Friday, June 23, 2006

Fluorescent bulbs and the Revolution

Zack Exley

Fluorescent bulbs and the Revolution
Huff Post

Thanks to Al Gore, now everyone knows the planet is doomed if we don't take IMMEDIATE ACTION. What kind of action? Start using fluorescent light bulbs. Drive a Prius. Encourage your mayor to put solar panels on city hall. Yeah, right.

Al's a hero for what he's accomplished over the last several weeks. And it's not his fault that there are no credible solutions to global warming on the table. I blame academia. Rare leaders like Gore, who are willing to address the biggest problems, have been left solutionless by a two-generation moratorium on big-picture, long-term thinking among our greatest economists and social thinkers.

I saw Barack Obama hit the same brick wall a few weeks ago speaking on global warming. He started out saying, "We need a mobilization of resources on the scale of WWII." I was ready to enlist in the Obama army. But when it came to specifics, he too had to default to fluorescent bulbs, Priuses, etc....

This problem spans virtually all big issues: in John Edwards' search for real solutions to poverty, academia offers him little more than higher education subsidies and mixed income housing. On health care, it's just as bad. I once witnessed a room full of U.S. Senators alternately beg and berate a panel of top health care policy experts for solutions they could tell their constituents about. After 45 minutes the experts had said nothing convincing, or even intelligible.

This affliction is not limited to mainstream Democratic politicians. On global warming, the Left's biggest, boldest idea is the Apollo Alliance. It calls for $30 billion in new investment each year for ten years for renewable energy and industrial retooling. Can $30 billion per year fundamentally transform our society? No. Thirty billion dollars is 0.0024% of U.S. GDP -- or, to put it another way, about 70 seconds of the national workday. Think about that on a personal level: you can't keep your house clean in 70 seconds a day, let alone transform your life.....