Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Health Care, Energy, and Education

President Obama listed these as his top priorities in a press conference yesterday. I couldn't agree more, particular for the first two. Providing health care for every citizen is the duty of a civilized country. Beyond that it will allow great innovation in the private sector (how's that, you free market types) because suddenly the average Joe on the street won't have to work for a giant corporation just so his kids can go to the doctor. The promise of health care for all must also come with the warning that there are limits to what we can provide; any workable plan has to stay within its budget. But the basic idea of making this available to all is a huge leap forward for this country, and if Obama can accomplish it he will have done something that other presidents have not been able to do.

By choosing energy as a priority President Obama has correctly identified the Achilles' Heel of our society and economy. Unfortunately his focus is on finding new sources of energy and perpetuating the car as the main means of transportation. This is a mistake and I hope his administration realizes this quickly. What we should be doing is finding ways to conserve energy and move away from the car, replacing it with public transportation and social models that require less commuting. We should also begin scaling back our lives to greatly decrease our energy consumption.

Education is always a good idea and should be available to all, regardless of income. I don't think it will have the same importance going into the future as it has had in the past, because I don't think we can continue being an ever higher tech industrial society, due to limitations on energy.

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