American Elephants

Sorting out the early signs from the Office of the President-elect. by The Elephant's Child

The signs are not encouraging.  President-elect Barack Obama has named Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to his 17-member economic advisory panel.  Granholm’s vision has led to heavily subsidized ethanol plants and renewable-power mandates for utilities, which pleased the Obama team.

Unfortunately, the ethanol boom is fading as ethanol companies go bankrupt.

Granholm has also presided over the worst state economy in the country since her election in 2003.  With a huge budget deficit, and unemployment rates reaching 8.7% she has raised personal income taxes by 17 percent. Her energy plans have raised the utility bills for Michigan’s citizens by an estimated 12%.

To combat the increased unemployment and high union costs, she has offered her “investments” in alternative energy and increased road construction to grow jobs. But then her failing auto industry is asking for a government bailout. Which makes her a questionable economic adviser at best.

Leftists put a lot of “hope” in the promise of “green jobs”. This promise remains fairly gauzy and often includes, according to Chris Horner of CEI, gimmicks like shifting “steel jobs” into the “green jobs” column because windmills have steel arms.  The Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers says” Nuclear, hydro, and other “non-green” energy sources produce more power per worker than renewable alternatives.  Moving from efficient to inefficient energy means more people are needed to do the same amount of work.”

Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation points out some of the changes in the climate for climate change policy:

The European Union’s (EU) Emission Trading System (ETS), once the model for a U.S. program, continues to fail.  Europe’s program is not reducing CO2 and has led to higher energy costs.  The U.S. has reduced more CO2 by market efficiencies and without any complicated cap-and-trade programs.  Growing numbers of EU member countries, including Italy, now want to delay (read: scratch) the ETS because of economic woes approaching crisis proportions.

Obama’s plan was to stick the oil companies with a “windfall profits tax” to get the money for a big stimulus package, but the declining price of oil is taking the profits out of the windfall.  And a windfall profits tax would drive up the price of oil again, harming consumers. But then, stimulus packages don’t work either.

Obama’s campaign proposals have been heavy on giving government (taxpayer) money to those he found more deserving, but these actions have consequences. Raising taxes as the economy is declining is a very bad idea, as any student of the Great Depression would tell you. Something Obama has yet to learn.

The Environmental organizations that have been vigorous supporters of Obama are, above all, true believers in clean energy, strong global warming legislation, and locking up America’s natural resources so they cannot be defiled.  Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation said:

President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress offer new hope that Americans will come together to repower America with clean energy that revitalizes our economy and defends a planet in peril from the climate crisis…to pass strong global warming legislation that invests boldly in clean energy, caps and cuts the pollution that causes global warming, and restores America’s natural resources.

Other environmental CEOs rhapsodized about the environmental mandate that voters demanded.  Unfortunately, four of five environmental initiatives lost heavily at the ballot box.  Voters are more skeptical about excessive regulation and exorbitant costs with no clear benefits.  And even more, a study by the American Climate Values Survey found that only 18% of respondents strongly believe that global warming is real, caused by humans and is harmful.

As I said, the signs are not encouraging.  If you add in the observed fact that the sun has gone quiet, and the earth has not been warming for the last ten years, but cooling. And it is expected to continue cooling for the next two decades at least, you can see that there are some things that badly need to be sorted out.

You might want to keep an eye on an over-enthusiastic Congress.

3 Comments so far
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The fact that he named Jennifer Granholm as an economic advisor should scare the hell out of anybody. The women has been ANYTHING but right for the hard-working people of Michigan.


Comment by Sean

Oh yeah, and couple that with Emanuel being named also–that one has a long history of flying off the handle!


Comment by Anne

Rahm Emmanuel has a reputation as a ferocious combatant, as the pipeline between congress and the Chicago machine; and yet he is also somewhat a centrist, definitely not a radical. It has been said that he is keenly aware of the problems with the Clinton administration in trying to push through health care right off the bat. I am dubious that Obama can be a ‘centrist’ for all of his instincts are radical left. We’ll see.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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