Lets do it all - everything. This is the politicians' new mantra to calm voters' gas pump anger.
Finally, our politicians realize how to get things done. Just do everything. So, lets get moving using this new principle.
Lets set up NASA right away to go again to the Moon, and to Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. Scientists have been waiting for decades to accomplish these important missions. Now we can do them all.
Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Russians in Georgia? Our military can handle it all.
Potholes? Bridge collapses? Amtrak and airlines in crisis? The DOT can fix it all. By the way, since we can do it all, what was wrong with that $300 Million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska? I hear those 50 islanders could really use that new bridge so they don't have to wait for the ferry.
This all seems ridiculous, so why do we let our politicians get away with saying "do it all" when we ask for energy solutions? Is it because we ignored this problem for 30 years and now no one really knows what is the best thing to do?
Energy solutions are technological, but finding the best way to proceed isn't rocket science. Congress will have to do the same thing it did with the rocket scientists - develop cost effective principles and a budget.
On a budget you don't do it all - you do what works best.
We start with "low hanging fruit" - inexpensive ways to save energy and improve our lifestyle, such as compact flourescents and more efficient appliances. Other low hanging fruit may include insuring lands already leased for energy are actually used, under "use it or lose it" policies.
Next, Congress should work with those putting up their own money - entrepreneurs like T. Boone Pickens funding giant wind and solar farms, investors pouring billions in venture capital into alternative energy companies, and homeowners putting solar panels on their roofs.
Instead of asking for government funds, they ask simply not to be taxed heavily. Financed with private funds, their projects use no-bureaucracy tax credits to cut costs.
Other private-public partnerships may include agreements with key American industries such as the auto industry to re-tool to produce plug-in hybrids, and the airline industry to find more efficient aircraft designs and new bio-fuels. These types of cost-effective policies can accomplish huge strides toward energy independence.
So why is there a well-funded effort promoting that we "do it all" for energy?
If we commit to Do it All, we don't get to ask whether some ideas are better or more cost effective than other ideas. In other words, Do it All is the new code to justify earmarks for special lobbies.
One such well-funded lobby is the nuclear industry, whose power plants are now so expensive it cannot find private funding for a single new plant. The nuclear industry wants virtually all Federal energy funding for itself, to fund hundreds of billions in Federally guaranteed loans and waste cleanups.
Another industry pushing the "do-it-all" mantra is oil shale, whose huge requirements for water could severely limit economic growth in dry Western states where it is proposed. These industries clearly have problems - but "do it all" sweeps them under the rug.
If we buy the Do It All message, we should simply tell Congress to give these special lobbies anything they want.
Oh, and we should really re-consider building that bridge in Alaska.
This article was originally posted on August 14, 2008 at DenverPost.com here.