American Elephants

It is Very Hard for Our Congressmen to Reduce Spending! by The Elephant's Child

Did you know that the massive farm bill, which will cost nearly $1 trillion, isn’t really about America’s farmers, except indirectly. Three quarters of the expenditures are for food stamps. If the Bill becomes law, nearly $80 billion a year will be spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a much more refined name for the old food stamp program.

The stories about abuse and waste in the program are constant, and observed by people in line at the grocery store. Tales of Prime Rib and Lobster Tails bought with food stamps infuriate ordinary people struggling to balance their food budget. The program is, and is intended to be, a massive wealth redistribution scheme. We now have 46 million Americans on the program.

Senator Jeff Sessions proposed cutting $20 billion from the $770 billion that had been dedicated to the program in an earlier version of the bill, or less than 3%. There are, I understand, no income qualifications to enroll in the program.

The Democrats in the Senate, of course, rejected the modest cut. They want to be known as the ones who saved the food stamp program for starving children from the cruel cuts wanted by uncaring Republicans.  Figures.

Republicans don’t want anyone to go hungry, but a program for supplying food to people in need, needn’t provide expensive restaurant meals, nor pricey luxuries that the people paying for the food stamps can’t afford. The benefit to all Americans of eliminating waste and fraud is always trumped by the potential for demonstrating Republican meanness and cruelty.

ADDENDUM: My numbers here are haywire, as a reader was kind enough to point out. See the discussion in the comments, and follow the links there. I learned, to my horror, that there are 69 separate welfare programs, each budgeted separately, and spread over different departments, which would mean they are budgeted and supervised by different Congressional committees. Democrats do not want to cut any of them at any time, so they can accuse Republicans of “mean” and “slashing.” Republicans think there are limits to what the taxpayers can afford.

The North Dakota Oil Boom Shows How Jobs Happen. by The Elephant's Child

A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives today approved the  Domestic Energy and Jobs Act — legislation that would increase access to America’s energy resources and boost job creation.

With the national unemployment rate stuck over 8% in the most favorable U3 category that includes only the recently unemployed and those actively looking, congressional Republicans have been trying to explain to Americans how energy  initiatives can cure America’s economic troubles.

The new economic boom in North Dakota is attracting workers from all over the country, and boasts an unemployment rate of only 3 percent, with some areas falling to only 1 percent. North Dakota also leads all states in the increase in employment over the last year.

The bill approved today would speed up the lengthy permit process for energy production in Alaska’s Natural Petroleum Reserve by requiring the Dept. of Interior to approve drilling permits in 60 days and infrastructure permits in six months.

The boom in North Dakota has been made possible by sensible state regulations, advances in technology, and the ability to drill on private lands, free from the president’s war on energy.

Will the bill pass in Harry Reid’s Democrat controlled Senate? Depends on how much the Democrats want to improve the unemployment situation versus how much they want any Republican initiative to fail. So we’ll see who cares about the unemployed.

President Obama’s War on Energy is Wrecking the Economy by The Elephant's Child

We rightly talk a lot about jobs. As of May, there were almost 700,000 more people out of work than in January 2009, and the unemployment rate is higher. It is now 8.2% compared to 7.8% in 2009. There are 2.7 million more long-term unemployed —those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, according to the bureau of Labor Statistics. And the discouraged workers, people who believe no job is available, have increases by 100,000 since Obama took office.

But all the focus on jobs is apt to lead us to forget that what we need is a growing economy. It’s growth that is important, for a growing economy will produce the needed jobs. U.S. manufacturing grew in June at its slowest pace in 11 months and hiring in the manufacturing sector slowed as overseas demand for U.S. products dropped. It’s hardly surprising that demand from Europe was weaker, though it’s important to remember that our largest trading partners are Canada and Mexico.

This should indicate why the President’s emphasis on ‘Green jobs’ is so misdirected. Of course the administration has called everything from bus-driving to greens-keeping a “green job,” an honest look at the category suggests that more jobs have been lost in the green sector than gained. The number of jobs lost at Solyndra just increased by around 800 due to some good detection work.

It’s clear that the president wants to be reelected, yet a story in the New Yorker magazine “The Second Term” by Ryan Lizza says that the most important policy Obama “could address in his second term is climate change, one of the few issues he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now.” The president has been. and continues to be, committed to taxing carbon dioxide one way or another. Cap and Trade failed, but after that defeat, he said “Cap-and-Trade was just one way of skinning the cat, it was not the only way.” Talk about out-of-touch!

The Energy Tribune suggests that, if reelected, Obama will continue his attack on the fossil fuel industry. He will use the remnants of fear of global warming as his weapon, and he will go for a tax on every industry and entity that produces carbon dioxide gas. Cap-and-Trade re-marketed in the guise of saving the economy and having the added benefit of saving the world from global warming. He believes he has that kind of power.

Undaunted by the failures of his green energy ventures, he seems to think they were just a few failures in an inevitable successful attempt to adapt the energy of the sun and the wind to make him the Famous President who transformed the planet, who finally made his Nobel Prize legitimate. Does the president know that carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is only a tiny 0.038% of the atmosphere? Does he understand that it is a natural fertilizer for all plant growth, beneficial and essential for life? That without carbon dioxide there would be no life?

The media and the administration have used the term “carbon” when actually referring to carbon dioxide in a deliberate attempt to convince scientifically illiterate  people that carbon dioxide gas is dirty and a pollutant. The story in the New Yorker suggests that “Early discussions on Capitol Hill suggest that, in a wide-ranging deal, a carbon tax might be part of a grand bargain to settle Taxmagedon.”

Now that’s really scary. We are facing a new era of abundant energy that has the potential to re-industrialize the U.S. economy. The cumulative impact of new production and associated activity from fracking and shale deposits may increase real GDP by 2.0 to 3,3 percent.

Obama is not going to learn anything from his EPA or Secretary Chu, or his Science Advisor, John Holdren, as far as that goes.  Rio+20 has been an epic failure,  the IPCC is falling apart, Europe is bailing on wind and solar, and even China has given up on solar for their own use. They just produce solar panels for those who still believe. They don’t watch the news in the White House, we’re told, only the sports channel.

When Obama took office, Treasury Secretary Geithner reportedly told him that they would have to set other things aside and deal with the drastic state of the economy. Obama said that “wasn’t enough for him.” He wanted to do big things. He embarked on ObamaCare, but I think that “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” beckoned him as a history-making accomplishment. Abby Schachter explains in Commentary:

The relatively untutored president, who had only two years in a statewide office before he ran for president, may never have had even so much as a conversation on energy matters with anyone in public life who was not a member of the environmentalist camp. But by early 2012, Obama had certainly been on the job long enough to assimilate new information regarding the potential of natural gas, when he was forced into a decision over granting valuable right of way in the United States for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. He stuck to his old script and had the State Department deny the pipeline permit. Facing a tough economy and a tough reelection campaign, Obama has been presented a political gift in the form of shale gas—and he has rejected it.

There is the problem, and it is an enormous one.

Please, Tell Me What You Think: by The Elephant's Child

We have reached an odd place in current affairs. It seems to me that if Republicans said “Up,” Democrats would pronounce “Down.” Although Republicans may think that what the Democrats are doing is wrong, or ill-advised, or mistaken — they understand what Democrats think and are unsurprised.

Democrats, of course, think that what we claim is wrong, they also think we’re lying, our motives are to harm minorities and the poor, our statistics are just plain false and we only like rich people. They really, really hate us, primarily because we have the temerity to disagree with them. They would prefer that we just go away and quit annoying them.

Am I overreaching here? Am I too suspicious? I need a little help.

The Most Arrogant Man in the World! by The Elephant's Child

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