Saturday, November 21, 2009
California is a catch-22. The USA already has serious economic problems, with unemployment now over 10% and allowing the destruction of Americas most populous state is only going to make this problems worst. On the flip side, if we do help them, it may encourage both them and other states to fail and get bailed out just like California did.
We have another major problem, energy. We do severe damage to our ecology, our air quality and our public health through the excessive use of coal in power plants. The more orthodox alternative energy sources -wind, solar, geothermal- are decades from being truly practical in the majority of locales, and would all require heavy subsidies. Many companies have already lined up to build nuclear reactors, even willing to pay to lobby for the right to do so, despite a horrific level of regulation and a public relations nightmare with the common voting public. Far from needing subsidies, they'll spend much additional capital beyond the market price to build these facilities in our country.
The inevitable question is, what about the waste? Yucca mountain would have been an ideal site, but politically, the people of Nevada have fought too well against it and the project is now dead in the water. There are deserts in California very similar to those in Nevada, and California needs us.
The less obvious question, but one every bit as important: who wants to live next to a reactor? Most states outside of the Southeast are not willing to allow Nuclear Construction, and Western states like Nevada, Arizona and Oregon are very far from the Southeast. I've also heard that California is a huge energy importer...
In addition, California has resisted allowing oil-drilling off their coasts. Beyond the humiliation factor, this would lower oil prices and boost domestic production, relieving our dependence on the Middle East for oil and lowering prices. If you don't like lower prices, we could collect a tariff on foreign oil. The tariff revenue would also help pay for the California bailout, while the land royalties that California would be allowed to collect, just like Alaska, would help them avoid a new bailout.
We also need more oil refineries, preferably in places with good weather. Our current refineries are on the gulf coast and get hit by hurricanes all the time, and no state in America allows you to build new ones.
All these proposals would create jobs in California through lower energy costs, the introduction of new industries (including Oil, Oil Platform Servicing, Oil Refining, and Nuclear energy related manufacturing and research.)
So here's the deal: California gets a bailout alright, in fact, in entirety, but in exchange, they must 1) dispose of our nuclear waste, 2) build nuclear reactors to power their cities and stop buying up the excess power reserves of the American West, and 3) drill oil off their coast and 4) build oil refineries on Californias sunny hurricane-free coast.
Thus we get past our Catch-22 by being exploitive jerks and manipulating California in to being the optimal economic citizen of the United States of America.
I don't think anyone will want a bailout after this!