Filed under: Economy, In Decline, Regulatory Excess | Tags: big government, Capitalism, Free Markets, Obama Administration
The revised figures for the first quarter show that the American economy shrank by 0.7 percent — January through March. The administration did not, however try to blame it on Bush, they blamed it on the harsh winter. It was a brutal winter on the east coast and in the Midwest. It is the third quarter in which the economy has actually contracted (the other two were the first quarters of 2011 and 2014).
This has been the slowest, most sluggish recovery since World War II. The strong dollar has meant that American exports are down. but other economies are not healthy either, including China’s. The Obama administration’s big-government, big-deficit, big waste and big-regulation policies are not a recipe for growth or recovery.
A new study finds that overhead costs are exploding under ObamaCare. Another promise up in smoke. The Health Affairs Blog published a study based on numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that runs ObamaCare and found that ObamaCare increased health care costs by $17 billion last year, and by 2020 will add a total of more than $270 billion.Twenty-two percent of all new spending is going to overhead, paperwork, not patient care.
The United States spends more on regulation than ever before. The amount spent has increased significantly as has the number of people who are employed to write and enforce the increasing number of government regulations. In 1990, total spending on regulatory activity was $20.6 billion. This year it will clock in at $60.1 billion, a 192% increase. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that in 2012 the total cost of federal regulations was just over $2 trillion — 13 5 of that year’s GDP.
Is this unruly Americans who need more careful control? Not likely. It is an administration that sees power and control as a goal. Not a climate in which free enterprise can prosper.
Filed under: Capitalism, Escaping Poverty, Freedom | Tags: Capitalism, Free Enterprise, Free Markets / Free People
Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, economist, and french horn player, gives a short class in Capitalism, always a worthy endeavor. Free enterprise works to lift people all over the world out of poverty.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, National Security | Tags: Bret Stephens, Superpower, World Police
Bret Stephens is the foreign-affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal where he is also deputy editorial page editor, responsible for the editorial pages of the Journal’s European and Asian editions. From 2002 to 2004, he was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. I recommend his 2014 book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder unreservedly. Here he is for Praeger University:
Filed under: Civil Rights, Education, Moral Forces | Tags: Choices, Civil Rights Era, Self-Reliance
From William Voegeli’s The Pity Party:
The question of self-reliance affects the relationship between emphathizers and empathizees in a further way. If compassion rules out expecting much from those who suffer, then the moral and political leverage that empathizees wield against those who feel sorry for them will come to depend on their own incapacity. This correlation of moral forces operates with particular strength when empathizers and empathizees unite in the belief that the historic grievances of those who suffer preclude anyone else from calling on them to be self-reliant.
The basic choice open to blacks after the landmark legislation and court decisions of the civil rights era, according to the Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele,* was between advancing “through education, skill development, and entrepreneuralism,” or “pressuring the society that had wronged us into taking the lion’s share of the responsibility for resurrecting us.” The second course became all but inevitable when the post-civil rights narrative of white guilt and black victimhood decreed “that no black problem— whether high crime rates, poor academic performance, or high illegitimacy rates—could be defined as largely a black responsibility, because it was an injustice to make victims responsible for their own problems.”
*Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (New York: HarperCollins, 2006)
Filed under: 26 States, Amnesty, Congress, Immigration | Tags: Appeals Court, Executive Amnesty, Supreme Court
A federal appeals court has upheld a U.S. district court’s injunction preventing the Obama administration’s executive amnesty programs from moving forward.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hannan placed a preliminary injunction on Obama’s executive amnesty programs in February, and denied a second request from the Justice Department in March — ruling that the executive order must not be implemented until the lawsuit from the states is decided, keeping the programs from taking effect. Obama’s attempts at amnesty included the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Judge blocked the programs after a coalition of 26 states challenged the executive amnesty. The federal government did not help their case by preceding to grant work permits to illegals anyway, in spite of the injunction.
Justice Department lawyers sought a stay on the injunction fro the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court declined to issue a stay on a 2-1 vote because it concluded the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal. This represents a significant setback for Obama’s executive amnesty plans.
Judge Smith noted that the:
affirmative act of conferring “lawful presence” on a class of unlawfully present aliens. Though revocable, that new designation triggers eligibility for federal and state benefits that would be otherwise available.’
Although prosecutorial discretion is broad, it is not ‘unfettered.’ Declining to prosecute does not convert an act deemed unlawful by Congress into a lawful one and confer eligibility for benefits based on that new classification.
Both the State of Texas and the Obama administration have signaled willingness to take the case to the Supreme Court. The
Texas is leading the 26 state coalition that is challenging the amnesty. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin are members of the coalition.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, National Security, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Renewables, Taxpayer Subsidies, Wind Energy
If you are seeing a few more articles about wind energy, it’s because there was a big Windpower 2015 Conference last week. We know, from Obama’s graduation speech to the Coast Guard Cadets, that our greatest national security threat is the dangers of
global warming climate change. ISIS, Iran’s Nukes, Russia’s growing expansionist interests, China’s domination of the South China Sea all pale into insignificance when compared to the threat of a warming climate. “Renewable energy” is a major part of Obama’s defense posture.
It has long been observed that wind farms and solar arrays exist because there are government subsidies which support the risks of a new business. Remove the subsidies and wind and solar stop. So the question seems to be more about whose pocket is getting lined, rather than about saving the country.
The Obama administration’s solution for expanding wind power nationwide — is to construct taller, more technologically advanced wind turbines that will be more expensive and difficult to build. This is the 21st Century, and whatever isn’t working — technology will fix. The trouble is the nature of wind itself. Even in the windiest spots, wind is intermittent. It blows in occasional gusts, stops, wafts, gentle breezes. What a turbine needs is a consistent stream of wind at a consistent power. That doesn’t happen in nature. We solve that problem with a 24/7 backup power plant switching on whenever the wind fails. Please explain how it makes sense to shut down all coal-fired power plants to get our energy from the wind, which has to have a conventional power plant running all the time to make your belief in wind energy work? Consistency is not a hallmark of the Left.
The American Wind Energy Association says scaling up wind from conventional 80 meter towers to bigger 100-130 meter towers enables something or other that couldn’t be achieved with standard towers. A 130 meter tower is about 426 feet or 120 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.
The Energy Department reports that the cost of wind turbine towers increases rapidly with increasing height creating a trade-off between tower cost and the value of added energy production. There are “wildlife considerations” about the “interaction” between taller turbines and eagles. The American Bird Conservancy issued new research showing how wind turbines are threatening many species.
A Spanish Company is proposing a radical new way to generate wind energy with a bladeless wind turbine called a Vortex that looks like a giant rolled joint shooting into the sky. It takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a patter of spinning vortices. With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures — which, to bring it closer to home — caused the spectacular collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
The Germans had converted almost 30 percent of their electric grid to solar and wind energy in 15 years from near zero. Tom Friedman gushed that “it has been a great contribution to the stability of our planet and its climate… a world-saving achievement.” One that has come at the expense of sky-high electricity rates and a yearly bill of $1,700 per person for a median household income of $33,000. For the poor, a brutal cost to stay warm in a cooling world. Fearful of Fukushima, Germans are shutting down their 20 GW capacity of nuclear power. And to avoid energy blackmail from Russia, they are turning back to coal. Climate change is not caused by too much CO² in the atmosphere.
We have had over 18 years of no warming at all — a fact that escapes those deeply, emotionally invested in “natural” and “free” and “renewable.” Winters are getting colder. And cold kills.
Filed under: Climate, Climate Cooling, Energy | Tags: Barack Obama, Climate Change, Disconnect
Memorial Day Weekend, May 23, 2015 — A weekend of barbecues, and a time for remembrance, the start of Summer. This is Portage Lake, Maine today.