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  • Morning Bell: Time to Make Cuts in the Department of Energy

    Disco, mood rings and bell-bottom pants are relics of the 1970s relegated to the dustbin of cultural history. But one product of the 70s is still going strong and growing at a rapid rate, despite America’s monstrous fiscal crisis. It’s the Department of Energy (DOE), and in the last 10 years it has seen its budget grow by over $11 billion — a staggering 76 percent. If Congress wants to cut government spending, the DOE would be a good place to start.

    At a town hall meeting broadcast yesterday on Facebook, President Barack Obama spoke about some of that spending, proclaiming that his Administration made “the largest investment in history in clean energy research,” while also lamenting that he has not yet reached his dream of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road. That’s with good reason. As President Obama admitted, the technology is “heavy” and “expensive.” In other words, electric cars can’t stand on their own two legs (or four wheels) without government support.

    That’s the story of President Obama’s DOE. The agency has seen its mission evolve from basic research and development to spending billions to commercialize technologies that aren’t yet viable — and might never be. And other programs it undertakes are politically correct pet projects that have little business being supported by taxpayers. All that spending adds up to a lot of fat — $6 billion worth — that could be cut from the DOE’s budget, according to The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris.

    Here’s what some of that spending looks like. Just this week, the DOE granted a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to a German developer to help finance a 1,000 megawatt solar thermal power plant in southern California (that’s on top of another $3.8 billion in loan guarantees issued since February). And yesterday it announced $130 million in funding for engineering plants, advanced thermal storage, development of rare earth metals, electricity grid technology and solar power. Loris explains that the private sector, not the government, should be making these investments:

    Some argue that the DOE has a role to play in basic research—investing in ideas that can provide benefits but are too financially risky for the private sector to undertake. But just because an endeavor is too financially risky for a company to undertake does not mean it is something the government should pay for.

    And there are great examples of the private sector taking those risks. Loris writes:

    General Fusion, a small startup company in Vancouver, is a prime example. The funding does not come from the government but is driven by the motivation of profits—providing unlimited amounts of clean energy. General Fusion CEO Doug Richardson says, “There’s a feeling that the research has to be done by a government, that it costs billions of dollars and that 3,000 smart people can’t be wrong. People have a mindset that this can’t be done by a small company.”

    Though President Obama would like to pick winners and losers in the development of energy technology, by way of the DOE, ultimately it’s profits and losses that determine whether a product will survive in the marketplace. The Department of Energy certainly has a role to play in energy security and environmental management, but using taxpayer dollars to prop up industries and technologies is not its job.

    Quick Hits:

    • Boeing plans to fight a complaint a workers union made to the National Labor Relations Board that challenges its decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina, a Right-to-Work state.
    • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned yesterday that the GOP “will not grant [Democrats'] request for a debt limit increase” without spending cuts or budget reforms.
    • BP yesterday sued the manufacturer of the blowout preventer that failed to prevent last year’s Gulf oil spill, claiming negligence and faulty design.
    • Liberal website Wonkette yesterday featured an article mocking Sarah Palin’s son for having Down Syndrome. Several companies pulled advertising from the site after the outrageous post.
    • Though the Department of Health and Human Services announced new initiatives to give states more flexibility with Medicaid programs, it failed to seriously address states’ mounting Medicaid crises.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    71 Responses to Morning Bell: Time to Make Cuts in the Department of Energy

    1. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      4 – 21 – 11 FROM – Ken Jarvis

      Did you see Obama AT Fbook yesterday?
      It stunk –
      He should just be HERE on FBook daily
      reading, what we say, and LEARNING.
      We are convinced HE is SMART, but think how much
      SMARTER he would be IF HE LISTENED.
      ===
      ALL we get with Medicare is –
      GREAT COVERAGE AND LOW COST.
      I have been on it for 14 years AND IT IS THE BEST
      HCare available.

    2. Al Nicholas, Midland says:

      During 2012, What cuts in spending on Government growth would the Republicans, or the Democrats make ?

    3. Deena Oren, NYC says:

      The DOE is a source of large grants for high energy physics research. This funding is crucial to the continued scientific development and superiority of the US. The placement of the administration of these grants likely should not be under the DOE, but as it stand now, that is where it is at. For reference see: http://www.er.doe.gov/grants/

    4. Robert, North Richla says:

      Yes, eliminate the Department of Energy – which has destroyed our U.S. Energy industry. Then, eliminate the Department of Education – which has destroyed U.S. education. Then, eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development – which has destroyed the quality of our neighborhoods and spread their urban decay nationwide. Only one person has proposed doing exactly what you wrote about and that is Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky – a true to his word Tea Party American.

    5. Pamela /Lincoln, ne says:

      I'm 65 and this is the same old rederric that I heard and bought into back in the 70's and 80's. Same with the nuc plants. I remember people going door to door to stop nuc plants from coming to Ne. This whole administration is a JOKE. Obama is a JOKE. He in my opinion is a puppet of many and says anything and everything to be popular and get the votes of all illegals and poor people out there.

      I'd love to see politicians who have the balls to stand up to this drone! I'm sick of worry about where will this country be and where the heck is it going because right now it's in a tailspin and headed out of control because of all the selfish, self centered career politicians and the creeps that are lawyers (too many lawyers) & are in the pockets of dirty politicians.

      Electric cars?? Give me a break! If you only stay in your town etc they might be good but they can't cut it on the highways, interstates etc. There are NO CHARGE POLES OUT THERE! I've known several people who have tried hybrids and gone back to the regular gas vehicles.

      STOP DREAMING and GET INTO THE REAL WORLD. HELP THIS COUNTRY YOU SELFISH POLITICIANS!!! Protect THIS COUNTRY not others. STOP giving billions to countries that will NEVER get on their feet because of all the DIRTY POLITICIANS IN THEIR GOVERNMENT!!!

      GET REAL!!!!

    6. G.Cap.----N.Y. says:

      Subject: I'm from the Government and

      Two Story's Below.

      Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.

      Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night."

      So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

      Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?"

      So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

      Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?"

      So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One was to do the studies and one was to write the reports.

      Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?"

      So they created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer then hired two people.

      Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?"

      So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

      Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one Year and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cut back."

      So they laid-off the night watchman.

      NOW slowly, let it sink in.

      Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

      Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY….. during the Carter Administration?

      Anybody?

      Anything?

      No?

      Didn't think so!

      Bottom line is, we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency….the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

      Ready??

      It was very simple… and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

      The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

      Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

      AND NOW IT'S 2010 — 33 YEARS LATER — AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS "NECESSARY" DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE!

      (THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY,

      "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?")

      33 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.

      Ah, yes — good old Federal bureaucracy.

      NOW, WE HAVE TURNED OVER THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE, AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?

      Hello!! Anybody Home?

    7. ThomNJ says:

      I completely agree – the government has no business in R&D. The only time it has ever worked is when NASA was in its prime – and that worked precisely because the government was not trying to force a specific technology on the country. It was not trying to pick and choose winners. It worked because there were folks tyring to develop all sorts of things for space flight and in the process found new and wonderful things that were passed on to the public for commercialization. Choosing what to research and what technologies WILL WORK IN ADVANCE is the wrong way to problme solving. And obamao sure has a penchant for funding foreign operations doesn't he?

    8. Floyd Sanderson, Chi says:

      I have two comments:

      1. Private enterprise and the free market should determine whether or not any alternate energy source is economically viable. The current paradigm, that far too many people believe, is that government is the only entity that can determine the viabililty of an alternative source. How wrong can many millions of people be and why do they believe this nonsense?

      2. Your article suggested the DOE had a role in energy securty. That may be, but what role does EPA play in the larger scheme of things? I see both these agencies as inhibitors of free enterprise. Both seem more intent on damaging creativity and exercising bureaucratic control. Both agencies should simply go away. I doubt anyone would notice and it would help fix our budget problems.

    9. Steve Brink, Belling says:

      I'm surprised the Heritage Foundation doesn't support simply zeroing out DOE? We don't need them; same for Dept. of Education and a slew of other Agencies in the Executive Branch of Government.

    10. George Colgrove VA says:

      How about this for a cut – move all defense related nuclear programs to the DoD with 100% funding going with it. This should include the defense of nuclear power plants, albeit run as a civilian branch with as close to full transparency as immediate national security will allow. Meaning we want to know the business decisions being made – predecisional material included. We want the command and control of these plants to be located in the private sector with no government oversight. Just protect the damn plants – that is all.

      Then CLOSE the DoEn completely! This is a carter failure, which needs to end. We do not need bureaucrats telling us what light bulbs we should be using. The DoEn is 100% responsible for the massive amounts of mercury being injected in the environment – needlessly. Incandescent light bulbs are safe. We do not need HAZMAT instructions and experience to discard these bulbs as we do for florescent bulbs.

    11. Lorin Johnson Morgan says:

      It is time to do away gith the DOE the Fed.Edutation an Put all the FBI home land security CIA all under one Head cut the size of the goverment .

    12. Roger, Boise Idaho says:

      Only $6 billion worth of fat to cut from DOE??? How about cut it all! I see $26.4 billion in fat to cut. What role does DOE have to play- when is the last time they've done anything helpful in the sphere of energy? DOE? Department Obfuscates Energy…

    13. cathy, maine says:

      DOE is a good start….then The Fed and the IRS and congress with their six figure salaries and gold plated benefits. I know cutting congressional salaries to the national average wage won't make a big dent but psychologically it will. they will certainly look at things differently if they paid into social security, bought their own IRAs and paid their own health insurance premiums. and can't live in DC on the national average wage???? too bad!!!

    14. Don Vander Jagt, Gra says:

      Obama "smart" ? yes, in fact I don't believe I have ever known of a left hander that wasn't smart, however neither has there been a left hander who was "wise" that governed in my 77 years.

    15. michael j mudrak car says:

      Topic of electric powered vehicles; they sound good but batterys have to be recharged

      power lines are already at max capacity during the rush hours.Everyone on their way

      home turns on the lights crank up a/c or the heat then create a meal all using energy.

      O no you cant plug your charger in now you just have to wait until peak time is over.

      Do we really think the average person that paid big bucks for this vehicle is going to wait

      just plug it in black outs here we come. Battery!s are not renewable energy.

      Nothing falls into the class of perpetual motion.You can come close but no prize.

    16. LinnieLou, Indiana says:

      If the government (Obama) funds these "energy conserving" companies, that means the government owns them. More socialism. And if the government owns them, the government tells them how to run their company, and will make sure the People of America buy only those products. Can you say GE and it's infamous lightbulbs?

    17. Jason, Minnesota says:

      "it’s profits and losses that determine whether a product will survive in the marketplace"

      This comment is thrown around as if there is some sort of yearly review of energy technologies – with all other things being held equal – and fossil fuels prove to be the winner each time. Our energy system was put in place with the very government intervention that you despise. It remains in place because incumbent systems are powerful and investments continue to be made in that infrastructure.

      Our federal budget accounting system does not debit our natural resource account each year. If we did, this would be a very different discussion. As fossil fuel supply continues to become more expensive and destructive to extract, prices can only rise (over generations).

      Is it the government's job to watch this happen and then blame the market when the decisions are even more difficult?

    18. charli coon, washing says:

      An article like this about DOE's bloated budget is on point & well over due. I applaud Nicolas Loris for exposing this wasteful federal spending. Why would a private company invest its own money to undertake a financially risky project in which the technology not yet been commercialized and which may never be viable when it knows that the federal government will spend billions of dollars to prop it up?

      The marketplace — not bureacrats at DOE — should decide what energy technologies survive and which do not.

      I agree that Congress should cut funding for DOE.

      Good job Loris.

    19. Robin Reasor, Ellija says:

      Dissolve the DOE! They are a total waste of taxpayer money! Weren't they created to help make the US energy independent? Looking at current gas prices I would say they are a complete failure.

    20. Clarence Shaw says:

      Finally someone is talking about cutting where it will do some good. We need to get rid of all of the department of energy along with the department of education, and many more departments that we do not need that are not constitutional. This could be done by selecting the departments to be eleminated and freezing their budgets and cutting their budgets 10% per year for the next ten years. Abolish earmarks altogether, eleminate the pensions for congress, get out of the so called wars we are involved in, deport all illegals to make jobs for our unemployed citizens. That would be novel to help the citizens as opposed to the illegals. Refuse to increase the debt limit and force the congress to reduce spending to avoid default on the debt………You probably have a better chance of hitting the lottery than this taking place but it would be most refeshing to see it happen…

    21. Pat Reilly says:

      When the department of energy (DOE) was formed 33 years ago America was importing 30% of our oil. The purpose of establishing the doe was to lessen our dependence on imports. The doe has grown well over 100% in employees, and contract employees and it's budget has increased astronomically. We are now importing over 70% of our oil. Can anyone one say FAILURE!!! Do away with this useless, wasteful agency!

    22. michael j mudrak car says:

      We know that stimulus just does not work some one or group gets a free ride.

      just as credit card debt run ramped with small purchases so does our gov.

      A million in thousand or hundred dollar purchases tallys up quickly and more

      than be cut from the budget with out depriveing anyone.

    23. Don Ruane says:

      I am old enough to remember President Carter hailing the creation of the Energy Department with the MISSION to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

      The Energy Department has failed miserably in it Mission and should be closed, locked and shuttered.

      Can you image the MESSAGE, closing the Energy Department,. will send to the world.

      I think the message would be "BEWARE The Americans have Awaken from their Slumber" and the sleeping giant is on the prowl once again.

    24. Bob Wilson, Texas says:

      I'd say get rid of the entire Energy Dept as well as its pet projects. It hasn't accomplished anything meaningful in its 30+ year history. It can join DoEd, HUD, all of the Ag Dept's agribusiness subsidies, ethanol subsidy & mandates, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac in the dustbin of history.

    25. Tony, Asheville, NC says:

      The DOE should be disbanded as it has never has a real mission that a taxpayer should be supporting.

      If we are serious about "smaller government" this is one federal agency that should go NOW.

    26. Mike, Chicago says:

      Medicare is good and the seniors who have paid into it, should not have it taken away. The Republicans are not proposing that! What should be cut dramatically is medicaid, especially for illegals. There are many collecting medicaid and other forms of public aid, illegal and legal, that shouldn't be. Also, the earned income tax credit should be cut dramatically as well. Fifty percent pay no taxes. That is discriminatory. If we cut these programs except for the aged and infirmed, we would have much more revenue.

    27. Bill Downey, Massach says:

      The DOE should be returned to its original mission, research and development. The government does not invest, it spends tax money on projects that it wants to see advanced. It does not belong in the business of supporting projects or industries that cannot attract private capital.

      By the way, one of the problems with electric cars is that the infrastructure to plug them in isn't readily available and that they are electric; menaing that there still needs to be generating capacity to provide the energy. So we really don't gain all that much from a technology that requires us to continue to burn coal or natural gas or nuclear reaction to generate the power to operate the vehicle. That is a situation that will continue for the foreseeable future. If T Boone Pickens was unable to develop sufficient funding for his wind power project from private sources then that speaks to the investors interest in the long term viability of the wind power. These companies only survive due to the investment (read spending), tax breaks ans subsidies.

      Are they viable? Yyes, but it has to be private sector participation in technology, infrastructure, etc. that makes them deployable and useable..

    28. Ben C., Ann Arbor, M says:

      I highly recommend “Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires “~ by Larry Walker Jr. which can be found on Google. It is a concise and well researched article on the fallacy of the “tax the rich” scheme for which some are so fond. It clearly documents the tax liability of all and who will actually pay the bill. Someone has to pay for the "free lunch" or "low cost medical care" admired by Ken.

    29. Gene, Lake Stevens, says:

      Quit picking on Obama. Bush was a bigger loser. It's a collective effort at watching our country go downhill. It's probably written in the stars since we reneged on our good intentions as framed in the constitution and allowed the same negative influences to take hold. We have forgotten that we took this land from it's rightful owners instead of integrating and harmonizing with them … and sharing the wealth of the land … if you believe in God then we are getting our just deserts … it's fairly obvious if you look at everything that is tearing us apart … the planet is dying … we are killing it … and it is killing us back.

      Cut the defense budget if you want to cut something. Can you run for office and see if you can set things straight?

      You think government is too big?

      Next time you are held hostage on a tarmac for 9 hours and can't get off and wonder where your rights went or what justice is then pray tell say that government is too big. (Thank God they just passed a bill yesterday protecting airline passengers …)

      Next time you have a college degree and are stuck in low paying job and can hardly afford rent and food much less healthcare then pray tell say that government is too big.

      Next time you are 55 and lose your job your home your savings and your life in an economic crisis then pray tell say that government is too big.

    30. kevin, foresthill, C says:

      "a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to a German developer to help finance a 1,000 megawatt solar thermal power plant in southern California (that’s on top of another $3.8 billion in loan guarantees issued since February)."

      Wait….wait…wait a minute. I am an electrical estimator that does solar also. Solar goes for around $6 – $7 per watt.That means this plant should be between $6 billion and $7 billion (Hinestly it should be around $5 billion as the quantity is so large) We have given $5.9 billion so who owns this power plant? Why did the owners not pay a dime to build this plant? If the taxpayers are paying for it then why will we have energy prices increase in the next couple years? This is fraud at its best………

    31. randydutton says:

      Taxpayers are being ripped off !!! That 1,000 megawatt solar facility has an 18% efficiency factor so will produce a levelized 180 megawatts. That's a cost of nearly $12,000 per installed kW. That is obscene.

      As these projects fail to meet economic goals, taxpayers will be on the hook for these liabilities.

      The Depts of Agriculture, Energy, and Interior are creating tens of billions of taxpayer liabilities and nobody is paying attention.

    32. Donald W. Bales, Kin says:

      Has the Department of Energy ever done any good? For that matter, has the Department of Education ever done any good? Neither have seemed to help with our energy needs and supplies and our government education seems to be getting worse as far as results are concerned. I suppose they have provided jobs for a good many people, but they could have been more usefully employed at something that produced some goods or services of value to the citizens of the United States.

      How many government services do we have that are not any benefit and how many are actually harmful?

    33. Chet Zaiko, Gallatin says:

      I believethat the Dept of Energy was formed by President Carter, to try to cut back on America's dependence on foreign oil. Well, we are now more dependent than we were when the Department of Energy was formed.

      Aparently they haven't done their job. Do away with it totally ! That should save a few billion dollars.

    34. Maralynn Johnson, Ki says:

      How about getting rid of DOE all together, along with the dept. of Education, Commerce, Land Mgt….oh and the Fed. which is neither fed nor reserve. Any other beurocratic agencies which are trying to steal our liberty. I am sure there are many more I have omitted. Oh, and a flat or fair tax so that industry comes home and the IRS goes away. Too bad I don't rule the world :-)

    35. Wayne, Louisiana says:

      This is another stimulus package. It goes to other governments or their subsidiaries. What happened to employing the American worker?

    36. James Michael Tierra says:

      DOE needs to be shut down, it was started to get us of overseas oil. how has that worked out, and through in the education dept. as well.

    37. Rdkj123, Minneapolis says:

      You do realize that the DOE is the agency under which the country's three national nuclear laboratories operate? That is where the majority of the spending and the subsequent increases over the last ten years have occurred. Please reanalyze your position to cut this budget as well as the depiction of the department as some pie in the sky outfit from which Obama is trying to force electric automobiles upon us.

    38. Jim Patterson, Dulut says:

      Raul Castro announced that in Cuba they are going to decentralize but in USA, we are going the other way. we are centralizing everything to D.C. so the pencil pushers and beaurocrats can run our lives. electric cars? No problem, how about a subsidy or whatever you need to get one? recharging one of those, oops, gotta wait until peak time is over or better yet, you can only recharge an electric car if you certify that it was recharged using wind or solar power!

    39. Suzanne, Florida says:

      I'm old enough to remember Everitt Dirckson, Senator, years ago musing, " A million dollar here, a million dollars there and pretty soon you are spending real money." Of course that was either in the late '50's or early 60's. Now we don't even talk about billions but rather trillions.

      We donate (loan) Brazil a couple billion to sink deep wells for oil exploration off their shore……..heaven forbid we would do the same for ourselves. German investors from one of the few nations with an economy under control is smart enough not to loan money for private gain. Has anyone seen the contract to know what our country gains? It is my understanding that moving windmill electricity for use is still not viable; we have the Canadian pipeline which would bring the flow of oil into the country slowed if not stopped by the enviromentalists. Last, there must be some irony in that Nantucket will soon see those windmills that weren't allowed as long as one esteemed family was in control.What's next>

    40. Roger S., Mass. says:

      Creating a forum for the Administration of the moment to "pick winners and losers" is what DOE has devolved toward, regardless of its original charter, practice, or intent. Time to do away with it asap and then deal with the limited set of problems which that might create on a case by case basis. Everything market-related needs to be considered by private enterprise first. Government's only job is to correct genuine abuses, not create them itself!

    41. Tom; Tacoma, WA says:

      Don't just cut — eliminate! Do all the DOE: Department of Energy, Education, Ecology. Throw in Homeland Security too. Go back a few letters and start at the beginning of the alphabet. Agricultural subsidies. Who started the corn to ethanol program anyway? Surely there's a Department "B" and "C"? "D" for Defense needs review. Make a list and get out the red pencil.

    42. Sned, Washington, DC says:

      Do you all even really know what the Department of Energy does? You can't just eliminate it. Most of the funds of DOE go toward managing our nuclear stockpile. Yes, they deal with weapons. They also manage national research labs that have lead to such breakthroughs as mapping the human genome. Funding energy projects is just a very small portion of it's budget.

    43. Al from Fl says:

      Considering that the Dept of Energy has a mission to wean us off foreign oil, I'd say they are a complete failure. Many depts are outside the scope given to the federal gov't in our constitution and should be eliminated. Our gov't is too big and inefficient. Would it increase the unemployment figures? Yes but at least they can find new jobs if we pare back our federal budget to be within our means and within the role given to the fed by the constitution.

    44. Greyhawk says:

      Abolish the U.S. Department of Energy in it's entirety. It has done Just The Opposite of what it was ostensibly created to do. That bungling idiot Jimmy Carter created this bogus agency to End Dependency on Foreign Oil and Expanding Our Own Oil Independence, and today, we are even more dependent on OPEC and their whims which have now driven up our gas prices to $4.00 a gallon while they, the EPA and the Obama Regime have all but halted all domestic production. Abolish this bogus agency.

      Jimmy Carter also gave us the U.S. Department of Education that now has a 100 billion dollar price tag afer the Obama Regime boosted their spending by 50 percent this year, and this bogus agency has toally destroyed the credibilty of the Public Education System and have Engineered the Dumbing Down and Brainwashing of several generations of kids whose minds have been reduced to mush while attending public schools whose mandates come from the USDOEducation. Abolish this worthless Department in it's entirety and an immediate savings of $100 billion dollars and hundreds of millions of Children's Minds that are now beind Dumbed Down and Brainwashed.

    45. Monk Cincinnati, OH says:

      The Foundation has it correctly. We need not be abusive about it nor in a hurried fashion. Much like transistioning the US Postal Service, we can do it over a generation or two; not disrupting people's careers or families. But it does need to happen; freeze hiring; reduce all non-essential operating expenditures and, through attrition, begin letting people go and allow leases to expire. Dwindle it down to nothing. We do not need these Departments, we do not need the Post Office 6 days per week – we do need to keep more of or money to manage it and grow it.

      Who has the courage?

    46. Bob, Raleigh, NC says:

      The other "DOE" —-Department of Education —- should be gutted as well.

    47. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      Chet from Montana is correct that former President Carter established the DOE which was chartered to break our dependence on foreign oil, a mission they have failed at miserably since yet they have cost us as taxpayers in addition to paying more and more for the petroleum products we buy.

      There may exist a few divisions in DOE that can be assimilated into a better performing federal agency while the rest of the major taxpayer wasteland of bureaucracy can be done away with summarily. The savings would be real unlike the stimulus money that was simply thrown down flush-ready toilets.

      The few remaining division(s) should focus on expediting the building of additional oil refineries placed in locations that would benefit the market by greatly limiting the risk of damage due to severe weather such as hurricanes which would also quell the volatile supply and price issues across the country. Another equal focus would be to expedite the building of newer, safer nuclear reactors to provide a greater supply of affordable electricity than burning coal or oil in order to produce electricity. Keep in mind that more people died in Ted Kennedy’s car than from Three Mile Island’s incident over 30 years ago!

      Electric cars are not a viable answer either as problems remain that can NOT be overcome by you or me. The amount of energy used to produce those vehicles is far greater than gas or diesel vehicles, the batteries add tremendous cost to the consumer including a not well publicized need to have a special charging station installed into your garage, they have limited range, and they must be recharged everyday they are used. Guess where that electricity comes from? It is not from any so-called renewable energy source.

      I am unaware of any “good intentions” we reneged on as identified in the Constitution that have any bearing in this article. This country rose steadily from nothing to superpower in about 170 years only to take a precipitous drop to become a second rate power in the last two years under Obama’s questionable presidency.

      The taxpayers should not be encumbered with financially supporting a foreign entity to build a plant to manufacture solar power or anything else with very limited if any success. The biggest problem with wind and solar is transmitting that power to the end user. Another is people with money do not want to invest in it as there are too many other issues with both of those sources.

    48. Ted Wilson Tulsa ok. says:

      The DOE and the EPA should be cut in half. the DOE and EPA are working against each other and both are working against America.

    49. David Bess, Carson C says:

      The private sector has one goal and that is profit For with out profit they won't exist. In every case, private companies develope technologies faster andcheaper than government funded programs. If private industry dosen't want to develope a technology it's because it is not a viable technology and will never create a profit. The government dosen't care about profit or expense or even if what they're funding is viable.

      Departments like DOE, EPA, and the likes restrain development and growth of new viable technologies. They do this through regulation, fees, liciences, and taxes. In the era of the 30s-80s most inventive technologies were developed for a profit motive. That development gave us the great things that we enjoy today. Orville and Wilbur Wright would never have flew if they had to wait on the government. Microsoft would be selling electric typewriters, and Henry Ford would still be building one ford at a time. However these men of vision saw oportunity and invested in the technology to achieve their vision.

      That said, eliminate these departments totally and let the free market do what only it can do. Unleash the potential that will make this country shine.

      By the way that evil profit motive is what creates wealth, jobs, and the American dream.

    50. Gilbert Doan, Ardmor says:

      Three thousand smart people?

      Maybe. But that doesn't seem to me to apply to DOE.

      A one-track mind has got to be a pretty small mind.

    51. Lorenzo G., CA says:

      Time to cut spending and not in pennies. Do not believe Obama when he say he will cut the budget, remember he had spend more of our money then GW Buch did in eigh years.

    52. Brian, Michigan says:

      Has any one else ever noticed how the President always does these events and speeches while the folks who actually pay taxes are at work??

    53. Dale, El Paso, TEXAS says:

      Being reminded just this afternoon what the DOE was put together for under the Carter (joke of an) administration, I am completely in favor of doing away with the entire Dept. of Energy..go back to drilling for our own oil in our country and our waterways and tell the entire Middle East to DRINK their oil for all I care. How this great nation has allowed itself to be ruled by a minority group of Progressives is beyond my comprehension!! I call my representatives and email them constantly regarding the need for us…the US to start going after OUR oil…NOW!! Not 10 years from now. If we had done this 10 years ago, I dare say we would not be in near the trouble energy wise that we are now. Please let's not wait another 10 years or even 10 months for that matter. Heritage members…CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES! TELL THEM DRILL!!! NOW!!!

    54. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      Amen.

      The DOE has not produced a single idea, thought, product, savings or advancement in Energy Technology or production of energy since its inception in the 1970's.

      The DOE is way over due to be closed. No fanfare, no parades, just shut the doors and everybody goes home or to the nearest jobs fair or Unemployment Office.

      Its sister agency the other DOE (Education) should also be closed for some of the same reasons with this major addition: The Department of Education has presided gleefully in the destruction of K-12 as an educational system and replacement by a System of Indoctrination for Socialism and Political Correctness.

      This prepares little automatons to be stuffed with the utter nonsense that passes for "Higher Education" as aided and abetted by our government, the unions and the fascist fiefdoms that are our universities and colleges.

      (Note: The other DOE (Energy) tried the indoctrination route with Climate Change, That attempt ended in just another failure)

    55. Government Employee, says:

      The DOE should be abolished.

      It self regulates some of the worst nuclear facilities in the world. These facilities should be turned over to the NRC. Nuclear safety should never be held to the strings of the same organization that pays the budget for it's safety. Look at Hanford, Rocky Flats and the clean up work ongoing at Los Alamos and Savannah River Site. Legacy waste? Most of it was put there by the same managers working there today.

      The DOD should take over the DOE's responsibilities for the nuclear weapons programs.

      Solar is a waste period. It will never recover cost. The solar tower was tried at Sandia and failed miserably. The maximum solar energy is two kwatts per sq meter at 100% efficiency. Now, 30% is the maximum solar energy conversion achievable. Throw in cloudy days, winter, latitude, etc. People selling this stuff are going for the federal buck.

      Characteristic of all Federal Spending is the fiscal year end waste. If managers don't spend their budgets they will not get the same amount next year. Managers that do a good job and try and produce a budget are chastised. Budgets are based upon "reasonable increases" and not real budgets at all. Billions of dollars are wasted at the end of each fiscal year just by managers trying to spend it all. Who oversees it…the government.

    56. Ben C., Ann Arbor, M says:

      @ Gene, Lake Stevens, Wa.

      Your arguements FOR big govenment are the RESULT of big government. If you study the root causes in your complaints you will find government intervention as the source of the problem. Do you think airlines actually want to keep you hostage on their planes – seriously. You wonder why you can't get a job? Industry has to deal with unions and government regulations not found in other countries. And you wonder why health insurance costs are rising so rapidly? Look no further than the tax status of hospitals and government regulations. The more you look into the matter the more you will realize than for the most part it is government that is screwing things up. Both sides of the isle are to blame with the left side a little more than the right. They all need to be replaced.

    57. Frank, Florida says:

      I completely agree with Robert above: COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development & Education. As best I can see from 2010 budget allocations that means an approx. savings of $150 billion. I believe these are Unconstitutional Federal over-reaches anyways. How about also the Dept. of Agriculture & Dept. of Labor? Are those really Constitutional? Progressivists always like to say these are part of the "promote the general welfare" part of the Constitution. But I don't think our Founding Fathers would agree. Let the States do those things, if they want.

      It's interesting to read the memoirs of Generals Grant & Sherman. They talked about the "General Government" (Federal Government), but they often referred to themselves as "citizens" of a particular state (Sherman even used the term "country" when referring to a particular US state). The term "nation" would refer to the USA, in general.

      Let's get back to a small, limited "general government" (Federal Government) & let the different "countries" (states) experiment with what kinds of governments (big or small) work the best. Let the citizens of those "countries" vote with their feet & move to a different "country" of they don't like it there! Sherman surely moved his "citizenship" at various times in his life, depending on where the better opportunities were.

    58. Bernard P. Giroux, D says:

      In order to control the federal government and have it work for the people, rather than the other way around, it is time to literally dismantle departments such as the DOE and others and re-invent the logic and business practices of these groups. They need to be accountable to the voters and the Congress, rather than be independent bodies directing the lives of Americans and loading the population up with rules, laws and regulations that affect individual daily lives. For example, why do we need a Federal Fishing License? Why do all salt water fishermen have to register with the Feds to fish the thousands of miles of coastline in this country? The excuse for this infringement on our rights is to control the information regarding the sport fishing take from coastal waters. Why? NOAA has no good answer.

    59. Michael Scrimsher, B says:

      I live ~ 30 miles from the largest environmental cleanup in the history of the world – the Hanford Nuclear reservation in southeastern WA state. Thanks to the DOE, and their wastefull management, billions and billions have been wasted, squandered and put to no good use there for over 30 years. Hanford was an especially ripe target for even more $$ in the stimulus….. Sure, we need to clean it up, esp. the highly radioactive and toxic liquid waste in 40 year old underground tanks. But billions have been and continue to be wasted in other areas at Hanford. A fire department and security force that would be the envy of any city. To guard what? No more plutonium out there… No more nuclear weapons….. An entire generation of workers who do little more on most days than drive to work and collect a paycheck. And it doesn't matter who is in charge at the White House, the $$ just rolls in every year by the hundreds of millions, most years the billions….. Its a pure shame to see my and others tax dollars wasted there by the DOE…..

    60. Dr. Henry D. Sinopol says:

      Barry O. & 'the bell' have picked winners & loosers. The socialist Democrats are winners & the rest are loosers.

      They are living large in subsidized housing. Guess who's paying – working Americans…

    61. Gene, Lake Stevens, says:

      All good points of view. One more cup of coffee before I go … See this —>>

      Is the World Too Big to Fail?

      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/21-3

    62. Hugh Pecon Phoenix A says:

      If we could get people in office with uncompromising integrity. A firm belief in our constitution. We would not have all these problems and waste of money. When the founders wrote the constitution and gave congress the authority to Levey taxes. It was for the purposes listed in article 1, section 8, provided it was done in a way that benefits the general welfare of the whole people and the common defense. They believed federal taxes could NOT be levied for states, counties, cities, or special interest groups.

      You see the constitution has the answers to most of todays questions. We just need to re-learn our history. We must restore our constitution.

    63. John, Colorado says:

      The real story, which I'm surprised and sorry that Heritage.org has not addressed as far as I know, is the fact of suppression. This whole story is moot because of it. Solutions have already been found. Of course we don't need the Energy Department, at all.

    64. John Murphy, Woodbri says:

      The Department of Energy should be defunded. It was established in the '70's when we were 30% dependent on foreign oil. We are now 70% dependent on foreign oil. It is another useless federal agency that spends billions of dollars.

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    66. William, Ohio says:

      Gee, if "ole" Tom Edison would have had access to all that federal money, maybe he'd have still been trying to get bamboo to work as a filiment!

      But then, we all know the free-market system doesn't work.

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    68. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The Department of Energy was created to get rid of the patchwork agencies that covered energy policy. Cut the budget? Sure, why not? While we're at it, let's do the

      same with the EPA.

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    70. Alex Trembath says:

      A new Counterpoint published by ITIF, the Breakthrough Institute, and Americans for Energy Leadership systematically dissembles the arguments put forward by the Heritage report. As the response explains, all of the examples of private venture besting public investment in the energy industry are misleading claims from the Heritage Foundation that ignore the substantial public support those ventures have enjoyed. Most importantly, the policy rebuttal proves that the energy sector does not and could not function without substantial government support, and that the goals and operations of the DOE advance national ambitions of energy security, economic prosperity, and technological competitiveness with other nations.

      See the full Counterpoint here: http://www.itif.org/publications/counterpoint-her

    71. Sandy, NYC says:

      The Solyndra case proves that the DOE LOAN and ATVM funding was based on pure bribery and lobby manipulation. All of the failure points on Solyndra have been visible for ages. Feinstein and DOE pushed the money to Solyndra in exchange for pass by fees to their friends and campaigns.

      Kleiner Perkins put Chu in office as Secratary in order to get favored nations funding for their portfolio companies and keep competitors to those portfolio companies from getting funded. Steve Westly and Kholsa helped them along with Raj Gupta.

      Detroit's lobbyists said,” we can’t get you any more taxpayer money because the public knows we are liars” “Tell them we need the money to build electric cars- and then we can BS them into coughing it up” said the lobbyists. The law said that the money was to go to any American car company but it only went to a Japanese company and Detroit. (Tesla is now controlled by Detroit no matter what crap Elon foists off so don't say they are not part of it.) All of the independent electric car companies who weren't part of Detroit or the Gore VC's were blockaded from funding. The way they did it is against the law.

      The DOE ATVM And Loan Gaurantee programs were conducted by criminals in order to commit crimes. Steve Rattner, who was at the head of those programs, has already been charged with crimes. Lachlan Seward, Matt Rogers and the rest of them need to go to jail.

      Steve Rattner (Now a proven criminal by the State of NY), Lachland Seward, Matt Rogers and his partner Steve Spinner and most of Tesla’s friends at McKinsey Consulting from Silicon Valley (Who used Tax payer jets to fly back and forth to Silicon Valley to go bike riding), Steve Westley and a group who now left DOE, and some who are still there are criminals. They stole your tax money and put in their friends pockets. Federal investigations have already shown that Detroit embezzeled and misspent the first monies distributed.

      The few applicants that did get money spent tens of millions of dollars on bribes and lobby “incentives” equal in ratio to the money they got. Now the White House says that $17B of the taxpayer money that DEtroit got is a write-off and is lost forever. In other words Detroit has already embezzeled more money than all of the other applicants applied for put together.

      Google Tesla’s Siry on “DOE stifles innovation” to read what one of the highest level staff at one of the car companies said.

      The GAO, a federal crime busting agency, just released public reports saying that the DOE Loan programs were corrupt. All of the people under Seward were “connected” or “made men” in the Detroit cadre. Seward changed the section 136 first-come-first serve rule (Which appears to be illegal) in order to provide advantages to his friends in Detroit who didnt bother to apply in time and to cut out the smaller players who were already ahead in the application proces

      Subpeonas of Detroit and DOE Loan Departments will prove crime, corruption, favoritism and rigged contracts were the rule and not the exception.

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