South Carolina Citizen Journal

October 1, 2009

Energy Taxes

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Energy, Environment, South Carolina, Taxes, Transportation — NotforHire @ 8:29 am

Forget “Cap and Trade” and “Climate Change Legislation”. What we are really talking about are taxes on fossil fuel energy consumption. And taxes on fossil fuel consumption are exactly what we need  in order for our state to prosper in the coming decades.

South Carolina currently imports $14 billion in oil and $10 billion in coal a year. That, my friends, is a chunk of change. It is a huge drag on our economy and a problem that will only get worse. The time has long past for action on this issue.

What our primary focus should be is how to get those numbers down. The sooner we start thinking about energy independence as a  state, and actually implementing a plan, the better off we will be. The state that produces all of its own energy is going to be the state that is strongest and most competitive in the global marketplace.

Higher taxes on imported fossil fuels are necessary to fund our transition to in-state produced sources of energy. To all of you short term thinkers out there,  get out of the way.

August 29, 2009

70% Consumer Spending

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 7:58 am

I keep reading about how 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending, and that we need to spend more to bring us out of this recession.

It needs to be pointed out that consumer spending is consumption, and that 70% consumption is, to put it mildly, unsustainable. Does that mean that only 30% of the economy is production?

A new found frugality and increased savings rate are nothing but a good things for our state.  It is time for a major restructuring in how we function in our economy.

May 17, 2009

Urban Homesteading

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Environment, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 9:52 am

Some thirteen months ago, my wife and I were lucky enough to purchase a house on a lot of about a third of an acre. It came with a mature pecan tree in the front yard, from which last summer we didn’t get any pecans, but we cleared off the many vines growing up into it and we’re hopeful that this year we will get some production out of it.

Other than the pecan tree, we have planted an apple tree(a hot weather variety), a blueberry bush, grapevines, and a 4′ by 20′ vegetable garden.

My wife is calling this our homestead year, and let me tell you we are thankful to be able to head out to the grocer, because otherwise we would be starving right now.

No but really, we are having moderate success so far, and we are looking forward to having a lot of tomatos, onions, squash and cantalopes this summer, and maybe pecans.

I am treating my urban lot as a homestead because it is the conservative thing to do. It saves my family money and saves a small percentage on produce that would otherwise be imported from out of state. Oh, I suppose I could be spending that time out water skiing, but water skiing is hardly an activity of someone calling themselves a conservative, now is it?

May 9, 2009

SC Energy

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Energy, Environment, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 11:00 am

I read with interest that South Carolina will soon be exporting 350,00 tons of switchgrass to Europe to fuel power plants there, as they move away from coal.

With the recent downturn in energy usage across our state, and with lower projected energy use into the future coupled with technological breakthroughs in alternative fuels, it is time to abandon SC&G’s plan for a new nuclear plant and Santee-Cooper’s plan for a new coal plant. An energy independent South Carolina is a strong South Carolina and concentrating our efforts in the following areas is what will make this happen.

1. Switchgrass fueled electrical plants. Switchgrass is native to our state and is found here in abundance. The farming of switchgrass in our state is already moving forward, and we need to take advantage of this right now.

2. The development of a wind farm in the far upstate, where we have world class energy producing wind. Also offshore wind should be put to the front burner and invested in heavily.

3. We should be doing everything we can to develop our own solar industries here in the Palmetto State. It is expensive, but recent breakthroughs in the technology should make solar power a major factor in South Carolina’s push towards energy independence.

4. Conservation.  One initiative that would have a major impact is the regular publication of our energy usage as a whole- How much gasoline  we use in a quarter, as well as electricity, water and natural gas, if published and promoted, would give us solid numbers to rally around and make us more aware, and more willing to work harder to use less energy.

Again, we should be concentrating on energy sources  and strategies that will make us energy independent as soon as possible. It is absolutely critical that we do so without delay.

May 1, 2009

Megadumps

It is good to see our elected officials taking steps so that South Carolina does not become the trash dumping ground for the whole eastern seaboard.

DHEC has passed new regulations making it more difficult for these megadumps to be built here. I would like us to go further and make it absolutely impossible for them to be built here. Let’s think to the future shall we, or at the least we should have some basic self respect.

South Carolina is no dumping ground. At best these places would be a short term revenue generator for these counties, and in the long run would ruin whole areas with toxic pollution in the ground and in the ground water, making it more difficult for these areas to generate wealth for themselves in the future.

DHEC says it can’t unapprove the megadump in Marlboro County. Sure it can. Or how about the legislature pass a law that simply says we do not accept any trash from outside our borders? They could still build it and Marlboro County could be the dumping ground for our own state’s trash, but that would be it. By the way, the company wanting to build this particular dump is not even a South Carolina based company.

I’ll say it one more time: South Carolina is no trash dumping ground. Period.

December 16, 2008

Hypermiling

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Energy, Environment, Transportation — NotforHire @ 8:32 am

Hypermiling is the simple concept of driving as efficiently as possible.

With South Carolina importing 100% of its gasoline, it is an idea that should be actively promoted. Perhaps a public service campaign by our department of transportation would be a good idea. The less fuel we import, the more wealth we retain in our state.

For more information please visit hypermiling.com.

November 10, 2008

Who owns your grocery store?

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 11:03 am

Just so you know where your money goes when you shop for groceries I have compiled the following list:

Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., corp. offices in North Charleston, SC, privately held, employee owned.

Bi-Lo, corp. offices in Mauldin, SC, privately held LLC.

Harris-Teeter, corp. offices in Matthews, NC, privately held.

Food Lion, corporate offices in Brussels, Belgium, owned by the Delhaize Group.

Publix, corp. offices in Lakeland Florida, publicly traded, employee owned.

Earthfare, corp. offices in Asheville, NC, privately held.

Costco, corporate offices in Issaquah, WA, publicy traded.

WalMart, offices in Bentonville, AK, publicly traded.

Whole Foods Market, Corp. offices in Austin, TX, publicly traded.

Now you know where your money goes when you’re stocking your larder. If I missed a store you shop at in your town please let me know and I will update the list.

Cheers

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 9:42 am

A wire blurb in Friday’s Post & Courier caught my attention regarding lower sales and profits from the new Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.

After having done a little research I found that their corporate headquarters are in Atlanta, making Wendy’s and Arby’s regional chains, and I see the relevance of the wire report.

It would have been nice if this information had been included in the business section report so readers could know that this company is located relatively close to South Carolina and that money spent in these chains will not be traveling too far from our own economic sphere.

When dining out it is good to try to keep your money close to home, first with locally owned restaurants and then with regionally owned establishments. Maintaining and building wealth in our state must be dealt with on all fronts.

November 7, 2008

University Medical Associates send money, jobs out of state

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Health Care, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 9:53 am

After having an altercation with an automobile on my bicycle earlier this summer that required medical attention, I find myself looking at a bill from University Medical Associates, the umbrella group that handles billing for doctors that practice at MUSC.

The statement has me sending my payment to a post office box in Raleigh, NC, which I think is wrong on several different levels. It means that doctors practicing medicine at a publicly funded medical university in South Carolina are using an out of state company to handle their billing, sending jobs and money out of state.

There is no doubt that UMA should be handling their billing with an in state company, keeping the flow of capital in South Carolina banks and employing South Carolina residents rather than outsourcing the business out of state.

February 7, 2008

Circle the Wagons, Part I

According to the South Carolina Energy Office’s 2005 Energy Statistical Profile “South Carolina spends $10 billion per year on energy and ranks 18th in the nation in total energy consumption per capita”. The profile also states that our per capita energy consumption is above the U.S. average.

Now if I’m not mistaken, except for some hydro electric, South Carolina imports practically all of its energy for consumption. We have no coal. We have no natural gas. We have no oil. Even our nuclear industry imports the fuel that keeps it running. So while we certainly need to import these energy sources for the good of our state and overall economy, I think we all can also hear that giant sucking sound as our state bleeds itself of wealth by not taking energy conservation completely seriously. It’s time to stop the bleeding.

Our stated goal should be 50th on the states list of per capita energy consumption. Fiftieth by a mile. We should be looking to ourselves for an immediate 10% reduction in per capita energy consumption followed by at least an additional 10% by the end of 2009.

There are many steps that will need to be taken for this to happen, but first is the regular collection and publication of energy consumption data. In this day and age when financial data is collected and tabulated on a daily basis, there is no reason that we can’t collect this information from energy providers in a timely fashion and for very little cost.

By publishing this information, and relying on a concurrent public service campaign as well as expecting the involvement of the fourth estate, we will be able to put forth a significant measure. Rather than depending on us to watch our individual energy usage numbers, which incrementally mean very little, we will have a large measure that we all can contribute to and be a part of. For example, based on the 2005 statistical profile a 10% energy usage reduction would be a $1 billion dollar a year savings for the people of South Carolina, and that ain’t no chicken feed.

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