American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation




The Decline and Fall of the U.S. – more of a trope every day

Posted by Josh Friedlander | No Comments

David Michael from Eugene, Oregon writes on the NYTimes’ boards today in response to Friedman’s latest column:

After having built a large home in Oregon during our “raising kids” days that cost over half a million, I find it ironic that my wife and I now live in a 200 foot square box that moves around the country known as a motorhome for a total cost of $30,000 used. From 3000 sq feet to 200 sq feet. It seems outragious, but in fact we are having the time of our lives with the new-to-us experience of total freedom. Our energy needs come from solar two panels for the lights, internet, and TV/DVDs at night with a small generator as backup. We heat and cook with propane at $5 a month, and drive occassionally from state, government, or commercial campgrounds on about $200 a month. And, we spend our days kayaking, flyfishing, hiking, reading, writing and the internet for our recreation and education. We do volunteer for various projects as Habitat for Humanity and Fish Hatcheries along the way for a month or two weeks at a time.

If I had to build a house once again, it would be small at 1000 sq feet, and I would use solar for electric with a Honda generator for backup, propane gas for cooking and heating, and heavy use of insulation. Perhaps, a woodburning stove as additioal backup. Truth is, in much of the country today in rural areas, there is little need to be on the grid. Yesterday in western Oregon, I talked with a family who live off the grid, home school their kids, hunt deer and elk and game birds in season, fish during the summer, raise a garden and can their produce. And…they built and live in a comfortable home overlooking a lake. They are all doing very well on a limited income. Today the sons were hunting elk during bow season.

To see all of the new home, cookie cutter subdivisions in Arizona, California, and New Mexico with no solar has got to be one of the most disheartening events we witness annually as we travel south for part of the winter. There will be no meaningful energy change in the USA until the government demands it of all homeowners and developers and offers tempting incentives. It’s no wonder that China and Germany are way ahead of us. Whatever happened to the USA during the period of 1970-2010 when other countries took the lead in public transportation, healthcare, and now solar energy. Something is dramatically wrong with an extreme capitalistic system that puts large corporations ahead of the people. We are witnessing the decline of America as a world leader as the leadership focuses more on money,greed and power rather than service and contribution. A Great Depression II is an obvious conclusion.

via Have a Nice Day – Readers’ Comments – NYTimes.com.

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