American Elephants

South Carolina Lawmakers Don’t Like CFL Bulbs Either. by The Elephant's Child

Environmental activists and energy efficiency enthusiasts simply have no understanding about how angry the American people are about the intrusion of their long green noses into people’s own homes.

Lawmakers in South Carolina are taking a stand. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying that Washington has no business telling the state how to light its homes, closets and countertops.

The South Carolina House will begin debating a bill that would allow companies to manufacture incandescent bulbs in South Carolina as long as they stamp them “Made in South Carolina” and sell them only in the state.  Texas, Georgia and Minnesota have considered sticking with incandescent bulbs, but have not passed laws regarding the bulbs. South Carolina currently has a small incandescent light bulb plant.

The demand for the efficiency of CFL bulbs fits right in with an energy-starved economy dependent on alternate “green” sources of power.  With centuries of clean natural gas available at low cost (shale gas) the environmental case is beginning to fall apart. Not that it was ever an environmental deal. The Electric companies— GE, Phillips and Sylvania— essentially wrote the federal law, and expect to make way more profit on CFL bulbs from China.

CFL bulbs are far more expensive, and alternates to those are even costlier.   CFLs are not allowed to be placed in the garbage, but must be taken to a proper disposal site, many of which charge for the privilege.  There have been reports of CFLs exploding.  Studies have shown that the energy savings are 73% less than expected, and even subsidies didn’t encourage as many people to buy them as expected.  They don’t last as long as expected, and turning them on and off seems to shorten their lives.

When a good substitute that offers good light at a reasonable price comes to market, consumers will adapt. But these are not things that should be forced upon the public at the whim of the Barbara Boxers in the Senate. It’s not the business of Congress.

Contrary to Democrat’s expectations, American consumers are quite capable of making their own choices without the government forcing choices upon them.

El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya by The Elephant's Child

                                                                                                      Christian Ziegler

In 1979, archaeologist Richard Hansen, at the Jaguar Paw Temple,  discovered pot fragments that proved the Maya had developed a complex society more than 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.  Now overgrown by jungle, this ancient site was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilization.

If you have ever wanted to discover lost worlds, this article from Smithsonian Magazine should be right up your archaeological alley. This is another of those mysterious sites where the residents suddenly picked up and abandoned their city of an estimated 200,000 people,  2000 years ago, and we don’t know why, or where they went.  They seem to have left suddenly, leaving everything behind.

Here are photos of the city and here are El Mirador’s Rare Plants and Animals with a turkey whose astonishing plumage puts our dowdy American turkeys to shame.

$14.294 Trillion Is The Debt Ceiling—That Should Be Enough! by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama told Democrat donors in a recent campaign meeting in New York that “There’s more than one way to mortgage America’s future.  We mortgage that future if we don’t get a handle on our deficit and debt, but we also mortgage it if we’re not investing in those things that will assure the promise of the American Dream for the next generation.

Note the cute use of “investing,” a more pleasant term than “spending.”  Democrats have long secured the votes of assorted interest groups by essentially buying them. Need better housing? We’ll build government housing.  Need food? We’ll have a feeding program for women, infants and children. Illegal immigrants?  We’ll offer amnesty. Unhappy unions? We’ll give you your own car company, and save your pensions as well.

Democrats don’t do principles or philosophy, they do payback and favors.  The Republican budget proposals, therefore are, according to the president:

It’s a vision of a small America, of a shrunken America, where those of us who are lucky do great and don’t have to give anything back, and we can pull the ladder up behind us.

We imagine a big America where we’re investing in the same kind of science that invented the internet.

As a column by Fred Barnes in today’s Wall Street Journal says: “Obama says he’ll ‘check under the cushions.’But neither he nor his allies on Capitol Hill have initiated any net reductions in spending since last fall’s election.  Not once. Their strategy is to defer to Republicans, then denounce whatever cuts Republicans come up with.”

He adds: “The response of the president and Democrats to the message from the November election is now pretty clear.  The voters asked for spending cuts.  Mr. Obama and company have said no.”

Economist Henry Hazlitt wrote in 1978 in a new edition of his best-selling book Economics in One Lesson that:

More than forty years after the publication of John Maynard Keynes” General Theory, and more than twenty years after that book has been tho;roughly discredited by analysis and experience, a great number of our politicians are still unceasingly recommending more deficit spending in order to cure or reduce existing unemployment.  An  appalling irony is that they are making these recommendations when the federal government has already been running a deficit for forty-one out of the last forty-eight years and when that deficit has been reaching dimensions of $50 billion a year.

An even greater irony is that, not satisfied with following such disastrous policies at home, our officials have been scolding other countries, …for not following these “expansionary” policies themselves.

So now it’s 73 years later, and nothing has changed, at least in the administration that was offering “hope” and “change”and instead has offered nothing but the same old tired, discredited solutions.  Spend more and shrink the economy.

Republicans want to cut back on spending, Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling and put a cap on deficit spending, which sounds good, except they have to pay for that by raising taxes. Federal spending has been out of control for decades and federal borrowing has been out of control for decades.  We can’t raise taxes enough to fix things, although Democrats are hoping for a perpetual cash-machine of bracket-creep where unsuspecting citizens move into higher tax brackets.

It really isn’t an option to not decide, to wait for Republicans to make suggestions so that you can demagogue them. Nations that own our debt are getting worried. We have a big demographic problem. Seventy-two million baby boomers are starting to retire this year, in increasing numbers every year until 2024.  We can reform things carefully so that no one gets hurt, or we can keep pretending that there is not a problem and continue spending until things collapse and everyone gets hurt. It shouldn’t be a hard choice.

Europe, which Obama seems to want to emulate, is busy cutting back their social benefits. Salaries are frozen, retirement postponed and health-care has been cut back. Long vacations and early retirement may be things of the past.  Left-wing political parties interpret the new winds of change as “a triumph for ruthless free-market extremists who want to protect private wealth from higher taxes and as an aberration that can be undone by electing governments that are more worker-friendly.” Sound familiar?

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