I can not help but find myself getting very frustrated at the stupidity of this country racking up insane trade-deficits with China and OPEC (nations). This latest report shows "The trade gap with China grew to $23.3 billion from $20.7 billion as imports rose and U.S. exports declined. The U.S. shortfall with OPEC nations widened to $9.9 billion as imports increased to the highest level since October 2008." Well, when it comes to the sound-bite media, we always keep hearing about CHINA and trade deficits, well... what about OIL?
OK, can we please take note of how huge the OIL side of this equation is? OPEC is like their own mega-country that is sucking a full 1/3 of the total China/Oil trade-deficit total. This is an incredible sum going to fueling and heating our country. We really need to do something to ween ourselves off this externally-sourced energy supply and stop the hemorrhaging before it gets worse. And, it WILL get worse. We never learn! Do you remember the 2008 election promises to finally, this time, break our dependence on oil (as our dependence was killing us with $4/gallon++ gasoline back then)... and, here we are, after all those "this time will be different" (which I laughed at back then KNOWING it would not change)... it is still the same! We are collectively moronic in our behavior.
Why did this become a politicized battle between the "right" and "left" in the USA? This is a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE... our security is so at risk (over externally supplied energy) that is should scare the heck out of us, but it sure seems to not matter enough to address it. If I were the President right now, I would address two issues at once: the budget, and this energy issue (and jobs too). The "untouchable" military budget needs to be partially-redirected toward National Security in the form of building out an internally-sourced-energy infrastructure that will make us more secure. If it is the only way to allocate funds to such a massive effort, so be it! Who else has 1/2-Trillion/year budgets to tap into?
We need to work on updating our power grid and DE-CENTRALIZING our power-generation. I do NOT mean "clean coal" (which is bull@#$!) or other net-carbon-intensive energy production, but rather a distributed series of solar, wind, biofuels (non-food-competing) and the like, all tied into a smart-grid and using superconducting-wire to save the 50% efficiency loss we suffer currently on the grid.
I keep seeing all sorts of advertisements from OIL companies saying how they are working on biofuels, solar, geothermal, etc. And, who better to work on these things? They have the distribution abilities for the liquid-fuels and gases - like those that would result if we use solar/wind to create hydrogen for widespread use, or methane captured from bio-production, or bio-diesel, etc. They have the drilling expertise to do large-scale geothermal wells to tap massive heat-stores deep underground. They even have the wind/solar (companies like BP have pretty good sized solar-production and wind-farm investments already). They have the rig-builders for erecting massive off-shore windfarm platforms. What they perhaps need is a darn-good incentive to really make the move to these things: give it to them! We are draining $120BB/year out of the USA just for oil! Funnel that into alternatives and the incentivising of alternatives (i.e., massive tax-breaks and credits).
Wake up people... if we refuse to tackle the massive China trade-deficit issue, let's at least target the oil issue. And, perhaps some more GREEN jobs would be available to help the unemployment picture at the same time!?? This country is otherwise to remain totally messed up! $10 BILLION PER MONTH is going out (on oil), and not coming back. $120BB/year!
Do you realize how much eco-friendly-power-generation capacity, and how many JOBS related to that, we could be had for $120 billion per year? WOW! With solar arrays approaching $1/Watt (heck, lets call it $2/watt for high-estimate)... we could purchase, in ONE YEAR, 60 GIGAWATTS worth of solar capacity just with what we would have spent on oil!! Holy cow! And, wind is cheaper than solar, generally! Realistically we can not realize that level of watts/dollar, as the issue of supporting infrastructure requirements come into play, but we can sure implement a LOT of capacity. And, this is capacity that keeps paying us back year-after-year (have you heard the term "renewable"?!)
Let us put our drilling-crews to work boring some mega-geothermal projects; let's get those rig-builders building off-shore platforms for large-scale wind-turbines (these oil guys are VERY experienced at building large platforms in water of all depths!), let's get some of our unemployed people back to work by connecting an up-to-date power-infrastructure, building and erecting solar/wind systems, and implementing biofuels facilities. Now!
Are we otherwise trying to prove that we are a culture that has lost all sense of reality and reason, and show that we can live in denial forever? From what I constantly see in action, I would swear this to be the case. Collectively we stand by and watch our standard of living erode as we all whine about it, but yet we also continually vote for politicians that will not stand up and do anything substantial to change our ways. I am an American, and I want to live in an America that wants to show it has the vision and drive to right itself and do so in a manner worthy of world recognition. We have the talent. Let's put that talent to work freeing ourselves of this foreign-energy addiction and constant money-suck that is jeopardizing our way of life.