You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘India’ category.

The economy is a behemoth. How and in which way will you define such a broad term as the economy?
What tools will you use to determine if it is moving up or down. Stock markets are often used as a peg . But if only the wealthy participate, it is a poor device for measuring the well being of those who’s budgets are too stretched to participate. Poverty levels are also an indicator that measures how our lower class is doing, but does nothing for measuring the amounts needed to invest in growing businesses.

Whatever measure we choose, needs to be standardized, allowing both the growth of capital and the well being of Americans. An example of policy gone wrong is this. If you cut taxes and that cut leads to increased medical costs, energy costs, and raises the cost of insurance, so that citizens are paying out of pocket much more than they were before, that policy is not as helpful as it may seem at first glance.

There needs to be a way of measuring the well being of Americans. Setting a standard as having a place to live, two cars, taxes, insurance, enough to cover both energy costs and communication costs, would be a good indicator for someone in my age bracket. To someone older, adding medical costs might be considered. The income left following the deduction of these expenses, would measure the well being of America. A certain number of people would have incomes above this line, and others would find themselves below this line. This measure would go up and down as the economy rose and fell, and this measure would be an appropriate indicator. If energy prices spike, elected officials need to react. But if energy goes up, and say insurance rates go down, it would not have to move so readily.

Effective politics would achieve growth along this line. As more citizens increased their disposable incomes after necessary expenses were met, that would be a positive indicator reflecting a growing economy.

It would drive home the argument that all of us are threads in a tapestry. Each of has a responsibility to ourselves and immediate family, but our actions also have repercussions far removed from us locally due to the increasing complexity of today’s world.

This opens the door to a new way of looking at old problems. If paying more insurance, is offset by a matching reduction in taxes, then no one is worse off. And if paying more in taxes result in paying even less in energy costs , no one is worse off.

Fortunately due to the massive scale of the United States, the economies of scale have merit here. Just as Wal*Mart buys items at a lower cost than those mom and pop stores it puts out of business, the government can use economies of scale to do the same. It is far less costly to pay one contractor to build ten miles of road, than pay ten contractors to build one mile each. Thus if used properly, taxes can be a good thing. Like a growing government contract, they can pool resources and bring prices down by sheer numbers.

Especially in the medical field is this appropriate. If one pays less in taxes, and thus pays far more for prescriptions, he may be happy for a moment until he considers the reverse option, of investing in his taxes to drive down prescriptions and make them far less expensive. Whether this is a success or failure, is decided by whether that citizen’s finances are better off.

The cumulative effort of all individuals, determines whether this nation should keep or scrap a policy.. Ideology of grand sweeping ideas, of say “Big government versus. Small government:” should have little to do with policy. Does it work or not work; that is the question for which a majority of Americans need the answers.

Across this generation saving levels have dropped. Americans seem to be more secure in their future and would rather spend on “now” than save for tomorrow where truthfully, that money will probably go to someone else: a hospital, nursing home, etc, etc…..The brilliance of the Clinton economy was that costs were held low for what ever reason across the board, thereby freeing up excess money for more goods and services.

Donvitti brings up some interesting news. The rich are getting richer.

Whoopi, what’s wrong with that?

Nothing, if it happens as it did during the 1990’s. when each layer of income experiences some growth. However a potential problem occurs whenever an upper bracket increases its own prosperity at direct cost to everyone else.

This is dangerous. Throughout most of the economic cycle, whenever a large percentage of wealth remains locked into goods and services, the economy remains more resilient to little fluctuations.

But as more and more of a higher percentage of any nation’s GNP is invested in speculative markets, throughout history, a crash has occurred immediately after.

In plain talk, if your business reinvests some income in itself, it is better able to weather the little hills and valleys covering the economic landscape. But if that business, rapes its assets, to utilize them on speculation, and an economic pitfall unexpectedly materializes, then ALL is lost in an instant.

That happened to this country in 1929.

Every water heater or boiler is built with a safety valve. That was because houses in the old days used to explode. For our sake, before it is too late, a safety valve needs to be reinstalled on our economy.

A start would be the expiration of tax cuts. That is a quick, if not unsavory, method of returning to fiscal sanity. Being conducted in open forums with spirited debate, may just stave off a financial meltdown that data shows us may lurk right around the corner.

The last chance for the public to listen and debate the upcoming new energy proposals, will be on this Tuesday at 7 pm in the House Chambers of Legislative Hall, Wednesday at 7 pm at the Jack F Owens theater on the campus of Delaware Tech in Georgetown, and Thursday at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Carvel State Building in Wilmington. The purpose of these meetings is to allow members of the public to ask questions and make comments regarding the energy proposals now before the Public Service Commission.

 

We will be told that out of the three new proposals, the gas fired plant was deemed to be the best solution, but that perhaps the current plan we have now, titled the “do nothing” plan is probably the best one for the future of Delaware. This current plan allows Delmarva to purchase power at market price, add its surcharge, and sell it to us. For Delmarva Power, this status quo is ideal for it requires no costly investment on their part and guarantees substantial future earnings. Expect them to propose basing future cost increases on the price of coal instead of natural gas and show us how stable coal prices have been over long periods of time……

 

There is a tendency by mankind to base decisions on his past experiences. However, the best decisions ever made by man, are those based on a careful reading of the future.

Fossil fuels are depleting. Wind, due to global warming, has actually increased due to a greater disparity between hot and cold temperatures.

As a fuel becomes more scarce, demand shoots up that fuel’s price.

Natural gas production in this country has peaked. It will cost more and more to pump scarcer resources to the surface. Historically gas has increased 300 percent since the Clinton administration passed the torch to Bush.

How high will it continue to rise? Across the world oil and natural gas fields are depleting. The North Sea, will be empty in less than twenty years. Twenty years? I still hear songs played from 87, and it seems like yesterday. Twenty years is a relatively short time.

If we are to invest in something costing 1.5 billion, doesn’t it make since to invest in something we will get more than a few years out or? Of course it does…………………

Coal, that’s cheap we are told. That “dirty” fuel we have supplies left for 250 years. But that fact is misleading. Demand for coal is rising. China is bringing a new coal fired power plant on line EVERY WEEK. Each coal fired plant burns one two mile train load of coal every twenty four hours.

India, also is bringing on line a new power plant at a much slower rate, one per month. So remembering how demand from new emerging nations wreaked havoc with our gasoline prices just last summer, how can one expect coal to remain at a flat price?

And keep in mind, that 250 year supply of coal is misleading. That figure is based on pure wild card speculation which itself is based on estimates of future demand. Looking back,  an interesting pattern occurs. In 1988, as we were listening to INXS, we had 300 years of coal left. In 1904, we had 1000 years of coal left. In 1868 we had 10,000 years of coal left……
And some of that coal lies under cities, towns, parks, scenic areas; at what cost will we go to extract those last few seams?

Carbon emissions are the driving force behind most green renewable energy initiatives. But, if one disregards the entire controversy surrounding global warming and chooses a energy plan, just based solely on economic factors outlined by Adam Smith over two hundred years ago, Blue Water’s wind farm will save Delawareans tons of money over the life of the proposal……….tons…………

And, as a sidebar, if your children’s or your own health means anything to you, for eleven dollars at today’s prices, with wind you can eliminate breathing that very carcinogen that perhaps someday will kill either them or you.

 

Please show at one of these meetings. Only massive public support for the cheaper alternative can sway the argument away from pricey fossil fuels, towards the new energy alternative of the future.

Delaware is poised to make a difference, one that could start a chain of events that may have profound effect on our future. Next week will be too late to pine for what could have been…………..

On the back of the Delaware state quarter lies the image of Ceasar Rodney, a man who is credited with a marathon mad dash to make a certain meeting on time.  That meeting would have grave consequences for the future of our nation. We, in the next three days, shall have a much easier time of it, but the consequences may wind up to be far more important globally than Ceasar Rodney’s ride.

 

10. FSP did not mention Romney for 3 days. Something is wrong.

9. Preliminary reports show wind power to be the second choice to gas fired plant. Risky choice.

8. If generals resign, we will not go into Iran. War is over. Military stocks fall.

7. Wayne Smith retires. Now it will be much more difficult for corporations to screw average citizens.

6. All of the Libby jury showed up wearing red.

5. Al Gore won an Oscar making “Global Warming” an official policy of the United States of America.

4. Someone actually totaled up Bush’s deficit and figured out how much we were in the hole.

3. Obama’s strong showing puts doubts that insiders Hillary or McCain will win.

2. Mysterious Men in Black showed up at Kilroy’s, driving a MIni Cooper and then forgot to “neuralize” him when they left.

1. They lied to us about 9/11. They lied to us about WMD’s. They lied to us about Valerie Plame. Who would ever expect that as we approached an election that they would lie about the fourth quarter’s economic data?

Ok, I’ll concede that there are problems with wind energy. But I won’t concede throwing that option out. Why, because not only did I look into what was not being said about wind, but I also looked into what that which was not being discussed by natural gas or coal….

And my conclusion was that even with the problems aforementioned with the wind scheme, those other two options, both gas and coal, have far more serious economic flaws built into their proposals, and that without public discussion, and the usual shell games performed by our lobbiests, certain members of our legislature just might be bamboozled into unknowingly escalating our electric rates another 60%, just as they did with deregulation.

As I write this, the consultants who gave a preliminary look over all the data, are confirming to the News Journal that the gas fired plant is first, the Blue Water initiative is second, and the coal gasification plant is third. And, although it is not considered an option, Delmarva is positioning itself as a proponent for a fourth option: to leave our system as it is.

Anyone who loves this earth as I do and considers stewardship of this planet as their personal responsibility, has already made their choice. But I am not writing this for you.

Instead I want to focus on the economics of energy consumption and bring up new theories of which you may not be aware. These will have serious consequences if overlooked. They must be considered.

Gas fired leads the pack, or so we were told. There are some benefits. Gas plants are the easiest and the cheapest to build and bring on line. Depending on the data given, they were the most economical way to produce electricity, roughly between 4 and 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Comparatively, wind energy in a perfect atmosphere, can get as low as 2.3 cents a kilowatt hour, but if you factor the cost of standby idling power plants for lulls, the price can climb to over 7 cents a kilowatt hour. Coal, runs between 5 and 6 cents a kilowatt hour.

That’s it. Gas. Let’s go with it.

Before we sign the dotted line, there is something we should know. Gas has almost tripled its cost in six years. It costs three times more to get a kilowatt-hour from gas now than it did during the Clinton presidency. Domestic natural gas extraction has peaked and is on the down side. Only the development of eco sensitive off shore areas in Florida, will provide any hope of increasing local supply. Among industry professionals, all future hope for maintaining supply lies in bringing LNG ships in from the Middle East. Some estimates predict that we only have 20 years of natural gas supplies left. Only Saudi Arabia will have natural gas after that time. And we all know what depending on Saudi oil did for gasoline prices……..

Throughout the nineties, natural gas was touted as the clean cheap fuel. The price never rose above 3 dollars per MMbtus.
Between 2000 and 2004 we had three spikes where it rose over 9 dollars. Currently the speculation is hedging on 6 to 7 dollars a MMbtu. This points to the flaw of gas as a fuel for Delaware. Although it is cheap to build and bring on line, it is at the mercy of the wildly fluctuating price of natural gas. And do not fail to remember New England in 2003, when all natural gas was routed to heat homes and business and none was left to fire up power plants, on which most of New England’s power is derived, because they were built in the nineties when natural gas was cheap..

Generating power from natural gas, is still a viable option economically, if it is done next to a well. This would be a good option in Alberta, or southwestern Iraq, where the waste product from drilling could be turned into electricity at the source. Likewise, depending how much natural gas is spun off from the cracking of crude oil, refineries, instead of wasting the waste gas in a flair, could use it to generate power, as is done in Delaware City, right next to the Valero refinery.

The problem with gas is it’s supply. Not so with coal……Totally missed by the news media, was an incident on June 8th. George Bush, speaking to builders and engineers, said “and what about coal. We have 250 million years of supply left.” I don’t know which was more troubling. The fact that normal Americans do not comprehend how just how little energy we have, or the the nations chief executive is also unaware”…. He meant to say 250 years. That seems like a long time, but is it? As we run out of gas and oil, we most likely will gasify our coal deposits, turning it into a diesel fuel and gas to heat homes. Meanwhile China is bringing a brand new power plant on line every week, and India is doing the same, but not as fast, can we assume our current usage of coal will stay flat. Most energy experts say no, and say that if you look back to 1840 we had 11,000 years of coal, and in 1937 we had 4407 years of coal left. And some of those reserves lie under National parks and residential areas. Will we be so desperate as to mine them too. We may run out much sooner.

So when one looks back to the past, and sees what happens to both availability and price as energy becomes scarce, one realizes that there is NO WAY oil and gas will not rise. Therefore any action we base on data from the 1990’s will lead us down the same path as did deregulation of Delmarva: somewhere down the road we will have to pay another 60% increase.

Against this future scenario, wind looks good. When we choose wind power, all we pay for is the initial investment and repairs. With insurance, the utilities future repairs can be reduced to a fixed cost. The wind is free. If the wind blows, we receive some of the most efficient energy available on this planet. If it doesn’t, we are buying the same oil and gas generated power we would have had anyway. The difference, is that every time the wind blows, our average kilowatt rates go down. Even if it is not perfect, it sure beats sending excess money up the smokestack in the form of hot air…..

So when someone tells you that wind power is not so wonderful after all, and gives you a litany of reasons, tell him you agree and then tell that person that with all things considered, all the other alternatives are worse……………..

As the helicoptor lifted off the roof of the American embassy for the last time, crowds of people surrounding the embassy gates, realized for the first time, that their lives were over.

This cannot happen a second time. We must do all we can to alleviate the suffering we have bestowed upon the Iraqi people. We have time: time to refocus our efforts.

This requires a change in direction. As of today, I am certain we will pull out of Iraq. The question is not when, it is how.

On this I share my thoughts. Once we leave how do we control civil war. After deep thought, the answer is to let each faction police themselves. Obviously if you are a Sunni you will not murder your Sunni neighbors. And if you are a Shiite, you will not murder your fellow Shiite’s. And if you are a Kurd, you are already cool.

Bagdad, from what I understand has neighborhoods of different religions side by side. Control and personal discipline must be maintained. This would remain an occupied city, but not by the US. This offer should be extended to India, China, who want to be players on the world stage, and need to understand that with power comes responsibility. The UN may not even need to be involved. This is an Asian problem, requiring an Asian solution. It could be a great chance to redo NATO under Asian auspices.

Renounce the oil. If we had a capable leader, he should stand behind the green marble podium of the UN and declare, “For the sake of clarity and to abolish any pretense of duplicity, the US nor it’s oil company, Moble-Exxon, will be allowed to explore, exploit, refine, export, any oil from the indiginous territory of Iraq. Only a nation neutral in the conflict will be allowed to take ownership and work directly with the Iraqi government to return the wealth buried beneath Iraq’s sand to its people for the first time in it’s history. Both China and India can afford to station a soldier along every mile of pipeline, if needed to foil sabateurs.

And if we had a strong leader who had the wisdom to see the large picture, we could turn to the US citizens to help. In an Oval Office address we should ask Americans the following: “There are 300 million Americans. There are 20 million Iraqis. Surely this nation can find in its heart to adopt a family. They have seen our might. Now let them see our forgiveness and compassion. I am asking every American to adopt a family in Iraq and send them love and support as well as necessities needed by the population. This will require sacrifice on everyone, I’ m sure, but we need to rebuild their lives as quick as possible. That is our tradition. That is what makes us great. I ask Congress to appropriate the monies necessary for the largest airlift in history, I ask that those who have served so able, stay on for project “Help thy Neighbor.”

Penitence is the quickest way to forgiveness. The security behind this effort is obvious. We do have a Moslem threat, mostly due to our own creation since 2003, and steps need to be taken to mitigate future attacks. The strong military option must be forever present, but in reserve. Or main strength is our country’s unselfishness and willingness to spread a little wealth to other nations. Every nation would rather have us as a friend than an enemy.

In final conclusion, considering the watered down report made public today, Go big, Go long, Go home, it will be up to the Democrats to take the lead and move forward. Republicans have always been ineffective on foreign policy. Every disaster has had their fingers in the dough. Democrats on the other hand, if they lack the expertise, search it out and usually muddle through with flying colors. Even Karl Rove was praising Harry Truman last week. Who would have thought an unknown senator from Missouri would have the vision to invest the tremendous amount of capital needed to rebuild both Japan and Germany and Europe after the war?

But as Europe grew stronger, and communism stretched to keep up, our stature in the world grew. Until we squandered it in a steamy jungle in Southeast Asia.