American Elephants

“Hope” Is Not a Recipe For Success. Try Common Sense and Hard Work! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s “green jobs” program promised to weatherize 1,000,000 homes each year. A report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy in February 2010, issued two conclusions: Out of the $4.73 billion that the stimulus bill provided for weatherization work, only $368.2 million had actually been spent. (Less than 8 percent). Of the 10 highest grant recipients, only two had completed more than two percent of the planned units.

The weatherization program was supposed to be the quickest and most effective of job-creation programs, but to quote the report: “The Nation has not, to date, realized the potential economic benefits of the $5 billion in Recovery Act funds allocated to the Weatherization Program.” Why not?

A Depression-era law, known as the Davis-Bacon Act, meant that recipients of weatherization funds had to pay laborers a locally “prevailing wage.” States and counties didn’t actually know what the prevailing wage was. Most chose not to begin projects until wage rates were formally established. California had “furloughs.” The Energy Dept. mandated that all workers receive additional training — budget shortfalls and “furloughs.”

Idled oil-rig workers in the Gulf who are receiving compensatory benefits from BP aren’t going to get any relief from the IRS.  Their benefits will be fully taxable, the IRS wants their share of that $20 billion fund demanded by the federal government to help spill victims.

Eight of the deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have either left, or are finalizing their plans to do so.  The administration apparently thought that they would sit around idle for six months.  There is an economic disaster to accompany the ecological disaster.  Some 16 shallow-water rigs are sitting idle, and in 30 days that total will grow to 34 rigs.  Approximately 50 offshore marine service and supply vessels are already out of work and that number is expected to grow to 100 shortly.  Louisiana’s shipbuilding industry is bracing for a potentially devastating drop in new business and likely cancellation of existing contracts.

With the overhaul of financial regulation nearing completion, some Democrats are hoping that Congress can turn to the next big legislative challenge – energy and climate change. There is no consensus yet what such legislation should include, but there is strong determination on the part of the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress to try to move something – anything – before Congress leaves town in August. Um — anything?

These are just a few examples of the mindset.  They must do something! They will make a law, turn out a regulation, mandate — something or other. Because there has been no careful investigation of what is actually needed, no consideration of possible unintended consequences, things simply do not work.

Efforts to salvage things in the Gulf are hamstrung by red tape issued by bureaucrats who know less than nothing about the problems.  Priorities are misplaced, expertise ignored, ideas discarded, common sense and simple straightforward economics are left out of the equation.

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