Will Sequester Melt Nuclear Reactors?
If Congress insists on sequestering 2.3 percent of the federal budget, we will be forced to shut down the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and reactors will start melting down next week.
Now how did have government enthusiasts missed that one in their efforts to scare people into thinking the world is going to end if we try to rein in federal spending?
To read the papers this week, you’d wonder how this country ever survived before we had a federal government spending 24 percent of GNP and borrowing a trillion dollars a year to do it. Departing Energy Secretary Steven Chu tells us the effort to convert to renewable energy will be stopped in its tracks if the Sequester is imposed. The Superfund will end, air pollution monitoring will fall by the wayside and oil spills will gush forth if Congress imposes the “severe budget cuts,” according to Environmental Leader. The American Association for the Advancement of Science predicts energy research and development will “fall off a cliff” if the cuts go through. And just think, all this represents only 2.3 percent of federal outlays! Just think of all the things the government must be doing with the other 97.7 percent!
Of course what we’re seeing here is the old “Washington Monument Syndrome” that sunk Newt Gingrich when he tried to rein in federal spending in the 1990s. Want to cut spending? That’s easy. We’ll close down the Capital Mall, shutter all the National Parks and take away your Social Security check. See how you like that! The press plays into this, the public remains gullible and before you know it we’re back on track for national bankruptcy.
What’s really going on here, however, is a question of whether we’re going to have a private economy or an economy run by the government. To see what that means, there’s no better place to look than energy. And there’s no better place to start in energy than nuclear power.