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Anybody interested in a real economic recovery?

Original post made by Greg, Southgate, on Aug 19, 2010

The economy is NOT improving. It is getting worse. This is not your older borther's recession. The new normal is reality, although it is a man-made event, and it is completely unnecessary.

We need to exploit our resources, especially our domestic nuclear energy and natural gas and oil. Nuclear is there for the taking, a real low-hanging fruit. There are many, many good paying jobs in the nuclear industry.

And yet we dither, perhaps hoping (beyond hope) that the economy will suddenly rise, like a phoenix from its ashes. It is beyond ashes, it is slag, and no wings will grow.

It is inexplicable to me why we have decided to become masochists to the irrational environmentalists.

It is way past time to act, and use the econonomic engines that we still have available to us. The biggest bang for the buck is nuclear and natural gas and coal. Nukes don't produce CO2, so take your pick. Note: I was not paid by Boone Pickens to say this, it is just a simple reality.

Comments (22)

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I support nuclear, but when you look at the track record of ANY OF OUR PRIVATE INDUSTRIES I am not sure I would trust any of them to manage and run nuclear reactors.

This is probably a socialist Idea, but I think if we want nuclear we need to decide we want it, and we need to have strict absolute control over it, at least for the first 20-30 years. That is, we should have a NATIONAL ENERGY UPGRADE proect headed by NASA with the main goal of safety and security.

Since we have about 70 nuclear reactors in place now and they generate about 20% of our electricity, 350 nuclear reactors would replace that. If we wanted to convert all or most gasoline I think about 700 total reactors would power the whole country. This total reactor number would probably shrink over time because ...

Since we waste most of our energy, and as coal, gas and oil phase out and we get smarter, more efficient products, light bulbs, etc, AND as solar, wind and we get some kind of energy storage system online that 700 number would probably drop down to less depending on how much wind and solar could increase. What a great incentive to the wind and solar people to know that every watt they bring online of solar and wind will reduce the footprint of their dreaded nuclear.

We could sell energy at the market rates and use the profits as tax revenue to pay down the debt.

When the system becomes stable in 20 years we sell it to private enterprise slowly ... if they prove they can manage it.

By the way, there is nothing mentally or emotionally wrong with environmentalists ... one look at the gulf coast, not to mention Alaska, not to mention the Missisippi river, etc. proves that.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

the main thing that would help an economic recovery in my opinion is to break corporate monopolies on markets and political power and introduce some predictability and order into our economy.

we need transparency in everything so everyone knows just how much bad debt there is out there, and what we are going to do about it - and then we can behave rationally. Right now, only small private, mostly corporate pieces of the economy are being buttressed ... the very pieces that caused all of this, and the weight of paying for it it more regressively on the people - and all while everyday prices are going up. we need to commit to that we are not going to make money in this country by ignoring or disenfranchising our people, but developing them.

put some justice, fairness, and good information into the public sphere and people will know what to do. having a high percentage of people with home loans that are underwater could go on for decades or uncertainty and lower expectations.

right now, no one knows how bad this is going to get. there is all kinds of debt hanging over everyone;'s heads ... who wants to buy a house or invest in a business of jobs when there is no idea whether the right thing, or anything is going to get done and all their work

We are putting way too much time, money, and effort into propping up what got us here rather than fixing anything.

a good infrastructure is the solution, and that needs to be built by the government. internet, roads, health care, education ... all the foundations of a future, where if we do not get off our corporate infatuation we are going to be has-beens in a world where other corporations and governments that are not so doctrinaire and arrogant will economically speed by us.


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Anon...

Private nuclear industry in America has caused fewer deaths than those killed in Sen. Kennedy's car. Socialist Soviet Union, on the other hand, had a major incident at Chernobyl. However, I am happy to see that you are pro-nuclear.

Nuclear power provides baseload electrical power, as opposed to wind and solar, and that is why neither of the latter will supplant nuclear (or coal or natural gas).


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Greg, as you may know in political questions it is perception and not facts that counts. And facts by the way can be very tricky ... there is a reason we evolved the brain we did, and not a calculator atop our brainstems. Wind and solar might be more effective if we had ways to store that power and release it to smooth out load. This is already being attempted in my understanding ... funnily enough, with lithium batteries. Funny, with that effort the cost of lithium batteries might drop to where it is actually affordable.

Surprised you or no one else did not call me a commie pinko socialist for suggesting that initial nuke plants should be government run. In an initial ramp-up of nuclear power to large scale I think we need the benefits a government effort can provide, not the cheapest lowest bidder concept.

Also don't appreciate the cheap reference to Ted Kennedy's car. Why do you right wingers insist on being totally disrespectful and provocative when there is no need for it?


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Economic growth has returned, as has job growth. However, as with most/all past recessions, unemployment remains high -- anyone recall the phrase "jobless growth" from the past? We can either be patient, or, we could all take a 10% cut in pay and benefits and put everyone else back to work ;-)


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Improve the economy. 3 simple actions:

1) Tax those who outsource manufacturing to the point that is no longer viable to outsource.

2) Jail those who outsource domestically by hiring illegal aliens.

3) Currently 70% of the US population receives more in tax benefits than they pay in taxes. Reverse this so that only the truly needy, the bottom 30% get more than what they pay for.

Admittedly, the costs of manufactured goods and services will increase, but the wealth spent on those will be kept in America. Those costs will also be mitigated somewhat by a decrease in taxation.




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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Anon,

Nuclear power is long established in this country, and it has more than enough government oversight. In fact, it is a private/public enterprise. I think we can both agree that it has huge potential to help to solve several major issues, including many well paid jobs, energy independence, national security and climate change.

There are a number of ideas about storing wind/solar enrgy, but they are always ten years down the line. Just like electic cars....

I threw in the Kennedy chesnut, because I think you are being way too concerned about safety issues. Three-Mile-Island was a safety success, not a failure. People living next to that plant have great jobs, and they did not move away.

The bottom line is that nukes are the future, and we are all better off getting there sooner, rather than later.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Greg, if you want to get there sooner, then drop your inflammatory rhetoric, if you think I'm being too concerned over safety .. which I think is laughable, say so, don't insult Ted Kennedy's memory. That kind of judgement says a lot about you and your ideas.

The nuclear industry, and the whole energy industry has been completely arrogant and is much hated and distrusted. That does not disappear just because you think it is unwarranted. What makes things move forward is gaining trust and acceptance from the public, not insults of empty words.

At this point, NASA should do the job enough to get the ball rolling. No one is going to trust the energy industry or believe that can self-regulate at this point.

You are living in some other universe if you think so.


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Anon, NASA produced the space shuttle. I don't think we need them to handle safety for nukes. The safety record for nukes in this country is excellent.

We can continues to exist in an economic quagmire, or we can decide to pull ourselves out of it. Nukes are an excellent, and readily available partial solution. I am not trying to convince you, because it is so obvious. Your defensiveness on the issue suggests to me that you want an emotional reason to support nukes. Emotion will not pull us out of our quagmire. It is time for hard facts...in fact, long past time.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2010 at 6:30 am

Greg writes:

"The economy is NOT improving. It is getting worse. This is not your older borther's recession. The new normal is reality, although it is a man-made event, and it is completely unnecessary."

The problem is, that the economy *is* getting better. There is a nice graph here, but you can find the same information on Conservative investment sites:

Web Link

The problem is the same as with all recessions: profits and growth are up, but, unemployment is improving slowly. Employment always lags.


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Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

"Private nuclear industry in America has caused fewer deaths than those killed in Sen. Kennedy's car. Socialist Soviet Union, on the other hand, had a major incident at Chernobyl."

Even though I read this forum regularly, I am always astounded by the doggedly profound depth of techno-scientific ignorance in this rapidly waning world technological leader country. For example, has the author of the above statement reviewed the medical/death records of people who lived downwind from TMI, or any other reactor installation, or US uranium miners? Also, the disdaster at Chernobyl had nothing to do with socialism. Like TMI, it was operator error. The RBMK reactor is a proven very-high-power design whose well known instabilities are controllable except by operators behaving extremely stupidly, which is what happened. It's the uranium ash that gets you, but it's the human element that kills you. Operator error has happened more than twice, and it will happen again. Is the benefit worth the potential cost?

The next time you watch a shift change at a nuke station, remember that those guys have occasional sleepless nights and family issues just like yours. The next time you goof on your job, ask yourself what would have happened if you had been driving a nuclear reactor.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

Engineer, Chernobyl was not just operator error, although it was mainly operator error. There are still reactors of the Chernobyl design operating today without disaster. One issue of this design is that it has no containment structure and few failsafe features. For Chernobyl all they had a burnable graphite shield.

To my understanding the difference between Chernobyl and Three Mile Island was just this ... the reactors even though they failed, the American design did not meltdown or release catastrophic amounts of radiation, and that was 30+ years ago.

Are you suggesting that there are TMI related illnesses downwind of the reactors without actually pointing to any data? I don't know if that can be backed up, but look at the water and deaths around the petrochemical industry near Louisiana where the Mississippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico. That area has been a disaster for decades.

Uranium miners have a high incidence of disease is my understanding, as do coal miners.

With approximately 200 reactors operating worldwide for over 20 years without major disaster like Chernobyl, does that not say something to you? It says to me that it is possible to operate nuclear safely, and that it is likely to get better over time. Also, if there is an accident or mistake, the reactors can be made safe enough to avoid major meltdown disasters.

What set back the nuclear industry was the record of the companies who designed and built them cost-cutting and reckless disregard for design, materials, training, and safety features. I don't trust them, and that is not even to mention the bullying, intimidation, and what not that was portrayed fictionally in the movie "Silkwood". This stuff scares the hell out of people, and even thought they may be scientifically and technically ignorant to get their approval these people have to be convinced and assured that their lives are going to be valued and considered.

Looking at corporate America's attitude I don't trust any of them. Look at something as complicated as the deep-water drilling rigs that just failed in the Gulf of Mexico.

I do agree with you that the comment about Kennedy is just plain ignorant, but look what happens when arrogant corporate America thinks it knows better.


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

"For example, has the author of the above statement reviewed the medical/death records of people who lived downwind from TMI, or any other reactor installation, or US uranium miners?"

An Engineer, have you? Instead of spewing out innuendo and fear(very unlike a real engineer), put up or shut up.

A good read on the nuclear (and several other) technical/political issues is "Physics for Future Presidents" by Richard A. Muller. One can get it on Amazon in paperback. An interesting example that Muller uses is that if the same criteria is to be used for a nuclear plant accident, the city of Denver should be evacuated, because it exists in a natural radiation zone (Radon gas), and is exposed to more lifetime rem than New York (and more than some evacuated zones at Chernobyl). According to the linear model (the current government safety model), as opposed to the threshold model, Denver should have more excess cancers than New York (assuming that lower level radiation is a cause of cancer). In fact, Denver has lower rates of excess cancers. Go figure...maybe the linear model is wrong??

The bottom line on nuclear power for electricity production, in this country, is that is safe and cheap and a potential economic boon. It provides baseload production (that means night and day, independent of weather). It is a source of good paying jobs for Americans, reduces our dependency on foreign sources of energy and provides a vital national security insurance. There is no rational reason to oppose it.

BTW, I see no evidence that the economy is improving, nor any evidence that the good old days will return. We need a paradigm shift, such as is provided by nuclear energy.


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Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

"Instead of spewing out innuendo and fear(very unlike a real engineer), put up or shut up."

People always deprecate my credentials when I point out the flaws in their opinions. Especially non-technical types, who, conversely, confer credibility on any quack that agress with them.

As I related in a prior forum topic, I studied nuclear engineering in college, then watched how the wind was blowing and took up an alternative engineering career. From that base, I can tell you that "would have to" arguments like "would have to evacuate Denver" have no technical merit and even less political clout. They fool only those who have not carefully thought through their position. It is far easier to advocate something as dangerous as nuclear reactors from uninformed opinion than from knowledge.

To illustrate, have you tried to sell the proposition that every city should get a nuke plant and boost its radiation background to Denver levels? Why haven't you?

I infer strongly that you have not done your homework before spewing the unfounded innuendo that: "Private nuclear industry in America has caused fewer deaths than those killed in Sen. Kennedy's car." Go look.

"We need a paradigm shift, such as is provided by nuclear energy."

We need an intelligent discussion of nuclear power's consequences and the national will (desperation?) to tolerate them. We have neither.


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Engineer, there you go again. Show us the data that there are excess deaths, from radiation, downwind from TMI. You make a fear-mongering charge, then you run from it.

You seem to be criticizing Muller's book (quack?). That's OK, but do understand that he would seem to be qualified to make his statements, since he is a UC Berkely physics prof. Perhaps you should read it first, before you go off making mocking and alarming remarks. You can make any claim you want about your qualifications, but I don't buy it, because you come off as alarmist and irrational. You probably even think that TNT has more energy than chocolate chip cookies.

And yes, more people were killed in Kennedy's car than have been killed from radiation in the U.S nuclear electric power effort (even in the mining of uranium, if one compares it to the mining of coal to provide equivalent energy). Please provide the name of the individual who was killed by such radiation. I can easily provide the name of the young woman who Kennedy killed. BTW, I could also give you the various speeches Kennedy made against wind power in coastal MA waters (whatta guy, aka NIMBY).


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Posted by LOL
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

OK, let me get this straight:
To get out of this recession, we need to spend gobs of government money to build expensive new nuclear plants?

Sounds like a plan...NOT!


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

LOL,

No, you have it crooked, not straight.

There does not need to be more federal money spent on nuclear plant construction. The private companies are very eager to spend their own money. There will always be money spent on government oversight, but that has been going on for decades. In fact, you can save federal money by stopping all the irrational lawsuits against nukes by various environmental groups.

Get it straight! It's a great plan to allow the private companies to move ahead.


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Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

"You seem to be criticizing Muller's book (quack?)."

I'm criticizing your uninformed advocacy. I didn't drag Muller's name into this, you did. Why are you calling him a quack now?

"more people were killed in Kennedy's car than have been killed from radiation in the U.S nuclear electric power effort (even in the mining of uranium, if one compares it to the mining of coal to provide equivalent energy)."

You have my compliments for that nifty attempt to cover your retreat. I rest my case. Have a good weekend.


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

"Especially non-technical types, who, conversely, confer credibility on any quack that agress with them."

Engineer,

I assumed you were referring to Muller, who happens to support my basic point of view, unless you have some other "quack" in mind.

Still waiting for your data on TMI downwind deaths from radiation. No retreat on my part. However, you do seem to be acknowledging that Muller has some credibility, so that is good first step. Let me know when you have read his interestinbg book...everybody on this blog should read it, because it provides a critical review of the basic physics/engineering issues involved in a modern world, from a political perspecitive.

TNT has more energy than chocolate chip cookies, right, Engineer?


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Posted by We must compete
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm

How come both Germany and Australia are booming? Germany is exporting to China; building them modern elevated monorail high speed trains. Australia is mining themselves into prosperity.

Since the U.S. gave up manufacturing and let China take it over and stopped extensively mining for the whole world for environmental reasons, Germany and Australia are winning the economic race.

Time for the U.S. to get competitive again, and take some lesson from these two countries. Both Germany and Australia have government surpluses - no borrowing for them.


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Posted by Facts
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm

"Since the U.S. gave up manufacturing and let China take it over "

The U.S. is the worlds biggest manufacturer. And the reasons Germany is doing (relatively) better are complex and don't really apply to our situation.


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Posted by just do it
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 21, 2010 at 6:43 am

Just legalize capitalism, (individuals accepting both the good AND the bad of their own decisions so that no government supporting failure with the taxes, no government stealing from those who risked, worked and succeeded) and our economy will explode.

including nuclear...stop putting up silly walls to letting us privately build nuclear plants, and that alone will let us expand exponentially...jobs galore, saving "carbon" based energy in the long run ( for those who care about such things). Should please everyone, but for some reason the left who purports to want energy independence that is good for the environment keeps fighting this option, in spite of over 30 years now of success. Chernobyl is a silly fear, ..it is like banning cars because of the Pinto exploding years ago. Silly.

For all the far leftists who adore France, just look at 70% of their electricity having come from nuclear for the last 30 years. This is what a western country can do with nuclear. heck, just look at our own nuclear power history! Better for life than coal!


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