American Elephants

Things Look Bad. But Never Fear. Obama Will Return in Septmeber and Make — a Major Speech. by The Elephant's Child

The great listening tour is over, and President Obama has retired to Martha’s Vineyard to rest and ponder just what he will say in his “major jobs speech” in September.  Of course nobody listened on the listening tour, it might better have been called a “blaming tour.”

“Over the last six months, we’ve had a string of bad luck” Obama said  at a town hall on Monday, mentioning the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami and Europe’s debt crisis. “So there were a bunch of things taking place over the last six months that were not within our control.” Uncertainty, you see. The recovery was going fine until they started rioting in Libya, and then it just all went to hell.

Of course he blamed Bush for the mess he inherited, and some in Congress who “would rather see their opponents lose than America win”— attempting to blame the Republicans for the economic malaise.  He blamed “gridlock” which means that the Republicans wouldn’t agree to raising taxes as he wanted. He blamed  business —companies needlessly sitting on piles of cash, who should “step up” and start hiring.  I read that he brought up ATMs again. And of course he blamed an assortment of straw men.  In other words, it’s not his policies, not his ideas, not his ideology, not his fault. Obama does not take responsibility for his presidency.

But never fear. just as soon as he is rested up in the elite playground of Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama will return to Washington D.C. and make a major speech on jobs. Another 408,000 new jobless claims this week, up by 9,000 more than last week.  We’ve had quite a few previous major speeches on jobs, so there’s lots of material for the speechwriters.

This time it may be different.  I’m betting on a new Department of Jobs, a Department of Innovation, and an Infrastructure Bank.  Increased money for Food Stamps will act as a stimulus for new jobs, and all those new departments would be sure to create millions of jobs if the Republicans would just get out of the way. Since they undoubtedly will not go along with any such thing, he is free to blame Republicans for the joblessness in the country during the campaign. Will he get away with it?

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And what is going to be part of his solution, once again? Why biofuels, of course, this time for aviation. Read and weep:


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Why do I feel such a lack of confidence in airplanes fueled with biofuel?


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Child: you shouldn’t worry on that score: hydrogenated renewable (HRJ) jet fuel, also known as synthetic paraffinic kerosene (bio-SPK, has been amply tested. Unlike ethanol compared with gasoline, or biodiesel compared with petroleum-derived diesel, it is actually superior in most ways (heat value, fluidity at low temperatures, particulate emissions) to conventional jet A-1 (commercial) or jet 8 (military) fuel. That’s not the problem.

The problem is the fact that, with recent ASTM International approval, bio-SPK now has the green light to be used in 50% blends in jets … immediately. (Contrast that with the 10% limit on ethanol blended with gasoline applicable to most cars.) That means that the very powerful biofuel-aviation-military nexus will — already is — start tapping into billions of subsidies. The sky really is the limit. Consider:

— A handful of U.S. companies are already producing the stuff and benefiting from the $1 per gallon blenders tax credit that was originally established to subsidize biodiesel. Many are taking that tax credit and exporting the fuel to European and other foreign airlines.

— The U.S. Military, keen to be seen to be supporting domestic industry, is paying reportedly $20 per gallon (or more) for the stuff, for testing in its Navy and Air Force jets.

— Recently, the USDA approved Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas in six states to expand the availability of “non-food crops” to be used in the manufacturing of liquid biofuels. The four project areas set aside acres in California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington for the production of renewable energy crops. The project areas in the four most western states will grow false flax (Camelina sitava) in order to produce seed oil for sale under long-term contracts to just one aviation-biofuel producer, AltAir. Farmers will receive grants to cover up to 75% of the cost of gearing up to produce the crop, and then will receive additional, matching payments for every tonne of the crop they sell to AltAir.

— Various projects are underway that have benefitted from local “economic development” goodies, such as grants, tax waivers and property tax abatements.

This is some serious stuff going on behind the scenes to support a biomass-based aviation fuel industry, and once again — because it has bipartisan support? — the two parties are hoping the rest of us won’t notice.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

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