American Elephants


The Plans for the Second Term are Beginning to Leak Out. Be Afraid, Very Afraid. by The Elephant's Child

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During the presidential campaign, the Obama team was lavish with funding for appearances and ads, but not exactly forthcoming about the administration’s plans for a second term. The president’s claiming personal credit for the success of the shale gas and oil industry took some real stretching of the facts, since the increase in oil and gas production took place on private land. Now that the election is over, plans for term two that would surely have changed the course of the election are beginning to be revealed. And it’s not promising.

The national debt $16,330,500,000,000+, and climbing, is apparently a matter of no particular concern to this administration. They are pushing ahead to four more years — of more of the same useless spending. The Obama Interior Department is planning more big spending on “green” energy projects. It’s full steam ahead with offshore wind farms. The U.S. will offer up federal acreage off the coasts of Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for offshore wind under an administration initiative to fast-track permitting for offshore wind farms. We are fortunate that none have yet been built. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that:

“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,”

The leases would grant wind-development rights for about 277,550 acres. The first leases will total more than 430 square miles, will be sold next year. The wind energy people make elaborate claims about the number of jobs, but they cleverly include the lawyers, secretaries, janitors and so on in their claims. Not promising. Wind energy has a basic problem. The wind blows only intermittently. Offshore wind is vastly more expensive than onshore, and turbines need more frequent replacement as the salt-water environment is more damaging. Wind turbines would take, not years to pay off the investment, but millennia.

According to an election night poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, 90 % of Democrats and Republicans and 94% of independents count energy as “very important” to them. The poll found that 73 % of voters favor the production of more domestic oil and gas. Sixty-eight percent of voters recognized increased taxes on oil and gas companies simply help to drive up consumer costs. Another poll by Harris found an astounding 75% level of cross-party support for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. That figure included 60 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents and 95 percent of Republicans.

Energy would seem to be the one issue for which the President does have a mandate — and it is not in line with his first term agenda. The real mandate will go a-glimmering, he’s not interested. But Obama does not change his mind. His ideas, we are told, are set in concrete. He is already spending some of his political capital in furtherance of his anti-fossil fuel campaign.

Just two days after his re-election, the Interior Department announced a plan to shut down 1.6 million acres of federal land that were slated for oil shale development by the Bush administration. Even before the election the BLM published proposed regulations governing oil and gas development on ‘federal and Indian lands.’ So costly and complicated are these regulations that some say it threatens the growing shale gas industry, putting the vast energy reserves beneath ‘federal and Indian lands’ beyond economic viability.

Obama continues to demand increased taxes from”the rich,” but that would not bring in enough to make even a slight dent in the debt. But the administration is talking about a carbon tax, and there are rumblings of a value added tax. Obama clearly has no intention of restraining spending at all.

I really think that Obama cannot conceive of being president and not spending. He sees himself as a “transformational” figure, and he is pursing those things which he regards as transforming: “green” energy, saving the world from global warming, multitudes of “green” jobs, electric cars, high speed trains, single-payer health insurance.

Remaking the United States as a transformed nation more to his tastes is a high-cost endeavor. The potential for increased taxes at the beginning of 2013 when we fall off the fiscal cliff are only the beginning. It will be expensive, but his vision is flawed. His ideas just aren’t going to work. Green jobs only exist when you count the janitors. ‘Renewable energy’ exists only with huge subsidies, and cannot replace the conventional energy of fossil fuels.  And Obamanomics cannot replace conventional economics — bad math. And a big, ‘helpful’ government can grow too big and too intrusive to be supported either emotionally or financially.

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