Thursday, November 01, 2007


If I Were President, Episode #1

I have millions of thoughts, ideas, and hypothesis running through my head all the time. Some are about inventions I'd make. Some are about stories I'd write. Some are about politics.

So one area that I've been thinking about over the years was along the lines of "If I were president, I'd". Some of these ideas I think are kind'a good. So I thought I'd share them with you and you can shoot them down or talk them up. Here's one example - I'd create my own political party that represents my own political ideas. (That's going to be its own series of posts, however.) But the political platform is the foundation of the things I'd do if I were president, so let me jump into the first major action I'd do as president. (I warn you, these ideas are 'wonkish' - meaning that they're detailed and fairly fleshed out.)

So here's my area of action, involving two major programs, that'd I'd work on if I were president: water management.

How boring, you're thinking. What's the big deal with water management and why would a president care about it. And even if a president should care about it, then what should s/he do? Well, water management is definitely a federal issue because most all of our current water management strategies revolve around getting fresh water from either a) rivers (which span many states), or b) major aquifers (which also span many states).

There's a crisis with fresh water in the USA that is only just reaching the public eye. The problem with water management is that every state and even every big city that wants water is free to tap into a major river or aquifer and suck out all the water they want. Phoenix, for example, gets all of its water for drinking, fountains, swimming pools, and lawns from the Colorado river. The Colorado river used to reach the Gulf of Baja, but now dries up many miles before reaching the sea. It's all tapped out.

Similarly, the Ogallala Aquifer provides water for almost all the wells driven in the central USA from Texas and New Mexico to Nebraska and the Dakotas. This aquifer, which is filled with water deposited during the last ice age, is being depleted at a dramatic rate. Within our lifetime, we'll see all of its water run dry. How then, do you think, our great American Corn Belt will supply the world with food when it's as dry as the Sahara Desert? It won't, of course, and the USA will go the way of other great empires that turned their environments into deserts.

My solutions, as President, is two-fold. It's also expensive as hell, but IMO like the interstate system in that the outlays of moneys now will ensure a level of prosperity and economic-leverage that far outweighs the expence.

First, all coastal towns and cities of over 50,000 inhabitants should use desalination for their water supply. Ideally, the desalination plants will be powered by tidal/wave energy systems and work entirely off the grid for their power needs.

Second, a new inland-directed water system of pipes, piping stations, and reservoirs would enable fresh water to be shipped from the coasts into the interior of the USA. Imagine the vast, desert plains of Texas now able to cultivate crops. Colorado, usually dry as a bone, could become an agricultural state. Heck, you could even set up enormous sugarcane plantations in the normally barren Southwest to create ethanol for cars. (Sugarcane ethanol is an order of magnitude more efficient than corn ethanol.) Lots of new jobs are created. Everybody prospers. Everybody makes money. The American way is promoted!

In addition, existing programs within the Department of Interior should also be more fully funded to cultivate new forests across the country, especially in arid states. Forests provide a huge number of benefits to water management - improved water retention (trees raise the water table significantly in dry regions), windbreaks that slow evaporation across the vast prairies of Mid-Westernern states, new sources of valuable timber, and also acting as carbon sinks to soak up excess greenhouse gases.

The program, as you are probably thinking, would be extremely large. I'm thinking of a system at least as large as the current Interstate system of roads. On the other hand, try to imagine what American life would be like without Interstates. The Interstates have affected everything from where we live (suburbs, exurbs) to how we eat (fast food) to what we buy (anyone had a tomato in February? It was shipped across our Interstates cheaply and quickly from the South or Mexico). A national water system would have a similarly huge impact on the life of Americans 40-60 years from now, such that we couldn't imagine living without it.

And it's not that I'm a "green" or anything like that. It simply ensuring that American retains access to the most fundamental natural resource required for life - fresh, drinkable water.

So that's my first installment of "If I Were President". More to come!


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If I were president, I'd just do the opposite of Bush.

oh, my word verification word is "upykxxie"
definition: a small, pixie-like fairy-tale creature. It's been known to make people happy or in an "upy" mood.
It's a sad commentary on our political discourse that no candidate could actually promote this kind of policy while running for president. They would immediately be maligned as a crazy wonk and the focus would return to important stuff like haircuts and Vince Foster's murder.
You know, that is sort'a sad on both comments:

1. WWBND - instead of WWJD, you could have a bracelet that says What Would Bush NOT Do?

2. Seems like presidents are only a sort of entertainer and cheerleader for ideologues who don't really care about solutions to our problems. Turds!
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