Washington D.C. — Underscoring his Administration’s commitment to jumpstarting the nation’s nuclear power industry, President Obama today announced that the Department of Energy has offered conditional commitments for a total of $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Burke, Georgia. The project is scheduled to be the first U.S. nuclear power plant to break ground in nearly three decades. ~ WhiteHouse.gov
Did the Fukushima disaster change the President’s policy? Why does the free market need government loan guarantees? If nuclear power is such a great idea, why aren’t investors clamoring to be let in? At a time in this country when 19 percent of the population is on some form of public assistance, is this a wise use of government funds? Of course not, but in a capitalist democracy where courts rule, money is free speech, money rules. When vote tallies are kept on computer systems proven to be untrustworthy, can it even be called a democracy at all?
The only goal of capitalism is to make a profit and if a few acorns of social improvement fall to the ground, well and good, as long as we don’t remember that the roots of the tree are feeding on those pushed below ground. Can a little shade in exchange for their life’s blood, be considered a fair exchange?
Socialism says your children are as important as mine. Your health is as important as mine. Your city is as important as mine. Your prosperity in the end makes my life better. Capitalism creates problems for society — Socialism solves problems. Wouldn’t public schools in economically depressed areas equal to those in wealthy neighborhoods be more cost-effective than public assistance for a lifetime?
Currently, there are 22 empty homes for every homeless person in the country. Many are dilapidated and some beyond repair. These properties could be picked up for pennies. The homeless need homes, the unemployed need work. Save the homes that can be repaired, demolish those that can’t. Create new neighborhoods and manage the program through lease ownership. Train the young, help the old. Invest in people, creating a profit of better lives for all. No longer is it a question of guns or butter; the question becomes societal survival or disintegration.
The issues of fracking and continental pipelines are constantly in the headlines. Fracking is the injection of toxic fluids to break loose, low-grade oil deposits in the Earth’s strata. When we must frack the Earth to supply our energy needs, we are down to stems and seeds as a country. Fracking and tar sands are not necessary, only profitable; the very idea of destroying water tables for the profits of oil companies is a crime and an absurdity. The real issue is our trade balance. Forty percent of our monthly trade deficit is for oil purchases. Either we must reduce our energy usage or we must find alternative sources of energy. Those sources are out there and well-known. The United States of America has the greatest wind energy and solar potential of any country on the face of the Earth.
We live in energy poverty, amidst clean and inexhaustible forms of energy all around us. Energy denied to us by vested corporate interests, yet we have $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear monstrosities providing fewer than a thousand permanent jobs; mostly specialized technical jobs, creating little actual new employment. And all this to subsidize private industry in a project the Congressional Budget Office predicts has a 40 percent chance of failure. Rather than leading the world in alternative energy the US lags behind, locked in a vise of corporate monopoly.
“It can’t be done, it will never work, alternative energy cannot supply the baseline power requirements needed.” In 1957, this country was incapable of putting a satellite into low earth orbit. In 1969, Americans were standing on the surface of the moon. Twenty years later, the Hubble space telescope began supplying more information about our universe than was dreamed of in the era of Sputnik. The future holds promise and bounty, if we approach it for the good of all. If we seek terrorists we will find them, if we seek peace and prosperity for all, we can find it as well.
We need a ten year Apollo-style program to build wind turbines and solar plants across the country, along with the necessary infrastructure, operating as a non-profit co-operative, the revenues reinvested, until one day, coal and nuclear energy are no longer competitive. A wind turbine costs roughly a million dollars, an investment of a billion dollars would mean 1000 wind turbines; it would also mean jobs. It would reduce our dependency on fossil fuels; it would reduce our need to defend the Middle East militarily.
In Europe, a non-profit consortium is working on the Desertec initiative; a plan to build solar power plants across the Sahara desert to provide Europe with clean, renewable electricity. Construction cost estimates of 400 billion Euros over fifty years or one sixth of the cost of the Afghanistan – Iraq military adventure. It is forecast that the Desertec initiative will create 250,000 jobs and generate 15 percent of Europe’s electricity, along with electricity and jobs for North Africa. A similar project for a solar power and a smart electrical grid are in the design phase in Asia.
In the US, there are also plans for a super grid, spitting and sputtering along, dependent on private industry and tax credits. The petroleum financed President and Congress has dithered, failing to create a long-term energy policy, offering only one year increments, and by doing so, Congress strangles the baby in its crib. The Obama administration boasts of increased oil production, but when a coalition of 24 governors asked the administration to offer a more favorable business climate for the development of wind power, Obama offers tax credits for twelve months.
So why Socialism? We live in an America with record numbers of poor. We live in an America with record trade deficits. We live in an America with a burgeoning police state and a mono-party political system — two wings of one corrupt bird. At a time of the greatest economic hardship in seventy years, Congress and the President cut food assistance. During a time of massive unemployment and under employment, the Congress and the President play political football with the lives of 1.3 million unemployed Americans. Capitalism is a disaster and only Socialism offers hope.
You might never become Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, but you’ll never have to watch your children go hungry. Socialism is about meeting the needs of the people — all of the people. Socialism solves the problems Capitalism creates. To the socialist the answers are simple — end Capitalism. End a system that builds jails instead of schools, builds ghettos instead communities, and derides the poor instead of eliminating poverty. Socialism is hope, the greatest hope for humanity.
“There is no other definition of socialism valid for us than that of the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.” ~ Ernesto Che Guevara
About the author: David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate.”