Paving the road to nowhere, one word at a time.

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Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

American born, living in Mexico since 1992.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Stimulus Miracle: Chapter Five - Take The Power Back

In the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt, no debt created by government is complete without energy and water. This is because energy companies never seem to turn a good enough profit.

It starts with funding for construction by the Army Corps of Engineers: 2 billion. Well, construction, except "that funds provided in this paragraph may only be used for programs, projects or activities previously funded". In other words, remember that money you got in order to build something? Well here's some more. Keep building it. Just hurry up. And that Mississippi River project: 250 million, same goes for that.

And the Army Corps of Engineers also gets for Operation and Maintenance: 2.2 billion, as long as they don't build anything new. Just operate and maintain, and do it with a Regulatory Program: 25 million. It doesn't say what to regulate. Just regulate something. Operate, maintain, and regulate.

Water Reclamation: 500 million, but there's a catch – it has to be able to pay for itself within 25 years. This shouldn't be a problem, however, because by then, adjusting for the future value of the dollar, it's about what the average consumer will pay for water every month.

Renewable Energy: 18.5 billion. The money is divided up, most of it goes toward either batteries (I had no idea that batteries were renewable), or the Weatherization Assistance Program, which will make people in the insulation and caulking industries happy. I was hoping for windmills and solar panels. Maybe even some hydrogen. Luckily, I can press my investments in Home Depot and The Energizer Bunny. And for Electricity Delivery: 4.5 billion. Because there just aren't enough wires.

Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program: 1 billion. What's that you say? Batteries dead in your flashlight? Out of cash? Worry no more! I have no idea how this works, the bill certainly doesn't explain it, but if my electricity delivery person fails to show up it's nice to know that I can borrow some batteries.

Institutional Loan Guarantee Program: 500 million and Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program: 8 billion. This isn't explained in the bill. My guess is that someone who is innovative with their technology can step right up and get a loan. But only innovative people who would really need it. Someone like Bill Gates, for example.

Fossil Energy: 2.4 billion. Because we need to burn more carbon. And just when I thought that we already covered it, apparently there needs to be more Science: 2 billion. This is for the "America Competes Act", which sends money to the National Science Foundation, among other things. And for when the burning carbon or dropped test tubes make a mess, there is money for Environmental Cleanup: 500 million.

In case the Power Companies need money, they can have some. Western Area Power Administration: 3.2 billion, ostensibly a loan, forgivable, and Bonneville Power Administration: 3.2 billion, ostensibly a loan, can remain outstanding. All of the other Power Companies can go screw themselves. Or get better lobbyists.

The total so far comes to 104.611 billion, but the good news is that we're about one quarter way through the bill already.

Next: Chapter Six – Show Me The Money


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