American Elephants


Obama Offers Welfare to the Miners and Power Plant Workers He Threw Out of Work With His EPA Regulations by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2015, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Ever wonder why the economy isn’t improving and columnists are wondering if we are entering another recession? Obama’s plans to create jobs don’t measure up to his efforts to throw people out of work. Agencies churn out regulations to better control the economy, without any realization that there is a cost for every regulation, either in lost jobs or in higher prices. The U.S. economy reported a 1.9% drop in productivity in the first quarter of the year.

Money that might have contributed to wealth-creating innovations has gone instead to financial deal-making. With fewer opportunities for growth, but plenty of available credit, mergers are often the most sensible way for a company to expand.

The Kauffman Foundation tracks new businesses, and its data show that 2013 was the second consecutive year to show an entrepreneurial activity decline in the United States. Becoming an entrepreneur takes a special kind of courage. It takes even more during an administration that has twice set a record by turning out more than 81,000 pages of regulations.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left want to blame this on corporations, but it is a perfectly rational response to the heavy burden of the Obama regulatory machine.The Left would like to demand that business make more investments, but when there is opportunity people are ready to exploit it. Even near-zero interest rates which make borrowing easy have not been able to offset ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the EPA, and the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

Thousands of coal miners and coal-fired power plant workers have been laid off since Obama took office, due to federal regulations. Kentucky has lost 644 power plant jobs from 2008 to 2013. More to come with the “Clean Power Plan.”

Now the Obama administration is happy to announce $35 million in grants:to help workers and communities to successfully adapt to changes in the coal industry and power sector.” The Power+Plan is to develop truly cohesive relationships at the federal level to create real economic opportunities for families throughout the region: In other words now that our dumb regulations have put you out of work, you can go on welfare.

The government is far more careful with their language. They will “take a comprehensive approach towards economic diversification and worker advancement in implementing their economic development strategic plans. Experience shows that projects which integrate both economic development and workforce development solutions with broad community partnerships are more successful than when independent solutions are pursued.”

There you go. Sounds better in bureaucratese. How about green energy jobs, or teaching people how to insulate houses? But that didn’t work last time either, did it? Infrastructure, that’s it. Those crumbling roads and bridges.



The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Must Be Defeated! by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2015, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Superior-ice-5-31-2014-Lake-Superior-PhotoThe Environmental Protection Agency has sent its power-plant rules for final White House review. Known by the euphemistic name “the Clean Power Plan,” the rules are at the center of President Obama’s agenda to address the threat of global climate change. There is understandably fierce opposition to this administration’s climate strategy, and lawsuits have been filed, but judges were skeptical to the idea that they could offer regulatory relief to the states before the rules have been made final. If the Plan is finalized, lawsuits will follow.

EPA’s plan would shut down coal energy in this country—under the misconception that “carbon pollution” is a hazard of some sort. Coal-fired power plants produce around 40% of our electricity that powers factories, hospitals, schools, water treatment plants and homes. In some areas there is no replacement source of energy.

Proponents argue that the Clean Power Plan would result in enormous health benefits by reducing greenhouse gases. The idea that carbon is a pollutant stems from ignorance of high school biology, and started with the observation that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was increasing at the same time the temperature was increasing. Obviously cause and effect. Except that temperatures stopped going up a little over eighteen years ago, and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere just kept on climbing. And of course the idea that carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer and helps plants to grow, that a doubling of the amount of CO² in the atmosphere would be a great good, and not begin to reach the optimum, is usually overlooked.

Proponents assume that we can just fill in with wind and solar, but wind turbines mostly stop working in cold weather, and solar cells don’t work if the sun isn’t shining —both technologies require full-time backup from a conventional power plant, often coal. $150 billion invested in “renewable” energy and it is still an undependable minor source.

The sun has gone through an unusually long quiet spell, and scientists are beginning to think that we urgently need to prepare for another ice age, or perhaps a little ice age. Congress has demanded that the EPA produce the science which supposedly backs up the regulations that flow so voluminously from their agency, but so far they have stalled, avoided, excused, and somehow  been unable to find that particular bit of science.

The thing is that cold weather kills. New England had a particularly heavy winter this last year, stocks of firewood ran out, unbuilt pipelines did not supply natural gas, closed coal-fired plants did not produce electricity. Shutting down coal-fired power plants to sap the demands of environmental loonies will, at some point, leave a lot of people to freeze in the cold.

We had a light winter, no skiing, light snowpack. Our governor has just declared a water emergency, with an eye on California, though we have plenty of rain. Another year we may have a heavy winter. Contrary to the predictions of the climate computer models, we cannot yet predict the future, only make intelligent guesses, and hope we do as well as the Old Farmer’s Almanac.




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