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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Futurist blogging

Futurist David Houle has a new blog Evolution Shift and has some interesting preditions out there for all of us to pick through. One of his most recent "Remember When Gas Was Cheap" is an interesting look at the world from the year 2009 discussing the effects of increased oil and gas prices on the economy and politics. As I mention in my comment to the post I generally think most of the predictions for the next year are pretty accurate based on what we know at this point, but I think he gets a bit unrealistic starting in April 2007.

April 2007 Congress overwhelmingly passed an energy bill that had several key components: a gasoline tax that started at $.25 a gallon, increasing to a $1.00 over four years, new stringent guidelines on average mpg for all automotive manufacturing companies, and investment tax credits for practically any type of alternative energy ideas and companies. At the last minute, the $2.500 surcharge on all SUVs and non-commercial use pick-up trucks were taken out of the bill, as GM said that it would have no recourse but to enter bankruptcy and immediately lay-off 50,000 workers, and few politicians had stomach for the economic impact of that probability. So many Republicans, getting the message from the fall elections, voted for these bills that it was clear that a Bush veto would be easily overridden.

I just don't think the country will have moved that far politically in a year. Not without a major oil shock (like prices shooting to over $125 a barrel, gas at say $5-$6/gallon for at least a few weeks).

I would actually like to see some of his preditions come to pass since I think in the long run they would be good for the country and the planet. I just don't think they can happen with out a significant "shock" like event. A 9-11 for energy policy. Anything less will just be seen as the something political leaders shouldn't expend effort on when the results will be so hard on the economy.


Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Have you ever looked at a map of gas prices in the United Stated based on county? Have you compared it to the results of a presidential election based on a precinct map?

Thursday, April 27, 2006 2:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the News From The Future bit. But like you, I don't think it's likely. Even if the Dems do take back Congress, which is a significant possibility, plenty of Democrats vote for oil interests also. It would take both a change in the Congressional majority and a wholesale Green revolution/anti-corruption/grassroots+ netroots involvement campaign in order to get such publicly-interested policies to happen. And as a Democratic insider, I see good ideas and I see leadership, but only rarely do I see the two togther. Of course that's doubly true for the GOP, without the good ideas part.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Jason I looked at your maps to compare the two and I don't really see any importance in the comparisons. Having said that I think having higher gas prices (thanks to taxes on them) is a good thing for lots of reasons. If that also tended to make people more Democrat, well that is a nice bonus, but not a goal.

Tony I totally agree. I just don't see the radicallity of change being sufficient to produce the results he suggests. I would like to see it, but I am part of the reality-based community and must shy away from such fantasies.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:23:00 PM  

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