Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If politicians and news media took an oath of silence things might get fixed


If politicians did not have to campaign all the time and if the news media did not have to sell advertising there would be a lot less tension in our nation. Then they would be free to tell us just the truth and we would have a far more honest and hopeful picture of America.

For example, the headlines scream of the battle over extending the Bush tax cuts. What disagreement? They will be extended for all Americans for probably two years. End of controversy. What about the new START treaty with Russia that has been stuck in the Senate? Today the headlines said the GOP Whip declared the treaty dead. Nonsense!

All the politicians know reducing nuclear arms with Russia is a good thing, duh. Insiders also know our nuclear weapons are older than our Space Shuttles which have now flown their last mission because they are obsolete. Our current nuclear weapons need to be replaced with modern weapons using the most advanced technology. Add some money to modernize some of our weapons and the treaty will pass, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will be a hero, and Prime Minister and soon to be President again Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin will have to wait to become the super-hero of the super-power.

So what about the bitter battle between alternative energy advocates and conventional energy advocates and their demands for a green future and energy independence? The truth is we have to become energy independent from foreign oil producers who manipulate the prices and supply and threaten our national security. We also need to make the most of green activities to reduce waste and reduce dependence on non-renewal energy like oil.

Forget the political fighting and special interest civil war. Forget the doom and gloom forecasts, special reports and movies by the news media of the destruction and chaos from an energy crisis. One day the president and congress will come to their senses and realize both things must happen.

We can have energy independence from the bad guys by exploiting natural gas, from America, and using it to replace 40-50% of our energy demand. At the same time more domestic oil from the Gulf, Alaska and offshore is needed. One goal of natural gas should be to use it in all semi-trailer trucks to replace diesel fuel currently in use. Diesel is from oil so this could reduce total domestic oil consumption by half.

It is true we are the biggest oil consumer in the world using 22 million barrels a year but Canada and Saudi Arabia use more oil per capita. Saudi Arabia uses 33 barrels per capita, Canada 24, the US 22, South Korea 16, Japan 13, Germany and France 11, the UK and Italy 10, and far down the list are China at 2 and India at less than 1 barrel per year per capita.

Imagine that, the two fastest growing and feared economies in the world, China and India, use a fraction of the oil per person as we do. Of course that is not from good energy conservation, it is a result of their much poorer standard of living, minimum wages and lack of commercial choices in much of these two emerging nations. As they evolve their oil consumption will sky rocket and soon enough they will be like us.

Alternative energy can help a little in the areas of electric cars, solar energy and improved conservation materials but contrary to popular myth, neither will help reduce energy use much. Oil savings must be offset by the high cost of electric generation and maintenance of the alternative. Wind turbines will most likely have even higher operating costs.

If global warming was truly a human created environmental disaster these alternatives might help. But then so does natural gas replacing oil reduce carbon emissions since it is much more efficient. However, since there have been at least four previous periods of global warming followed by ice ages, and we are yet to find evidence of gas stations, automobiles, or hair dryers in any of these previous ages, in fact there weren't even any carbon spewing humans alive back then, then we can assume with or without us Mother Nature will have her global warming and cooling cycles to purify the planet.

So, as for the debate over energy policy, combine aggressive energy independence through expanded natural gas use, oil drilling and alternative techniques combined with an energy compact with our neighbors Mexico and Canada, and we can have the best attack on energy independence and alternative energy possible.

The same thing is true with the economy and our entitlement programs which give politicians and news media a real chance to scare us. I mean without a strong economy and protected entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare neither we when we retire or our kids yet to be born will be safe in the future. Right now if we have a job we wonder for how long and if we don't things don't seem inclined to change any time soon.

Both the media and the politicians are having a field day with scary stories written to make you afraid of the future. Think about it for a minute before embracing their fear tactics. Is there really any Republican or Democrat in congress who is going to get rid of your pension or earned health benefits? Do they really want you to have worse health care? What nonsense!

Whatever it takes to reduce the deficit from 20% of gnp to 3% of gnp will happen. The super rich should pay more by making certain they don't benefit more than the middle class in tax benefits. Today Warren Buffett, one of the richest billionaires in the world, said he was in the highest tax bracket yet only paid 17% taxes because of tax deductions, a lower percent than his secretaries and office workers who paid up to 34%. Warren said there should be a minimum tax paid by the rich and even with the all deductions they should never pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.

So we have a minimum high tax rate for the rich so they pay their fair share. We extend Social Security retirement a couple of years, make all Medicare and Medicaid recipients use alternative health care like traditional Chinese or Native American for annual maintenance and natural treatment. Instead of rewarding you to be sick by giving you more tests, prescription drugs, doctor and hospital visits, you will be rewarded to be well and use preventive maintenance. This is the only way to reduce health care costs while improving results.

Things may be tough, but they are far from bad. We are still the most powerful economic force on Earth with a gross national income of $9.8 trillion a year, while China is at $1.2 trillion and India is less than one half a trillion. Our old friends and allies of Japan $4.5 trillion, Germany $1.9, UK $1.4 and France $1.3 all are bigger than China or India.

There is only one nation on earth too big to fail because the future of every other country on earth is dependent on the United States for their own economic survival. Love us or hate us they still can't survive without us. So cheer up folks, in due time all will be well again. We are the United States of America, the people not the politicians, the industry not the government, the small business not the entitlements, and no one is going to take that away!

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