Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Ener-Sponge Strikes

There is a monster attacking America today and it is not from outer space. It was created here. It is nurtured here. It is fed and grows strong here. It is a monster that may not destroy us but hampers our growth and success and slows any chance of an economic recovery to a standstill.

When you pull into the filling station to gas up the old basic transportation, you probably don't fill the tank as frequently anymore. Lets face it, like me, you're driving less so you don't need as much fuel. That way you're not taking away from your food budget or some other part of your home economy. It's in your face. About once a week or so, you are standing there at the pump watching that total rise faster every week. I'm fortunate. I'm retired so I do not have to drive. I can sit home and blog. Others are not so blessed.

OK. But didn't Mr. Chu, the Secretary of Energy, just place further restrictions on coal fired generation of electricity. By golly, yes he did. The administration has sworn to shut down coal fired systems even though they are cleaner now than they have ever been and technology keeps improving. Also there is an enormous quantity of coal in this country to help alleviate the pressure on other fuel sources. So watch your electric bills. They're going up too. A little more out of the household economy. Of course, those people that are directly employed because of coal won't have a household economy any more.

And, of course, by next winter heating fuel prices will rise again. Who knows how far. We can't drill here in spite of the wealth of available oil, coal, and natural gas even though it could be done cleanly and safely. We have more energy available underground than any country in the world. But, of course, we must continue to send huge sums of our money to parts of the world where we are not particularly loved so they can live a life that we can only dream of. Well, at least I don't have to worry about where to dock my 200 foot yacht.

But the problem goes beyond our households. The increase in fuel prices sucks money out of the economy that would normally be spent for other purchases so business suffers. People don't save as much, so banks have less money to use for home loans. Tradesmen suffer for lack of construction work. Small businesses suffer from lack of customers with money to spend.

The economy is recovering at a snails pace. Possibly the slowest recovery in the history of the country. When the present administration was elected they claimed to have all the answers. It seems now that they didn't even understand the questions. Given another term they want to double down on the mistaken policies of the past three years. I'm not sure we can afford the pain.

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