American Elephants

Bernie Marcus is a Worried Man. by The Elephant's Child

Bernie Marcus is the founder of Home Depot. Ours is just a few blocks away, and we spend a lot of time there. Mr. Marcus speaks as a businessman who did build a huge chain, and as a man with a family, and a country he cares about. He’s worried about the current direction of the country, and wants to tell you about his ideas.

The Energy Crisis The Administration Made: by The Elephant's Child

In the town hall debate, President Obama managed to describe his record in a way that bears little resemblance to reality or to the last four years. Jaws universally dropped as he described his passionate promotion of a new energy economy. Of course the new energy economy that he claims includes “all of the above” — means everything but fossil fuels.

His plan was to subsidize all sorts of companies with little commercial potential that happened to be owned by Mr. Obama’s green allies. In the meantime until someone figured out how to make small amounts of power from solar cells affordable or practical, the EPA went on a regulatory binge to attempt to shut down any traditional carbon-based sources, coal in particular.

Governor Romney noted that the federal government had cut permits and licenses on federal lands and in federal waters in half. Production of oil on government land is down 14% and production of gas is down 9%.

Mr. Obama said “What you’re saying is just not true. It’s just not true.” But of course it is. Mr. Obama’s very own administration has an agency called the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) which is where Mr. Romney got his numbers. The EIA also reported that total fossil fuel production has plunged to a nine-year low. Coal is way down, in conformation to Mr. Obama’s declaration in 2008 that he wanted electricity rates for “dirty fuels” to skyrocket. Coal production has fallen 6.5% since 2008. Power plants are being shut down right and left, adding to the one thing that is really booming — unemployment.

Some regulators within the administration oppose the EPA’s reckless regulation. Coal has been our most abundant fuel and our cheapest source of power. And low-cost power is a major driver of a prosperous economy.

Mr. Obama was asked in the debate about gas prices which are ranging well over $4 a gallon in many places. as prices were $1.84 a gal. in January of 2009. With gas prices at record levels, the White House cut off drilling in half of  Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve in August. In November 2011 the administration released a plan for a five-year moratorium on offshore energy production. At a campaign event in Miami, the president warned his supporters about the threat of global warming and vowed that more money to subsidize green energy firms would prevent it.

By the way, yes, my plan will reduce the carbon pollution that is eating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and hurricanes and wildfires, that’s not a joke. That’s a threat to our children’s future, and we can do something about it.

Obama tried to claim that gas prices in 2009 were low because the economy was collapsing, and now high gas prices are evidence of a recovering economy, and managed to demonstrate to the entire country his lack of understanding of energy markets.

Mr. Obama is not alone. European governments and the British government were caught up the fashionable fear of global warming and rushed to invest in and promote diffuse sunlight and intermittent wind as “natural” answers to the power needs of modern industrial society. Bad move. The globe hasn’t warmed in over 15 years, and climate is always warming and cooling naturally.

The Germans are facing the biggest electricity price increase in a decade, and that is only the beginning. By 2030 they will have spent more than 300 billion Euros on green electricity. Now 800,000 German households can no longer pay their energy bills. The Germans inexplicably panicked over the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and demanded that the country shut down all their nuclear power, even though tsunamis are not usual in Germany. Memories of Chernobyl linger, though the damage from that accident was far less than imagined. Britain and Scotland are also facing fuel poverty.

Governments are not always wise, and they can make really bad mistakes. It’s up to the people to pay attention to what government is doing, and when they are off on the wrong track, you simply have to vote to throw them out.

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