American Elephants


It’s Time To Stand Up And Be Counted, People! by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Freedom, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

If you have not called or e-mailed your Representative, it’s time to do it.  Nancy Pelosi is trying to force through a vote on the Waxman/Markey climate bill by Friday.  No debate, no floor discussion,  every legislative maneuver to rush it through quickly will be employed.  They don’t want any input from you stupid voters out there.  Surprise them.

This bill is a disaster for America.  It is a big net job killer.  Utility costs will skyrocket.  It would reduce global temperatures (the supposed aim of the legislation) by 2050 by an amount too small to measure.  It will invest useless billions in supposed “clean energy” that cannot produce electricity in a cost effective manner now,  nor in the foreseeable future.  Doesn’t work.  In Spain, their wind energy investment killed 2 jobs in the wider economy  for every “green job” created.  And that’s without even knowing all the economic disasters they have written into the bill.  It’s not available for anyone to read it.  Why is that not a surprise? It is officially and euphemistically HR 2454 “The American Clean Energy and Security Act.”

For e-mail: www.house.gov.  For the House switchboard, call (202) 225-3121 to reach your Representative.



Why Are We Allowing Congress to Commit American Economic Suicide? by The Elephant's Child
June 23, 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Freedom | Tags: , ,

There are big differences in the way that Conservatives and Liberals address policy.  Liberals are sure that things are better done by a wise and authoritative government, namely themselves.

Conservatives, believing firmly in free enterprise, competition and learning from mistakes remain unconvinced that government is wise and don’t care much for being bossed around.

Liberals, having decided that a policy is a good, spend great amounts of time determining just how to pass the policy into law.  Horse-trading, bullying, threatening, focus groups to see what language is most appealing to voters.

Conservatives study the policy to understand the costs and benefits and the consequences that it might entail down the line.  They study the history of such policies to see how effective they have been elsewhere.

President Obama said in today’s press conference “the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America.  It …will finally spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.”

To be as polite as I can, this is hogwash.  Carbon is not pollution, but an element essential to life. Barack Obama should have learned that in high school biology.  The carbon emitted by internal combustion engines, SUV exhausts, coal-fired power plants, human breathing and cow burps is not the cause of the small amount of warming over the last century.  There is no climate crisis. The earth is always warming and cooling, and it has not warmed since 1998.

The rising sea levels, submerged Manhattan, killer hurricanes, melting Arctic and Antarctica, all the disasters arise from flawed computer climate models that cannot predict anything because they are programmed with guesses and estimates and output nonsense.  The legislation, in its entirity, would not reduce climate temperatures at all.

The President went on to say: “This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power….these incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.  And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America — jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”

“At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.”

Does he actually believe these things, or are these just focus-group-tested phrases?  Carbon emissions are not dangerous, do not contaminate the water nor pollute the air.

Wind energy is a proven job killer, in Spain killing two jobs for every one “created”.  Wind blows only occassionally, seldom when it it most needed, and requires backup from an ordinary power plant when the wind does not blow.  Solar is not cost effective.  When a wind farm or large solar array is planned, the environmental activists who demanded clean energy quickly file suit to prevent harm to an endangered species or because they make too much noise.  Environmental activists want to remove the blight of humanity from mother earth.

Economist Martin Feldstein says that the cap-and-trade program would raise the average family’s cost by $1,600 a year.  Heritage Foundation says $1,870.  Nancy Pelosi wants the House of Representatives to pass this Economic Suicide bill by Friday.  It’s time to get on the phone, and contact your Representative by calling the House switchboard at (202) 225-3121.  Tell your Representative to vote No on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. You can also send your Member an e-mail by going to http://www.house.gov and following instructions to find your Representative’s website.

Liberals have trouble with basic economic common sense.  You would think that they would understand that raising taxes or consumer costs during a recession is not a winning policy.  When tax receipts go down because so many are unemployed, their natural reaction seems to be to raise taxes rather than cut expenses.  Go figure.



The Determined Application of Common Sense. by The Elephant's Child

The United States imports a large share of our consumer goods from China, automobiles from Japan, bananas from Central American nations, and 10 percent of our oil from Saudi Arabia and 7 percent from Venezuela. Yet reducing our “dependence on foreign oil” is supposed to be essential to our national security. Surely the 13 percent of our oil we get from Canada is not terribly worrisome, or the 8 percent we get from Mexico. Perhaps it is the 2 percent that comes from Algeria or the 3 percent from Angola that makes “reducing our dependence” such a huge national priority. ” Large oil revenues are not necessarily correlated with U.S. security concerns,” notes Jeff Bergner.

If decreasing our reliance on foreign sources of oil is the goal, aggressively developing our proven American energy reserves is one sure way to achieve it.  Arctic National Wildlife Reserve oil would take some time to develop, but there is offshore oil that is much more readily obtainable. But “reducing our dependence on foreign oil” is given as the major reason for passing a cap-and-trade energy plan. “Carbon footprints” and all that.

The cap-and-trade legislation supported by the Obama administration is simply a stealth strategy for a huge long-term tax increase on all American households, not just that small bunch of really really rich people making over $250,000. The costs of the cap-and-trade scheme are, according to Economist Martin Feldstein, equivalent to raising a family of four’s income tax by 50 percent.  But rather than your actual income tax going up, it will be in your cost of living. Hardest hit will be the folks whose taxes Obama promised not to increase.

Now we all are told that the planet is heating up, drought, floods, (common sense — these things don’t go together).  The latest addition to the list of things caused by “global warming” will be low birth-weight babies for the rest of the century.  Just how that works remains a mystery.

But the current level of 385 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere is the lowest in the record, only equaled by conditions 300 million years ago.  The average level for the last 300 million years is 1000 to 1200 ppm.  The optimum level for modern plants is in that range.  That means that a doubling or tripling of CO2 is not anything to worry about.   In fact an increase would be desirable.  But?

!cid_BC2D9B2D-939F-43C1-80C8-0D4CDA87E957@gv_shawcable

But then why the cap-and-trade, the whole carbon footprint thing?  It is not about global warming.  The planet has not warmed since 1998.  The planet has been cooling since 2002.  But “global warming” makes a good cover for the political class to do whatever it wants, and is a way to increase revenue to an increasingly powerful and hungry government.

Energy Panel Republicans are charging Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) of witness intimidation. Markey wrote to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff asking FERC to investigate the actions of a major energy company on the same day that the company’s CEO was set to testify before the panel on the dangers of a carbon cap-and-trade system.

If they are that bullying about it,  the proposed legislation probably smells to  high heaven.  It doesn’t even have any affect on CO2.  Europe has a history of cap-and-trade rules.  They were and are a flop.  No reduction in CO2 levels, massive costs to the economy.  But we do not learn from consequences or history.

Martin Feldstein admits that scientific knowledge in the field of climate science is changing,  but suggests that “geo-engineering”, not mentioned in the Waxman-Markey bill might be a solution to increasing CO2, which is not the cause of “global warming”, is not a matter of concern, and since the globe isn’t warming—why of course we should try putting things in the atmosphere, spreading soot,  messing with the oceans.  That would be much easier than actually studying the science instead of taking the printouts from some computer programs and having someone tell you what they think is in them.

Representative Waxman (D-Hollywood) admits that he has not read the bill that bears his name, nor does he know what is in the bill.  It is really getting to be time to fire the whole bunch of them.  They are not doing the people’s business as they were hired to do.  They are uninterested in common sense or reality, they are only interested in separating us from whatever remnants of our wealth are left so they can continue with their vast schemes of how to get re-elected in perpetuity.  And that just won’t do.



The Amazing Benefits of the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill. by The Elephant's Child
June 9, 2009, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

The Heritage Foundation reported on the benefits of the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill.  “Nothing.  Zip. Zero. Zilch.  There are no benefits for the American people in the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill.”  Now that’s plain speaking.

Mr. Waxman (L.) and Mr. Markey (R.) have crafted a bill — which Mr. Waxman admits that he hasn’t read and he doesn’t really know what’s in the bill — which will do nothing whatsoever to prevent ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change.’

Christopher Monckton costed out the Climate Bill. ” To prevent a “global warming” of only 1° Fahrenheit, we must forego the emission of 1 – 10 trillion tons of CO2.  Waxman/Markey states that CO2 emissions in the US by the year 2050 will be cut by five-sixths of today’s 5 billion tons.  That would prevent just 0.0005 – 0.005 Fahrenheit degrees of warming a year or 1° F. in 200 – 2000 years — at a cost of $180 billion a year.”

SPPI president, Robert Ferguson says:

According to Monckton’s calculations, cutting ‘global warming’ by the 7°s F. that the UN predicts will happen this century would cost $250 trillion to $2,500 trillion.  That is beyond expensive, particularly when you find that ‘global warming’ is not happening anyway.

But never fear, whatever is wrong, the Democrat Congress will endeavor to fix it; and if they have time they might even read the bill.



And If The Computer Models Are Just Plain Wrong, Then What, Mr. President? by The Elephant's Child

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President Barack Obama is urging Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill that would cost every American family over $3,000 a year in increased costs for everything they buy.  We have all heard of drastically rising temperatures, rising seas and melting icecaps.  What if it’s all a lie?

There seems to have been a slight warming trend over the last century, but by how much?  A new report by meteorologist Anthony Watts, proprietor of the best science weblog Wattsupwiththat.com, casts doubt on the reliability of the U.S. temperature record over the last 100 years.

There are currently over 1200 surface temperature stations across the country.  Some of these stations have been collecting data for over 100 years.  Pictured above is the station in Orland, California, which has been recording temperatures in the same place for a century.  It is well sited.   This is not true of some other stations.  If thermometers are located where the temperature is influenced by hot pavement, trash burners, air conditioning exhaust, reflections from nearby buildings, the readings are of questionable value.  And it seems that a lot are questionable.

Working with an army of volunteers, Watts has documented the surroundings of around 70 percent of American temperature data sites.  Using the government’s own standards, Watts graded each site on a scale from 1 to 5.  A grade of 1 to 2 indicated a reliable location, as the Orland station.  A grade of 3 to 5  can result in temperature errors of several degrees according to the government’s own studies.

To date, only 3 percent of stations surveyed were grade 1.  Roughly 8 percent were grade 2, meaning that only 11 percent of stations were located in a manner that resulted in reliable temperature data.  20 percent of stations were grade 3, the majority (58 percent) were grade 4 and 11 percent flunked absolutely at grade 5, which meant that their temperature records were off by 3°.  That’s a lot, if you are rearranging the government, the public’s use of energy, taxes, transportation, and people’s lives because of so-called global warming.

Marysville issues1

Here is an example of a poor location in Marysville, California. The thermometer instruments are  labeled “MMTS Shelter” with an asphalt parking lot radiating heat, a nearby cell tower, and multiple air conditioning unit exhausts belching heat.  Unreliable doesn’t begin to describe it.  But this is an example of  a town that has grown up around a long-established station.  Anything that could influence the temperature, according to government standards, must be at least 100 feet from the thermometer shelter.

The United States surface temperature records were supposed to be the most thorough, long standing and most reliable in the world.  If most of the stations were recording temperatures that were several degrees too warm, what happens to all of the one degree of warming over the last century that has panicked governments (including ours) across the world.  And if the temperature records of today’s climate are wrong, then what does that say about the climate model’s predictions of future warming?

For those who are interested, the report is available here.  Further information on the project with a Google earth map of station locations is here, and you can even volunteer, for there are still many stations to survey.  Anthony Watts’ excellent blog can be found here, with always new and fascinating information about the science  and fun of climate change.  His site even includes a glossary to help you decipher scientist language.



Everything You Need to Know About President Obama’s Cap-and-Trade Plans. by The Elephant's Child

If you are wondering about “cap-and-trade” or “carbon taxes” or “carbon sequestration” or “global warming” or “climate change,” here is all you need to know. [from Steven Milloy's new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them].

There is no scientific evidence indicating that carbon dioxide, much less man-made carbon dioxide emissions, control or even measurably impact global climate.

Global Warming hysteria is based on hypothetical computer models that have never been validated against real world experience.  The fact that many scientists accept the hypotheses does not make them true.  For that matter, many scientists actively dispute those same hypotheses.

When you are confronted with hysteria about climate change, you might remember these four factual sentences.



The Way Things Work in the World of Environmental Activism. by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2009, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

The Scientific Method

  1. Observe a phenomenon carefully.
  2. Develop a hypothesis that possibly explains the phenomenon.
  3. Perform a test in an attempt to disprove or invalidate the hypothesis.  If the hypothesis is disproven, return to steps 1. and 2.
  4. A hypothesis that stubbornly refuses to be invalidated may be correct.  Continue testing.

The Scientific Computer Modeling Method

  1. Observe a phenomenon carefully.
  2. Develop a computer model that mimics the behavior of the phenomenon.
  3. Select observations that conform to the model predictions and dismiss observations as of inadequate quality that conflict with the computer model.
  4. In instances where all of the observations conflict with the model, “refine” the model with fudge factors to give a better match with pesky facts.  Assert that these factors reveal fundamental processes previously unknown in association with the phenomenon.  Under no circumstances willingly reveal your complete data sets, methods, or computer codes.
  5. Upon achieving a model of incomprehensible complexity that still somewhat resembles the phenomenon, begin to issue to the popular media dire predictions of catastrophe that will occur as far in the future as possible, at least beyond your professional lifetime.
  6. Continue to “refine” the model in order to maximize funding and the awarding of Nobel Prizes.
  7. Dismiss as unqualified, ignorant, and conspiracy theorists all who offer criticisms of the model
  8. Repeat steps 3. through 7. indefinitely.

This succinct explanation of the way things work was written by Roy Tucker.



Global Warming Meets a Basic Cost-Benefits Test, and Loses. by The Elephant's Child

Bjørn Lomborg is director of the Denmark-based think tank The Copenhagen Consensus Center, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.  He gave a talk today at the Manhattan Institute. The transcript was published in The New York Post. Lomborg is a professor of statistics, and was at one time, a member of Greenpeace.

Here, he has some important information for politicians, and the rest of us:

IN the heart of a financial crisis, most of us carefully consider every last purchase. It is important that politicians do the same when making vital policy decisions.

Instead of focusing on initiatives with the greatest benefits, they tend to be swayed by those with the most vocal advocates. Take the Kyoto Protocol. Its $180 billion annual global cost would perhaps be worth the investment if it made any substantial difference to global warming. But even if Kyoto were implemented for the rest of this century, it would cut temperatures by just 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

This doesn’t pass a basic cost-benefit test. The investment would cause more immediate financial hardship than eventual good. There are many better uses for the money.

That point was underscored by Copenhagen Consensus 2008, a project I designed to champion the use of economic tools in international aid and development policy.

For two years before Copenhagen Consensus 2008, teams of experts wrote papers identifying the best ways to solve the world’s biggest problems: air pollution, conflict, disease, inadequate education, global warming, malnutrition and hunger, sanitation and water challenges, subsidies and trade barriers, terrorism and gender-disparity issues. They identified the investments that would best tackle each challenge and outlined the costs and benefits of each.

A group of prestigious economists — including five Nobel laureates — gathered and examined this research. They took the long menu of investments and turned it into a prioritized list of opportunities. At the bottom — the least cost-effective investment the world could make to respond to any of these problems — was dealing with climate change through immediate CO2 cuts, as the Kyoto Protocol attempts.

At the top was the provision of micronutrients — particularly vitamin A and zinc — to undernourished children in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

For just $60 million annually, we could reach 80 percent of the world’s 140 million or so undernourished children. The economic gains from improving their lives would eventually clear $1 billion a year.

For another $286 million, we could iodize salt and fortify basic food with iron for 80 percent of the children who are at risk of stunting and poor development because they’re going without.

Interestingly — and perhaps predictably — many of the economists’ top-ranked solutions were to problems that don’t attract many headlines or much celebrity attention. The simple act of deworming children in developing countries, for example, would improve nourishment and allow some of the world’s most disadvantaged kids to learn more and get better jobs later.

Copenhagen Consensus 2008 showed that we know how to stop people from dying from malnutrition, pollution, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Solving these problems would open a world of opportunities, including allowing a disadvantaged community to grow, develop and care about longer-term issues like global warming.

What we need to do now is cheap and simple. It’s mostly a question of getting what’s needed (micronutrients, cleaner forms of fuel, free condoms and mosquito nets) to those in need. Death tolls remain high because we have limited resources, and these problems are not considered our biggest concerns.

Economic tools such as cost-benefit analysis and prioritization will never offer the last word in public policy debate — and nor should they — but they can provide a vital input for decision-makers.

The process that worked for Copenhagen Consensus 2008 — and that encouraged philanthropic organizations to invest more in malnutrition — is also relevant for national and state governments and city administrations.

Prioritization is difficult for any politician, whether a member of the Obama team or a city administrator. The project would give a city like New York the opportunity to focus on the spending priorities that achieve the most. Vested interests and lobbying groups create a lot of noise. Copenhagen Consensus sets aside that noise, so that the costs and benefits of competing options can be seriously considered side-by-side.

The recession that has made life more difficult also offers an opportunity for us all to rethink our priorities — and ensure that each dollar spent achieves as much as possible.



The Search for Scientific Truth Sometimes Wanders into Strange Paths. by The Elephant's Child
May 6, 2009, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Global Warming, Humor | Tags: ,

Here is clear evidence for the real cause of global warming climate change: (Click image to enlarge)

us_post_causes_global_warming3

The rise in global temperatures since 1880 closely correlates with increases in postal charges, sparking alarm that perhaps CO2 has been usurped as the main driver of climate change.

The U.S. Postal Service is poised to raise the charges by 2¢ to a total of 44¢ for a first class stamp, on May 11, 2009.  According to Jo Nova, the Postal Action Network (PAN) has already sprung into existence this afternoon and plans a boycott campaign of the new 44¢ Homer Simpson stamp.

(h/t: Jo Nova)



“Renewable energy” is bunk. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. by The Elephant's Child
April 21, 2009, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Just got home from the bank, and I was following a Toyota Pious with a bumper sticker that said “Renewable Energy is Homeland Security.” And on the radio, the host was talking about a poll that  showed that a majority of Americans believed that “renewable energy” was cheaper and more efficient than our current energy sources.  Sheesh!  We have some educating to do.

The term “Renewable Energy” is applied to wind energy, solar energy, thermal energy, and biomass energy. Environmentalists most often leave out hydroelectric energy, although it is clean, renewable, efficient and cost effective, because they don’t like it.  They like “wild rivers”.  They pretend concern for the fish, but it is the dams they hate.

During the last 4 years the true facts about wind energy are beginning to appear.  Wind turbines in Europe do nothing for CO2 emissions reduction.  Nothing.  Denmark, the nation with the most wind turbines, has more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its energy, but it has never been able to close a single fossil-fuel plant.  It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover the times when the wind does not blow at the right speed.  Denmark’s electricity costs are the highest in Europe.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2008, on a dollars per MWh basis, the US. Government subsidizes wind at $23.34 — compared to such reliable energy sources as natural gas at 25¢; coal at 44¢; hydro at 67¢: and nuclear at $1.59.

President Obama and Vice President Biden toured the solar array at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado on February 17, 2009.  The solar panels that they inspected will take 110 years to pay for themselves.  These particular panels are expected to last for 20-25 years.

Some of the newest wind turbines are 50 stories tall.  (That’s stories, not feet). Note the picture of the turbine with the landing pad for a helicopter.  That’s big! For more information on wind energy, see here, and here, and here.

Brazil is often cited as leading the way in biofuel production, and there are suggestions that we should achieve “energy independence” by imitating Brazil.  Think again.  Der Spiegel exposes the lie.

And for an article on the true goal of the greens, go here.

The reason for all the current push (“global warming is speeding up”) on energy is that the entire case for global warming is falling apart.  The earth is not warming.  There has been no significant warming in the last 10 years, and it has been cooling for at least 5 years.  Cap-and-trade would enrich a few companies, but be disastrous for the American people.  A huge tax on each and every taxpayer. Beware.



The Dim Bulbs at the EPA Have Plans for You. by The Elephant's Child

A week ago, the New York Times  carried this headline: “Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work?” People are finding out that the new bulbs are a little more complicated than advertised.  In San Francisco, the Zurchers have a box of  Feit  Electric bulbs that didn’t work.  Inspired by “An Inconvenient Truth” they had decided to replace all of their incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent.  But not every fixture will take a CFL bulb.  The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours.  If screwed into a fixture where heat will build up — the bulbs will burn out quickly.

What happened?  The Energy Department (a government agency) asked manufacturers in 1998 to create cheaper models and then helped find large-volume buyers to buy them.  That jump-started a mass market and eventually led to sales of discounted bulbs at retailers like Costco and Home Depot.

Consumers are supposed to get some protection by buying bulbs certified under the government’s Energy Star program. In 2007-8 tests, five of 29 models failed to meet specifications for such categories as lifespan, luminosity and on-off cycling. The government is expanding the watchdog program, promising to test samples of 20 percent of the thousands of certified bulb models each year.

“Experts and bulb manufacturers say that consumers need to play a role in solving the problems by learning more about the limitations of compact fluorescent bulbs.  The Federal Trade Commission has begun to study whether it should force improvements in the labels of the bulbs.”

You do understand that the government has ordered the phase out of incandescent bulbs in 2014, don’t you? (You didn’t read that provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?) The bulbs don’t do well in recessed ceiling fixtures, or with 3-way sockets or dimmers. You don’t mind replacing most of your lamps and fixtures, I’m sure.  One should be aware that CFLs can take one to three minutes to reach full brightness.  This is normal, not a defect. Although they are supposed to last for 10,000 hours, and save as much as $5.40 a year in electricity costs, some bulbs died within a few hours.

Because all fluorescent contain mercury, a toxic metal, they must never be put in the trash, but must be transported to a certified disposal point.  We received a card from our city government that named the certified disposal points.  Most charged a fee per bulb for disposal, and none accepted regular long fluorescent bulbs except the city waste disposal station which is about five miles away, but so far, free.

Because of the mercury, if you drop one and it breaks, you have to call the hazmat crew to dispose of it — that’s somewhere in the $200-$300 range.

The bulbs are manufactured in China, effectively killing of the domestic industry that made incandescent bulbs which will no longer be available. I seem to remember some pious talk about outsourcing and not allowing any more business being moved offshore.  But that was then, and this is now, and the Nanny Government, as usual, doesn’t think things through, never considers consequences, and doesn’t read the bills they pass anyway.

This joins the list of low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and other annoyances that they have inflicted on us. With the forthcoming designation from the dim bulbs at the EPA of carbon dioxide (you know, the stuff you exhale) as a pollutant, they will have the authority to regulate — well, practically everything.  And now the government will decide just what kind of cars you may have.   Orwellian doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I hope someone is taking notes.



“A New Era of Responsibility.” by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is annoyed by criticism that he is trying to take on too many issues at once.  Suggestions that a $3.6 trillion budget that seeks to rescue the economy from the worst crisis since the Great Depression, while also trying to overhaul health care, change our energy infrastructure, change our energy use, end our dependence on foreign oil, overhaul education, finish up the War in Iraq while fighting the War in Afghanistan, and reset our relationships with the rest of the world are a little much, are annoying.

Obama told the leaders of the congressional budget committees:

To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point.  That’s not why I ran for this office.  I didn’t come here to pass on our problems to the next generation.

It’s Bush’s fault.  He was too laissez-faire and irresponsible.

President Obama was responding sharply to the idea that he should be focusing on fixing the banking crisis first.  Real economic recovery he said, requires many actions at once.

Obama was asked whether his domestic policies suggested that he was a socialist.  “It wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks”, Mr. Obama said, “And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement, the prescription drug plan, without a source of funding.”

Oh.  It’s Bush’s fault.  He’s the socialist, not me.  Got it.

Mr. Obama pushed back against the characterization:

By the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system.  The fact that we’ve had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis.

There’s a point at which “Bush made me do it” isn’t going to work any more.




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