I tried to add nuclear energy, but it never shows up. Had managed to include the Bowls-Simpson plan.
<Description>America's transport, energy, bandwidth and water infrastructure has declined in quality and effectiveness over the past decade or so due to lack of funds. Many commentators believe that America’s economic competitiveness could be strengthened and maintained only if there is a major overhaul. They point to China’s rapid airport modernization, France’s high speed trains and South Korea’s powerful internet connections as examples of America being left behind. Democrats and centrist Republicans endorse the idea of a national infrastructure development bank that would leverage $10bln of start-up capital to attract private investment on low interest loans. The plan pays for itself by generating infrastructure jobs, revenues from tolls and by ensuring the rapid communication of goods, services, people and ideas in a more dynamic economy. However, despite the fact the idea has been endorsed by business leaders, Tea Party Republicans say it’s a lot of pork barreled Big Government and that American infrastructure is fine. <Default_Party_Importance PartyID="Left">38</Default_Party_Importance> <Default_Party_Position PartyID="Left">38</Default_Party_Position>
The Simpson-Bowles Plan, named after the bipartisan chairmen of the deficit reduction commission, envisaged a grand bargain to restore America to fiscal health and economic growth. Both parties’ would have had to make sacrifices; The Democrats would have had to accept reforms of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and some cuts to discretionary spending, whilst the Republicans would have had to accept that the tax rates for the wealthiest would have to return to Clinton era levels of 39%+ and that the Pentagon would have to slim down. Both parties would make good on pledges to reduce the scope by which members of Congress could slip in earmarks, [spending projects] for their constituencies. At the same time, it was agreed that the parties would cooperate to make the Affordable Care Act more effective by increasing the authority of the Independent Payment Advisory Board and similar mechanisms aimed at reducing health care’s overall costs through improving quality and efficiency. Malpractice tort reform was also part of the deal. In the long run, tax rates would be lowered for almost everybody because the closing of various loopholes [mortgage interest deduction, private equity capital gains] and the ending and or reduction of energy and farm subsidies would generate new revenues. Corporation taxes and income taxes could also be lowered in exchange for the imposition of various other levies, such as a National Consumption Tax, gasoline tax hike, Bank Tax and a Carbon Tax. Meanwhile, a second Stimulus would be implemented so as to get the country on a path to growth so as to nullify any initial side effects.
Independents and centrists from both parties loved the plan. However, it was killed because left wing Democrats and conservative Republicans on the panel [led by Paul Ryan] vetoed it, as it needed a super-majority to reach an up or down vote. When it became clear that Obama favored it, the centrist Republicans backed away because their Congressional leaders and the newly empowered TEA Party pressured them. When that happened, Obama himself developed reluctance, as it was not only clear that it wouldn’t make it through the GOP House or the Senate Filibuster, rank and file Democrats balked as well, as they feared they would have to carry the full political cost.
Obama tried again to fashion his own plan with GOP Speaker John Boehner until the TEA Party Caucus torpedoed it. A Super-committee also failed for the same reason. Meanwhile the debt crisis is growing and America’s economy is facing a long stagnation as the second stimulus is blocked and the business community is reluctant to invest due to long running uncertainty. It is hoped that Obama would pick up the issue again in the coming campaign, or get behind a bipartisan group of Senators led by Mark Warner [D-VA] before January, where immediate and automatic tax rises and spending cuts kick in, possibly leading to disaster.
Many physicists believe that nuclear energy should play a prominent role in the energy policy risk so as to combat climate change. A nuclear power plant emits basically zero emissions after it comes online, and a strong investment into it could shift America into a clean energy economy: whole cities could eventually be powered by it, as well as transport systems such as high speed trains and all electric plug-in cars. It could also act as a bridging fuel until renewable sources of energy are upgraded to a level that would power the whole economy.
National Security Hawks and Doves alike also see nuclear energy as a way of reducing American reliance on oil from unstable or unsavory regimes. Combined with sustained investments in energy efficiency, renewables, the new found abundance of natural gas, access to oil from allies such as Canada and Mexico, and the possibilities of clean coal technology, nuclear energy could be the make or break factor as to America becoming an energy independent superpower-economy. America would be in a stronger position in dealing with authoritarian states like Russia as a result.
Republicans wholeheartedly endorse the idea for energy security purposes, whilst Democrats and Independents are divided. The environmental community itself is divided. They point to accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima and to evidence that Al Qaeda considered crashing a plane into a power plant, and the many lapses in security that could allow terrorists of whatever stripe to get in and set off a nuclear disaster. They also fear proliferation. Moreover, what to do about the waste? Could it be recycled, and if it couldn’t, what state would be willing to store it? Nevada has the best surroundings but its citizens said no for the past 30 years.
Technology optimists such as Bill Gates believe that the right amount of government, academic, private sector research, environmental regulation and incentives could provide a solution to these problems by pointing the way to smaller, more efficient, safer, more secure, modular nuclear reactors and to innovative solutions to the waste. Strategists also believe that it could even be a solution for nuclear proliferation worries as it would provide a perfect outlet with which to dispose of old nuclear stockpiles from the Cold War.
However, some Republicans have lobbying ties with the bigger utilities who favor big ,old fashioned plants leading to a deadlock where neither Congress or the Administration, or business, or the EPA could move things forward.