Washington is anxious to fund a $1 trillion upgrade of America’s “electrical infrastructure.” This is being bundled into the Green New Deal as necessary to allow people to send power generated by home solar panels back into the grid. This is fake news because most utilities already allow “net metering,” the process of sending power back into the grid. (If yours doesn’t have net metering, your local leaders can make them do it.) Politicians also say, “Our power grid is susceptible to terrorism.” Except there has never been such an act of terrorism. How many dense, urban areas have enough solar panels packed onto the apartment building roof to supply the entire building, much less have an excess to send back into the grid. As far as that goes, why can’t people with excess power just send it to the house next door?! (Instead of wasting 60% of that energy on power line losses when it goes back into the grid.)
Residential electricity use is only 20% of the total; commercial 35%; and 45% industrial. Why should the taxpayers pay to upgrade the energy used by businesses and industry? We’ll pay our 20% – let businesses and industry pay their share. Big Business has been extremely profitable over the last decade (stocks have increased 150%), while the wages of the average American have actually decreased when you take inflation into account. Just because businesses and industrial groups have high-powered lobbyists in Washington doesn’t mean they can hoodwink the American people out of yet another $1 trillion boondoggle.
Why should Washington get involved in upgrading the electrical grid at all, unless to transfer that $1 trillion directly into the pockets of the already wealthy stockholders? (These are “public utilities” we’re talking about here – profits should go back to the public, not to the private shareholders and their hedge funds.) Most utilities have already implemented net metering on their own. Many have “smart meters” installed everywhere, allowing them to monitor your usage – saving the cost of sending somebody out to read your meter each month. If something in the grid needs fixing, they fix it. That’s their business. They do it well; very well, in fact.
Another major infrastructure item in the $3 trillion “Rebuild America New” plan supported by both parties in Washington is a $1 trillion upgrade of the nation’s bridges and highways. And yet, giant semi-trucks do 99% of the damage – but pay 0% of the cost (diesel prices are minuscule relative to the value of the shipment). Why should the American people pay for how they’ve ruined our wonderful interstate system? The American Consumer Institute recommends a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax. A GPS tracks every vehicle, where and when they travel, and bills them according to vehicle type and tonnage. Giant trucks in the inner city during peak traffic time pay a premium, among other ideas. Rural folks who by necessity have to drive more pay a lower rate, and so forth. If the big trucking firms foot the bill, you can be sure they will be far more vigilant of how the money is spent on roadway improvements than Washington.
The Democrats prioritize high-speed rail in their $4 trillion infrastructure plans. “China has 20,000 miles of high-speed rails – we don’t have any!” California’s project is WAY over budget. At $150 million per mile, 20,000 miles will cost $3 trillion. Will anybody use them? The high-speed terminals will have the same traffic and parking problems as airport terminals – probably much worse because the infrastructure around airports has been developing over generations. The “Age of Railroads” has long since passed. Here’s a map of all the abandoned railroad tracks in America. Why not spend $2 million a mile to renovate them to “higher-speed” rails? The Trails to Rails Conservancy has transformed many old rail lines into hike-and-bike and outdoor recreation trails. Although I think Americans hate exercise even more than they hate railroads.