This was previously posted on www.anton-wahlman.com on or before 2008-04-02:
On the one hand, it is remarkable that despite the sharp increase in energy prices and the global warming concerns, the major candidates for the highest office are not proposing meaningful solutions. On the other hand, it's not surprising at all - this is the way almost all issues of seriousness are treated in Washington, DC.
Sometimes, the obsacles to renewable, cheaper and cleaner energy reside not in Washington, DC, but in state and local governments. Ted Kennedy's opposition to wind power on Martha's Vineyard is one famous example.
Another good example is solar power, at least in the state of California. It takes 69 signatures from 8 different state and local bodies in California, in order to be allowed to install a solar panel on one's roof. This process takes an absolute minimum of 6 months to complete. And solar power is an alleged top priority to the California government?
Installing a few solar panels on the roof should be a no-brainer decision for most people, but who can take 6 or more months off from work to chase down 69 bureaucratic signatures from 8 government bodies? The solution to this problem is of course to deregulate: No government permit or signature should be needed in order to put up a solar panel on the roof.
As Ronald Reagan said about the socialist prescription for the economy: "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."
Another thing that's been impossible to do for not only 6 months, but 30 years, is to build a nuclear plant in the U.S. It is widely known that nuclear energy is the most efficient technology available today on a sufficient scale to be able to substitute all coal-fired energy plants as fast as we can build them. We could build so many of them that we would make plug-in hybrid and all-electrical cars practical, reducing our dependence on oil dramatically.
But we haven't built a single one of them in 30 years. Why? Because the government has allowed people to file lawsuits against those interested in building them. In other words, the government has given the trial lawyers total veto power to prevent a cleaner environment and lower energy prices.
Again, the solution here is simple: The government needs to cease putting up this total obstacle against the building of clean energy. It needs to inform the trial lawyers that, sorry, a cleaner environment and the most rapid reduction in dependence on oil is a top national security priority, and you can't sue to stop it. In other words: John Edwards, you're out of business - go do something useful instead.
Interestingly, there are several very small U.S. communities, ranging from 50 to 5,000 people, who have continued to see nuclear plants being built to serve them, even in the last 30 years. They're called ships and submarines of the U.S. Navy. Speaking of 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier is not only 4.5 acres of sovereign U.S. territory, but its two nuclear plants can also operate for 30 years without refueling. They've been running like this for at least approximately 50 years now, and never an accident. And never a lawsuit.
Cleaner and cheaper energy should be a national security imperative. The ways to get there are to abolish the crazy socialist government policies of making it as difficult as possible to deploy solar power and nuclear power. In addition to lowering energy prices and improving the environment, this would have the additional side benefit of getting the Abdoullahs out of the Mercedes and onto the camel again.
Political speeches are filled with rhetoric about "hope" and "change" but never a sentence about abolishing the socialist obstacles to solar power and nuclear power. This is why it is so sad that the next President of the U.S. looks to be just another politician, as opposed to a businessman who has experience from the real world.