Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Energy Is a Problem of Consumption, Not Production

There is no such thing as clean energy. First, there are always costs to energy production, even among the so-called green sources. Hydro power destroys estuaries. Solar power robs the land of heat and sunlight. Wind energy kills birds.

And generally, the use of energy itself is a problem. Generating electricity adds heat to the Earth's system, or at the very best, moves heat from one place to another. Taken on a large scale, this alters climate patterns.

Instead of looking for cleaner sources of energy, we should be looking for ways to use far, far less energy. Converting to alternate energies costs a lot in terms of both money and resources (which then has other environmental impacts). Conserving energy can cause an immediate reduction in emissions without any investment of money or resources.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Healthcare Issue Is about Choosing Who Dies When

Modern medical technology has advanced to the point where the United States cannot pay for all the healthcare we can give. Considering the millions of dollars it can take to keep one person alive, how can we expect to offer total healthcare to every citizen?

This means that at some point we have to decide when it is not cost effective to keep someone alive. No politician wants to admit this, so we keep pretending that it's not the central issue. But it is, and until we admit it, we will not be able to solve the "healthcare problem."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Are Unions Different from Welfare?

Labor unions have been a great boon to workers. There is no denying that in the 20th century, workers were at a tremendous disadvantage and needed something like unions to achieve some basic rights in the workplace.

But unions didn't stop at leveling the playing field; they just kept demanding more and more, and they have managed to tip the balance strongly in their favor.

Now we have the United Auto Workers (UAW) demanding that, for example, the U.S. federal government bail out the American auto manufacturers so that union jobs can be protected. The auto manufacturers hardly seem to even want the bailout: they would rather go into bankruptcy protection so they can get out of the crippling union contracts.

I'm not saying that the car manufacturers are wonderful, or that they aren't at least partially responsible for getting into this mess in the first place. But why should the government pay to protect jobs that the industry doesn't want? Isn't that just welfare?

Wouldn't it be cheaper for the American taxpayer to just give welfare checks to the UAW workers instead?