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07-18-2006 03:05 AM #21
TAX the profits of big oil companies...
Agree to disagree on tax breaks. I got my degree in economics so it's been pretty well hammered into my head that they're inefficient.
However I would argue that your points on nuclear power are outdated. GE and Westinghouse are now marketing streamlined plant designs, basically cookie cutter plans allowing one company to use the same generic plan for multiple plants, saving money on design and training (you can train staff for multiple plants at the same time and use workers interchangebly). These are just now coming on the market and have a lot of people interested.
You're correct in pointing out that the government is very involved in France. The government also plays a role in the public finance of large infrastructure projects in the U.S. I wouldn't agree though with your apples to apples comparison of public finance with tax breaks meant to encouarge behavior deemed socially beneficial. Given the stress to the power grids and the ratio of electricity demand to the available supply deliverable by the grid, I support government support. I agree that the government's job is keep citizens safe. I certainly agree that means keeping them healthy, and nuclear power emits zero SO2, NOX, C02, or any other harmful ozone pollutants. I'm not naive enough to suggest global warming isn't real, and I would argue that nuclear power would be a great step in reducing our harmful burning of carbon fuels.
I would also argue that governments have a responsibility to ensure the free competition of business and operation of markets. Energy consumption is a good thing, and improves our standard of living. It's easy for Americans to hail the virtues of conservation since we are consuming so much already. Great advances in society are made through increased energy consumption. The personal computer consumes an unbelievable amount of electricity, even when just idling. As I mentioned, if I'm buying it and and it's being produced responsibly (by which I meant nuclear) I don't think my energy consumption is any of your (or the government's) business. Feel free to reduce your consumption. Enjoy the reduced utility bills.
The brunt of your argument seems to be aimed at burning coal and oil, which I agree we should move away from.