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The Real Solution to the Energy Problem

SeekingAlpha: The Real Solution to the Energy Problem

Jerry Pham: Bio & more articles

We have now spent over $1 trillion to get oil from the Middle East. We spend billions of dollars to maintain military bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. We’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest in order to keep crude flowing out of the Middle East. Say what you will, but everyone knows that the only reason we are in the Middle East is because of the oil. We didn’t get involved in Rwanda or Myanmar or Sudan because they didn’t have massive reserves of oil.

Next, we decided on using our food supply as energy in the form of ethanol. That’s benefitting companies such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and other ethanol players, but how about the rest of us? We have skyrocketing corn prices. Along with that, other food prices dependent on corn are skyrocketing. Corn is used to feed cows, which provide us with milk and beef. It’s used to feed chickens. Now the price of meat, milk and eggs are going up. The Law of Unintended Consequences strike again.

It’s about time that we turn to the real solution – conservation. Some people say that the market will correct oil prices and the government should stay out of the market. As prices get too high, consumer pain and a recession will reduce demand. Should we wait and do nothing while tens of billions of our dollars are siphoned to other countries? It’s about time that we leverage our technology to our advantage. We laid down billions of dollars worth of fiber prior to and even after the dotcom boom. Let’s put that to use. Congress needs to pass a law that will give tax breaks or other incentives to companies that allow as many of their employees as possible to telecommute.

In today’s global economy of laptops, broadband, Blackberries, wireless, email, instant messaging and other technologies, why are office workers being forced to drive to the office five days a week? Managers often have employees in several different cities, states or even countries. Does it make a difference if those employees are sitting in a cubicle or sitting in their home office or coffee table?

Imagine how many billions of gallons of gasoline will be saved with such an initiative. Think of the tens of billions of dollars saved on energy that could be spent or invested on other parts of the economy. Companies will benefit with reduced office space and the associated costs. Parents can still work when their children are sick so that projects don’t falls behind schedule. Employees will benefit with a more flexible schedule and lower transportation costs. How many people are exhausted and stressed out after fighting through and hour of morning traffic? Then there are the side benefits to the rest of society. Think of the reduction in smog and traffic without cars idling on the highways. The reduced demand will even result in lower energy prices for everyone. Over 60% of our oil consumption is used in the transportation sector, which adds up to a staggering $453 billion dollars each year.

If we can cut transportation costs by just 20%, that would save this country over $90 billion per year, which could be used in other parts of the economy to create jobs and pay down debt. That’s nearly as much as the entire $600 tax rebate program passed by the government this year. We could have that stimulus package every year! Along with that, there will be a significant reduction in CO2 emissions due to fewer cars, and fewer traffic jams every morning and evening. Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not, everyone believes in having cleaner air to breathe. As for those complaining of government interference in the free markets, what about the mandate that car companies install seatbelts in every car? Was that such a bad idea? In rare instances, government interference can be of benefit.

So let’s look at the advantages of such an initiative: lower energy costs, cleaner air, lower costs for companies, more flexible hours for employees, lower food prices, less dependence on foreign oil, less traffic and wear and tear on our infrastructure, better economy

I realize that not everyone can work from home, but a far greater number should be able to than are currently allowed by their employers. We need to have a major paradigm shift so that we can remain competitive as a nation in this global economy.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/71284-the-real-solution-to-the-energy-problem?source=d_email

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