do the following:

  • Build 50 new nuclear power plans.
  • Provide tax credits for consumers to undertake energy efficiency projects.
  • Provide tax credits for solar, wind, geothermal, and more.
  • Provide funding for the development of a hydrogen based energy system.

This crash program would have many benefits:

  • Create highly skilled jobs in the renewable energy fields.
  • Position the United States as a leader in nuclear and renewable energy.
  • Reduce our trade deficit by decreasing the $700 billion we send to the Middle East every year.
  • Stimulate the economy through the construction of new plans and purchase of new energy products.
  • Increase our national security by reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy.
  • Increase our economic security by making us less vulnreable to oil shocks.

President-elect Obama is faced with a daunting task.  But solutions exist.  Hopefully, he will choose to solve the root problems and not keep addressing the sympoms.  A new, bold energy policy is one of the places to start.

Sam Cass
Sam Cass: Sam Cass, MBA, JD, University of Texas at Austin. Always a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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Comments

  • thedorightman

    November 11, 2008

    OK, but why don't we start with fixing our roads and bridges. The way to get all the people who voted against him on his side is not only to make the economy good again, but between now and then, not to mess with the gun laws {rights}, or to put 250,000 snitches in our neighborhoods. The removal of personal security at this time will be explosive in its rebuttal. This is a very dangerous time. Be careful.

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