Odds and Ends
22 6, 12:44pm
While our military spending is GROSSLY high at about $600B a year, it is still dwarfed by our unsustainable Social Security system, along with medicare and medicaid. You could cut the military budget by 50% (which would really, really be a bad idea.. there is certainly room to cut but anything past about a 25% cut would likely mean cuts to the paychecks of our already underpaid soldiers or for the healthcare we provide them after fighting for us) and it still wouldn't solve the deficit. By all means we need to draw down our presence overseas, but cutting the military alone doesn't really fix the underlying budget issues for America.
Furthermore, if you really want the US to cut back on military spending, Europeans are going to need to pull their weight for defense and fulfill their NATO obligations. If I recall correctly, it's basically only Poland and the Baltic states that meet their NATO obligations. I hate Trump but he was right to call out Europe as a whole for being laggardly with regards to defense, especially in light of a more aggressive Russia and the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.
Renewable energy is rapidly reaching cost parity with fossil fuels. The issue with renewables is that they cannot generate sufficient baseload power. Only fossil fuels, hydro, and nuclear can, and this will likely remain the case for at least another 30-40 years. But fossil fuels cause massive environmental damage, and we've basically dammed up every river that we can for hydro. Furthermore, renewables don't have to deal with extremely tight regulation for things like research that nuclear does (for good reason, but still), which means private firms can perform renewables R&D. Without major help from the government, private nuclear R&D wouldn't really exist since the government has to allocate and approve usage of nuclear material and since the initial capital cost of nuclear power is very high.
If we are to deal with climate change in the appropriate manner (that is, REALLY FUCKING FAST), it'll likely mean many new nuclear reactors to replace coal and natural gas. Think about it this way. The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California is set to go offline by 2025. The government of California, as well as PG&E, claim it will be carbon-neutral. They are lying, based on the fact that California still hasn't replaced the carbon-free electricity lost from the closure of the San Onofre plant in 2012. When they shut down Diablo Canyon, it will be about as big a loss of carbon-free energy as if they lost all the renewables installed in California since 2005. One nuclear power plant produces more electricity than kilometers upon kilometers of solar panels and/or wind turbines, and it can do it day or night, rain or shine. Renewables are excellent for small applications (think solar panels on homes and offices) but industries and cities need more electrical power than that.