Obama’s plan to jumpstart the economy

Obama finally came out from hiding to talk a bit about the economy.  One of my liberal friends found this the most exciting aspect of his speech:

“We’ll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”

You could see my friend thrilling to the Rooseveltian aspect of it all:  the government will rebuild America.  It’s the CCC and WPA all over again — never mind that after several years of those programs, the US was mired in an even worse depression than that which Roosevelt inherited.

My friend outlined all of the wonderful alternative energy sources that could be created once Obama got his hands on the reins of energy creation.  He waxed lyrical about a way to use mirrors and water to create steam all over America’s vast plains and deserts, and then to run this steam into interconnected turbines that would power America.

“It can be done,” he said.  “They’re already building the prototypes in Nevada.”

“If it can be done,” I asked, “and it’s so wonderful, why hasn’t the private sector already stepped forward?”

“You don’t understand,” was his reply.  “All of these are isolated efforts, like the telephone system a hundred years ago.  They need to be tied together so that they work effectively.”

“I do understand,” I said.  “But why doesn’t the private sector build this infrastructure tying together all these great sources of clean energy creation?”

“Because of all the regulations blocking them,” was his answer.

“So you’re saying, aren’t you, that the problem isn’t too little government, it’s to much government?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.  The government needs to bring them all together.”  (Always the government.)

My last word was that if Obama can cut the Code of Federal Regulations by 80%, freeing up money and ingenuity without using government money, he will be the greatest President in history.  I got a blank stare in response.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Like the government put together the railroads, airlines, agriculture, the computer industry….oh, wait!

  • David Foster

    The “mirrors, water, and steam” approach is called solar-thermal, and it does have some advantages, mainly its inherent storage capability (typically in the form of molten salt.) Most likely, his point about interconnectedness refers to geographic diversity of generation: if the grid is extensive enough, then maybe the sun will be shining *somewhere* when it is behind thick clouds elsewhere. You can’t totally count on this, though, and still need to have backkup generation in some form for the times when it’s cloudy everwhere and the heat in the molten salt has all been used up.

    Building long-haul transmission lines, though, will run into endless challenges on both environmental and NIMBY grounds, and Obama…assuming that he is serious about all this and not merely posturing…will likely find that his former activist allies are now opponents whom it will be very difficult to either co-opt or defeat.

    In general, “progressives” are in favor of energy sources until they become practical and then they suddenly see their downsides…

  • rockdalian

    “We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”

    One wonders what the construction unions will have to say about this. Would union membership be a requirement on these projects?

    One of the reasons road construction is so expensive is the Davis-Bacon Act.

    Chief among the burdensome provisions is the application of federal prevailing wage standards (Davis-Bacon Act) to all construction funded by federal dollars. Because the prevailing wages established by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are generally higher than open market wages, federally funded construction projects generally cost more than they would without such regulations. The Davis-Bacon Act adds an estimated 5 percent to 38 percent to construction costs.

  • Bloggers for John McCain

    What these leftists will never understand is the difference between a “useful byproduct” and a “purportedly designed business”.

    Many leftists love to talk about Hussein’s plans for government investment in alternative energy making parallels with the invention of the internet. Those parallels are 99% wrong. The only 1% agreement comes from the fact that both had (have) some degree of government involvement.

    When the US goverment invested to create the computer and networking technologies that many years later gave birth to the personal computer and the internet, it wasn’t investing with the intent of creating succesful businesses but with the sole purpose of developing technologies for the military in the context of the Cold War. It was the world of private investors who took the technologies developed in research labs and research universities with governmnet funds that created the personal computer and internet industries. In other words, the government didn’t intend to create Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, Yahoo or Google when it made its investments in ARPANET back in 1969. The idea that the Federal Government can correctly invest in technologies with the purpose of making those technologies the undelying pilar of the industries of tomorrow is 100% ill-conceived. In fact, from all the current government programs, it’s again the investments of the Pentagon (DARPA) that look more promising, for instance, the money invested in the DARPA challenges for automated car driving won by Stanford (2005) and Carnegie Mellon (2007). But then again, the only intent of the government in that program is to develop technology to save the lives of American soldiers in the battlefield.

    Hussein is clueless and ignorant about how the Internet came about. His Obots followers are even more clueless!

  • Tiresias

    Dunno, Bloggers: Microsoft is such annoying, godawful crap it could well be a government project! It works – or rather, fails to work – exactly as a government operation might!

    Any time you sw the word “federal” or “republic” in the name of a country you knew it was a dictatorship. Any time you see the word “simple” or “easy” in the title of a piece of Microsoft software, you know you’re in for three days of screaming at your computer.

  • Mike Devx

    Tiersias (#6)
    I’d add, any time a movie comedy has the announcer use the word “funny” in the trailer, or the movie’s poster has the word “funny” written on it, run screaming. It won’t be funny.

  • Charles Martel

    Whenever I hear a teacher or educator say, “quality education,” I know that he/she belongs to a school district that specializes in producing credulous know-nothings.