.Obama's idea of a "national mission" to replace oil with renewable energy -- and create jobs doing it -- is so ridiculously misguided that I hardly know what to say.
Tell me, what happens when you take a country with an entire economy fueled very inexpensively with oil, and try to convert it using government funds to "renewable" energy that costs 10 to 50 times as much?
Spain tried it, and it has destroyed them.
Yes, you can create enormous numbers of government jobs. In fact almost everyone in the country will likely end up with jobs at least partially funded by the government.
Then the true cost of the adventure will hit. By the laws of economics, all of our products will cost on average 10 to 50 times as much as they do now -- and that doesn't even take into account the building costs of the new energy infrastructure of windmills and solar panels. In the interim, the cost will be much higher.
Energy-intensive products like steel (particularly stainless steel) and aluminum will become worth much more than gold -- and will then become completely unavailable. (How in the hell can you run an electric arc furnace with a windmill?) Food, grown using energy-intensive fertilizer, with energy intensive tractors and harvesters, will skyrocket in price to consume most of the income of a common family. Imported fruit like bananas will be unavailable.
Electric arc furnaces at a steel mill
International trade will cease, as US products become vastly more expensive than Chinese products. Inflation will soar as deficits reach hundreds of trillions of dollars.
The resulting depression will make the one in the 1930's look like a party. At least back then only a very small percentage of people starved to death.
You know, for a small fraction of the tens of trillions of dollars that the renewable energy adventure will cost our country, we could develop better oil extraction technologies that would greatly increase our proven oil reserves. But we really don't even need to do that. We have enough oil to last 50 to 100 years as it is. By then the natural marketplace will transition to other sources, perhaps nuclear fusion, or even just regular fission reactors that have been already perfected (by France, embarrassingly enough). Actually, without government intervention in the 1970's, most of our energy would already be "Beyond Petroleum".
Or, again for a small fraction of the cost, we could colonize and mine the asteroids and Mars.
A real president who did not bow to foreign kings
Click to enlarge.