Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fossilized Leaders Mislead Americans About Fossil Fuels

Most Republican leaders and a few wayward Democrats fail to recognize several straightforward facts:

1. Fossil fuels are no longer cheap.

2. Besides fossil fuels no longer being cheap, if we take away subsidies from fossil fuels, Americans would really feel the cost.

3. But it gets worse. If we include the total costs of the damage that fossil fuel development and burning has on our country, and also the planet, the real cost of fossil fuels is in fact prohibitive. Our children and grandchildren will be paying the costs for generations to feed today's dangerous hunger for high profits by the fat cats in the fossil fuel industry.

4. If the United States began tomorrow on a massive alternative energy program, it would probably be decades before the United States would stop producing coal, natural gas, and oil. Why? Because it will take time to build up the alternative energy infrastructure. It takes time to build the factories, hire the people, train them as the technology changes, mine rare earth metals essential to alternative energy and again hire the people who will do the mining.

5. Jobs in the fossil fuel industries will take years to disappear. Why? Because as alternative energy grows, the jobs that will be lost are not the ones here at home but the ones overseas. The first thing that alternative energy will do is make the U.S. more energy secure and less dependent on the volatile politics of international oil.

6. And this is the most important: while fossil fuels are becoming more expensive, alternative energy is becoming less expensive.

Mary of The Left Coaster points out that high technology companies are increasingly turning to alternative energy. The trend towards alternative energy, despite the political fossils in Washington, is underway.

Paul Krugman in a recent column in The New York Times points out that that the costs of alternative is dropping. It's economics folks. It's capitalism the way its supposed to work.

For all the noise that Republicans make on Fox News, on the Rush Limbaugh comedy hour, and in Congress, they no longer much care about the kind of capitalism that made America great. Keep in mind this isn't the first time our country has lost its way. We lost our way in the 1890s and we lost our way at the end of the 1920s. When capitalism no longer works for a majority of Americans, something has gone very wrong.

Republicans, the ones who run the Republican Party, are the party of bankers and the wealthy. They have lost sight of why Americans usually like capitalism. Usually, and it certainly hasn't happened lately, capitalism is at its best when people pay less and less for more. Lately, for perhaps 30 years, or more, Americans have been paying more and more for less. Capitalism as today's conservative Republicans define it has failed.

Think of it: the cost of alternative energy is generally falling. Solar panels are cheaper. Windmills are cheaper. Batteries are cheaper. The price of alternative energy will continue to fall for many years to come. That's capitalism at its best. But the cost of most of other things, the real cost, including fossil fuels, are climbing—and the money that pours into the pockets of the top 1% gets larger and larger while jobs get sent to foreign countries. That is not capitalism at its best. If our democracy is to remain relevant, Washington needs to focus a great deal less on the privileges and wealth of the top 1%, and a great deal more on the creation of more jobs, productive jobs, jobs that ensure a future for a large majority of Americans.

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