American Elephants

A $300,000 Climate Change Museum? by The Elephant's Child

In the final days of his administration, the former president oversaw the creation of a $300,000 “climate museum” in a government building in Washington D.C. (Paid for with taxpayer dollars), dedicated to the proposition that man-made climate change is a dire threat, and the wonderful work done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its voluminous files of regulation are absolutely necessary to keep us safe from disaster, or the Statue of Liberty sinking beneath the waves again.

The $300,000 price tag represented $211,111 for the Smithsonian Institution to create the materials shown in the museum and $134,000 to renovate the space. The content was created by the EPA Alumni Association, which compiled it and presented a timeline detailing the milestones of the regulatory agency since it was founded in 1970. Gosh. Do all federal agencies get a museum to extol their legacy? Seems a bit pricey for self-glorification.

According to the Washington Post, I find that it was a “pet project” of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, and is “tucked into” the lobby of the EPA Credit Union in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. It not only documents all the countless regulations that affect our daily lives, like the ethanol-enhanced gas we put in our cars, our useless new twisty light bulbs, to how we heat and cool our homes. And affects as well the design of our cars and their price, as well as the design and cost of our household appliances. They have not yet succeeded in getting centralized control of our  household energy. but they are working on it. The “museum” embodies the ideology of Obama and his EPA.  President Trump is using executive orders to undo many of the most toxic regulations, with more to come.

I would be surprised if the “museum” contains information on many of the regulations that the courts threw out, or for example, the massive yellow toxic spill of mine waste from the Gold King mine into the Animas River in Colorado which flowed into the San Juan River in New Mexico, and then the Colorado River in Utah, the Grand Canyon and became the water supply for drought-stricken California. The Navajo Nation sued the EPA, but the last I read indicated that the EPA had not paid up. I’d bet this picture is not included in the exhibit either.

Here’s an excellent example of the EPA and how they worked under administrator Gina McCarthy. The Sacketts case went to the Supreme Court, where it was overturned unanimously by the court. Andy Johnson, a welder in Wyoming built a small livestock pond on his property that was approved by the state authorities. That one was an EPA attempt to claim jurisdiction over all the “navigable waters” of the United States—or anything that eventually flows into the ocean that originally comes from a drip from your downspouts.

But I’ll bet there’s lots about how the EPA protected America’s children from the ravages of asthma. Asthma was a favorite cause of Ms. McCarthy, because doctors don’t know what causes asthma which makes it a convenient cause. The goal of the Left is not saving the environment, but control, and the  EPA was just one more tool in their crusade.  Just as the Left’s crusade for Sanctuary Cities, and open borders is another reach for control by increasing the numbers of people in the states that Democrats control or are close to controlling. Illegals are counted in the census, and thus affect the numbers of representatives in Congress that the state gets. The Left may not be well-informed about history or the inestimable worth of our Constitution (which they would love to amend significantly) but they are fully aware of all opportunities for advancing their statist cause.

Administrator Scott Pruitt is on the case, and working steadily to limit the EPA to its basic task of clean air and clean water, and he has the full approval of President Trump, who by executive order is undoing the things that Pruitt can’t do himself.


Admitting Failure Is Really Hard, Not Doing So Costs Taxpayers. by The Elephant's Child

chevy volt 2013

Back when we first learned that the auto industry was in trouble, we were told that Chevrolet had a prototype of an electric car that they were experimenting with, but that it wasn’t ready yet for prime time. Obama rejected the bankruptcy laws, which might have caused problems for his union supporters, appointed a czar to fix the auto industry, and bailed them out in their preferred kind of bankruptcy, which involved giving a third of General Motors to the Unions and Chrysler to Fiat, firing the automobile dealers who were legally private businesses whose only connection to the auto industry was that they bought their inventory of automobiles from the car companies. Whoa.

What kind of deal was that? Then there was “cash for clunkers” which was supposedly going to get the elderly gas burners off the highways and re place them with the newest cars off the line with better mpg. The people who were planning to buy a new car anyway promptly turned up for the subsidy, Their cars, often only lightly-used, were crushed, and the used car marketplace and the used parts marketplace were deeply damaged, and have not, even yet, recovered.

Obama got all excited about the Volt and demanded that Chevy make the new 21st century automobile — the car of the future. GM reminded that it wasn’t ready for prime time, but Obama insisted. Well, you know what happened: government taxpayer subsidies, cars bursting into flame, I think it was Karmas that turned into bricks or was it Fiskers? At any rate the cars ranged up in price to over $100,000 — and why we needed to subsidize buyers who could afford that, I really don’t understand.

Investors brings us up to date:

Gone Green: Nearly a year ago General Motors was losing almost $50,000 for each Chevrolet Volt it built. Now GM’s business model, driven by trendy environmentalism, calls for it to cut the price and lose even more money.

The green lobby wants more hybrids and plug-in electric cars on the roads. Therefore the president wants 1 million electrics humming around by 2015 — and the carmakers have to ignore market reality under pressure to do what the environmentalist-political complex demands.

Even if it makes no sense.

The whole story can be filed under “Governments Do Not Know How To Pick Winners and Losers” — but we have long known that. It’s just politicians, sure that they are more enlightened than the rest of us that do not. Republicans talk about “Markets.” Even the CEOs of companies don’t know how their new product will fare when put on the open market for potential buyers. It is the marketplace that will tell the company whether they have a winner or a loser— when millions of ordinary people decide whether they will buy it or not. There are lots of famous total flops — the Edsel car, Michelle Obama’s ‘My Plate’ food guide, Solyndra, and the Lone Ranger movie,just as an example.

So General Motors is going to drop the price by $5,000. USA Today reports that with a “full $7,500 federal tax credit, the price is cut to $27,495.” So it is going to cost taxpayers $7,500 for each Volt they sell, (and probably a chunk of the $5,000 that GM is cutting the price by). The big question is do they just sell the cars they have on the lots? Or are they going to keep on making the things, adding to taxpayer cost with each car?

The Volt sold about half of the 45,000 they expected to sell last year. Ford built 1,627 Focus electrics in 2012 and sold 685. Nissan sold fewer than 800 of its Leaf’s and Mitsubishi could sell only 600 of its I-MIEVs.

Government does few things well. Picking winners and losers in not among them. The Free Market works, but you have to listen to what the market has to tell you.

This is Even More Offensive Than Solyndra! by The Elephant's Child

Beautiful car, the first of a new line of electric hybrids, built by Fiskers with the help of a half-a billion in taxpayer money to manufacture the car in Finland with a Chinese engine.  Leonardo DiCaprio has reportedly lined up for the first one at $96,000 plus tax. It apparently doesn’t get especially good mileage.  Investors put up a half a billion for the California company, and the addition of the Obama administration’s green jobs $529 million, it is a billion dollar company.  Any jobs being created or saved are in Finland and China.

The Fisker Karma is so offensive in so many ways, when President Obama has been out demanding that everyone support his American Jobs Bill, which even the Democrats in the Democrat controlled Senate refused to do.  Even more offensive is the Chicago-style funding of supporters.

Fisker’s top investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a veteran Silicon Valley venture-capital firm of which Gore is a partner.  Employees of KPCB have donated more than $2.2 million to political campaigns, mostly for Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.

This follows another $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors, purveyors of a $109,000 British-built all-electric roadster.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.

I suppose they see some prestige in supporting sexy sports cars—electric cars that look like everybody’s dream car.  But looks aren’t everything. Why does taxpayer money flow to “millionaires and billionaires” who support Obama.  It’s not his money — it comes from taxpayers struggling to get along in the current economy. It does, however, explain why Obama just can’t find anywhere to cut back on spending.

Do You Know About the Solyndra Scandal? It’s Important. by The Elephant's Child

Polls say that most people have never heard of Solyndra, and have no idea what it is.  People generally favor clean, green energy as well. If you have never investigated, getting energy from the wind and the sun probably sounds good.

The Sun’s energy and the energy of the wind are free, and they don’t produce any fumes or noxious gasses, so if we can get our energy from those sources, wouldn’t it be great? With a new government controlled by Democrats the delusional greens thought they were going to get their heart’s desire. Cap-and-trade and the carbon market along with tighter regulation would jack up the cost of fossil fuels; and public demand for clean energy would grow, making wind and solar profitable.

Cap and trade failed, and the carbon market collapsed.  Aggressive government  regulation merely raised the cost of energy, killing jobs and making the recession far worse. At the same time new technologies in drilling and huge discoveries of vast quantities of oil and gas in shale formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Dakota and New York have changed the energy picture completely.

These discoveries have devastated the environmental movement and left them struggling to protest Canadian pipelines and finding species that might possibly prove to be endangered.  The Global Carbon Treaty is not going to happen, and peak oil has been pushed off again into the distant future.

With generous government subsidy — this administration believes that it is government’s task to invest in those projects too risky for venture capitalists — wind and solar projects were ready with their hands out.

The solar and wind industry made their pitch on the basis of rated capacity. That is, how much electricity the project could produce under ideal circumstances. Solar energy is diffuse. Clouds reduce the power from the sun. Night reduces it completely. Ideal circumstances are not the norm.

Solar energy produces less than 1/10th of 1% of U.S. energy. Wind produces .5% of all energy consumed, and 1.3% of all electricity generated. Taxpayer subsidies for solar energy are $24.34 per Mwh, wind is slightly less at $23.37 per Mwh. The oil and gas “subsidies” that Obama wants eliminated are not really subsidies, but the same type of capital write-offs that most industries have and amount to a comparable 25¢.

Master Resource makes some important points:

The proper business of energy policy is to support the efficient provision of the energy on which our economy depends.

—The lower the cost of energy to the economy, in general, the higher will be job creation and economic growth outside of the energy sector.

— Raising economic costs by forcing the use of uneconomic technologies to create more jobs will have exactly the opposite effect.

— Any analysis of job creation by green energy must consider the simultaneous effect of job destruction.

Solar equipment maker Stirling Energy Systems filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Friday. The Energy Department managed to get $4.7 billion in subsidies for 3 large solar power plants and 1 large solar project out the door before the subsidy program expired. There are more to come.


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