Clankers for cash?

By Daniel Chejfec

President's Obama idea to stimulate the economy by providing incentives for people to change cars was probably a good idea...he even encouraged people to go for more energy conscious options. Yet the real benefit of the program was for the car companies


- not for the workers, to some extent for the consumers, certainly for the dealers and definitely for the car companies. Hopefully it will translate in job stability but I'm scheptic; this was an outburst of activity which will probably not be self-sustaining; it was not a cure for the illness, but rather a painkiller. What happens when the effect of the painkiller wears off? Now the President is pushing "cash for freezers" to shore up the electrodomestics industry and try to force a switch to energy efficient appliances...that is good, but again, isn't it just a painkiller?

America's economy has ridden on the cutting edge of technology ever since America became an economic power. It was Ford's new industrial methods that popularized the automobile, it was the intriduction of the PC and later the user-friendly interface that popularized the computer industry, and it has been America's technological edge that allowed our economy to continbue to grow. So where are the programs promoting cutting edge developments? Some incentive money went to promote the industrial implementation of technologies already developed, such as TESLA in California, but what about Space Industry, where America still enjoys an advantage, although the lead is shrinking fast. Obama asked the committee analizing the NASA budget not only to consider delaying the Mars program (which in the current economic situation is indeed a smart move) but also cutting the shuttle and International Station programs! Is America getting out of the Space business -again?

Abandoning space is abandoning an area of science and technology which has brought countless benefits to American society, new discoveries and technological developments which affect our daily life in ways we don't even suspect. There is also the problem of expanding frontiers...Societies progress when they expand, not when they contract, so what is the new frontier? Space!. There is also the problem of overpopulation; while birth control allowed western societies to curb uncontrolled population growth, other societies continue to grow explosively. As a whole, the Human race bought some time by controlling temporarily natural growth, but Europe is now seeing the consequences of that when they are forced to import workers to keep their industries going, and the imported workers are not integrating into European society, but establishing their own parallel societies, thus spelling the end of the Europe we know and the dawn of a different one, with very different cultural standards.

Humanity needs to expand to maintain the momentum of progress, and the only viable way to expand today is out there, "seeking out new places and new opportunities" if I may paraphrase a famous TV show...Ending the Space program is not part of a smart solution for the long term issues affecting our economy; our current foes came about because of Wall Street greed sure, but only because the sources of credit dried up to finance the government in its foreign wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We need to re-regulate Wall Street - which the government is doing - but we also need to accept the economic limitations of our society and scale back foreign interventions, because we can simply not afford them anymore...but unfortunately is not something that can be done overnight, because by intervening we asumed commitments to the people in those places.

So what is the solution? I don't know - I only know that America will have to adjust its belt for years to come...welcome to the new dark ages.


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