American Elephants

Egypt. by The Elephant's Child

The thing about watching the drama of the protests in Egypt is that we don’t know anything.  We get confusing bits and pieces, snapshots here and there.  Americans are inclined to root for freedom, but there are forces here we don’t understand, and most of us don’t speak the language.  In a way, the more glimpses we get, the less we know.

Drudge has a story to the effect that America has secretly been backing the rebels. Who knows whether it is true?  Peter Wehner, writing at Commentary, says that this turmoil is vindication for Bush’s Freedom Agenda.  In a November 19, 2003 speech at Whitehall Palace in London, President Bush said:

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. …

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

Now we’re pursuing a different course, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. We will consistently challenge the enemies of reform and confront the allies of terror.

This was widely criticized,  but surely it is better for the United States to say up front that we don’t tolerate oppression for the sake of stability, and that tyranny is unacceptable.  Isn’t that who we are? We are Americans, and we advocate freedom, and oppose tyranny.

Simple and straightforward.

Pulling the Plug on Green Power. by The Elephant's Child

It is hard to tell just how much one government is influenced by the actions of another.  It is a lot.  Consider light rail, HOV lanes, lotteries, sin taxes, wind farms, bans on plastic bags, with an accompanying tax.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  These would never have happened in most states or cities without the cover of some other city or state doing it.

Now austerity is pulling the plug on green subsidies in Europe.  European states are dumping or rolling back their subsidies for renewable energy as some kind of economic sanity is developing. That apparently will not extend to the U.S.

The housing bubble in Spain led to a national unemployment rate of over 20 percent.  The government’s subsidies for so-called clean energy were a drain on the taxpayer  that disguised a politically correct industrial program. Sunny Spain became the world’s top solar power producer.  Since 2002, about €23-billion had been invested in Spain’s photovoltaic industry.

Other European countries are taking a long hard look at their renewable energy sectors.  France has declared a 3 month moratorium while they decide what to do.  CRE, the independent regulator of the French energy and natural gas markets has estimated that taxes on electricity would have to triple to meet the rising costs of renewable energy, and energy taxes could kill more jobs than those created by renewable expansion.

Germany is also scaling back subsidies, and Britain is facing  big problems as in such cold as they have had this winter, wind farms are unable to produce adequate power.  Denmark, supposedly the greenest of countries, actually generates half of its electricity from coal.  That percentage has remained constant even during the country’s pursuit of ever more wind power.

In Ontario, Canada, the average price for power last year was 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour.  Solar installations ranged from 44 cents to 80 cents. The new techniques of getting natural gas from shale deposits have resulted in a worldwide glut.  Some sources say we have a 250 year supply.  Israel has found huge supplies of natural gas off their coast.  The Times of India has reported their first shale gas pool found near Durgapur.

Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post in Canada pointed out that: “In the middle of his State of the Union speech, the U.S. President flicked a switch that called for an Apollo-like mission to a green planet far, far away, triggering a malfunction that puts the United States back on course to nowhere.”

Mr. Obama, returning to the nasty corporate-bashing message of his first two years, attacked the U.S. oil industry by implying it was receiving massive subsidies that could be redirected to clean energy. “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we’re currently giving to oil companies.” In fact, there is no money going to oil companies. It’s not a subsidy but a tax deduction that is used by all U.S. manufacturing corporations. Now Mr. Obama wants to single out the oil industry for punishment.

When it comes to paying corporate taxes, a recent University of North Carolina study found that U.S. oil giants paid effective tax rates of up to 43.9% (Chevron) between 2003 and 2007. During the same period, the green giant GE enjoyed a tax rate of 11.5%

That’s a pretty clear indication that neither Obama nor the new Chairman of his Jobs Council are going to be creating many new jobs anytime soon.  No Apollo projects here, just the same old fantasy of green energy and green jobs that European countries are rejecting.  Will President Obama learn anything from their experience?

For Some Reason I have The Housemartins’ “World’s on Fire” running through my head by American Elephant
January 28, 2011, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Music, News, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , , , ,

Hmm. Wonder why.

At least Obama is on top of the situation!  Paper: “[events] moving too fast for Obama administration”.

Sigh. The country’s in the very best of hands. “Smart Power!”

The Minimum Wage. by The Elephant's Child

Raw beginners in the workplace aren’t worth much.  They have to learn how to work, how to follow directions, and complete what they are asked to do as quickly as possible.  The minimum wage is not meant to support families. Statistics show that  most people remain on the minimum wage for only about six months before they get a raise or move on to another job.

When you raise the minimum wage, you eliminate jobs for beginners. It’s that simple.

It’s hard to climb the ladder if idiots in Congress keep removing the bottom rungs.

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