American Elephants

Paul Ryan is a Very Impressive Young Congressman. by The Elephant's Child
April 16, 2010, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , ,

I am very impressed with Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).  A self-described policy wonk, he isn’t afraid to wade into the numbers, and make sense of them.  And his honesty and clarity are very welcome in a Congress that seems somewhat bereft of those qualities.  He has lots of ideas, and he backs them up with the details.  A welcome characteristic.

Here he is on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, impressing everyone there.

Green Ideology is a Killer. by The Elephant's Child
April 16, 2010, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Law | Tags: , ,

So many of our problems today are remnants, left-overs, from the 1970s.  There is nothing new in Progressivism.  Mileage regulation was created as product of the “oil shortages” of the 70s.  The shortages were billed as a result of “resource depletion,” but in fact were a result of Arab manipulation of oil prices, in an attempt to undercut American support for Israel, and were amplified by public hysteria (gas lines) and general U.S. government incompetence.

The 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act created the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program, known as CAFE standards.  Domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers were required to meet certain mileage standards in their cars and light trucks.  They were given a very short time to carry this out before fines were levied, so car companies took the easiest way.  They designed smaller engines that used less fuel while lowering the size and weight of new vehicles.

Consequences were not what was expected.  They did not lower fuel consumption, but since it now cost less to fill up, people drove more.  Average fuel usage doubled, and oil imports increased.  The lighter cars also killed a whole lot of people.  Drivers in lightweight cars were as much as twelve times more likely to die in a crash.

J.R. Dunn listed some of the effects of weight reduction at American Thinker:

According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 and 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards. Smaller cars accounted for up to 12,144 deaths in 1997, 37% of all vehicle fatalities for that year. The National Academy of Sciences found that smaller, lighter vehicles “probably resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 traffic fatalities in 1993.” The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration study demonstrated that reducing a vehicle’s weight by only one hundred pounds increased the fatality rate by as much as 5.63% for light cars, 4.70% for heavier cars, and 3.06% for light trucks. These rates translated into additional traffic fatalities of 13,608 for light cars, 10,884 for heavier cars, and 14,705 for light trucks between 1996 and 1999.

How many deaths have resulted? Depending on which study you choose, the total ranges from 41,600 to 124,800. To that figure we can add between 352,000 and 624,000 people suffering serious injuries, including being crippled for life. In the past thirty years, fuel standards have become one of the major causes of death and misery in the United States — and one almost completely attributable to human stupidity and shortsightedness.

The Obama administration has greatly expanded CAFE standards to 35.5 mpg, and in addition, the EPA added a “tailpipe emission standard of 250 grams of CO2 per mile in order to combat nonexistent global warming.  The administration remains determined to “fight global warming” and change our economy from one dependent on petroleum to one powered by “clean energy.”

It’s hard to tell if this is simply a payback to the administration’s environmental organization support, or if they actually believe this green nonsense.

Wind and solar produce less than 3 percent of the energy needs of our economy, none of which powers a single vehicle.  Our electric grid cannot support any significant number of electric vehicles.  Such warming as there is, a very insignificant amount, is a natural phenomenon, as the earth is always warming and cooling.

There is no evidence that we can have a “clean energy” economy in the foreseeable future.  Money invested in wind farms and solar arrays is simply wasted.   Our economy will be dependent on petroleum based fuels for the next fifty years at least.  Refusing to drill for our own plentiful supplies of oil and natural gas is incredibly shortsighted and misguided.

Demanding that cars become smaller and lighter only to fulfill some foolish green ideology is simply criminal.

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