Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 7: Leave Your Campsite In Better Shape Than You Found It.We Need To Take Responsibility for The Environment. (The Human Species will survive because we are God’s children. Huckabee.)
HUCKABEE AND PALIN: FIDDLE DE DEE AND FIDDLE DE DUM
In this 24 page chapter Huckabee speaks about the environment. He casts doubt about the existence and causes of Global Warming saying the scientists differ on the cause. (The vast number of scientists agree it is caused by man’s activity.) However he does understand that carbon emissions and other industrial and vehicle emissions are detrimental to human health and that something has to done about it immediately. Thus while recognizing energy from fossil fuels will be around for a long time we can start reducing our reliance on them by switching to green energy whenever possible. One way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels is by conservation. Also we owe it to our descendants to leave the Earth in better condition for them then it was in when we found it.
There is also the other negative associated with fossil fuel dependence. That is much of it comes from countries that don’t subscribe to American values or our way of life and seek to undermine us. This plus the fact we pay billions of dollars to these countries also empowers them to fund schools and charities that benefit terrorists and terrorism.
In order to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels we need to have a coherent strategy that all groups agree on. He gives the example of building wind turbines of the coast of Cape Cod which environmental groups have thwarted by filing lawsuits to prevent their construction. Now we spend more time fighting over green power strategies or even more efficient fossil power strategies than building them.
THE CASE FOR NUCLEAR POWER
This book was written before the nuclear disasters in Fukushima Prefecture Japan. Also it is too soon to determine the extent of the environmental damage caused by this disaster. However Huckabee was aware of Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents and their aftermath in writing this book. Despite this he believes that the use of nuclear power makes sense both economically and from the point of view of safety. The cost of nuclear is about 2 cents per kilowatt hour while coal is about 3 cents and natural gas about 5 cents. On the safety side he believes the 104 plants operating in 31 States are very safe, because they are highly regulated by the Department Of Energy. (I wonder what he thinks now since most of the U.S. plants are thirty or forty years old and built with the design and other technology available when the Fukushima generators were built. He doesn’t discuss the more advanced technology and design now being used in the construction of nuclear generators that ostensibly make them safer than the old style plants.)
He thinks that recycling is also a method of reducing our need to import oil. He cites New York’s plan to burn garbage to generate enough energy for almost 150,000 households. The plants were never built but there are plans to go forward now. Also he states sewage can be recycled and burned to generate power. He says the EPA has estimated if all the sewage available nationwide was burned to create energy it could generate enough electricity for 350,000 households. Also he alleges that the burning of garbage and sewage would create fewer emissions and that it would be like having 500,000 fewer cars on the road.
OFFSHORE DRILLING AND OTHER SOUCES OF ENERGY
Huckabee recognizes that oil will be a large source of energy for the United States for the foreseeable future. He is for fewer restrictions on the places available for oil exploration. Many places off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are not available for drilling for environmental and political reasons. These barriers to drilling should be relaxed. In the case of the BP Deep Water Horizon blowout and spill : that was caused by lax regulation and BP’s drive to save time and money. The incident was preventable.
However considering the cost of imported oil which includes the maintenance of a Navy to keep the sea lanes open an Army to enforce order so a free market in oil can exist and to protect our National security; drilling at home is no longer an option but it must be done with due respect for the environment and the heritage we will leave our children.
Also we must pursue technology in relation to the clean burning of coal, which we have in abundance,and the development of efficient methods to recover oil and gas from shale; which we also have in abundance. Pursuit of new green technology, carbon capture technology, nuclear technology, recycling and conservation can make us free of foreign oil and position us to be independent as demand for fossil energy, which is limited , rises around the World particularly in Asia and the developing countries. (This chapter considers the options available to us but Huckabee offers no new ideas or policies that will make a sudden dramatic change in the status quo. Also given the inertia and the opposition forces to aspects of green technology or drilling for gas and oil in the United States it will take a great leader to change the status quo. Huckabee also has a firm belief that the Earth was created for our species alone. This belief is based on the Bible and seems to ignore the fact that thousands of species have already come and gone. Thus if we overpopulate the Earth to the point it cannot sustain the Human population, at least as well as the industrialized nations do now, we will not disappear as the dinosaurs and many other species did. Apparently God wants Humans to exist and then die and go to our reward despite Global warming, overpopulation etc.)
Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 3: You Can’t Spend What You Don’t Have; You Can’t Borrow What You Can’t Pay Back. (Beware Of Politicians Offering Simple Solutions.)
In this chapter Huckabee discusses budget deficits and the National Debt. To put things in perspective he uses illustrations from Tutor.Com showing the relationship of money to an individual. $10,000 in $100 dollar bills to one man then 1 million then 1 billion then 1 trillion then the national debt in $100 bills to one man. This is all interesting but he should have put in the number of people now and in the future in relationship to the debt. Also the relevant fact is the size of the economy to the money we spend or owe.
(It was thought by many that Reagan bankrupted the country on military spending while he was in office. This later turned out to be untrue. However Reagan’s example started the current rampage by Republicans (notably Bush II) for deficit spending and in Bush’s case the financial meltdown due to a failure to regulate Wall Street, The banks, and mortgage lending that caused most of the deficit spending and the increase in The National Debt that came into fruition as Bush left office and the Obama Administration took over. This non-regulation or light regulation was a policy started by Reagan also. So the man Republicans look to as their great leader had a lot to do with the state of the economy today.)
To the point: Huckabee uses examples to illustrate his conclusion that are irrelevant and not productive in analyzing the issues of deficit spending or the National Debt.
As one might expect he tries to make an issue out of Social Security and other social welfare entitlements as the source of the problem.
One of his major points is that Social Security is scheduled to run out of money in 2037. He points out that the baby boomers are retiring. They are a population bubble that occurred after WWII and as they retire these people will increase the demands on Social Security. These points are true but he ignores the fact that by 2037 the vast majority of the baby boomers will have passed on. In fact they are passing on right now incrementally and the rate will increase as time goes by. Therefore what the situation will be in 2037 is anyone’s guess but if anything the baby boom bubble will be gone. Therefore any dire future prediction based on this statistic is flawed. Social Security which is funded by taxation is a political football used by the conservative right to frighten people. (Most mainstream economists think with slight adjustments Social Security will be there for everyone indefinitely. Huckabees dire consequences and equally dire solutions don’t hold water.
Huckabee devotes half a page to Medicare. This is the area where there is a major funding problem. His solution is to raise the age of eligibility. (Of course then what do we do with the uninsured that need medical care if we do away with the Affordable National Healthcare Plan as he wishes to do? He doesn’t say. He said these were going to be simple solutions for government problems. So if you are uninsured and have cancer do you go to your church and neighbors. Well we know from experience that doesn’t work. Half a page to the issue of Medicare with a solution calling for the raising of the age of eligibility is absurd. Perhaps he will talk further on this issue elsewhere in this book.) Apparently by raising the eligibility age less people will have proper medical care and the simple solution is to just let them die.
WE NEED JOBS
This is an obvious conclusion. However he doesn’t say what kind of jobs; detailing the cars of the well off or jobs that are more than just menial service ones with benefits, stability and pay sufficient to support a family at a reasonable standard of living. His solution is to lower taxes especially the ones that support the social safety net in place now. That way “small business” will use the money to create jobs, hire people and everyone will be happy ever after.
(Huckabee doesn’t mention the fact that American business has trillions of dollars in their treasuries that they are not investing in the creation of new domestic jobs. Also in the case of the larger corporations, profits made abroad are not returned home to invest. This is done for the purpose of tax avoidance. However if the money was reinvested here there are many tax benefits to be obtained. So this is not the simple solution because business already has the money to invest, they just don’t know where to invest because of the advent of Globalization which reduced the need for American labor. Globalization is a financial boom for business which can create the same products using cheaper overseas plants and labor. Because of this phenomenon American workers have lost jobs and income and their standard of living is declining. On the other hand business has prospered and the gap between rich and poor in the United States has widened. He fails to propose new ideas or strategies that would create jobs except for the reduction of taxation on business.
This chapter proposes simple solutions for simpletons. Huckabee is living in the 19th Century.