What Won't Happen on Energy, And What MustHere's what won't happen: An oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Contamination of drinking water from "fracking" for gas. Nuclear meltdown in Japan. Radioactive contamination of food from said meltdown, and any of that contamination reaching the U.S. That's what they told us would never happen. Of course, they were wrong.
Turns out they're wrong about a lot of things. And who's "they"? Why, look!; it's Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Money. You'd think that with matching multi-billion-dollar profits and tax dodges, obese corporations could make a little room for innovation and entrepreneurship. But they're not good at sharing. In anything like a democracy, they're some of the worst citizens one could have. And we have 'em. And the cost of carrying them includes losing U.S. leadership on energy. So why should we listen to them when they say we can't have clean energy? We shouldn't.
Neither should President Obama, who seems to acknowledge political winds by keeping a high-profile lookout for new sources of oil and gas and coal while hiding his clean-energy initiatives. I wish he'd be a bit bolder and more resolute.
We all hail innovation and entrepreneurship, but in practice we subsidize the most profitable and let the real energy entrepreneurs--the ones with new ideas and imagination--scrounge. We feed the sumo wrestlers. Subsidies are by definition market-distorting applications of money. And when we feed Big Energy, we put our own bread on the tables of their lobbyists, to keep things exactly the way they like it. Oh, they complain, constantly; but look at their profits and tell me who's hurting.
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