Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hey Mr. President, You Forgot Nuclear

John Sexton of Verum Serum, and Donald Sensing of Sense of Events provided clear analysis of last night's speech by President Obama on his plan to wean our country off her dependence on oil - and not just foreign oil.

Here's John Sexton:

Guess what form of power was never mentioned in tonight’s speech? If you guessed nuclear, you win a prize.

So here we are in the midst of a terrible downturn, with 10% unemployment (much higher if you count discouraged workers) and Barack Obama wants us to give up on fossil fuel for alternatives that, at present, can not conceivably sustain our economy. He slathers this idea in enough platitudes to choke Mary Poppins and hopes nobody notices that his plan is long on hope and short on specifics.

And here's Donald Sensor:

In last night's address, President Obama set a course to "transition away from fossil fuels." Then, invoking between the lines William James' "moral equivalent of war" (Obama used a lot of martial language tonight), he said,
The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet. You see, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon.
Okay, just who was saying those things about American industrial capacity during World War II? Who said that about President Kennedy's 1962 speech in which he committed the country to send manned missions to the moon?

Answer: nobody in either case. No industrialist or military logistician after the Pearl Harbor attack thought that American (sic) could not produce the war materiel necessary for victory. If anything, they underestimated the country's production capacity.

So I am very skeptical of this call to an industrial equivalent of war or the space program. Look what happened to the space program once the moon was reached. It lost its focus and dribbled along through the Shuttle years and now we have no spacecraft at all to fly. Yet a government focus on a handful or fewer of "favored" (i.e, politically connected) technologies is the wrong way to go. All it will do is make everything more expensive, rarer and less efficient. But that is where we are headed.

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