American Elephants


No More Keynesian Economics, Obama is Turning the Page! by The Elephant's Child

Obama’s State of the Union speech claimed 2014 as a “breakthrough year for America,”with a growing economy and job creation at the fastest pace since 1999. Clever word tricks. If you count only jobs created, which he does, and leave out the jobs destroyed, the people who are so discouraged that they have dropped out of the workforce and  the growth in the population — you can get some pretty good job creation numbers, but they are meaningless except to fool the folks who don’t pay attention.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.

It’s clear that all the happy talk did not resonate with the American people, who are seeing something different from the news of the day.

Mr Obama then began to make his pitch for “Middle Class Economics.” Unfortunately he tried to make it with Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis. Rebekah turned out to be a campaign staffer who he has used for “evidence” before.

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.

Middle class economics, he said, is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone lays by the same set of rules. He really likes that phrase, it’s been in every speech for years. And it is meaningless. What is a “fair shot?” What is doing your “fair share?”

Apparently you don’t have to do anything, for the government will give you money. Paid sick leave, higher minimum wage, quality childcare, free community college, and if you have managed to save up for your kids’ college in a 529 plan (with money that has already been taxed) he plans to tax the distributions when you take it out to pay for the tuition.

It’s all a game of gotcha. Taxing 529 plan distributions is not going to pass Congress. The average account size of assets in 529 plans is $20,671. Saving that much up in a troubled economy is a real accomplishment. Why would you tax the same money once again?

So there you have “Middle Class Economics.” The right hand giveth and the left hand taketh away. It isn’t really supposed to accomplish anything, it’s just supposed to sound good.



Canada Ranks Lower than Latvia In A Survey of Energy Sustainability? by The Elephant's Child

About those national rankings: A new World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on the world’s “best sustainable energy systems” places energy self-sufficient Canada below Latvia, Costa Rica, Columbia and Romania.  Huh?

The Geneva-based think tank’s latest survey of countries with the most “sustainable energy systems” put Norway as the country with the best energy system in the world. You always have to watch out when they start throwing that “sustainability” word around. It is an ever-so fashionable word, always to be thrown in to any paper deemed to be truly “serious.” And Geneva is always to be considered “serious.”

Canada, our neighbor to the north, producer of one of the world’s largest amounts of crude oil, natural gas, wind, nuclear and hydroelectricity, suddenly finds itself ranked below Latvia, which is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. It had, however, “diversified” enough to warrant a ranking four places above self-sufficient Canada.

“The WEF,” the Financial Post says, “arrived at its befuddling conclusion after ranking countries on economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security performance, and ‘analysing the complex trade-offs and dependencies that affect country efforts.'”

This report is absurd, of course, but governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have fallen into a pattern of using words that are fashionable but essentially meaningless to show that they are “with it,” to be taken seriously. Call them navy blue pin-striped words, or Rolex words. And “sustainable” is one of the worst. Sustainable means it will last over time, and we clearly have no idea. Tomorrow is unknown.

“Diversity” is more popular in academia than in the energy business, but a way of sneaking in a bunch of unaffordable “alternate energy”systems, beloved by environmentalists, yet only exist with ongoing governmental subsidies. In either case, it is nonsense. In academia it is supposed to be desirable to have students of varying races and ethnicities, but undesirable to have diversity in their thought or politics. All will conform.

Other words that fall into the same general category are “fairness,” (who decides?), “equality,” (how?) “tolerance,”( regarding what?). The words become more meaningless as they are used to excess, and no thought is dedicated to what they really mean in the context where they are used.

Silly report. Canada ranked a paltry 14th, and the United States, soon to become the world’s number one energy producer ranked a distant 37th out of 124 countries.




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