By Al Fonzi

Al Fonzi is an independent opinion columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email him at atascaderocolumnist@gmail.com.

At the beginning of January 2021, we were energy-independent for the first time in nearly half a century. Illegal entry into the country was also at its lowest levels in a generation. The economy was starting to boom after a year-long interruption, courtesy of the COVID pandemic, and COVID vaccinations had surpassed over 900,000 a day.

By Jan. 21, President Biden had ordered construction on the border wall halted, even on sections already paid for. Tens of thousands of hopeful refugees stampeded north, enriching cartel coyotes by $40 million/month, leaving a trail of bodies across deserts; 25 dead in a day via an overstuffed van in February, more refugees dead at sea on Sunday as an overloaded boat capsized off San Diego. A third of refugee women are reportedly raped, thousands of children are trafficked weekly, yet neither Biden nor VP Harris can be bothered to spend a single day to view the carnage they’ve unleashed on the border.

On day one, Biden issued orders to block further construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, instantly eliminating 11,000 union jobs, ending our short-lived energy independence. Years of hearings, judicial rulings, and endless studies were rendered irrelevant by the stroke of Biden’s pen. Biden ordered an end to drilling on federal lands and directed reinstatement of onerous regulations to halt or slow fossil-fuel extraction across the nation. Gas prices are climbing, now over $4.00/gallon in California. Analysts speculate that in order to reach Biden’s stated objective of ending fossil-fuel use in cars by 2035, the government will have to enact regulatory regimes to force gas prices to $8.00 – $10.00 a gallon. The earliest indications of inflation is starting to rear its ugly head; check out the 1970’s for what living was like with gas lines, inflation at 15 percent, and interest rates touching 21 percent.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Somehow this is supposed to force Americans to end their love affair with internal combustion engines and into electric cars. Government mandates, absent common sense, are often the hallmark of socialist mandates, which usually produce shortages, a vibrant black market, and widespread misery, except for the self-appointed elite who always manage to find exemptions for themselves via government edicts.

Biden’s massive spending and his apologists are promising an economic nirvana but are more likely to produce the opposite, so much so that even some “blue-dog democrats” are choking on his budget like a dog swallowing a bone. The president’s green policies, if perfectly enacted, will ultimately save the planet from overheating by a whopping .007 of one degree (F) by 2100, assuming of course that China, India, Russia, and the rest of the world are sufficiently impressed by American self-flagellation and opt to follow us to economic self-destruction.

I find Biden’s proposed “infrastructure” bill to be among the worst of his deceptions since his infrastructure bill will not actually address the deteriorating condition of American roads, bridges, airports, ports, et al. In fact, not even 10 percent of his “infrastructure bill” is dedicated to any of the aforementioned but is siphoned off into whatever bottomless pit/social program of the current Democrat wish list. As Californians, we should be used to that: remember what happened to the initiatives we voted for to improve roads, which ended up dedicated to bike lanes, parks, and whatever else the legislature wanted, with not a single new lane of highway being built? I remember this every time I drive on the 101 with its heaviest traffic in memory the norm.

If the president was serious about re-building anything, he should address the most vital component of our civilization: the need for uninterrupted, stable, and secure electrical power. Power demand is increasing almost exponentially, and the desire for an electrified economy sans fossil fuels requires a massive investment into the grid system. It’s aging, extremely vulnerable, and grossly underfunded.

On Sept. 2, 1859, the largest ever recorded geomagnetic storm caused by a massive solar flare disrupted the 19th century pre-electronic age, frying telegraph lines, igniting fires, and generating a massive light show in the sky. A similar event today would destroy our civilization. The national electrical grid would be destroyed by a massive electromagnetic pulse, inflicting damage comparable to that caused by a high-altitude nuclear weapons attack. Such an incident, either from the sun or a nuclear attack would destroy all electrical power for a year or more. The government estimates that such an event would also result in the deaths of 90 percent of all Americans within a year as NOTHING electronic-based would work; not a single vehicle would move. That’s a bit more urgent than the 90 percent of planned spending priorities put forth by the president.