American Elephants

It’s Not Human Error, but “Pedal Misapplication” by The Elephant's Child
February 12, 2011, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Law | Tags: , ,

One of the big news stories of 2010 was announced by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “Toyotas are unsafe.

Congress leaped to respond.  Hearings were held.  Accusations.  Rep. Henry Waxman (D–Hollywood) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) featured anecdotes about lethal acceleration. They accused Toyota executives of lying about the problem.  They accused Toyota executives of deliberately concealing what they knew.  Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill) referred to Toyotas as “killing machines.”  The mainstream media concocted stories based on the “killing machine” theme.  Toyota was fined a record $48.9 million for what the Obama administration considered its” inadequate response” to the crisis — three recalls involving some 12 million vehicles.  Toyota’s stock price and market share declined.

Um, Nevermind.

After an exhaustive ten-month $1.5 million investigation, assisted by the engineers at NASA (who apparently don’t do space any more) the United States government has officially concluded that there is no evidence whatsoever that there is any mechanical or electronic defect in Toyotas that would cause sudden, unintentional acceleration.  No killing machines.   No cover-up.  No comment from Henry Waxman or Bobby Rush. And no apologies!

Secretary Ray LaHood insisted, for the record, that his department’s findings did not suggest even the possibility of “human error.”  He even got testy with a reporter who used the human error term.  It was apparently a case of “pedal misapplication.”  Toyotas, he admitted, are safe to drive. This administration is really big on euphemisms.   “Pedal misapplication” indeed.

Toyota, a Japanese-based manufacturer of safe, efficient, popular and high-quality vehicles, had the misfortune to be conducting a successful, law-abiding business at the time when the  government was engaged in a financial takeover of General Motors.  The destruction of a major competitor couldn’t hurt.  The tort lawyers were looking for clients, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head and the Center for Auto Safety planned to set the stage for years of litigation against Toyota. And of course Toyota is not unionized.

This seems to be another example of an administration that operates on a Chicago-style basis.  If they decide that they don’t like you, they can bring to bear the full weight and power of the federal government to make your life unpleasant.

How The EPA Destroys Jobs. They’re Good At It. by The Elephant's Child

One of the hottest political debates in Washington concerns the effect the Environmental Protection Agency is having on business.  Businesses and trade associations single out the EPA as their number one target when they complain about the source of job-destroying regulations and mandates.

A new study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) claims that the EPA’s new regulations will be — good for the economy— because it will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  How does this work?

PERI claims that in spite of the fact that the EPA is destroying jobs at a time of already high unemployment, two new sets of air pollution rules for power plants would create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years. And we remember all the previous claims of hundreds and thousands of “green jobs.” That worked out well.

New rules including the proposed Clean Air Transport Rule (CATR), a program aimed at smog and soot forming pollution that travels across state lines.  The EPA must also propose new limits on mercury and other types of toxic air pollution to replace an earlier program that was thrown out by a federal court. Sounds good, right?

The job-growth estimates were based on projection that the  two rules will force the power sector to invest nearly $200 billion to design, build and install equipment between 2010 and 2015.  The projects would directly create about 640,000 years of work through 2015, or 128,000 full-time jobs.  Another 820,000 years of work would be created indirectly, as other companies provide goods and services to the projects. Uh huh.

And where does the $200 billion come from?  Oh, consumers will just have to pay a little more for energy.  And businesses will have to pay more for their energy.  And some businesses will find the costs of energy too high and go out of business or lay off more people.  The government does not make the economy more prosperous by imposing new constraints on economic growth. This is typical government math.  Costs are always underestimated, and nobody has a clue about unintended consequences. Spain got all excited about wind and solar and green jobs, and it has driven them into bankruptcy.

Our air is clean.  Our water is clean.  The Clean Air Act did its job, and major pollutants were removed.  Smokestacks got scrubbers, cars got catalytic converters, pollutants were monitored.  They did a good job. There is an aphorism in science and medicine — “the dose makes the poison.” Many effective medicines contain tiny amounts of what if consumed in quantity would be a deadly poison.  Most of the things we eat or use contain ingredients that in large quantity would be toxic.

This is not enough for ideological environmental activists.  They want to regulate, sequester, bury and eliminate all carbon dioxide because they hate carbon-based fuels and want them all replaced with clean free wind.  Wind may be free, but the attempts to use it as a power source are very expensive indeed. (And CO2 is not the cause of global warming, and the globe hasn’t been warming for 15 years.)

The EIA has projected the cost for sources of electricity per megawatt hour in 2015 in 2008 dollars.  Conventional coal power–$78.10; Onshore wind power–$149.30; Offshore wind power–$191.10; Thermal solar power–$256.60; Photo-voltaic solar power–$396.10.  Do we really want clean “free” offshore wind power? How would it affect your life to have your power bill double or triple?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar are going to SPEND another $50.5 million over the next five years to try to make offshore wind farms viable.

How much are we going to have to pay in ruined lives and destroyed jobs to satisfy the fantasies of this crowd?

Abraham Lincoln Was Born on This Day in 1809. by The Elephant's Child
February 12, 2011, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, History, Military | Tags: , ,

I liked it better when we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday separately.  Remember this man, he saved the Union.

To understand America, you need to understand the Gettysburg Address:  Vanderleun.

A House Spending Bill Prohibits Funding for EPA’s Damaging Climate Regulations. by The Elephant's Child

A government spending bill written by House Republicans was unveiled on Friday night.  It would prohibit funding for Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations through September, the end of the fiscal year.

The continuing resolution, which is this year’s funding for the government, since Democrats couldn’t get around to passing a budget bill — their primary task — so they passed a temporary “continuing resolution”.  This is Republican’s latest attempt to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions — the EPA’s attempt to accomplish by regulation the cap-and-trade bill that Congress refused to pass.

Republicans state that pending EPA climate rules will significantly damage the economy and result in major job losses.  The bill would block funding for all current and pending EPA climate regulations for stationary sources. Every shop and building could fall under the EPA purview  for emitting CO2 — a beneficent gas that is one of the basic building blocks of life. The notion that CO2 is harmful or a pollutant in any way has been soundly debunked, but the media has not caught up with the science.

The bill cuts EPA funding by $2 billion, 29% below fiscal year 2010.  The legislation cuts funding for the Bureau of Land Managements “wild lands” policy which would allow the Obama administration to protect lands that have not been formally designated as wilderness land. It has been an administration attempt to restrict oil and gas drilling.  The bill also prevents the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from terminating a license review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

All in all a splendid bill, accomplishing important things.  Cutting the EPA’s funding is a major step in reining in an out-of-control agency playing politics with the American economy and American jobs.

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