By now you have no doubt read a dozen reviews of 2008 and projections for 2009, all pure guesses for the latter, unless someone was carefully predicting that the sun would rise tomorrow and the like. I would like to, instead, affect the future by sharing a few simple solutions. Here are my top five:
1. End to the Gaza Strip War: "Why don't those #&%#@* Hamas idiots just stop lobbing rockets into Israel," courtesy of a golf buddy pundit expressed at the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse. He wanted me to carry his views in my daily blog, but I thought I would protect him from any possible fatwa by not specifically identifying the source. White House spokesperson Gordon Johndroe expressed those exact sentiments, with a safe political spin.
2. To initiate the process for Peace on Earth, forever: My very first Huffington Post article, circa May 29, 2008, entitled, "Well, Barack, We have a Problem...", can be paraphrased to say: ...go to your very first G8 Nations Summit, by your declared emergency to be held at United Nations headquarters in New York City, and pronounce a Gorbachev-like bombshell: our country will reduce military spending by 10% this year, and will continue to do so for the next eight years. This scenario is described on page 65 of Simple Solutions for Humanity shown in one of the boxes on the right. You say, we want every country to do the same, for this 10% solution is our best opportunity to create a global fund to combat Peak Oil and Global Warming (PO/GW). At this stage, keep quiet about the "ending wars forever" part, as then, no one will take you too seriously. China's knee-jerk reaction might well be, what, cut defense spending? We haven't had a chance yet to attain your level of capability. But, on quick afterthought, they will realize that they will only need to decrease their spending by $6 billion in Year One, while the U.S. takes a $60 billion hit. Ten percent of the worldwide $1.2 trillion/year for war means that at least $120 billion/year will suddenly become available in the first year to overcome PO/GW. This sum comes close to the annual amount suggested by the International Energy Agency to meet the total $45 trillion recommended by the International Energy Agency earlier this year to cut the carbon dioxide level in half.
3. Saving the American auto industry: Each of us in this country has already loaned GM and Chrysler $44 (for a total of $13.4 billion), which could well end up being almost 10 times more if the situation deteriorates. The best that GM could offer about their future was a plug-in Volt electric car. Why copy the Japanese? Think, really think, about the future of ground transport, and develop a truly promising next generation vehicle. Reference can be made to my posting on "Is there an Option More Promising than the Plug-in Electric Vehicle?" This alternative future is the direct methanol fuel cell. Unfortunately, there is no such widget today, for the U.S. Department of Energy currently bans funds to develop this technology, and also for any biomethanol production research. What better partnership, then, for the auto industry and farmers, with government incentives, to manufacture the renewable fuel and power-train system to lead the world in a decade?
4. Saving the national economy: There will be an Obama stimulus package, perhaps with a trillion dollar value. The details are provided in "Buy American, Again", but the timing is right for our new president to help Main Street when, on President Bush's watch, $863.4 billion were provided to Wall Street, porkers and Detroit. An equivalent amount divided among our citizenry would then be just under $3,000. To save a few bucks for other needs, Congress and the White House should allow $6,000 to each couple filing a tax return and $3000 for individuals. However, don't send a check. Just assign each couple/individual a credit card for the appropriate amount, which can only be used to buy products made in the USA. There are some downsides to this plan, but they are explained away in the indicated article.
5. Saving Planet Earth and Humanity: About global warming, I've published 35 articles in the Huffington Post, and all of them, to some degree, treat this subject. Let me then simplify with two specifics. First, immediately mandate a dollar a gallon investment surcharge on gasoline before oil prices rise again. Gas will still cost much less than European rates. Second, add a penny per pound carbon dioxide disenhancement charge (this will add 2 cents/kWh to your electricity bill if your power comes from a coal-fired facility), proportionately linked to $30/barrel oil, to adjust as oil prices vacillate, so that at $150/barrel, the tax should be 5 cents/pound. Yes, some of the revenues will need to be directly rebated to the people, but a good fraction should be utilized to develop sustainable resource options.
What are the odds of any one of the above attaining reality? Zero, unless each of you sends this posting to ten colleagues, who....