American Elephants

Obama’s Energy Disaster Continues! by The Elephant's Child

The dream of the far left is to bring America down. They object to ideas of American exceptionalism, and think we should be more equal to others in the community of nations. According to John Hinderaker of Powerline:

The cornerstone belief of American liberals is that the United States is too rich and too powerful. And, if you want to make America poorer and weaker, the easiest way to do so is by preventing the development of our energy resources. Such a policy hobbles our economy and causes massive transfers of wealth from the U.S. to other countries, many of which are hostile. Liberals think this is all to the good, but pretty much every other American disagrees.

The Obama administration’s energy policies have been a disaster, assuming that American decline is not your objective. We have written many times about the administration’s efforts to suppress development of our oil resources, but coal is equally important. The United States is blessed with extraordinary deposits of coal, but Obama is determined to prevent us from using it to generate cheap and plentiful electricity. Obama wasn’t kidding when he said, as a candidate, that his policies would cause electricity prices to “skyrocket.”

Two new regulations from the EPA on ‘pollution’ will hit the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electricity rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent according to a new study based on government data. The EPA says that any hit the industry will suffer is worth the health benefits.  Elsewhere, the EPA has made it clear that they do not do cost-benefit analysis, and are prevented by regulation from doing so.

What’s more, officials said that just one of the rules to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will would yield up to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits in 2014. They say that amounts to preventing up to 36,000 premature deaths, 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma. “This far outweighs the estimated annual costs,” says an official on background.

This is made-up hooey. The EPA would have to have statistics showing that 36,000 people have currently died from exposure to sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and they don’t have any such thing.  They make up statistics like this all the time, and  Lisa Jackson confidently quotes bogus health statistics in front of Congress.  Fifteen States have initiated a legal challenge to the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases pose a danger to public health and welfare.

Nevermind. The EPA will charge right ahead.  Utility Giant American Electric Power said yesterday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

But EPA defended its regulations Thursday, noting that the agency has worked closely with industry to ensure that its regulations are “reasonable, common-sense and achievable.”“These reasonable steps taken under the Clean Air Act will reduce harmful air pollution, including mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollution, and as a result protect our families, particularly children,” EPA said in a statement.

The company, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form. The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.

Louisville Gas & Electric in an “environmental cost recovery” move (watch for this on your power bill) says that ratepayers will see their electric bills increase 19.2 percent by 2016. A LG&E spokesman said:

The EPA is forcing utilities to do this. We don’t have a choice. It’s not a question of are we going to meet them. The question is when and how and how much money. We have to meet these regulations because the EPA is mandating it for us to do it. They’re forcing us to do it.

These thing are all interconnected. If electricity prices go up, jobs will be lost not only in the power industry, but in the regular economy. Business in the private economy hopes to operate with a profit margin, their only reason for being in business. They will pay more for their power, their suppliers will pay more for their power, the cost of the goods they sell will rise, more inflation, more lost jobs.

American households will be hit hard, as will American businesses. Producers will try to cover their higher production costs by raising product prices. Consumer demand will fall, income and employment will drop.

These are unnecessary job-killing, economy-destroying regulations. Obama claims to want an improved economy, more jobs, less unemployment — yet every move by his administration contributes to the decline.  They really are trying to bring America Down.

Are Democrats More Corrupt than Republicans? by The Elephant's Child

The Daily Caller is not exactly a repository of right-wing extremism.  So I was a little startled to see them commenting on corruption in the Democrat Party:

This has been a bad couple of weeks for Democrats. The economy is sagging, support for President Barack Obama is declining, and Anthony Weiner and John Edwards are doing their best to draw attention to one of the Democratic Party’s main weaknesses — its corruption problem.

The author of the piece, Peter Tucci, an editor at the website, finds four major problems:

1.) Big-city corruption: America’s major cities are notoriously corrupt, and a good-sized percentage of big-city politicians—almost all of whom are Democrats— end up facing corruption charges.  But it isn’t just corruption charges, they often bring down cities as well. Detroit has had only Democrat mayors since the 1960s. Big cities, says Mr. Tucci, have major resources, power and influence, which means that big-city governments are wracked with corruption.  And powerful political machines make matters worse.

2.) The big-government mindset: If you believe that the free market’ is unfair and arbitrary, then you may believe that you should reallocate resources in a way that is more fair, and that may involve diverting resources to friends.  If on the other hand, you believe in the free market and thrift, you might have a harder time rationalizing graft.

3.) Self-righteousness: Some liberals see themselves as the good guys who are making the world a better place, and their friends as better people, more able to make the choices that are apt to win the future.

4.) Democrat voters don’t really mind: Studies show that liberals just don’t care as much as conservatives do about corruption.  As a result of that, Democrat politicians know that they can get away with a lot.

Mr. Tucci links to studies that attempt to clarify corruption, define corruption, and consider partisan prosecution of corruption.  I hasten to add that corruption and illegality exist in both political parties.  Anthony Weiner and John Edwards are not examples so much of corruption as just general sleaziness, poor character, and attempts to cover up when their actions are made public.

Corruption is steering public money to political supporters.  Using the law to unjustly attack those who disagree with your policies.  Ignoring the law because, being important, you don’t have to obey it. Steering government business to campaign contributors. Using executive orders to accomplish things that you can’t get through Congress.  Using the power of your position to do things expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

There are a lot of real questions about what is corruption and what is not.  How do you define it?  Who are the most corrupt? Who is without fault? Honest partisanship is surely acceptable, as are differing beliefs, standards, and policies.  Yet some are prosecuted simply because they are partisan and hold different beliefs. Where is the dividing line between what is ethical and what is not?

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