Saturday, February 04, 2006

The State of the Union

As I watched the State of the Union address, I was pleased by nearly all I saw. One of the highlights of the speech for me was the topic of alternative energies. I am a huge fan of alternative energy for several reasons. The primary reason is because alternative energies hold the promise of being kinder on my wallet than oil currently tends to be. Two other reasons are that alternative energies typically are more environmentally-friendly and do not come from countries that harbor our sworn enemies.

America is addicted to oil…” is probably the most remembered moment from the entire State of the Union speech. "America is addicted to oil" is an interesting way to put it; I prefer to think America is addicted to a high standard of living, and oil is one way we produce that unmatched standard of living. However, the quote gets the point across – America cannot survive without oil.

Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources… So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

There is good and bad in this statement. I am fully behind the government encouraging alternative energies to lessen our dependence on oil imported from hostile countries. Importing is hurting my wallet and is hurting our economic and military positions in the world. However, I disagree with the president on the way to attain energy independence. I believe it is not the government’s job to do such research. There are several reasons for this. The government does not have funding deadlines. In most cases, the government can research for years and not uncover anything because they do not have to worry about projects and funding being canceled. This creates a disincentive to get useable results quickly.

A better way to go about researching for energy alternatives is to utilize the private sector to its fullest. The government should give tax credits to companies that invest time and resources into this research. These tax credits should be massive in size; these credits should be lucrative enough that energy and oil companies cannot help but research this technology. When the private sector puts its collective mind toward something, it works. That is what has made America great – the private sector. Just look at Europe, China, North Korea, and the former U.S.S.R. to see what a government-run society accomplishes.

Bush has done an amazing job. There is no doubt in my mind that, even with government research, we are well on our way to starting energy independence from the Middle East. The private sector will no doubt spearhead alternative energy research and will quickly come up with new and innovative ideas for our future. It takes someone to get the ball rolling; Bush has done a marvelous job in that area.

Another fine lesson from Conservative Textbook.

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