Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid!

This was the phrase that set the mood in the 1992 election when Bill Clinton ran against, and beat, George Bush I. It should well be the theme for the 2008 elections, but apparently the issue is not the same everywhere.

On a recent trip to Connecticut a few weeks ago, I was amazed to see the local mall filled with people at 9:00 PM on a Friday evening. Here in Augusta, the Target that opened last month often looks like a ghost town.
As I had to wait for a table at the Ruby Tuesdays in that mall, I struck up a conversation with a local dude who was sucking down a few brews at the bar. "I guess you guys don't know there's a recession on..." I announced. He agreed, but we both noted that things in Connecticut looked a bit more green that in other places.

This insight has been confirmed in a series of news articles (and this article too) that have appeared in the last few days. It seems that if you live in an oil-rich state like Louisiana or Texas, you got money coming out of your ears. If, on the other hand, your state depends on others for energy - and you tend to use a lot of energy, as we do here in Maine - you're screwed.

I guess it should not come as a surprise when former Governor Angus King suggested we build a army of wind generators off the coast and get into the energy business ourselves. I'm sure his millionaire buddies who "own" the Coast are not happy with that suggestion.

Seems to me that there really is only one short-term solution for Maine. We gotta reduce our energy consumption - and we gotta do it real fast.

The long-term solution is to establish an energy policy in this country that eliminates, or dramatically reduces dependence on foreign sources of energy.

And I don't expect any former - or current - presidents from Texas to be helping Mainers out any time soon.


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