How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Brock,

    I agree that many of our anti-pollution regulations have made life much better for all of us--part of the advantage of our ( pre-2008 ) economic system where we can afford to spend capital on cleaning up our act.

    Regarding Diesel, only in the last few years have they begun to be any where near as clean as a modern gasoline fueled car (as I understand the sulfur in diesel would clog the particulate traps used to collect fine particulates).

    I have no problem with clean diesel. But, the reality is that diesel engines still have problems meeting California's (and US national?) emissions requirements.
    Mercedes states that their diesel cars are NOT legal for sale in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont. A limited number will be available for lease in California.
    • The 2008 E320 BLUETEC does not meet the emissions requirements of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont and is not available in these states.
    • In California, a limited number of Model Year 2007 E320 BLUETEC vehicles are available for a limited duration and mileage lease only. No purchase option available. Available only to qualified customers through Mercedes-Benz Financial at participating dealers. Not everyone will qualify. Subject to credit approval and inventory availability. See your authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer for complete details on this offer.
    ...
    So, there you have it. Of all the car manufacturers out there only Mercedes has any solid data on a diesel automobile for release in the United States for 2008. Many of these same manufacturers are offering full diesel lineups in Europe but because of tighter emissions standards here in the states we can’t get most of these cars imported.

    2006 article
    predicting diesel is coming to California "soon"...
    In the past, diesels were incredibly polluting, spewing higher levels of sulfur, NOx and particulates (that blue stuff) than conventional unleaded fuel. As part of the Lower Emission Vehicle program, new passenger diesel sales were shunned. At the same time, incremental lowering of sulfur levels has been enacted nationwide. Many Californians, people who desperately needed to own a diesel for whatever reason, could do so by the only slightly illegal loophole of buying a car in a state like Arizona and registering it at their mom/sister/cousin's address. These people (who will go unnamed) then drove around the Golden State with license plates from Oregon or whatever until they reached the magic number 7,500. When the odometer clicked past that reading, they could register in California legally.
    US tightened its diesel NOx to California, New York, et. al. regulations:
    Modern diesels require something of an environmental trade-off. While generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions (due to greater fuel efficiency), diesels emit larger amounts of two other pollutants:
    • Particulate matter is the black cloud that trails many older diesel vehicles. Diesel particulates are harmful to human health as well as aesthetically unpleasing.
    • NOx, while less visible, is a key ingredient in the formation of urban smog, and also can contribute to the formation of acid rain.
    Higher emissions of these pollutants are diesels' greatest drawback. There has been an ongoing split in diesel emissions regulations in the US between those required by the Environmental Protection Agency, and those required by the California Air Resources Board.

    Currently no new diesel passenger vehicles can be sold in the five states that adhere to the more stringent California requirements: California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Vermont. The current diesel Liberty, Beetle, Golf and Jetta, in other words, are 45-state vehicles. The EPA, however, is tightening its diesel emissions requirements, and moving them more into alignment with the California requirements. The point at which the two map exactly for passenger cars is called Tier 2 Bin 5 (T2B5).

    For a 2007 or later model year diesel passenger car to be sold in all 50 states, it must meet the T2B5 emissions requirements. Currently, there are no T2B5-compliant, 50-state diesel cars. One is on the horizon—the new Mercedes E320 BLUETEC, to be introduced in 2007. BLUETEC refers to the emissions after treatment system that enables the vehicle to meet the T2B5 standard. The 2007 E320 BLUETEC has NOx emissions that are more than eight times lower than the outgoing 2006 E320 CDI
    Sounds like they are not quite there yet...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Bill,

    You have way better research skills and perhaps interests than I. (Something I admire by the way.

    I agree with your cited numbers regarding airbag costs, especially in the repair arena. If you dig a bit deeper the numbers get more complicated. For example, if it is your Wife or Daughter (or son or niece or whomever) who has been saved considerable injury by a deployed airbag we might look at the numbers a bit differently.

    As for repair costs, everybody knows that the Auto body repair business is fraught with hand shake/back slap deals between the insurance adjusters, body shops, parts suppliers etc. You could make a macabre argument that the value of the damaged cars in the wrecking yard serve to keep the costs of repairs down for the rest of us. (If only it were true) I have heard that when a wrecking yard buys a salvage, they make their purchase price back on the first major component they sell. Buying a Subaru with a rear end crunch, they can sell the front clip in the right color to the body shop for way more than they paid for the the car. The wrecker wins big, the body shop wins big, (since often times all they have to do is bolt on a number of pieces that are already the right color,,no paint involved) to some extent the insurance company wins because they have cut a deal with the body shop for a discount on the already inflated work.

    I know a small independent shop who does beautiful work at about 1/3 the price of the major shop. ( I do understand the concept of overhead but,,)

    Insurance companies also completely hose the policy holder on a total. My sister was rear ended by a large Pepsi truck in her 6 year old Subuaru. The car was in perfect shape, and we expected it to go another 10 years. It had ~150k on it. Just had a new clutch. The insurance co offered her $3000 under book, in spite of it's repair history and condition. They finally settled on mid book value because they needed to get the money to get a car. Subarus also command a significant premium where they live and sell for as much as 50% more than book. She got paid $5000 for the car, it probably got ~$1000 at auction, maybe a bit less so it cost the insurance company $4000 net, while it cost my sister ~$10k to buy a similar age car with an unknown history. (In fact they bought new, but you get the point.)

    But we digress, (and I really don't want to get into a debate on the merits of Al Gores and his arguments)

    As for mandates in the building industry. My bottom line, as I suggested before, is that I think the US needs to lead with a cogent energy policy. As such it should lead not with heavy handedness, but with proper carrots and sticks. Regardless of how anyone feels about global warming, or peak oil or whatever environmental issue that is dear to you, I think that it is important to pay the complete and true cost of our choices. (not just energy, but in everything as well)

    If we were really paying the cost of burning coal to generate electricity the KWH cost would be considerably higher. We could argue, and Bill you can probably document better than I, what the "real" costs are but I think most would agree that the "real" price of gasoline is probably not $1.70/gal.

    So the carrots encourage behavior that uses fewer resources even thought it's up front costs may be higher. (PV Solar??) The stick is taxing wasteful use of resources, with the proceeds of these taxes going to A: fund energy for the truly poor, B: fund the potential higher cost of the carrots C:Fund and encourage R&D in RE. In the real world, the net cost is quite small, especially compared to other items in our government budgets. Much of the costs can be recouped by the taxes paid by the people employed in these industries.

    I am not enough of a Pollyanna to think that my ideas will solve all the issues we face, but what I am saying is that there is a role for leadership, and the kind of smart energy carrots and sticks can be part of the solution.

    Tony

    My other rant about paying the "real" cost is the importation of cheap goods from abroad, that can me made cheap on the backs of (very) cheap labour and (very) lax environmental regulation. We buy lots of cheap stuff from China, use it up, and then ship it back for disposal. The locals lose upfront in the manufacture with the social upheaval and pollution that comes with that manufacturing. They lose again, when the toxic refuse is return to be "recycled" in very environmentally unfriendly ways,,,,,all so that we can buy "stuff" real cheap. I for one would gladly pay more for better quality knowing that it was made in the most responsible manner possible. And please don't give me the argument that the average consumer can't afford to by quality goods. The reality is that we have driven the middle class out of north america. The manufacturing base has largely gone away in the past few decades, along with the living wage jobs that supported the people who now "can't afford" these products. Couple that with a society that has so much and has been taught to want the "next big thing now!" so that we have mortgaged our futures for our I-pods, and wide screens, and designer clothes etc, rather than working and saving for these things. I believe that in the US there is a negative savings rate, and the average net worth of people is close to zero. (Stats please?) I believe the current economic meltdown is largely a result of this habit in the last generation.

    T
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Tony,

    If we assume, via inflation, airbags saved lives at ~$2 million dollars per life saved... It would "cost" $8 million dollars to save the lives of me and my family...

    I thank you for your high regard for me and my family's lives (and, I am sure, your personal regards for humanity in general)--but, sorry, it just is not cost effective... My health insurance will only pay about $1 million lifetime limitation for medical care (and I pay $920 per month for four with high deductibles). I could, right now, pay more (or find an insurance) with a higher limitation--but I have not chosen to do that. So--I certainly am guilty of placing a value on the lives of my family.

    Give me "free" health insurance, and I will be very happy to use just seat belts which are some 3-4x more effective at saving lives at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost (no, I do not believe in nationalized health care).

    The costs are just not worth the benefits (and even the government only requires front airbags--so they are not even available in most cars, including the cars I own, to "save" my children's lives in the back seat.

    However, I have no problem with airbags being an option (which my wife, effectively choose to buy, when looking for a vehicle with side airbags).

    Can't disagree with your discussion of repair shop rates.

    Can't disagree with your insurance issues either (similar problems when our van was totaled--and the person that hit my wife had the same insurance company as us--the company certainly was not falling over themselves to get a good price for our van... Eventually, instead of arguing about the value, they "tweaked" a value (condition) in the spreadsheet to come up with a reasonable value).
    But we digress, (and I really don't want to get into a debate on the merits of Al Gores and his arguments)
    Oh... But that would be so much fun! :p

    Mandates--I would prefer that it be set as a minimum requirement for energy use, or something like that...

    Example; a new home would use $xxx of energy per year. How that is accomplished (solar electricity, solar heating, insulation, conservation, etc.) would be up to the individual.

    However, even the above is just to "nanny state" for me... I am in California and have a $6 per month electric bill... For those in the North (snow) or those in the south (heat, humidity)--do I use my home in a temperate climate to, effectively, say do as I do or pay $$$$ for self energy generation (or cut down trees on your property) or force everyone to move to a thin belt in the US only where it is cost effective for people to heat their homes--unless you have a government internal visa to move to where the Mine, Hydro plant, crops are grown, etc... And, if you are rich, you can afford to pay for a larger than 900 square foot home...

    I have a hard time seeing how this ends up being the government's business.

    I understand the argument that government needs to increase fuel/BTU taxes to cover the "real cost" of energy (coal, oil, etc.)... Maybe--if 100% of those monies went into remediation (cleanup and prevention)... But I do not trust my government to do that. In the end, it all goes into the general fund (see Social Security, Medicare taxes, Cigarette Lawsuits, etc.) or be directed to "special" interests (see Trillion Dollar Bailout, Billion Dollars to union companies, Public Transportation--in my area, a $1.50 bus ride costs almost $5.00... The Ready Wheels--bus taxi for elderly/handycap--cost $38 per ride (rides are typically only a few miles).

    Look at Europe... We are paying $1.70 to $4.60 per gallon for gas... In Europe they are, roughly, $6-$8.00+ per gallon. Are they paying the "true cost" for gasoline--or are their governments just tapping another source for money--Europe, at least as concerns cars, does not have as strong as environmental legislation as the US--so how did those high fuel costs help?

    Solar Panels (and silicon blanks) where heavily subsidized by government to bring local jobs and tax revenues. Just like Silicon Fabs for microprocessors:
    When I looked around the table and asked if any of them were from Oregon, they sort of giggled and said no. The six came from Seattle, Hong Kong, Pakistan, India, San Diego and New York. All did their graduate studies in the U.S., all outside Oregon.

    "The general public does not put Oregon synonymous with high-tech research," said Tahir Ghani, an Intel electrical engineer from Pakistan.
    So why are they in Hillsboro, doing some of the most advanced technology research anywhere, hundreds of miles from any of the nation's top engineering schools?

    Oregon is home to D1D, a $2 billion research factory in Hillsboro that Intel opened in 2004. The company put it here, along with other big factories that date to the early '90s, in large part because the cost of living and the cost of employing a work force here is much lower than places like the Silicon Valley. Oregon tax breaks, which exempt Intel from property taxes on most of its equipment, made the decision easier. And we're still relatively close -- less than two hours on Intel's jet, flying from the Hillsboro Airport -- to the company's Santa Clara headquarters.
    So, another government carrot that encouraged growth and energy waste by placing a factory in the "middle of nowhere" -- and avoids operations in states (like California) where electric costs are ~6x the costs of other places (like those with TVA power).

    Regarding the "real costs" of importation... Imports subsidies (tariff reductions, inspection relaxation, various visas, foreign aid, development aid, etc.) are all just another way for our government to give away our money "off the books"...

    And, besides exporting pollution, I have pretty much come to the conclusion we are outsourcing slavery (directly through products we buy, and our oil monies going to not very nice governments). Not very moral at all--our current policies.

    Economic wise--I "feel" that exporting manufacturing is terrible for jobs at home (jobs gone, real wages depressed, taxes lost, pollution and moral issues)...

    However, thers smarter than I have argued that it is wise to let "low skill/low pay" jobs go overseas and keep the high skill/high pay jobs here. Certainly, to a degree, low cost products (and now services like call centers) have help keep inflation relatively low and our standard of living high. Is this another bubble--probably.

    My two cents on who to "blame" for jobs going overseas and our current economic collapse (besides government)...

    MBA's (Masters of Business Administration) and their spread sheets.

    I have seen MBA's argue that slicing costs, comparing costs between local and oversea sources, and such--have been done a lot like we do in engineering design (such as using computers in structural analysis and simulations).

    To a degree, this was/is a good thing... In real life, you will not see flying diesel locomotives/trains because they are to darn heavy and cannot support their own weight without external structures (tracks).

    However, we have large, fuel efficient, and safe aircraft, exactly because of structural analysis that allowed the "fat" to be removed from the airframe and still have a, relatively safe/fast/inexpensive mode of transit.

    MBA's did similar things--buy a piece of property, get a loan for the building, then sell the properly to an insurance company, and lease back the property for a tax break... Figure out that a widget could be built overseas for 10% of the cost, pay another 20% for shipment and customers, get a letter of credit to pay the supplier with terms where you don't have to pay of the letter until after the product has sold (microwave ovens were an early adopter of this business model), etc...

    Sounds good... But, unlike engineering/material sciences, where the materials and behaviors are well understood (and controlled through processes and inspections and testing) and failures relatively localized (one wing fails, one plane falls out of the sky)--MBA's created a whole interconnected web of open loop business processes... Nobody knew if anything was safe or not... Or if it was safe at one point, it has now become unsafe... They sold/rented/borrowed 97% of the value of the company (example in Fannie Mae--US Gov backed company for home mortgages... See starting at 7:30 in for currently 3% reserves vs former head Franklin D. Rains saying that these investments are so safe that they should be down to 2% reserves) in the good times--and when just 2% of the loans went bad--there was nothing reserved to carry them (and everyone else) through the bad times... And the "profits" went primarily to the people running these companies (not even the investors at large).

    Typical engineering rules of thumb (prior to computer structural analysis and high tech materials--sort of the difference between a DC-3/C-47 and a modern commercial airliner) required a 10x safety factor... That concrete building you work in--a 10x safety factor to allow for a week piece of concrete or a week joint, a design flaw, aging, accident (car hits building), weather (wind, rain, ice), and to limit the effects of failures when they occur (fire walls, fire breaks, flame retardant materials, stair wells, fire sprinklers, etc.)...

    What the MBA's (and high finance) have created--a house of cards.

    All built on the assumption of low cost energy and, if they could not drill here, they could drill in other countries with weaker laws/regulations and more open to bribery (than even our congress).

    --That was a stretch--had to figure out how to get this thread back on energy and regulations... ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Bill,

    It is nice that we can agree to disagree and still walk away respecting one another...

    We come to our bias' from very different directions, and yet in many ways we are not too far apart on most subjects. I come this from an odd position of being a trans-border Canadian/American who spends much time of both sides of the border. I come from, and still am a working class background with no college education, but I choose to hang with some quite well educated folks. You by contrast live in perhaps one of the most regulated areas of the most regulated state in the US. I think those realities colour our perspectives,,, not always to the good, but certainly not always to the bad either.

    Do I trust government to do the right thing?,,, not really, but I believe that "good government" can lead with "good policy". You call that the nanny state, and in someways I don't disagree, but I call it progressive. Does government policy always work? Of course not,,especially of late in the US and to some extent in Canada. (I will try to keep this US centric as most of us are 'mericans). Having said that, it is clear that lack of regulation (mandates) don't work very well.

    It is clear that reasonable building codes, while they mandate certain standards and come at a cost, result in safer, better buildings. We can and do argue nuance, but it is clear that if the seismic codes that are required in California were in place in China during the recent earthquake the loss of life would be reduced. I am not particularly interested in how much a life is worth in China vs what that life is worth in CA, but the reality is the people in CA an afford it.

    The point I continually go back to is this: I think that a government energy policy that encourages reduced use of fossil fuels and encourages the use of alternative energy is a GOOD thing. We can argue if it is a good thing because of C02 emissions or because it reduces our need to import foreign oil and gas, or even for some other reason, but most of us would agree that this is good public policy. As always the devil is in the details. One thing is clear IMHO, and that is that government has a role to play in this. I don't believe the private sector will on it's own do the right thing. Industry didn't make clean cars or efficient fridges or furnaces until they were mandated to do so. Solar panels might not exist if government hadn't used it's resources to stimulate R&D through the space program.

    I think that the way you make this work, is by convincing our leaders who in fact work for us, that they need to be held accountable for the outcome. We should encourage the carrot and stick, and if a program proves to be effective it should be encouraged. If it proves not to be effective it should be canned. We also can argue the ultimate effectiveness of "The New Deal", but a couple of things are clear. The first is that FDR et al tried lots of ideas, and canned many that didn't work. They weren't afraid to fail. The second is, there is, today, a significant lasting legacy of that era. The BPA, TVA, thousands of CCC projects, roads, libraries, City Halls, schools that were build during that time. I humbly suggest that the new administration should focus on energy issues that pay long term dividends rather than short term infusions of cash. Investing in "the smart grid", RE, conservation technology. Giving tax credits to add insulation to buildings pays off in many ways. It provides short term jobs, provides long term benefit by way of reducing energy loads thereby reducing emissions and the use of foreign oil,,, and it pays off again and again every year. Providing tax credit for energy efficient construction, appliances and RE have the same effect. The spin off is some of the "green collar" jobs we hear so much about. PV installers, smart grid builders, home insulators cannot be off shore outsourced.

    I am not calling for a big brother approach to all of this in that "Ye shall, or shall not do...." but more "if you do this,, we (the gov (local, state, fed whatever) will reward you this way" If you chose to build a mega trophy house that is energy inefficient that is your right, but we we penalize you this way,,, by energy taxes, and use the proceeds to subsidize the heating/cooling needs of the truly poor.

    If you choose to drive a 10mpg SUV to commute, that is your right, but we are going to tax fuel $2/gal, use the proceeds to fund R&D for alt fuel vehicles and mass transit.

    In the end, we have the choices to make, but we need too encourage the leadership to change the failed policies of the past decades. No matter what you feel about the subject, the current gas price not withstanding, the days of cheap energy are over! As the economy recovers and the demand rises,, and it will rise, the price of gas won't go just to $4/gal. but to $5 or $8 and then there will be a gnashing of teeth and a wailing that "someone should do something,,,,drill baby drill,,,mine more coal,,,grow more corn for ethanol,,," The time is unique. We are now at a threshold and if we want to prevent the next melt down, it is time that we react now, and use this short time of cheap prices to "do something"! The doing something MUST include comprehensive energy standards across the board that are well thought out and reasonable, but most important they need to work. There needs to be a mechanism to can those programs that don't and grow those that do.

    As Pogo once said,,,"I have met the enemy,,,,and he is us"

    Tony
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    All true, yes they are getting better. I, and this is just me, would prefer NOx (smog, low lying gasses) to CO2 (green house gasses). In the CO2 realm diesels tend to be much better than gasoline engines, about 1/2 to 1/4 that of gasoline for a gallon burned.

    Which brings me to my next point if my Jetta wagon getting 55.58 mpg over 80768 miles puts out twice the NOx as a gasoline engine, then I am putting out less NOx than any gas engine achieving under 27.79 mpg right? I don't know all the exact numbers but it seems to me In my opinion the world is better off with me running my Jetta wagon then a hummer which is rated a LEV and mine is not... Go figure.

    I am not sure how much NOx is reduced running bio diesel, but I do run that primarily in summer, mostly because I would rather give my money to a farmer in Iowa for soy, then to who knows for crude.

    Again this is just me and my thoughts.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Tony,

    I type so much because I enjoy reading your (and other's) views and experiences too...

    And, for me, please feel free to bring Canada into the discussion... I don't think good ideas (or bad ones either) stop at the border.

    Can't disagree with anything you just typed... Except the "New Deal"... There are multiple sources that have concluded that FDR delayed (and worsened) the Great Depression by some 7-9 years (+/-). And that it ended with World War II.
    [Roosevelt] came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies," Cole said in a press release dated Aug. 10, 2004.

    The professors paid particular attention to the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and the effect it had on competition. Passed in June 1933, the NIRA required companies to write industry-wide fair competition codes that fixed prices and wages, established production quotas, and imposed restrictions on companies if they wanted to enter into alliances, according to OurDocuments.gov.

    The Supreme Court declared the NIRA unconstitutional two years after it was passed, but Cole and Ohanian said that the act caused enough damage during those two years leading to even more regulation.

    Roosevelt pushed on after the NIRA was declared unconstitutional with the 1935 National Relations Act (NRA), which sought to regulate private sector labor and management practices, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

    The NRA swelled the strength of Labor unions in 1936 and 1937 and as a result Cole and Ohanian estimated that there were 14 million strike days in 1936 and 28 million in 1937.

    But the negative influence of FDR’s policies on the economic crisis of his day has been virtually ignored by the news media – despite hundreds of comparisons to the Great Depression in 2008.


    FDR even supported what Pres. Hoover was doing to try and stem the failing economy.

    You can go through this link and see all of the things that were done--and typically made the depression worst (with a connection the GD in Canada. :cool: ):

    Unit Banking Laws - Hoover and FDR - the laws as I understand them were in place before either was in power and neither did anything to repeal them. These laws prevented banks from expanding to new areas in order to cover short-falls in their current business plan. In other words, they couldn’t expand the services they provided to clients in order to increase profits. Canada experienced a GD at the same time that we did and yet, without unit banking laws, not a single Canadian bank failed while 9,000 failed in America.
    ...
    Federal Reserve kept raising interest rates (1928-1929) Hoover - The Fed raised interest rates up to 6% in 1929 making previously available capital scarce if not non-existent. For some reason they failed to effectively regulate interest rates for the next decade.
    ...
    The Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1930) Hoover - One of the most protectionist pieces of legislation ever enacted in America. It essentially increased import taxes on nearly everything and as a result, not only did imports grind to a halt, so did exports. Almost overnight he destroyed the jobs of 60,000 Americans employed to make clothing from cheap imported wool that now increased in price by 140%. That’s just one example of the 1000’s..
    ...
    Increased income tax from 24% to 90% for top income bracket (1932-1940) Hoover and then FDR - Hoover increased them to 63%, FDR took it from there and even signed an executive order levying a 100% income tax on all individuals making $25,000 per year or more!...
    Government spending (1928-1941) Hoover and FDR - Hoover increased the government’s percentage of GNP from 16.4% to 21.5% from 1930-1931! FDR proposed a $10 billion dollar budget with $3.5 billion in revenue. From 1933-1936 government spending increased 83% while the debt increased 73% under the guidance of FDR.
    ...
    National Recovery Administration (1933) FDR - or NRA was estimated to increase the cost of doing business by an average of 40% - 5 months before the NRA was enacted, factory employment was up 23% and payrolls were up 35% - within 6 months after the NRA industrial production dropped 25%.


    Note, the above website turns out to be very pro-republican as I was reading through the information (just a Google hit about the Great Depression brought me here)... I deleted the commentary and left some of the major bullet points (that highlight some of the problems caused by FDR and his policies--In my humble opinion). No need to re-fight the last presidential election here.

    Regarding China... Been there (two decades ago), my wife was born in the area, and my brother-in-law does business there.

    China has some very reasonable building codes... And there were many buildings that did not fall. And many of the buildings that did fall did not meet building codes (through government corruption, and some were built, virtually, using cement and garbage).
    Earthquake engineers say that constructing a building to resist a quake of magnitude 7 or 8 is possible, but is often considered cost prohibitive, adding 7 to 8 percent in costs.

    "Earthquake resistance is really more workmanship, than material," Amr Elnashai, director of the Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says.

    Most seismologists interviewed say that China's quake code is adequate, if not the most up-to-date. "It is well-defined and has all the right features," says Mr. Elnashai.
    ...
    China has "fairly rigorous building codes that have been in place. The problem is implementation of the codes," says Andrew Smeall, an associate with the Asia Society's US-China Center in New York.


    These ongoing collapses (long history of school and building failures) in China are the result of Government:
    In September [2008], a Chinese government scientist acknowledged that a rush to build schools in recent years likely led to construction flaws causing so many of them to collapse — the first official admission that low construction standards may have been behind the student deaths.

    Often schoolhouses were the only buildings in the area to fully collapse, and experts say China's problem, similar to that in many other parts of the world, was a lack of commitment by governments to safe schools.
    Regarding the pricing of gas... Who do you think "$4 per gallon" gas will hurt more??? The US where gas "costs" $3 per gallon and has $1 per gallon in taxes or in Europe where gas "costs" $3 per gallon and they have $12 per gallon gasoline (using the historical 3-4x tax structure that Eurpean countries seem to use)...

    In California, the government can allow electric cars (and $3-$37 per passenger bus subsidies) because the taxes are relatively low...

    Assume 20mph car, we pay around $0.012 per mile (using Oregon's $0.24 per gallon gas tax numbers from earlier post here)... In Europe, they probably pay around $6.00 per gallon (at peak price) in taxes:

    $6.00 / 20 mph = $0.30 per mile in taxes (or even $0.15 if assume 40mpg car).

    Europe could not afford an electric car unless some method of new tax collection method is created (such as GPS).

    The "underlying" price of fuel is not what makes Europe expensive to drive/ship in... It is the underlying taxes that run the costs up.

    So, what is the "true cost" of government? Has the time for "cheap government" ended?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Bill,

    Like I said, there is considerable argument as to the real results of "The New Deal" I have a particular bias as my grandfather was in Roosevelt's cabinet!

    What is clear from the New Deal, is that FDR brought real hope to people at a time when there was little. Since you can't quantify what didn't happen, it is hard to guess as to what the net effect of the great depression would have been without the intervention of The New Deal. (I agree that the real end of the depression came with the advent of WWII).

    I will leave it to historians to sort out the reality of The New Deal. I do know that the hope and change that FDR brought to the country was real. My other grandfather was an engineer with the CCC and without that work, my mothers family would have starved in the dust bowl.

    Then, as perhaps now, we are facing a situation that is different from any other that has presented itself in the past. Now as then, IMHO, it is time for bold action that reassure people that the government is doing something. There is a value in hope over logic!

    As for building codes,, you're right in that corrupt government trumps good intentions,,everywhere. Fire codes in NYC or Chicago that go overlooked for a few $$ or seismic codes in China.

    I agree that there comes a point where codes and their costs surpass the value of the safety gain but I would argue that we would have willingly paid the 7-8% cost increase if it would save the entire value of the building in the event of a predictable seismic event. ( I realize that you can't design for every possible eventuality, but if you reasonably could expect a X magnitude quake in the reasonable life of a structure, AND ESPECIALLY if the cost of that failure would be greater that just the structure itself, then 7-8% is not unreasonable.

    I'll write about cars/europe later. I've got to trace a gas valve problem!

    Happy new year,

    T
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Bill,

    I suspect that we will never agree on much of this. It is indeed the epic debate between classic social democracy/liberalism vs Lasse faire (sp?) conservatism.

    We could have arguments from here to forever but it comes down to the basic question of "how much government is good in our lifes?" I often times come down on the side of more,, you come down on the side of less. I see value in a balance, that indeed liberalism gone too far leads to a disintegration of the value of work, but conservatism gone to far leads to people starving in the street.

    You ask "what is the cost of government?" Using your example of the cost of gasoline in Europe vs the cost in the US. If the EU takes that tax money and funds good health care, good urban mass transit, good intercity highspeed rail, and the market responds with smaller, fuel efficient cars to reflect the cost of fuel, then in my mind every one wins. (Perhaps some more than others, but everyone gets some benefit).

    If we use the US example, fuel taxes go to building and maintaining roads (almost everyone would concede that they don't as we see bridges and roads failing due to lack of maintenence) the benefits go to drivers, and to the trucking industry.

    The US has a medical system that is the envy of no one, except perhaps insurance company execs. We spend ~ twice as much PER CAPITA as the average G-8 county on health care, and have poorer results to show for it. We have a system that is broken and needs to be fixed. Our system is sort of a three tiered system. If you are employed and have the luck to have good coverage you are doing ok. Your premiums come at a discount because your employer can negotiate by scale. If you are poor and have no insurance your only course for care in many places is the Emergency Dept. of a public hospital. This care is far and away the MOST expensive care out there. These people have no other choice because the ER cannot refuse to treat because you can't pay. As a result most poor people have no primary care doctor because the payment from medicaid is so small, family docs can't treat more than a handful of medicaid patients.

    In addition, family docs are squeezed by hmo and insurance re-embursments that discount services to the point when the quality of care suffers and doc leave family practice because they can't make a living. (It is not that they can't get rich,,,family docs in the US are struggling to keep up. My good friend, a family doc in the US makes less now, at the age of 60 after practicing 30+ years then he made 20 years ago.

    That leave the working, but self insured. These people get hosed, because they can't get the discounts of the group insurance people, and they have to pick up a disproportional share of unpaid cost of the poor, because the hospitals and the family docs have to try to make it up some where.

    Which brings us to US medicare. Why is it that single payer "socialized" medicine bad once we turn 65? My mother had great care, choice of doctor, specialist after she turned 65,, all while medicare paid the bill.

    One (significant) problem is the "for profit" aspect of our health care. We have "for profit" hospitals, medical clinics, labs, PT clinics, etc, etc, etc. but we also have a "for profit" insurance system. Why is it that education is a right, but health care is not? Why should there be so much money to be made along the way by people who have no real stake in our health care?

    In Canada, a typical hospital has 1 billing clerk, mostly to bill US patients who happen to fall ill while in Canada. I have friends who have a Physical Therapy clinic in the states. For 4 PT, they have 4 billing clerks who spend all their days working through the myriad of insurance payment schemes, all the while the insurance company is doing it's best to deny coverage,, because it is in the best interest of "the shareholders"!

    So here is my take,,,, Is the Canadian system perfect? Of course not. Is the US system perfect? Clearly not. Canadian's biggest complaint is potential long waits for cutting edge care, but the reality is that no one goes broke just because they got sick or hurt.

    The US spends twice as much per capita as the Canadian on health care. If Canadian's were to spend 3/4 of what the US spends it would be the envy of the world.

    In the US the complaint is " we don't want to pay higher taxes" The reality is that we pay for it anyway,,, we just don't call it a tax. For example, a middle age couple I know who are basically healthy paid $16,000 in medical costs in the year 2005! That was doctors, dentists, eye care and scripts, Oh and insurance premiums. This on an income of ~$55,000.

    Say what you wish about traditional liberalism, but from it came the 40 hour work week, over time pay, the right to organize, (unions, particularly the auto workers have brought more people into the middle class than anything else,,, but that is an argument for another day!) Social security insurance, unemployment insurance, FDIC, Medicare,,, and in Canada health care, amongst other things. I consider ALL of these a good thing. Do I think liberalism to be perfect? No, but with out it many of the things we take for granted would go away.

    So, the debate is what role should government play in mandating energy conservation. I go back to my initial argument. Good energy policy is good for the country and indeed the rest of the world. There are times when the public good supercedes the individual.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.
    Brock wrote: »
    All true, yes they are getting better. I, and this is just me, would prefer NOx (smog, low lying gasses) to CO2 (green house gasses). In the CO2 realm diesels tend to be much better than gasoline engines, about 1/2 to 1/4 that of gasoline for a gallon burned.

    Perhaps we should start an AGW topic? (or not???)...

    Sufficient to say that CO2, at best, has been shown as a lagging indicator of rising global temperatures...

    And at ~385 PPM or 0.0385% is not hazardous at all... In a submarine (or space station), they run CO2 levels up to 0.7%-1.2% and at 1%, there have been no signs of short term affects on bone health (acidosis may be an issue at these levels--so there is concern).

    In any case, people live and work in 10-20+ times current atmospheric CO2 levels--so we are probably still a long way from needed to pull the alarm and panic.

    The fact that CO2 is a very weak Green House Gas, and Water Vapor is a very strong Green House Gas and that CO2 is a fertilizer---More CO2 (at least at these current levels) seems to offer more good than bad (at current levels).

    Vs the well known hazards for NOx:
    The "very unhealthy" range for some other pollutants are:... 0.65 ppm - 1.24 ppm for NO2
    And the "maximum" clean air standard for NOx (actually NO2) is:
    0.053 ppm (100 μg/m³)
    And even at these levels (which are ~1/300-1/10,000 the levels of CO2) and below, NOx still produces photo chemical smog (which I can see many days out here in San Francisco and down south to San Jose).

    All this is the long about way of saying that I believe NOx (and other pollutants) are much more of an issue than CO2 is...

    From this chart (I assume is for "cars"--handy comparison charts provided by a New Zealand platinum dealer--wonder why?), you can see what the last 10 years of Gasoline and Diesel NOx (and other pollutants) comparisons (national standard changes over time).

    Basically, up to around 2003 or so, the US allowed ~0.6 grams/km, while gasoline engines where held to 0.25 gm/km... By 2009 or so, both types of engines will have to meet ~0.2 gm/km or so (chart is not that exact in this illustration).

    So, if the information is correct... These is NOx/pollutants per km/mile... Not NOx/pollutants per gallon of fuel. Therefore (without going and finding Jetta wagon emissions data)--it would appear that it produced more NOx than a similar gasoline powered car--irregardless of the mpg either achieves.

    Comparing to a Hummer--don't know the gm/km--it is not easy to find this information (or at least I have not found the direct source yet)--but, because of government rules--GVW vehicles over 8,500 lbs don't have to meet "car" type pollution requirements (GVW is supposed to rise around now or next year to cover Suburbans/Hummer sized vehicles too).

    And, running Biodiesel appears to have minimal impact on NOx output:
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Georgia,Times] "Nitrous Oxides (NOx) are reported by several researchers to be increased with Biodiesel. However, our own data shows a reduction in nitrous oxides, very consistently, throughout all these [dynamometer] tests. NOx started at 6.2 gm/mile for diesel and goes down to around 5.6 gm/mile with 100% ester (Biodiesel), with slightly more reduction with REE (rapeseed ethyl ester) than RME (rapeseed methyl ester)... Emissions results for 100 percent ester compared with diesel control fuel show a 53% reduction in HC (Hydrocarbons), a 50% reduction in CO (Carbon monoxide), 10% reduction in NOx and 13.6% increase in PM (particulate matter)." -- "Toxicology, Biodegradability and Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel", Charles L. Peterson and Daryl Reece, Professor and Engineering Technician, Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, 1994[/FONT]
    So, depending on a lot of stuff--It is possible that your Jetta produces, very rough guess, 100x (add: probably 10x, not 100x) the NOx of a modern California certified low NOx vehicle (perhaps this would be for a Prius class car--not really sure--getting late).

    So--my conclusion, you may be producing 1/2 CO2 of cars (or less, comparing biodiesel to fossil diesel as a "new source" of CO2 to the atmosphere--which I don't agree is an AGW problem)--but possibly a huge (add: at least 10x) increase in the output of poisonous NOx (add: with respect to gasoline powered cars) that can kill in low concentrations.

    Again--this is the engineer talking about the conclusion... I am enjoying the discussions and the new things I am learning as I read up on this stuff.

    -Bill

    PS: As always, I may have made some goofs along the way--if you see any--please let me know.

    Also, I tried to link directly (or if you click on the summary web page) or through the background material to the original source. And--every website has an agenda and perhaps their own mistakes. So, please verify and/or supply your own links for discussion.

    PPS: Note that the Biodiesel test showed ~6 gm/km and the Jetta (depending on year) may be ~0.6 gm/km--a big improvement--but still not as good as gasoline cars are today.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Good info, I didn't realize NOx was that bad. It's funny because when we work on TDI, they leave them idling inside a garage while working on them and they can't with a gasoline engine because everyone gets sick. Not sure what it is that makes people sick with gasoline exhaust compared to diesel exhaust.

    They often joke that if everyone had diesels no one could kill themselves in a closed garage with the car idling...
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Typically, gasoline engine exhaust has lots of CO (carbon monoxide), hence the use of Propane for forklifts and other industrial engines when used in buildings, etc.:
    Tests conducted by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency show that properly tuned propane engines produce 30% to 90% less carbon monoxide than properly tuned gasoline engines.
    More info:
    [SIZE=-1]Is carbon monoxide a problem with diesel engines? Usually not, although any engine, including diesel, produces CO when combustion is incomplete. Diesel (compression ignition) engines run with an excess of air and often produce less than 1200 ppm CO. When diesel fuel is burned incompletely or when overloaded and over-fueled (rich mixture), diesel engines will produce high concentrations of CO. Diesels usually pollute the air with particulates and nitrogen oxides, not CO.

    [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Is carbon monoxide a problem with LPG engines? Yes, and the same precautions against running a gasoline engine in an enclosed space should be observed with an LPG engine. Industry sources report a properly tuned LPG engine will produce from 200 to 20,000 ppm, depending on load. A difference in CO production from an engine operating on LPG and one operating on gasoline usually results from more complete combustion of the LPG because it is already a vapor. Unfortunately, most LPG engines have simple fuel delivery systems which can easily be adjusted too rich, allowing extra fuel into the engine and the subsequent high production of carbon monoxide. On one new engine, adjustment of the idle mixture reduced CO concentrations from 44,500 ppm to 600 ppm.
    [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]If LPG engines can produce high levels of CO, why are they used inside buildings? LPG burns cleaner than gasoline, and is a common fuel for forklifts and other engines used inside. The exhaust fumes are noticeably free from aldehydes, the odorous and eye-irritating compounds found in gasoline exhaust. Typically LPG engines produce less carbon monoxide than a straight gasoline engine, however new modern gasoline engines with catalytic converters and fuel injection, will produce less CO than an LPG engine. Remember that LPG engines do produce CO, and LPG engines running rich or misfiring produce extremely high concentrations of CO. NEVER USE LPG ENGINES IN AN UNVENTILATED AREA![/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]What about other engines used inside, like those on gasoline powered electrical generators, concrete finishers, water pumps, and high pressure power washers? Small gasoline engines used on many tools typically use simple carburetor systems with limited control over the air-fuel ratio. The engines run rich with high concentrations of carbon monoxide, typically 30,000 ppm or more. Manufacturers stress that the engines are to be used only in well-ventilated outdoor areas, and are NEVER to be used indoors even with ventilation. A 1996 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Alert calculated carbon monoxide concentrations in a 10,000 cubic foot room (21 x 21 x 21 feet) when a 5-horsepower gasoline engine was operated. With one air change per hour CO concentrations reached over 1,200 ppm (the Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health level) in less than 8 minutes. Even with ventilation providing 5 air changes per hour, 1200 ppm was reached in less than 12 minutes. It is not safe to operate gasoline engines indoors![/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]Are LPG powered floor buffers safe to use indoors? The combustion pollutants produced are a potential health risk and are known to have caused carbon monoxide poisoning. Special engines with oxygen sensors and catalytic converters which closely control the air-fuel ratio and reduce contaminant concentrations (including carbon monoxide) in the exhaust stream are available. Only buffers with low emission engines should be used indoors. Manufacturers' recommendations must be followed; provide adequate ventilation, proper maintenance, training for workers, and using carbon monoxide detectors. Remember that high risk individuals, such as the elderly, the young, and the sick are at special risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.[/SIZE]
    Well--looking around, modern automotive engines produce much less CO than older engines. And, LPG engines, can, produce less CO (or more, if running badly) but produce less [SIZE=-1]aldehydes (eye irritants and bad smell) than gasoline engines.

    And for example, a 5 HP gasoline engine (like a generator) running in a 21'x21'x21' room (even with air circulation) can accumulate a deadly amount of CO in as little as 8-12 minutes.

    And idling diesels are naturally low in CO emissions (pretty much complete combustion).

    In the end, running any engine indoors, especially without proper monitoring equipment--is very risky and potentially deadly.

    -Bill "learning more every day" B.
    [/SIZE]
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    While I am a fan of diesels due to their inherent efficiencies, (emission issues not withstanding) I am not a big fan of bio-fuels, except in the rare case of using true waste oil. Bio-fuels ultimately come at the expense of food,,,not just for us, but for the world as a whole. In addition, Dennis Hayes of the Bullet Foundation suggests that the earth creates somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 terrawatts of bio-mass per year. That is ALL the biomass grown each and every year,,, all the trees, leaves, grass, algae, plankton,,,,all of it. He suggests that we burn somewhere around 12 tw/year.(from all sources for all energy needs)

    To think that we could wean ourselves off fossil with bio-fuels is stop gap at best. As with so many things, the laws of unintended consiquences are pretty serious. Can you say corn based ethanol?

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Tony/Icarus,

    You asked a lot of questions along the way... Almost any one of them would make for a very good political thread in itself. But since this is not a political discussion board, I will try to address a few of them--slanted towards mandates and energy polices of governments.
    You ask "what is the cost of government?" Using your example of the cost of gasoline in Europe vs the cost in the US. If the EU takes that tax money and funds good health care, good urban mass transit, good intercity highspeed rail, and the market responds with smaller, fuel efficient cars to reflect the cost of fuel, then in my mind every one wins. (Perhaps some more than others, but everyone gets some benefit).
    I don't have an issue with Europeans voting to have nationalized programs and to fund them through taxes. Personally, I believe Europe is beginning to pay, big time, for those polices--and time will tell.
    The US has a medical system that is the envy of no one, except perhaps insurance company execs.
    Except all of those people that come to the US as a place of last resort for our health care here. Of course we can find lots of articles comparing US and Canadian systems:
    A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer-generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."

    The patient wasn't dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. But there are many Canadians who claim the long wait for the test and the frigid formality of the letter are indicative of a health system badly in need of emergency care.
    ...
    The average Canadian family pays about 48 percent of its income in taxes each year, partly to fund the health care system. Rates vary from province to province, but Ontario, the most populous, spends roughly 40 percent of every tax dollar on health care, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

    The system is going broke, says the federation, which campaigns for tax reform and private enterprise in health care.

    It calculates that at present rates, Ontario will be spending 85 percent of its budget on health care by 2035. "We can't afford a state monopoly on health care anymore," says Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the federation. "We have to examine private alternatives as well."
    And people, through their governments, allocate their resources... Such as:
    The RCN [Royal Canadian Navy] expanded greatly during the Second World War and following the end of the war was the third-largest navy in the world, behind the United States and the United Kingdom.
    But now, the RCN is quite small (from what I understand)...
    If you are poor and have no insurance your only course for care in many places is the Emergency Dept. of a public hospital.
    And you will receive free hospital care in the US. In California, because of government mandates, emergency rooms and hospitals are closing around the state...
    As a result most poor people have no primary care doctor because the payment from medicaid is so small, family docs can't treat more than a handful of medicaid patients.
    My wife and I don't have a primary doctor either (and we are not an HMO). Go so seldom, it is not worth it.
    Which brings us to US medicare. Why is it that single payer "socialized" medicine bad once we turn 65? My mother had great care, choice of doctor, specialist after she turned 65,, all while medicare paid the bill.
    Because, in reality, our US Government is running a Ponzi Scheme. If any business tried doing this, they would be in jail.

    The push to nationalize our health care, actually appears to be a hidden agenda to cover the fact every level of our government has gone broke and cannot meet all of its commitments:
    Consider this staggering comparison: State and local public employees comprise approximately 12 percent of the U.S. workforce and have an estimated $800 billion or more of unfunded pension liabilities (not counting other post-employment benefits). By comparison, employees in the private or corporate sector make up about 78 percent of the U.S. workforce with an estimated $450 billion of unfunded liabilities.
    Note, that the government is some 10+ in worst shape (regarding pensions) than private enterprise... And, in California, our government is so hooked on providing free stuff to everyone, they have taken out loans on everything they could--while bypassing the laws that require a public vote for bonded indebtedness:
    California cities, counties and other agencies borrowed $54 billion last year, nearly twice as much as in 2000, and governments are straining under the load.

    Statewide, 24 cities and public agencies missed scheduled debt payments this year or were forced to tap reserves or credit lines to stay current, records show. That's up from nine in 2006, according to the bond industry's self-regulatory agency.

    The city of Vallejo, burdened with huge debt obligations, in May became the largest city in California history to file for bankruptcy protection. Chula Vista, Orange County and Palmdale are among the other cities and counties staring at red ink.
    ...
    "They're circumventing the intent of the law," said Larry Stein, an Oxnard accountant and longtime city activist. "They're indebting the taxpayers using future revenue streams that may or may not pan out in the long run. But the taxpayers have no say."

    Of more than 10,000 bonds and other debt vehicles issued between 1998 and 2007, fewer than 700 went to a public vote, according to the state treasurer's office.
    ...but the reality is the people in CA [California?] an afford it.
    No, we cannot...
    What is clear from the New Deal, is that FDR brought real hope to people at a time when there was little. Since you can't quantify what didn't happen, it is hard to guess as to what the net effect of the great depression would have been without the intervention of The New Deal. (I agree that the real end of the depression came with the advent of WWII).
    ...
    I will leave it to historians to sort out the reality of The New Deal. I do know that the hope and change that FDR brought to the country was real. My other grandfather was an engineer with the CCC and without that work, my mothers family would have starved in the dust bowl.
    And my father's family starved because of it (my father hunted squirrels in Denver Colorado to help feed them).

    And, I did quantify what FDR did using a UCLA research paper--He lengthened the Depression by ~7 years--and even you agreed it took WWII to end it (some 14 years after it started)--And I don't think either of us want to see that sort of end today (or ever).

    But, if, as you claim "ince you can't quantify what didn't happen, it is hard to guess as to what the net effect of the great depression would have been without the intervention of The New Deal...", then the government had no right then, and no right now, to implement anything for the "good of the people/world" because they cannot predict what will, or will not, happen.

    Personally, I think much of what rules, regulations, and laws do are perfectly predictable... Too many just want to shut their eyes to history and human nature.

    [break]
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    [continued]
    I see value in a balance, that indeed liberalism gone too far leads to a disintegration of the value of work, but conservatism gone to far leads to people starving in the street.
    I agree with the first statement--but not with the second... The US, overall, is a pretty conservative country and the problem with many of our poor is they are fat... Sorry, I have been to many countries around the world (with many different governments from Communist, to Dictatorships, to democracies and republics), and the one problem their poor don't have is weight gain.
    You ask "what is the cost of government?" Using your example of the cost of gasoline in Europe vs the cost in the US. If the EU takes that tax money and funds good health care, good urban mass transit, good intercity highspeed rail, and the market responds with smaller, fuel efficient cars to reflect the cost of fuel, then in my mind every one wins. (Perhaps some more than others, but everyone gets some benefit).
    Remember those CAFE Fuel standards in the US... Well, those European companies sure found a profitable way around them (one that the US companies were afraid to use):
    Along the way, the WSJ analysis focuses on the crucial role of the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules in the undoing of the Big Three:

    "The fuel-economy rules apply equally to foreign brands, of course, some of which also specialize in big, powerful vehicles. But they afford themselves an out. BMW paid $230 million in CAFE fines from 1983 to 2007 to avoid building small cars at a loss to please Washington. Volvo paid $56 million. Daimler paid $55 million.

    "Why don't the Big Three take this out? Explains the Government Accountability Office, because they fear the political repercussions of being tagged with "unlawful conduct."

    "They must be laughing up their sleeves in Stuttgart, having unloaded Chrysler in the nick of time. Democrats had just taken over Congress the previous November, vowing tough new mileage standards. One week before the Chrysler sale, candidate Barack Obama gave an environmental speech harshly critical of the Detroit auto makers. Three weeks after, the Big Three ran up the white flag and agreed not to oppose new fuel economy rules.

    "This year, Daimler paid one of the biggest CAFE fines ever, $30 million -- or $118 per car, a pittance to Mercedes buyers. By dumping Chrysler, meanwhile, it avoided its share of an estimated $100 billion in unremunerative investments the Big Three will have to make to meet the new fuel-mileage rules."
    So, even those well intentioned Europeans where right there doing a simple cost/benefit analysis--and they decided to hang up those environmental tendencies and toss them in the dumper.

    Regarding Rights (as in Constitutional):
    Why is it that education is a right, but health care is not?
    Actually, education is not a Right at all at the Federal level:
    Mann started to work actively for the establishment of what he called the common school. He believed that education should be a common, secular experience, available free of charge to all children in America. The Constitution had made no mention of education, and so the responsibility fell to the states. Under Mann's urging, Massachusetts became the first state to establish a board of education in 1837, and Mann was appointed as its first head. Establishment of this board helped solidify public acceptance of Mann's ideas. In 1852, Massachusetts, under Mann's leadership, passed the nation's first compulsory education law, requiring all children ages 8 to 14 to attend public school at least 12 weeks a year, six of which had to be consecutive. This requirement only applied where public schools existed but put some pressure on school boards to provide schools. Other states followed Massachusetts' lead. Henry Barnard (1811-1900) became secretary of the second state board of education, established in Connecticut in 1838. However, some southern states did not set up boards of education until as late as 1916
    In the end, several have spoken here about leading by example...

    Al Gore who is pushing AGW and massive transfer schemes (carbon credits) and, arguably, used more fuel in the late 1990's-2000 on his personal home and transportation than any human in history up to that point.

    We have the current president who constructed a very low impact home on his property...

    One person only modifies his behavior (a bit) when called out on it... The other did it without any press at all.

    If these new "laws and regulations" started limiting absolute numbers (kWhrs per person or home, fuel ration cards that were strict, etc.). Maybe it would be fair... But, personally, I would not want to live in a country with "ration cards".

    Anyway, this is probably enough for the moment... I have no problem with the Government setting rules and minimum requirements. And, if the people approve, then taking on, a bit, more... However, I do not trust them to do anything well.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Bill,

    I am going to let this one drop,,, we will just have to agree to disagree. I applaud your research and your arguments,,,even if I don't agree with them!

    One thing we both can agree on is that the situation is broken. What we disagree on is why and how to fix it. I agree that the biggest problem in the Canadian system is the potential wait times,,,not an insignificant problem if yo are the one waiting! On the other hand Canadians pay HALF as much for health care as Americans!

    The reality, across the board is that health care cost are spiraling out of control across the board,,here and abroad.

    I agree that the (most) governments are spending money that it doesn't have, but you can't blame "tax and spend" Democrats without a larger slap at "Spend but don't tax" Republicans. 9 years ago we were in a federal surplus,,,now perhaps a TRILLION dollar shortfall. The reality is that the whole country has been spending money it doesn't have for a generation.

    As for calling the poor fat. Clearly there are people who wish to live off the fat of others, but until we have walked in the shoes of those that are truly poor I think we should be a bit more circumspect. We tend to live in our own worlds and have a very limited view or understanding of how "others" live. It is real easy to be critical of the lifestyle choices of "others" but the cumulative effect of generations of being poor can lead to a myriad of unforeseen consiquences. Yes, you can argue that people should "pull them selves up by their bootstraps, but it is pretty hard to say that to some one who has had no shoes for several generations.

    I will end with this note. Someone recently did a study, and I am sorry I can't cite it ( I will look for citation later) asking the question, paraphrased here: "If we were to spend money on ANY public policy, ANY, infrastructure, k-12 education, post secondary education, food stamps, welfare, tax cuts, ANYTHING, what would yield the greatest public good? The answer is early childhood education. Every dollar spent on programs like head start pay better dividends than ANY other investment. Better than the stock market over the last 60 years, better than real estate, better than anything!

    A dollar spent on early childhood education save 10 spent on police services, prisons, welfare. Kids who are given this small advantage early have at least a hope of breaking the tragic cycle we are in. It is sad that these are some of the first programs to get cut in any budget cut, and yet we always seem to have money to build jails.

    As I said in the beginning of this post,,, I will agree to disagree. You have a great engineering mind and I think you think like an engineer. (Not a bad thing,,,just an observation) I have a tinkerer's mind. Let's respect the wishes of the host and let this go.

    Best wishes,

    Tony

    PS My mother grew up in Denver in the late '20s and early '30s Remembering the dust bowl.

    PPS I do like the way you cite your opinions,, me thinks you have too much time on your hands! LOL.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.
    icarus wrote: »
    Bill,

    I will end with this note. Someone recently did a study, and I am sorry I can't cite it ( I will look for citation later) asking the question, paraphrased here: "If we were to spend money on ANY public policy, ANY, infrastructure, k-12 education, post secondary education, food stamps, welfare, tax cuts, ANYTHING, what would yield the greatest public good? The answer is early childhood education. Every dollar spent on programs like head start pay better dividends than ANY other investment. Better than the stock market over the last 60 years, better than real estate, better than anything!

    The problems with questions like that is that they are far too dependent on public attitude and the current "crisis of the month". It was not long ago that Iraq was the biggest problem.

    However, aside from that - I am going to disagree with you.

    Several other studies have shown that it is NOT government programs of any type - head start types or not - that lead to better educated people.

    The single biggest factor - and this has been true in the US for many years - is the public and personal attitudes towards education. Some of the most famous studies were done back when the thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees came to the US. They arrived with nothing, yet 25 years later their childrens education - and their family income - had risen something like 6x as fast as similar black families tracked during the same time period. In fact, Bill Cosby caused a lot of hate among the rapper crowd when not long ago when he pointed that out.

    Many Asian and other countries have a long tradition of education at all costs (and sometimes the costs, like in Japan can be high, and not just in money), while the US and many other western countries have the general attitude that "school sucks".
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Just to be clear, I am comparing weight of people vs income... In the US, low weight from malnutrition is not a problem... In fact I have seen studies that show the typical low income person today average weight is higher than the average GI's drafted into WWII. I was not making any comments about living of the fat of others. But this is a huge problem now:
    By the time they reach the age of 3, more than one-third of low-income urban children are already overweight or obese, according to a study released yesterday that provides alarming evidence that the nation's battle of the bulge begins when toddlers are barely out of diapers.

    Researchers armed with scales and measuring devices visited nearly 2,000 families in 20 US cities, including Boston, and evaluated the weight and height of 3-year-olds in an unprecedented effort to focus on obesity among the nation's most vulnerable children.

    Their finding: 35 percent of the low-income 3-year-olds were overweight or obese, a result more than twice the national rate for obesity among preschool children of all income levels and racial groups. Low-income Hispanic children, the researchers reported in the on line version of the American Journal of Public Health , were the most likely of all to have a weight problem, with 44 percent of those toddlers overweight or obese.
    And, I blame the government for at least some of this... Remember the old Food Pyramid. A huge percentage of the diet was grains. Well, when I used to feed cattle--we fattened them with grains. And refined grains and too much carbohydrates of any kind are associated with fat gain.
    In a nutshell, even though carbohydrates themselves are fat-free, excess carbohydrates ends up as excess fat. That's not the worst of it. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates will generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then lowers the levels of blood glucose. The problem is that insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of future famine. So the insulin that's stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat.

    In other words, when we eat too much carbohydrate, we're essentially sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to the body (actually, to the adipose cells). The message: "Store fat."

    Hold on; it gets even worse. Not only do increased insulin levels tell the body to store carbohydrates as fat, they also tell it not to release any stored fat. This makes it impossible for you to use your own stored body fat for energy.
    In general, it is probably better to be poor in the US (yes, conservative think tank link) than almost any other place in the world:
    Welfare spending advocates often paint very alarming pictures of poverty in the United States in order to promote even more rapid increases in welfare spending. To the average voter and the average politician the term poverty provokes images of destitution. In reality the typical "poor" person in the U.S. has standard of living far higher than our normal images and expectations for poverty.

    According to the government's own data, the typical American, defined as poor by the government, has a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer, a car, air conditioning, a VCR, a microwave, a stereo and a color TV. (Half of the poor own two color TV's; a third have telephone answering machines.) By his own report, the typical poor individual is able to obtain medical care for himself and his family; he lives in a home that is in good repair and is not over-crowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and in the last year he had sufficient funds to meet his essential needs. While this poor individual's life is certainly far from opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of poverty conveyed by activists and the press.
    And there have been many studies that show Head Start for minorities has virtually zero affect after the 3rd grade. The only possible improvement in their lives appeared to be the result of "free health care" that comes with the program... But Head Start costs around $3,500 vs $450 for health care only... Can either cut the cost by 1/10'th or help 10x as many people with the same amount of money (numbers were from a ~1995 study).

    There was a reduction in the rate of failing to pass a grade, but that was primarily in first grade and for non-minorities (repeating the first grade is not a huge issue--many children are put into school when they are too young emotionally--and many parents are now holding back placing their K/1 eligible children in school 1 year on purpose now).

    There are lots of reports on the web... A Wiki Entry:
    Created in 1965 by the Head Start Act, Head Start is the longest-running program to address systemic poverty in the United States. As of late 2005, more than 22 million pre-school aged children have participated in Head Start. The $6.8+ billion dollar budget for 2005 provided services to more than 905,000 children, 57% of whom were four years old or older, and 43% three years old or younger. Services were provided by 1,604 different programs operating more than 48,000 classrooms scattered across every state (and nearly every county) at an average cost of $7,222 per child. The staff consists of nearly 212,000 paid personnel in addition to six times as many volunteers.
    ...
    Not all studies support the claim that Head Start is effective when measured by long-term gain. Many researchers acknowledge that Head Start appears to make a significant educational impact early-on but argue that these benefits quickly fade. This phenomenon known as “Head Start Fade” begins to show itself as early as second and third grade when students who attended Head Start programs begin to fall behind their non-participant peers.
    I also understand that studies and their results are often very "fuzzy" in their reasoning and conclusions... And for every study that find "A", there is probably another study that can find "not A".

    Notice that I have not, on purpose, made this a "D" or an "R" issue... I have been addressing the programs that have been implemented by whatever side (Pres. Nixon created the EPA, Pres. Carter started the Federal Dept. of Education, Pres. Clinton signed the 1996 reduction in welfare benefits, etc.). I am not registered with any party and have voted for the best person (including Green in California when both the D and R were unacceptable--yes, more as a protest vote).

    Regarding Canadian Heath Care costs... If the average person pays 48% in taxes and about 40% of that goes to health care, that is 19% (from my earlier link). For the US, we pay about 1/7th (14%) of our economy for health care... So, Canada appears to be paying (as a percentage of income) more for health care than the US.

    Tony, I really do appreciate your heart and desire to help people.

    And, I accept that we are a representative democracy here in the US. And that the vote of the people (hopefully) determines policy.

    My concern is, once a policy is proposed (and after it has been implemented) is that it be objectively reviewed and either accepted, improved, or killed.

    I am more than ready to agree that I may have made mistakes and have misconceptions which I am more than ready to look at and learn from.

    Even when I am looking for citations, I learn things that I thought were true but may not be (like percentage of welfare cost devoted to administration--I thought ~50%, it appears that the program costs themselves (excluding other government costs to collect and allocate the money) is around 6%-22% (depending on program).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.
    Windsun wrote: »
    The problems with questions like that is that they are far too dependent on public attitude and the current "crisis of the month". It was not long ago that Iraq was the biggest problem.

    However, aside from that - I am going to disagree with you.

    Several other studies have shown that it is NOT government programs of any type - head start types or not - that lead to better educated people.

    The single biggest factor - and this has been true in the US for many years - is the public and personal attitudes towards education. Some of the most famous studies were done back when the thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees came to the US. They arrived with nothing, yet 25 years later their childrens education - and their family income - had risen something like 6x as fast as similar black families tracked during the same time period. In fact, Bill Cosby caused a lot of hate among the rapper crowd when not long ago when he pointed that out.

    Many Asian and other countries have a long tradition of education at all costs (and sometimes the costs, like in Japan can be high, and not just in money), while the US and many other western countries have the general attitude that "school sucks".

    I thought I was going to let this whole matter drop,,as I think we have all stated our positions quite clearly. But,,,,,

    I agree 100% that if a society (or segment) there of doesn't value education there is practically no hope of every changing the status quo within that segment. I have a very good friend who grew up almost in the stone age. Currently in his late '50's he comes from a very remote community in Northern Ontario. He grew up hunting and trapping not for a cash living, but to eat. To this day, his mother and father, in their 90's still live off the land,,,winter and summer. The dog team traded for a snowmobile, the canoe paddle for an outboard,,,but much the same as it ever was.
    As change has come to the north, and civilization to the communities that lifestyle has become, for a variety of reasons, not sustainable. What is left is communities where there is no functional reason for them to exist. They exist because they always have, and because government has become the funnel of cash that feeds the cash required economy. As such, many (most?) of the members of these communities have lost the connection between work and reward. It has been replaced with a dire sense of helplessness. What closely follows is endemic substance abuse, domestic violence, and further decline of self worth. We are now into the second or third generation of this process.

    I asked my friend, "Elmer,,, what can be done to break the cycle?" His answer was, "Nothing,,,until they can understand the value of education!" This is a man who, at an early age realized the drain in which his life was expected to circle, and with that realization, made the considerable effort to get himself educated, (in spite of the deplorable residential school systems in Canada at the time!). He got a University degree, and has been teaching at the college level ever since. Neither he, nor his son or daughter can go back to the community where they come from because of the social stigma of not being "Indian enough". The irony is that he faces considerable discrimination in the city for being "Indian". The sad truth is he is a notable exception to a very sad rule. The best and the brightest leave because they figure out there is no future.

    A parallel can, I think, be drawn to the plight of African-Americans in the urban waste lands of the US. Multiple generations of people have lost fundamental hope that their situation can ever be different. The blame can be placed in many places, but a significant portion lies with society as a whole that has over the generations placed a huge burden of racism on such communities. With all good intentions, the fed through the great society of the 1960's threw money in an attempt eliminate poverty with the "great society" created a series of unintended consiquenses. One was a diminishment of the work ethic. The second, and perhaps most tragic, by cutting welfare to families that had a father present, it created a situation where more and more fathers were absent from their families because of the the economic reality. This has begotten a couple of generations now where parenting has been lost.

    I think it is all too easy for those of us who have lived in different shoes to assume we know what and why segment of society do (or don't do) what they do. It has become all too easy to blame the poor for being poor, for blaming the sick for being sick, to blaming the un-educated for not taking advantage of the chances afforded to them.

    The reality is much more complicated than that. It is clear that the practices of the past have not worked,,, but that doesn't mean we should do nothing. If we don't at least recognize that society has a piece of the the blame, and ergo must be part of the solution we are forever doomed to wallow in the mess.

    The incarceration rate amongst African-American males is staggering,, something like 1 in 10 are "in" the criminal "justice" system, either in jail or prison, awaiting trial, or on parole/probation. Now one might argue that, "well they commit the crimes, they should do the time!" That may be true, but it misses the bigger picture. Why do they commit the crime? The reality is the VAST majority are "in the system" for drug related crimes. These can include series crimes such as assault and murder, but even these can in many cases be traced back to our crazy system of drug laws. Why for instance should crack cocaine be treated as a much more serious crime than a similar amount of powered cocaine? Does it have anything to do with where the average user lives? I think so.

    A civilized society would, IMHO, treat the "drug problem" in this country not as a criminal problem, but what it really is,,,a health problem. If the big money incentive was taken away from drug dealers on the street, then people wouldn't be killing one another seemingly endlessly over "turf". We all know that it is about money! Why is it cheaper to send someone to Harvard than it is to send someone to jail? Why is it that social service agencies from drug rehab clinics to domestic violence services have to hold bake sales, and yet we always seem to have money for police and jails? The us leads the world,,,by far in the per capita number of people locked up,,,and most are locked up for what is in essence, a medical issue! It is crazy.

    Which brings me back to the beginning... Clearly we can all agree that we have big problems in the US. We can all agree that many of the solutions of the past have not solved these problems and indeed some have made it worse. One more thing I think we can all agree on is that over the last generation, the poor have gotten poorer, the rich have gotten richer and the middle class has gotten squeezed from all sides.

    Until we come up with a system that allows some more equality in income/assets we are bound to fail. The richest 1% control 90% of the net worth in this country. As long we have a situation where the poorest work harder and harder only to get further behind, and the richest get more and more you are not going to solve this.

    I got very angry at the latest bailout failure of the big 3. The reason it failed was a attempt to crush the UAW. Say what you wish about the bail out(s) or unions, but the fact of the matter is the the Auto workers as a whole have brought more people into the middle class since the early 1900's than any other single thing. To force the UAW to claw back to the rate that Toyota workers are paid, will only draw down the wages of every other sector. The other untold story is that Toyota, BMW, VW, Nissan and Kia have all gotten HUGE tax subsidies to locate in the American south.

    (By Ed Wallace
    Business Week
    updated 2:34 p.m. CT, Mon., Dec. 15, 2008)

    So let's agree to disagree, but lets not blame the problems of he poor solely on the poor without recognizing that we (society) carry much of the blame.
    Let's not blame the obese poor for having diabetes, without recognizing that healthy food costs more,,, and multiple generations have been this way and that yes society has a part to play. (Remember Ketchup as a veggie anyone?) No, there is enough blame to go around, but in the most affluent society in the history of the world, for some to have so much, and others,,,too many others to have so little is just plain wrong. In a country where one presidential candidate has 7 houses, we find cities having to cut programs for the homeless. (I know,,,some homeless choose to be so,, (See also medical issue above!) But if you work, you shouldn't have to sleep in your car. In a country where the president elect spends a vacation on the warm beaches of Hawaii, we should have to read where a poor person freezes to death in his car. (Seattle Dec 26 2008) It is just plain wrong.

    I don't profess to know all, or for that matter, any of the answers. What I do know is that we should, as a society be able to at LEAST do better than we have done.

    All for now,,, I'll try now to let it drop,

    Tony
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    I agree with much of what, Tony says but I have to admit I think we are straying away from the forums core subjects, just MHO. :confused:
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Ya think???

    LOL

    T
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Just a little:p yeah ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    Well, the thread was about mandates and discussion about if this was good or not... And then started listing examples of government mandates like war on drugs causing crime, welfare rules that destroy families, education system failure where some California schools have 50% dropout rates, government school collapses even though laws, if followed would have saved lives, unions, bailouts, starving poor in a rich nation with presidential candidates and 7 homes (by the way, was that the Democrat or Republican candidate we are complaining about), energy polices that create welfare for oil companies, polices that prevent oil/coal/nuke/hydro/power stations/transmission line development, then demand more government taxes and subsidies to fix the problems from policies that prevent energy development, and such government programs that have failed, then asked for more government programs to "do something"...

    You think? :D

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: How about mandating that all new housing construction offer solar.

    So are PV prices going to fall this year dramatically now the complete Western World is in the dung, causing falling oil and fuel comodities which will allow farmers to make more money growing food than bio diesel reducing food prices allowing people to live on less and work less giving more recreational time .............................sos its all bullshit..........because we r not going to make a slight bit of difference to any on this Polictical /Social/ Eco trip on this forum !
    Where as the other stuff does make a difference, helps enlightens educates >

    I get this other stuff in the papers and on the news daily or from my home page Yahoo, I came here to learn and help on renewable energy from the mother earth I think were on a crappy road to nowhere here, Im getting annoyed that Im contributing :grr
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