Posted: September 8th, 2022

Discretionary Spending: Energy Technology

The Idea:
This week you will begin to discuss how to address the US national debt. This is part of your semester long project (Debtbusters). You will start by first addressing the issue of discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is a category of government spending that is considered optional. The government chooses to spend money in these areas, but can easily chose not to do so.  In your own life, discretionary spending can include things like eating out at a restaurant, or going to the movies. You may chose to do so, (unless, you know….COVID stuff….)  but unlike things such as paying your electric bill, it is not mandatory.

Instructions:
Please consider the following proposal for changing taxes.Please provide an analysis of this proposal. First explain what you consider to be the  advantages and disadvantages  of enacting this measure.  What are some reasons why it would be a good idea to enact this?  Are there any drawbacks or reasons why you would not want to enact this?  What is your response to the analyses posted  by your fellow group members?
At the end of the discussion, you will be asked for your final vote on this proposal. You will vote “yes” to enact it, and “no” if you do not wish to enact it and WHY?

Proposal:
Reduce Department of Energy funding for energy technology development.

Reduce Department of Energy funding for energy technology development. Various Department of Energy programs support research and development of new technologies in fossil fuels, nuclear power, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This option would eliminate efforts to support the later stages of technology development and demonstration of commercial feasibility without touching the department’s support of basic and early applied research. Critics argue these programs are of questionable value. Supporters say federal support is needed because the prices that businesses and consumers pay for energy do not reflect the large long-run environmental costs, thus DOE’s programs fill a gap unmet by the private Effect on deficit: -$20 billion.
Supporters Say
These technology development programs are of questionable value and DOE should concentrate on basic research in those fields, which is less likely to be undertaken by the private
Direct market feedback to private investors has proven more cost-effective than relying on the judgment of government managers in selecting which technologies will be commercially
Opponents Say
Federal support is needed because the prices that businesses and consumers pay for energy do not reflect the large long-run costs of climate change and other environmental factors. Consequently, there is little incentive to manufacture or purchase products that reduce energy consumption or lower greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, DOE’s programs fill a gap unmet by the private market by providing the resources and incentives to develop new
Panels convened by the National Academy of Sciences have estimated that some of DOE’s technology development programs, especially in energy efficiency, have provided substantial benefits that exceed their costs. In addition, energy is one of the many sectors in which people other than investors also benefit from the knowledge Federal support helps ensure that adequate R&D takes place.
What do you say? Do you wish to reduce Department of Energy funding for energy technology development in order to bring down the debt? Why or why not?

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