I was working for a union in the DC area, so, naturally, I saw a brighter light at the end of the tunnel than most. Surely if there was going to be a recovery, it would start there, with union workers leading the way.
The average length of unemployment (between construction jobs) under Bush, what my union called the worst economy in history for 8yrs, was 3 months. That's a long time to be out of work, but the jobs you normally got after the wait lasted a year or more.
Under Obama, that script has been flipped. The average job lasts 3 months, AT BEST, and you have to wait a year or more to get the next.
Again, this is Union Work IN DC Under Obama, the president that got The Most money and support from the unions in the History of the United States.
But that wasn't the end of my disappointment.
Obama tapped Steven Chu as the head of energy. Energy, of course, spends billions every year on construction jobs. They build, of fund the building, of lots of cool things. As a union construction worker, and as a citizen, this is a very good thing. And Steven Chu is not just anybody. He's a Nobel Prize winner in Physics and is closely tied to the nuclear power industry, in Livermore, Ca. Livermore oversees the nuclear weapons, incase you didn't know.
When I heard Steven Chu was selected by the, then, new and hopeful administration, I gave an audible sigh of relief. A nuclear scientist. Pro nuclear power. A man that understands how close Livermore Labs is to making fusion power a reality with lasers. A man who was there when they made the STAR, a pocket-sized peeking nuke that, by itself, could cut our CO2 emissions to below those of Cuba! This was a smart man, and an impressive pick. America was going nuclear again!
CO2 global warming (I'm not a believer, but I'm a minority in that) was a problem that Steven Chu KNEW how to solve with Uranium and Deuterium. It was obvious that this was the president's meaning behind the pick. This gave me confidence in the hope and change. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn't just a slogan. That would be a first for any president. Perhaps politics had really changed.
Today, the US has approved Zero new nukes under Steven Chu.
But wait, it gets worse. Today, just a few hours ago, A Russian nuke went online. . . In IRAN! Yes, Iran got a new nuke before We did. And, to some true skeptics, this administration actually approved the Iranian nuke (through their inept inaction) before approving US nukes.
Nuclear power was the ONLY zero CO2 energy source capable of replacing coal AND reducing Energy Bills For Consumers AT THE SAME TIME. (Can you tell I'm pro nuke?)
It's so depressing to see a brilliant pick go to waste like this. Instead of greenlighting US nukes, Chu gave billions to politically connected Solar (like Solyndra) and wind (GE), both of which, even when they do work, are MUCH more EXPENSIVE to consumers (Which destroys the economy) WHILE NEITHER are Zero CO2. They both, to make them grid compliant, require a CO2-spewing source to back them up, usually natural gas or oil. And because the natural gas power plant can't predict the clouds and the wind, it has to sit idling, burning gas for nothing.
Imagine a solar/windpowered Hospital. They don't exist for a very good reason, but just imagine it for a minute. The doctor has a guy's heart out and the wind stops blowing or a cloud passes overhead. The lights flicker off and the man dies UNLESS the CO2-spewing diesel generator picks up.
Yes, to function as a hospital, every time a cloud passes overhead or the wind dies down a little bit, that gas-guzzling generator has to kick in of the patient dies. This is how the grid works, just on a bigger scale. Want to give someone an MRI that will really spin the meter? You better be good at predicting the weather down to the second, or turn that diesel on.
But it gets worse. Diesel generators have to be kept warm all the time (That uses energy). The heavy dynamos have to be kept spinning all the time (I've worked on them, I know). All of this is expensive, costly, and introduces stupidity into a fragile grid system for little rewards. In a real-world case of the 'green' hospital, the generator would run 30%-60% of the time to make up the gaps between the solar and wind. Battery backup (I've been in those rooms too) only keeps the building running for ten or twenty minutes, and they're an expensive maintenance nightmare too.
Steven Chu knows all this. He can't not know this. He understands that solar and wind makes grid management a nightmare, yet he politically backs them anyway. He knows that when he says wind and solar, Obama will get donations from solar companies, wind companies (GE who owns NBC), And, he'll get donations from natural gas (the diesel generator in the hospital example). The natural gas generator sells the most expensive, most profitable, least efficient energy on the planet, so they're happy. Without solar or wind mandates, they were never able to trick consumers into buying their Twice-The-Price-Of-Coal power. Solar and wind get to sell their electricity, equally as expensive. And the customers (All of US(a)) get to pay our share in higher and higher energy bills.
Steven Chu knew that nuclear power was cheaper for the customer than Solar/Wind/NaturalGas, but nuclear contribute to politicians a THIRD as much as the solar/wind/naturalGas Cabal... So, Chu buckled.
I'm disappointed, thoroughly, in all of it. This is the kind of proof libertarians like me need to toss our hands up and shout, "End the department of energy! End it now!"
If Chu couldn't fix it, it can't be fixed. It needs to be shut down if it's going to keep making purely political decisions that drive the price of electricity up and drives energy-dependent businesses overseas.