American Elephants

Congress Won’t Pass Cap-and-Trade? The EPA Will Just Do It by Regulation. by The Elephant's Child
December 26, 2010, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Junk Science, Law

A great many blogs have devoted a large amount of space and effort in the attempt to understand the thinking of Barack Obama.  Our president is a very self-contained man.  The best commentary I have seen comes from a conversation between Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and Peter Robinson, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and host of Uncommon Knowledge.  An edited  transcript is here.

The question is: what does Barack Obama believe about global warming, or climate change?  Is he a true believer who fears that climate change is going to do great damage to the world unless governments act quickly to allay it?  Does he believe that in order to bring global social justice to the world, the rich nations must be restrained in their use of energy?  Does he believe that Big Green, who gave so much to his presidential campaign and have supported him, must be repaid for their devotion?  Does he have such a deep belief in a clean green economy and green jobs that he thinks that America must lead the world in the technology, legislation and regulation that will establish such an economy?  Does he believe that he green economy and green jobs will provide the social justice to which the less fortunate members of society are entitled? Or does he simply believe that stupid Republicans just don’t understand the crisis?

I hasten to add that I do not have a clue.  To my mind, the entire global warming enterprise has been exposed as a complete fraud, such warming as there has been — less than one degree — is the result of natural forces and there is nothing that any government can do to change it.  Nor is there anything to be alarmed about.  The seas are not rising, the climate is not changing, the polar bears are fine, and all the efforts to cut emissions of carbon dioxide would not have the slightest effect on climate.

At the behest of the Obama Administration, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is moving unilaterally to clamp down on “greenhouse emissions” and announcing plans for new emission standards for power plants and oil refineries.  In an announcement posted on the EPA website last Thursday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.

The Supreme Court, in 2007, ruled that the EPA could regulate carbon emissions IF they were determined to be injurious to health or dangerous — I haven’t seen the exact wording, but the Court was generally saying that if this stuff is dangerous, we guess you can regulate it. The EPA has been generally unconcerned with the injurious or dangerous part, and very interested in the regulating part.

When Congress dumped Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal, he simply switched to the EPA, expecting them to do by regulation that which he couldn’t get by Congress.  But Congress is not particularly friendly towards those who attempt end-runs around their legislative duty.  Jackson said the EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011, and for oil refineries in November.  The House of Representatives controls the purse-strings.

Carbon, of course, is NOT a pollutant.  It is one of the building blocks of life.  No carbon, no life.  This should be an interesting battle.

Parables About Property” by The Elephant's Child
December 26, 2010, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Taxes | Tags: , ,

This brief fictional exchange took place at a blog called Easy Opinions, titled “Property and Pigs.”

Official:  I see that you have a large income. We need more of it.

Mike:  I work legally for my income and I pay 35% at the top tax rate. Isn’t that enough?

Official:  The economy is bad now. We need to take your money and pay other people. They will spend it and improve the economy.

Mike:  Why do you think the economy will improve?

Official:  10 years ago the top rate was 39.6% and the economy was good.

Mike:  Those things aren’t related. How would higher tax rates produce a growing economy?

Official:  I don’t have time to discuss philosophy with you. You have the money. We want the money.

The pigs part is included in the same post, and titled How to Catch Wild Pigs.Don’t miss it.

Now We Have To Pivot and Focus on Jobs and Growth! by The Elephant's Child

Just before President Barack Obama took off for his Hawaiian Christmas vacation, he held a press conference.  Reporter Dan Lothian of CNN asked the president if he could “give an update on that car you talk about so much about being in the ditch?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I do think that the car is on level ground. I mean, the car is the economy. And I think we are past the crisis point in the economy, but we now have to pivot and focus on jobs and growth. And my singular focus over the next two years is not rescuing the economy from potential disaster, but rather jumpstarting the economy so that we actually start making a dent in the unemployment rate and we are equipping ourselves so that we can compete in the 21st century.

And that means we’ve got to focus on education, that means we have to focus on research and development, we have to focus on innovation. We have to make sure that in every sector, from manufacturing to clean energy to high-tech to biotech, that we recognize the private sector is going to be the driving force. And what the government can do is to make sure that we are a good partner with them, that we’re a facilitator; that in some cases, we’re a catalyst, when it’s a fledgling industry.

And that means that we’ve got to look at some of our old dogmas — both Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals — to think about what works. If there are regulations that are in place that are impeding innovation, let’s get rid of those regulations. Let’s make sure that we’re also protecting consumers, and we’re protecting the environment and protecting workers in the process. But let’s find ways to do business that helps business.

People were doubtful about the approach that we took to the auto industry, but that was an example of there may be occasions — certainly during crisis — where a timely intervention that’s limited and restricted can end up making a difference.

“I think we are past the crisis point in the economy, but we now have to pivot and focus on jobs and growth.  And my singular focus over the next two years in not rescuing the economy from potential disaster, but rather jumpstarting the economy so that we actually start making a dent in the unemployment rate and we are equipping ourselves so that we can compete in the 21st century.”

Do read the whole piece from which this excerpt is derived — It’s just a little longer than what I include here.  Now we have to focus on jobs and growth? We should have done that “pivot” a year ago.  But Obama isn’t really talking about much of a pivot.  His mindset is completely wrong for the job.

Obama believes firmly that bright people from America’s best schools, such as himself,  are needed to direct and control activities within the country. The private sector may be the driving force, but only when “facilitated” by the government.  The government will make sure that the private sector is making the desirable products for the “clean energy economy.” The electric cars that engineers and auto experts tell us are not ready for prime time until there is an unexpected breakthrough in battery technology, are being made because of government pressure.  Most of them are being purchased by the government or by rent-seeking corporations at the behest of government, in order to show sales success.

Obama has made a big deal of subsidizing electric battery factories.  Experts tell us that there is a worldwide glut of electric battery production and most of those companies will fail and go out of business, because there is no market.  Government facilitating.

“How do we get all these profits that companies have been making since the economy recovered into productive investment and hiring?  That’s a conversation that I had with the 20 CEOs who came here, and that’s a conversation I expect to continue in the months ahead.”

Well, first off, when you sign a bill that keeps taxes for the people who actually run the small businesses that you need to start investing and hiring at the same level;  it isn’t a good idea to tell them that you hate signing the bill and you will be back to really get them in two years.  Did you think that businesses plan only for a year or two?  A two-year deadline does nothing to eliminate the uncertainty that has prevented people from investing and hiring.  It says to business that you’d better hunker down and get ready for the axe to descend on you in two years, and that because the president does not grasp the free market, you can expect all sorts of regulation to exert more governmental control.

Forgive me, but you haven’t rescued the economy from potential disaster.  Your ObamaCare mistake is hanging out there, ready to create complete chaos in the economy; not only have you not done anything to clean up the mess at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but they are being encouraged to repeat the actions that collapsed the economy; and nothing whatsoever has been done to stave off the time-bomb of the demographics of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Just to mention a few minor details!

The problem is the government, and a failure to understand the “free” part of a free economy, and a free market.  You have not removed uncertainty at all.

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