American Elephants

That’s What We Need, the EPA Running Industrial Policy for America! by The Elephant's Child

Back on Labor Day, President Obama was in Milwaukee.  He vowed to “keep fighting every single day, every single hour, ever single minute, to turn this economy around and put people back to work and renew the American Dream.” Stirring rhetoric or pure puffery?

I, for one, am thoroughly up-to-the-ears with politicians promising to “fight” for this that and the other thing.  Nobody “fights” for anything, they do deals in back rooms.  Obama promises to create and save jobs, as some other governmental department is busily destroying them.  And the claims of “created or saved” jobs was nonsense in the first place. Happened only in a computer program.  GIGO.

The villain, once again, is the EPA.  A new proposal threatens to regulate industrial boilers — the boiler MACT rule.  (maximum achievable control technology standards).  What?  This sounds really technical, but Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s agenda is to set industrial policy for the nation. Their pending regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act will extend the federal bureaucracy into every corner of American life.

In an afternoon press conference on December 07, 2009, the EPA announced that the agency had decided that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide pose a threat to human health and welfare.

This was possibly the silliest announcement ever made by any governmental agency in the history of the republic. We breathe out CO2, plants take in CO2, it is one of the basic building blocks of life.  No CO2, no life.  There is nothing that the EPA can do that will have the slightest effect on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. But this is not intended to control CO2, it is intended to control the American economy.  They think big, these people.

The Boiler MACT rule’s impact would be pervasive and damaging.  The United Steelworkers says the proposal “will be sufficient to imperil the operating status of many industrial plants.”  They represent hundreds of thousands of workers in the most heavily impacted industries — pulp and paper, steel, rubber, and more thousands of jobs in the supply chains and in the communities where these factories are located.

Members of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (ICEA) which represents manufacturers with more than 750,000 employees say “We cannot emphasize more forcefully the need for the EPA to completely rethink this rule.”  Member companies say this proposed rule “will leave companies no recourse but to shut down the entire facility, not just the boiler.”

On top of this, the EPA is planning to revise the current ozone standard under the Clean Air Act.  The Clean Air Act was never intended by Congress to be twisted to such a power-grab.  Even the EPA estimates that the new ozone standard could cost the economy as much as $90 billion.  Another $90 billion in a recession is small change?

It takes a significant amount of incompetence to make such a mess of this economy.  An ideology that hates capitalism, doesn’t understand business, and thinks that everyone should engage in public service and wealth redistribution as the only noble pursuit; busily regulates to get more control for the very people who don’t know how to manage anything, while  eliminating jobs in the pursuit of a green fantasy land.


Power Grab, Power Grab, Power Grab. by The Elephant's Child
September 28, 2010, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Taxes | Tags: , ,

President Obama had a small good idea. He would address the problems of small business with some targeted tax cuts for capital gains and faster depreciation.   But he couldn’t leave it alone.

He stuck it in a new $30 billion mini-TARP plan, and as part of the plan, the Treasury would buy stock in the community banks that qualify, those banks would have to pay an annual dividend of 5 percent to the government.  If those banks made loans to small businesses, the dividend payment would drop to 4 percent.  If the banks didn’t use the money for loans, the dividend payment would become a penalty at 7 percent.   Thus the Treasury would get control of small banks that play this game.

What sane businessman would sign up for this?  Small businesses and community banks want no part of this.  They want no part of Obama’s $30 billion program.

William Chase Jr., CEO of Triumph Bank in Memphis, Tenn. said “We have taken a strategic decision not to have our primary regulator, the government, also be a partner in our bank.”  Small banks took a look at what TARP regulation has done to big banks, and they don’t want any part of it.  Mr. Chase added that his “business customers are mired in uncertainty and are reluctant to invest in their businesses.”  They need customers. What businessman is going to take out a loan to expand with no idea when or if customers will come back, and make the government a part owner of his business?

Is there no one in the White House or Congress who has the slightest conception of how a business operates?  Well, no, there isn’t. That’s the problem.

Gaze Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama was interviewed by Rolling Stone, and is typically modest about his accomplishments.  He tells the Democrats to “wake up” and gaze upon his works:

When I talk to Democrats around the country, I tell them, “Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable.” I came in and had to prevent a Great Depression, restore the financial system so that it functions, and manage two wars. In the midst of all that, I ended one of those wars, at least in terms of combat operations. We passed historic health care legislation, historic financial regulatory reform and a huge number of legislative victories that people don’t even notice. We wrestled away billions of dollars of profit that were going to the banks and middlemen through the student-loan program, and now we have tens of billions of dollars that are going directly to students to help them pay for college. We expanded national service more than we ever have before.

The Recovery Act alone represented the largest investment in research and development in our history, the largest investment in infrastructure since Dwight Eisenhower, the largest investment in education — and that was combined, by the way, with the kind of education reform that we hadn’t seen in this country in 30 years — and the largest investment in clean energy in our history.

You look at all this, and you say, “Folks, that’s what you elected me to do.” I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I’ve got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we’ve accomplished.

We hear from international statistics on education that our kids are deficient in math, science, reading and just about everything except that they excel in self-esteem, where they are right off the charts.  Brings a bit of verse to mind, from Shelley:

I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said: —Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.  Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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