Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MIA: Obama

Check out Krugman's recent article in the NY Times on Obama. He'd better outline some real strategy soon, because this "no vision" thing is setting himself up to be voted out. The spark of his election is rapidly dying out. There's no use saving it up- now is the time!

Also, check out this recent radio program, On Point. Several callers nailed down the problems with our current government.

We need direction and leadership. How about proposing a national energy policy based on renewables, with a real commitment to get off fossil fuels. Renewable energy is looking cheaper all of the time, considering the unknown long term losses that the Chernobyl and Fukishima nuclear accidents will impose. Consider that the human element is enough of a problem, let alone the unpredictability of nature, and the 20,000+ year dangerous halflife of waste products. As currently built, nuclear is expensive. But I wonder, have our own major faults been adequately considered in our nuclear plant designs? The New Madrid fault is the elephant in the room. I hope it's not another case of an initial lowball estimate- the same kind of thing that allowed a 5.2m seawall, when a characteristic tsunami required a 10m. But, a 10m wall would have been cost prohibitive, and probably have put brakes on the entire project. Try out these slightly different lyrics played to the same tune,

That fault hasn't produced any major activity since 1812. And that was a fluke.

Crosses fingers...

Update: 2011-04-14
Obama gave an important speech on the topic yesterday at George Washington University.
Listen to it here:
1. Joe Biden is here. Tim Geithner is in the house...
4. "vision" is the keyword...

This speech is just too little, too late. 20/20 hindsight looks like he should have made redefining the tax code/rates his highest priority as president, certainly higher than health care reform. Now, he's a lot weaker because he seems to have already bought into the Republican agenda by agreeing to extend Bush-era tax cuts, even if only temporarily. The loss of the House enforces a stalemate. Now, nothing is going to change. The Republicans are going to circle wagons, and wait until 2012 and see if they can win the presidency. Obama's tone hinted that he knew it, too. That said, Obama's speech had a lot of good ideas, and I agree with all of his tax reform points. It's too bad that he glossed over energy. He really should have used this speech as an opportunity to state a Kennedy-like goal for national energy independence through renewables. He made no mention of the Japanese disaster, and the pall it casts over nuclear power.

If the speech was a cornerstone on taxes, then it was short on numbers, because even stating a tax rate for the rich is too controversial. To sell tax reform, hard numbers will be required. A proposal needs to offer simplification in exchange for an overall lower tax rate. The lower tax rate is possible because everyone has to pay! No loopholes, like I said, in an earlier post! I would like a flat tax with very limited deductions. The only deductions that I think should be allowed is a deduction for state taxes paid, and pretty much nothing else.

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