American Elephants

Americans Don’t Hate the Rich — They’d Rather Get Rich. by The Elephant's Child

It is startling to discover how much the Left hates “the rich.” The statement President Obama released from the White House on Monday lashed out at “the wealthiest Americans” three times, and “the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” “tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires,” “wealthy people”and “the wealthiest estates.”  And that was the President of the United States! “On the Republican side, this is their Holy Grail — tax cuts for the Wealthy.”

That wasn’t nearly enough for the angry Left who felt an enormous sense of betrayal.  What was important was not getting the economy on the right track, not creating jobs, not even continuing unemployment payments for those whose time on unemployment was running out.  The President was supposed to raise taxes on the rich, hurt them , take their money away, preferably all of it!

The toadys in the leftist media continued to claim that everyone was getting a tax cut, although taxes remain right where they were last year. Republicans fought to see that no one got a tax increase.  The Democrats wanted to raise taxes, and were quite willing to raise everyone’s taxes ( as much as $3,000 for the middle class) if only it would “break the back” of the wealthy.  I don’t get it!

The National Association of Manufacturers says that 70 percent of manufacturing concerns in the U.S. have owners whose business is taxed at the individual rate.  These are the people who are supposed to lead the country out of the recession by committing capital to new hires and new equipment.

Doing the Same Thing Over and Over and Expecting Different Results? by The Elephant's Child
December 8, 2010, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Liberalism | Tags: , ,

I have frequently suggested that Liberals believe in their goals, and are uninterested in evidence or in the experience of others, while Republicans care about results.  If a Liberal policy doesn’t work, their inclination is to do it some more, only appropriate more money.

A national consumer coalition plans to file a series of landmark federal fair housing complaints beginning Dec. 6, challenging a widespread practice by banks and mortgage lenders: requiring borrowers who apply for FHA loans to have FICO credit scores well above the 580 minimum set by the FHA for qualified applicants with 3.5 percent down payments….

Because FHA insures lenders against losses from serious delinquency or foreclosure, there is “no legitimate business justification” for rejecting applicants solely on the basis of FICO scores that are acceptable to FHA, the complaints contend.

Um, financial crisis, housing debacle, toxic assets — any of those strike a chord in the memory bank?  Was I delusional and the last two years simply didn’t happen?  Subprime mortgage customers are usually defined as those having a credit score under 620.  Prudent lending standards used to require a 10% down payment.  So the government is advertising a 3.5% down payment for subprime borrowers?  And these are FHA guaranteed loans?

Pressure from the government and community groups to drop lending standards played a huge role in the housing crisis.  When private institutions try to behave like adults and enforce their own prudent lending standards (and have to live with the consequences of their actions) they get hauled into court.

The simple fact is when it comes to government programs the left values the program’s goals and the right values the results.  This basic distinction often leads leftists to argue that they and only they represent the moral high ground.  The nice thing about putting goals before results is that it lets you off the hook about accountability and gives you a built-in weapon to use against your opponent.  We know our schools are failing but since it is our goal to improve education, if you disagree (with our policies) then you obviously do not care about …children. (Thomas Sowell)

The Green Bubble Collapses. by The Elephant's Child
December 8, 2010, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

On Friday, Spain cut their payouts for wind projects by 35%, and denied any support for solar thermal projects in their first year of operation.  Their renewables industry has a new cap placed on the number of megawatt-hours that are eligible for subsidized rates.  In November, Spain announced that payouts for solar photovoltaic plants would be cut by 45%.  The industry was somewhat relieved, for in June the government had threatened to renege on contracts, effectively bankrupting it.

—France announced a four-month freeze on solar projects on Friday, and a cap on the amount of solar that can be built,  out of concern for a speculative bubble by its renewables industry.  Industry payouts in France have been cut twice earlier this year.  Opposition is growing to France’s rapidly rising tax on electric power.  The renewables industry predicts job losses and disappearing projects from the continuing regulations changes.

—Earlier last week, the German government announced that it may end the solar industry’s generous tariffs in 2012.  There was a surprise reduction in 2009 and another is to start in 2011.  In October, the German Energy Agency called for Germany to “cut back quickly and drastically” in its drive towards solar by capping its installations of solar panels at a mere one gigawatt per year.  This is down from the estimated eight to ten gigawatts being installed this year.

—New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, cut by two-thirds the amount that homeowners who had installed solar panels would receive from 60¢ per kilowatt-hour to 20¢.  The State’s solar manufacturers say that this cut will put them out of business. Other states may follow.  New South Wales was Australia’s most generous subsidizer, and is now the least.

—The United Kingdom announced in October that big spending cuts were coming to renewables projects.  Government austerity measures and consume backlash against rising power rates play a part, but there is fierce grassroots opposition from the U.K.’s 230-odd anti-wind organizations. Local governments have shelved or rejected two out of three wind-farm applications that have come before them.  Changes in planning laws will strengthen local councils over a national planning agency.

—The market for wind is shrinking, and Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s largest wind-turbine company, recently announced that it is closing five production facilities in Denmark and Sweden and laying off 3,000 workers, 1/7th of its global workforce.

—In this country, state regulators in Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Virginia have either canceled or delayed renewable-energy projects that would raise power rates on consumers, even when the rise would be under 1%.  New wind-power installations in the U.S. were down by more than 70% in the first three-quarters of 2010 compared with 2009.

President Obama’s enthusiasm for renewables is unflagging, but more and more evidence is emerging that the industry is simply not ready for prime time.  The “capacity” that lobbyists and supporters bragged about turned out to be a mythical figure that referred to a perfect wind, blowing constantly at the correct speed; and real energy produced was an entirely different kettle of proverbial fish.  Obama is not known for changing his mind.  His basic beliefs seem set in concrete.

Last week  17 Senators signed a letter calling ethanol “fiscally indefensible” and “environmentally unwise.”  Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican John Kyl said Congress should  not extend subsidies that expire at the end of the year, including the 45¢ per gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline, and tariffs on cheaper imports.  Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu went so far as to say that “ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel,” but he still supports so-called advanced fuels that are not made from  corn and are not commercially viable; but that’s partial progress.  The EPA ruled last week that under the 2007 energy bill Americans must use at least 13.95 billion gallons of ethanol next year.  The ethanol lobby is preparing for a fight to protect its free ride.

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