I’ve been posting on education and how important it is to America’s future in the 21st century. Today, I want to digress a little and talk about a topic related to an earlier post on Friday, May 23, 2008 entitled Economic Stimulus? You Pushed the Wrong Button. Believe it or not, this post is related to both economic stimulus and education. It may take me two or three more posts to tie it all together, so bear with me. In the end, I will connect all the dots.
Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich said, “Thinking is some the hardest work there is, that’s why so few people do it.” In recent months, I have come to believe that our political leaders have stopped working altogether. They seem to lack of any thought process that may lead to a real solution to address the very real problems facing America today. Here’s why.
In my post on economic stimulus, I suggested the President pushed the wrong button by sending out 168 billion dollars thereby encouraging consumption to create demand in the marketplace. I further argued that he should’ve pushed the supply button by using this money to create new industries and new jobs thus stimulating the economy. Let’s take this line of thinking one step further by considering the following scenario in light of the current situation with $4.00 a gallon for gas on the near horizon.
In recent days, I’ve read numerous articles on the energy crisis with the price of a barrel of oil hovering around $130. The articles all seem to indicate that what America needs to do is get off of foreign oil, and that we need to start using our own oil reserves in Alaska, the Gulf and along the Pacific coast. As the argument goes, drilling for oil here in the U.S. and opening up new refineries would increase the supply of oil and cause the price per gallon of gas to drop. So the focus of these articles, as well as some of our leaders, is on increasing supply of oil – American oil more precisely. This is one possible solution, and I certainly agree that we need to stop our dependence on foreign oil. However, there are other options.
What if instead of sending out $168 billion dollars and encouraging people to buy big screen TVs, we had used this money to address our energy crisis. Suppose $50 billion of this money had been used to support joint research and development between major universities and businesses to create new solar technologies that could be easily installed at a low cost within any home in the United States. This would’ve resulted in intellectual capital that could’ve been commercialized as a commodity for sale around the world. The remaining $118 billion dollars could’ve been allocated at $1,200 per home for purchase and installation of current solar cell power units. If you can’t increase supply, then why not decrease demand? This too would result in a decrease in the cost of a barrel of oil and should also drop the price paid per gallon at the pump.
Think of the drastic reductions in the demand for both petroleum and natural gas – both are used in considerable quantities to generate electricity. Think of the new industries and new jobs that would’ve been created to support this new strategic energy policy initiative. Think of how this would’ve reduced emissions and how much better it would’ve been for the environment here in America. Just think, please.