American Elephants

The SuperCommittee Was a Complete Failure, As Expected! by The Elephant's Child

The SuperCommittee, a select group of Congressmen supposed to accomplish what the full body could not, in finding ways to cut the budget, reduce the deficit, and introduce a little sanity to government spending, retired to back rooms, labored, debated, and accomplished pretty much nothing at all. No one is surprised.

Democrats want to raise taxes. That old bit about ‘never raising taxes in a recession,’ they assume to be just another Republican lie. Raising taxes is a kind of trifecta. With more revenue coming in, they get to spend more, more spending means that  the economy will grow (they’re still Keynesians), and they get to direct their spending to buy more votes. What did you think spending is for?

What you need to know about the SuperCommittee is that it’s not Obama’s fault. Press secretary Jay Carney made that clear today:

This committee was established by an act of Congress. It was comprised of members of Congress. Instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, Congress should act, fulfill its responsibility. As for the sequester, it was designed, again, in this act of Congress, voted on by members of both parties and signed into law by this President, specifically to be onerous, to hold Congress’s feet to the fire. It was designed so that it never came to pass, because Congress, understanding the consequences of failure, understanding the consequences of inaction, the consequences of being unwilling to take a balanced approach, were so dire.

Now, let me just say that Congress still has it within its capacity to be responsible and act. As you noted, the sequester doesn’t take effect for a year. Congress could still act and has plenty of time to act. And we call on Congress to fulfill its responsibility.

… What Congress needs to do here has been and remains very clear. They need to do their job. They need to fulfill the responsibilities that they set for themselves.

Mr. Carney also reminded the press of the President’s role in the SuperCommittee.

The President, at the beginning of the process, at the beginning of the super committee process, a committee established by an act of Congress, put forward a comprehensive proposal that went well beyond the $1.2 trillion mandated by that act and was a balanced approach to deficit reduction and getting our long-term debt under control.

You remember that one. It’s the budget that not even the Democrats would vote for.  Mr. Carney also reminded the assembled press that, while the SuperCommittee was Congress’s job, with which the president had no involvement whatsoever, the Administration’s efforts to encourage Europe to address their ongoing debt crisis:

As you know, Matt, with the President and Tim Geithner — Secretary of Treasury — and others have been very engaged with their European counterparts on this issue, offering advice because we have a certain amount of experience in dealing with this kind of crisis. And we urge them to move forward rapidly.

The quotations from Jay Carney’s press briefing come courtesy of Keith Hennessey, who explains the President’s missed opportunities for deficit reduction.

That “we have a certain amount of experience” bit is astounding.  Victor Davis Hanson explained it in a brief essay titled “The Imaginarium of Barack Obama.” “The presidency of Barack Obama is full of funny things that need not follow any sort of logic.  Images and ideas just pop in and out, without worry of inconsistency, contradiction, or hypocrisy.  It’s a fascinating mish-mash of strange heroes and bogeymen, the imaginarium of our president.” Do read the whole thing.  It’s an excellent explanation of the oft-inexplicable actions of this president.

The Debt Generation Made a Video! by The Elephant's Child

The Energy Scandal Grows and Grows! by The Elephant's Child

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the government’s half-billion dollar loan to failed solar panel maker Solyndra. This is part of a nine-month investigation. The committee has reviewed 186,000 pages of documents from DOE, 10,000 pages from the White House, and another 1.000 from Treasury.

The Subcommittee Chairman, Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and other GOP Members charge that Obama administration officials rushed the Solyndra loan out the door without due diligence, ignoring the significant problems  and gave investors first rights over taxpayers in collecting the $75 million owed to taxpayers.

Secretary Chu’s testimony relies on an argument about the clean tech “race” comparing it to the “arms race” and the “space race” of the Cold War.  President Obama talks continually about our “competition” with China. Chu says that China is investing about $9 billion a month on “clean energy” and suggests that we are somehow falling behind. The idea is that if we don’t “invest” in our clean tech firms then China will win.

Chu has claimed that the only question is — who will invent, manufacture and export these clean technologies. America had fallen behind. If we just put enough restrictions on carbon, a steadily tightening cap, then that will drive investment decisions towards clean energy.

But China is roaming the world buying up interests in oil and coal.  Most of China’s electricity (80%) comes from coal.  China’s success in solar panels comes not from technological innovation, but from cheap labor.  They are not powering their economy with clean energy from windmills and solar panels.

There is a large bubble here. Wind and solar only exist with big subsidies from governments. European countries are reducing or eliminating their subsidies. Britain is looking at 60% hikes in the cost of energy, and a real problem of fuel poverty among the people. Wind and solar are inefficient ways of producing electricity, and require 24/7 backup from standard power plants because, as yet, we have no way to store the energy to compensate for the times when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow.

The new book by Peter Schweizer reveals that 80% of “green energy” loans went to top Obama donors, fundraisers, bundlers, and supporters, like Al Gore, John Doerr, Larry Page and Sergei Brinn (Google)  Robert Kennedy Jr.’s company BrightSource received a $1.4 billion bailout through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee of Kennedy’s, named Sanjay Wagle,  who is now a Department of Energy official. In 2010 BrightSource was deep in debt with $1.8 billion in debt obligations. The company planned to become the largest solar plant in the world on federal lands in California.  As Peter Schweizer notes, in Throw Them All Out, “a billion dollars in taxpayer money is being sent to wealthy investors to bail them out of risky investments.”

There are more bankruptcies to come —probably lots more. The administration’s energy policies make no sense. This chart proves it.  (click to enlarge)

They are shutting down known energy fields, known sources of oil and natural gas, the Keystone XL pipeline, to assuage Obama’s environmental supporters who are furious that he cancelled the EPA’s Ozone rule.  And, supporting instead, energy sources that produce little energy.

We have spent far more to produce energy from “renewables” than we needed to spend for higher quality energy like natural gas. Fewer Americans are working. The green jobs have proved ephemeral, and the jobs killed keep increasing as a direct result of government actions.

It was the government that was responsible for the financial crisis. Now it’s the government that is preventing a recovery.

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