We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Who remembers that the USA has a Department of Energy? Who knows what they do? This came in over the transom:
Absolutely The Funniest Joke Ever !
. . . ON US
Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter Administration? Anybody? Anything? No?
Didn't think so.
Bottom line . . we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember.
Ready? It was very simple, and at the time everybody thought it very appropriate.
The Department of Energy was instituted 8-04-1977 TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL. HEY, PRETTY EFFICIENT, HUH?
AND NOW IT'S 2008, 31 YEARS LATER, AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS NECESSARY DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR, THEY HAVE 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES AND LOOK AT THE JOB THEY HAVE DONE!
THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY 'WHAT WAS I THINKING?'
Ah yes, good ole bureaucracy. And now we are going to turn the Banking system over to them? God Help us.
Certainly the Department Of Education should go. If our states can't operate public schools well then neither can Washington.
Historically empires create more rules and bureaus at a higher level to "correct" failing local efforts. They are from the government and are there to help.
The DO Education is such.
The result is systematic lying. The people at the bottom -schools - neglect teaching and learn how to satisfy the uber-mensch with faked numbers and pretense. They discover which numbers and words will shake money from the big piggy bank on the Potomac.
Gee, does that sound like our money changers appealing to Paulson at the Treasury?
The DoEnergy is needed in some form. Still it is incredibly wasteful and much could be cut.
And other agencies are jumping on the energy money bandwagon with redundant efforts.
DOAgriculture is helping farmers make ethanol, etc. while DOE does the same. I am sure the State Department has programs to grow an ethanol industry here and abroad.
Defense has its own biofuel programs for jet and tank fuels. And probably and independent one for the ships too.
Did I mention the DOTransportation. Hey, vehicles use 30% of our energy. DOT has to be a player too.
"Please sir, may I have another billion. It will do ever so much good. Oh, bless you sir. See you next month."
DOInterior protects its own turf, the public lands, and has to get a cut when drilling or exploration is done there.
Both McCain and Obama believe that moving towards energy independence is a good idea. But, as I pointed out in this month's The Freeman, it's not. Energy independence is no more desirable than coffee independence, banana independence, or car independence. The case for free trade does not break down just because the good being exchanged is important, as oil is. It doesn't generally make sense, if your goal is the wellbeing of country A's citizens, for country A's government to impose tariffs or import quotas on a product from other countries.
“Energy independence” is a term that sounds good but falls apart on closer examination. Although the United States could achieve energy independence, we could do so only at an enormous cost. Energy “dependence” is much cheaper and much more desirable.
Many supporters of “energy independence,” instead of arguing for a ban or prohibitive tariffs on oil imports, advocate government subsidies for alternative fuels or for conservation. They seem to think that such policies can create energy independence at a low cost. They are mistaken.
The cost of using these alternatives, if successful in driving oil imports to zero, would actually be quite high. What makes these other policies politically attractive is not that they cost little, but that they hide the cost. A tariff on oil is a tax, and people can see the result of the tax in the price of oil. A subsidy to alternative fuels or to conservation, however, comes from the government’s treasury or from some other source and therefore is not visible to more than a small percent of the population. Economist David Loughran and engineer Jonathan Kulick studied the effect of state public utility commissions’ policies requiring electric utilities to subsidize their customers’ investments in conservation. The subsidies came not from tax revenue, but mainly from higher prices to other customers. Loughran and Kulick found that the cost of the conservation was between 14 and 22 cents per kilowatt-hour. This was a whopping two to three times as expensive as the energy conserved. (David Loughran and Jonathan Kulick, “Demand Side Management and Energy Efficiency in the United States,” Energy Journal 25, no. 1 , cited in Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, “Energy,” in David R. Henderson, ed., The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.)
“Energy independence” is a bad idea. Every individual understands that it is far better to depend on others for most of what we want rather than trying to do everything for ourselves.
I think David is quite convincing in the low-key, Austrian economics, general-reasoning explication that commands the agreement of sensible readers. How can one read this and disagree? Judge for yourself - read it all and see if you are not convinced that the primary purpose of the Department of Energy is another case of the Emperor's New Clothes.