3 comments posted · 3 followers · following 0

15 years ago @ - Inside the Transition:... · 1 reply · +3 points

I would like to see a balance of innovation with quick implementation. It's great to talk about the innovations that government could make, but it's more important that we start getting the small, easy changes as quickly as possible.

For example, making all Cencus data accessible and "mashable" as it was called is a great idea. Another is to release all currently electronic documents and PDFs to be indexed by search engines (forms, laws, procedures, etc). Both could be done in a very short amount of time. The key is to push forward and get it done. Remove or announce the roadblocks to progress. If we wait until we have a laundry list of all the things we could do differently and what an ideal modern government would look like, it could be years before it gets fully implemented, if at all.

Piece up progress, take it step by step, but start taking steps right away. is an amazing site, but it hasn't released information, per se. Start making information accessible to the people and we will show you what we want to do with it.

15 years ago @ - Keeping college afford... · 1 reply · +4 points

One way to reduce higher education costs is to give grants to students who volunteer to tutor children in nearby public schools for free, which would help future generations be better prepared for college, help ailing schools, and inspire children with role models.

Another way would be to improve the public perception of certifications and associates degrees. It shouldn't be necessary to have a full 4 year degree in order to get a decent job, and with a grant and scholarship program geared toward degrees we could promote their use.

Yet another way would be to provide some sort of incentive to universities that implement measurable internal cost-cutting measures. What better minds to apply to this than the people who manage the schools, and providing a proper incentive (maybe more grant dollars available to their students or research departments?) would get them on track.

My final idea is to give businesses an incentive (in the form of tax breaks, etc) to make a substantial payment to the student's loan debt as part of their hiring package.

15 years ago @ - U.S. PV R · 1 reply · +4 points

Public funding for solar technology R&D is at its lowest point in 20 years. I agree with Mary Lou that we need research for scalable technology that can be implemented en masse at low costs to the homeowner. Current subsidies for solar panels are generally inadequate for the average household, and solar water heaters would be a great place to begin making a difference. Germany had a fantastic solar heater funding program and we could learn a lot from them. However, I think that we need to leverage the government loan program (once it begins to stabilize) to provide funds directly to the homeowner for the explicit purpose of installing clean energy technologies. That would close the gap between the subsidy and the true cost.

The government could even go so far as to create contractual partnerships with some of the main installation companies to achieve economies of scale and reduce the cost of installation through volume discounts. This way, the loan payment would go directly to the authorized company, and the low interest rate would ensure that the homeowner is paying only slightly more in monthly bills as they were when they were paying for energy bills. Furthermore, the interest for those loans would help provide additional revenues for more subsidies, and fuel the program as a whole.

Since I'm already shooting for the stars with ideas, how about allowing businesses to provide tax-deductible funds to the government funding program, and then giving additional subsides to them in proportion to their donations once they are ready to go solar.