Friday, October 23, 2020
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Ryan’s free market ideas for energy technology leave alternative sources by...

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Paul Ryan's claim to fame inside the beltway has been his knack for budgetary knowledge and the mainstream media's love affair with Ryan's "bold" budget ideas. But what has been cast as bold spells bad news for a host of government programs that play important roles in our society, the least of which has been science and energy technology itself.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Paul Ryan is an advocate of LARGER military spending, not less.  What might come as even less surprising is Ryan's reluctance to invest in nonmilitary applied research, specifically in energy technology. Ryan claims that the private sector is the best option for selecting "winners and losers" (the contradiction between advocating government funded military spending, including military research, and riding the free market horse for science related nonmilitary endeavors is so blatant that it's a wonder Ryan's head doesn't 'explode).

According to Paul Ryan's website, the U.S. "must continue to develop new sources of energy that are reliable, renewable, affordable, and environmentally safe."  Agreed, but Ryan also believes that market forces will provide the most effective returns, not taxpayer dollars used by the government (notwithstanding Ryan's funding of some "high risk" government funding projects like ARPA-E).

Paul Ryan’s green energy budget is a free market delusion

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If only all Americans lived in the optimistic, free-enterprising world of Paul Ryan, America would be awash with new energy innovations and capital that falls from the skies like a never-ending spring, right? While I confess a soft-spot for Ryan's Mid-West "go get-um" attitude, Ryan's policy prescriptions are based upon ideal free market conditions that have never, and probably will never, take place in America or anywhere in the world.

In a recent Politico piece on Paul Ryan's congressional attempts to undermine President Obama's green energy investments, the Republican from Wisconsin's resolution reads in part, "Ultimately, the best energy policy is one that encourages robust competition and innovation to ensure the American people an affordable and stable supply of energy."  For starters, what in the world does "robust competition" mean?

The fact of the matter is, if the market were left alone to provide America's energy supply for the foreseeable future, it's reasonable to assume that America's energy providers would decimate America's air and environments with a predominate reliance upon natural gas, coal, and oil, given their "incumbent" status.  

The Real Problem: Powering the Planet

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Here is one of the most compelling explanations I have ever seen of the real crisis, the existential crisis, humanity is facing today: how to provide the power we are going to need in just 30 years if we want to  continue living in a civilized world (all of us). "The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone," says the speaker--- but how about the age of energy, energy to power our machines? This presents climate change from a very different perspective. Even before 2050, when world population will be pushing 10-11 billion, where is the energy going to come from to produce the food, the goods, the services that many people will need?

The Real Deal Meets the Mealy Dealer

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Terry McAuliffe is in perpetual motion. On a recent Saturday he swept the breadth of Virginia making four stops talking jobs, energy, and big ideas in general. If you could harness him, there'd be no energy crisis. He may never be Governor, but he's going to leave a mark.

You may or may not know, I actually ran for governor last year. I ran on a campaign of big ideas. I talked about what we should be doing: renewable energy standards, high speed rail, called to shut down every payday lending store...I am the only candidate in the history of the State of Virginia to refuse a check from Dominion Power...so I ran on big ideas and I said "if you don't like them, don't vote for me." And they didn't. - Terry McAuliffe

McAuliffe reminds his audiences that since his run for governor, among many issues, he has continued to talk about green projects; he gets laughs when he makes fun of his own affinity for chicken waste. He asks his audiences to consider why Virginia will not adopt a renewable standard and points out that Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland each recently announced thousands of jobs created in that growing sector. It is, he points out, not only a national security issue, these are also jobs of the future. If we are not creating the businesses of the future in Virginia, he concludes, there will be no reason for our children to stay here.