Barack Hussein Obama's Policies are Bankrupting the United States

A123 Systems files for bankruptcy

October 16, 2012
By Erin Ailworth and Chris Reidy, Boston Globe Staff

A123 Systems Inc., a Waltham-based maker of lithium-ion batteries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware Tuesday morning, saying in court filings that it has agreed to sell such automotive business assets as its facilities in Michigan.

In a recent regulatory filing, the company said that a default on some of its debt is likely, and it warned that it might be heading for bankruptcy protection.
A123 could not be immediately reached for comment.

A123 bet heavily that its batteries would be ideal for helping to power electric and hybrid vehicles. The company has struggled in the last year, with layoffs and a recall of some of its batteries.

Several months ago, A123 looked as if it might be rescued by an investment of up to $450 million by Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang Group. Wanxiang could not immediately be reached.

In 2009, A123 held an initial public stock offering a short time later, raising about $380 million with its initial stock offering.

Also in 2009, A123 received a $249.1 million grant from the US Department of Energy to build battery manufacturing operations in Michigan.

Note: These Obama contributors stole $249M from the government and then $380M from the private sector.

Obama’s Hidden Bread Lines

MONDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2012 04:55

Americans are experiencing sticker shock and it is about to get a whole lot worse thanks to Obama. Between gas and groceries, our household is sinking fast. My husband works about 35 miles from here, so gas is an issue. For a household of three, where two drive for work, our gas bill this month will be close to $900. Groceries will come in at a modest $1000 since we have cut back. And folks, we live in a state that has reasonable pricing. Inflation is just clearing her throat and getting ready to sing, so this is going to get very, very disturbing.

Because of QE3 and all the other Keynesian stimulus atrocities as well as crop failures, America will pine for the days of Jimmy Carter’s 21% inflation. We are staring down the barrel of 30 and 40% inflation. Most American households are already on the edge, I can’t even imagine how we will all get through this. The only prayer we have is if Obama is ousted in November and we face reality in this country over what has been done to us fiscally. It is going to be very, very painful. But if we don’t remove Obama from office, it will be fatal. Period.

We are in a depression. The only reason the government achieves any plausible deniability with their assertions that “we are not in a depression” is by comparing the “obvious” visuals: we “don’t have bread lines” like they did in the 1930s. No. No, we don’t. Because the “bread lines” of today are concealed electronically. That guy checking out in front of you just paid for his groceries with a card. Did you get to see what kind of card? No? Roughly a third of those “guys in front of you” are paying with “food stamp” cards. It lets them hide the shame of living on the dole. Don’t believe what you hear from the government and the media. It’s all crap. The reason you don’t see people starving in the streets is because Obama’s hidden bread lines have taken the form of chic electronically delivered food stamps. At last count 47 million were on food stamps – about 15% of Americans. When that flow of freebies is shut off, people will starve in their homes or wherever they live. When Obama removed the work requirement for food stamps, the filing for them doubled. In a country that is already broke and just digitally printing money whenever we need it, that is a recipe for mass death. There are now more Americans added to food stamps, than those that can find work.

From Business Insider:
The cost of the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” as it is now euphemistically called, has soared even faster than usage in recent years (see chart at right). The annual cost of the program in the fiscal year ended September was $76 billion, more than double the cost of four years earlier.

We all feel for the needy and the hungry and there are people out there who genuinely need help until they can get back on their feet. But that is not what this is. This is Cloward and Piven straight up. Progressives have overloaded the system to the fracturing point – which is exactly what they want. People want jobs and dignity. They want to raise their families and have a good life. Slavery and poverty are not part of that equation and that is what unemployment and food stamps are. Both have been massively pushed and implemented by our Progressive government. When people get hungry, they get violent. Riots follow, allowing the government to come in and forcefully subdue the masses. Then a new form of government arises and takes over. You see it all throughout history. This is what Progressives want – a ‘transformed’ America.

If you go out and around over the weekend, many places are reporting that retail parking lots are pretty much empty – a genuine sign of economic collapse in the making. Except at certain times it would seem – from Zero Hedge:

I don’t need to tell you that our customer remains challenged…You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m. customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items – baby formula, milk, bread, eggs – and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight when government electronic benefits cards get activated, and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

Take a look below at the numbers as of 2010. They are significantly worse today. How long can this go on?

Our government currently claims that unemployment is at 8.1%. Conveniently, that leaves out all those who no longer look for work. The real unemployment rate is closer to 22%. Some claim it is much higher than that. No jobs plus no food equals violence. This is why the government is prepping for civil unrest. It’s coming one way or the other it would seem. Add to that falling household incomes and the fuse has been lit on a bomb that is meant to destroy America. If that isn’t the ultimate form of homegrown terrorism (which never needed to happen), I don’t know what is.

Is President Obama's Depression Coming Our Way?
September 13, 2012

Barack Obama began his presidency talking about a “New New Deal,” referring of course to his hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression. Those policies had the unintended effect of prolonging double-digit unemployment, principally by making it more expensive and difficult for employers to hire people. Whenever something becomes more expensive and difficult, there’s likely to be less of it. In this case, private sector jobs.

Now Obama is presiding over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, and if he’s elected for another term, this official “recovery” – with incomes falling faster than during the 2008-2009 recession – could turn into a crushing depression.

In all likelihood, we have already seen what a second Obama term would be like. He wouldn’t need to be concerned about the unpopularity of his policies, since – if the Constitution is upheld – this would be his last term. He could pursue his hardcore progressive agenda without electoral consequences.

Obama seemed to be free from electoral consequences following the 2008 election, because Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. He reportedly told Republicans: “I won. I don’t have to take your ideas.” As we know, he rapidly increased spending. He increased taxes and approved tax refunds for people who didn’t pay taxes. Debt soared, and costly regulations proliferated. He promoted crony capitalism, compulsory unionism and government-run health care. He got almost everything he wanted.

Obama became accustomed to exercising arbitrary power. After Republicans gained a majority of the House in 2010, he evaded congressional approval of some controversial appointments, intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts into upholding Obamacare and gutted the 1996 welfare reform bill by eliminating the work requirement. He also nixed the Keystone pipeline that would have created thousands of American private sector jobs.

There was even some thuggish behavior. Perhaps frustrated by Republican opposition, Obama reportedly invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to attend an April 2011 speech to be delivered at George Washington. Ryan sat in the front row. Obama denounced Ryan’s approach to the federal budget, and Ryan didn’t have an opportunity to respond. Obama later denied this was a setup to embarrass Ryan, but during his 2010 State of the Union Address, Obama had similarly denounced Supreme Court justices who were in the audience.

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Obama made fun of pro-growth policies like tax cuts and deregulation. “Feel a cold coming on?” he sneered. “Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.”

Yet these pro-growth policies have been associated with the most successful American economic recoveries of the past century, during the 1920s, the 1960s and the 1980s. Ronald Reagan faced a worse economy than Obama did, because there was double-digit unemployment, double-digit inflation, double-digit mortgage rates and chronic shortages that disrupted businesses and consumers alike. After Reagan cut taxes and streamlined regulations, the result was annual economic growth rates up to 8 percent, quadruple Obama’s record now.

Obama has relentlessly promoted runaway spending and denounced those who want to bring it under control. In particular, Obama has avoided efforts to reform the giant entitlements that account for more than half of all federal spending and, if they aren’t reformed, could eventually squeeze everything else out of the budget.

It’s no secret that Medicare and Social Security, for instance, face insolvency. There are two principal reasons.

(1) These are pay-as-you-go programs where current payroll tax revenue is spent immediately on current beneficiaries, and the government, unlike private insurance companies, hasn’t built up an income-generating portfolio to help provide for its future beneficiaries. The so-called “trust fund” consists of government bonds that can be redeemed only with more tax revenue and/or more borrowed money.

Also, (2) both Medicare and Social Security amounted to huge, unhedged bets on future demographic trends. The politicians who made the bets – especially Obama’s heroes Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Social Security) and Lyndon Baines Johnson (Medicare) – made bigger, more reckless bets than the wildest Wall Street plungers. These entitlements might have had a rosy future if the number of people paying Social Security/Medicare taxes always grew faster than the number of people qualifying for benefits. But the number of beneficiaries has grown faster than the number of taxpayers – and beneficiaries are living longer which means collecting more total benefits than beneficiaries had paid for. Unfunded Medicare and Social Security liabilities are in the tens of trillions of dollars.

Considering Obama’s deep commitment to runaway spending, during a second term he could be counted on to make more people dependent on government money. For instance, we could see the number of people on food stamps soar to 50 million, 60 million, 70 million or even more. Unemployment benefits might be extended for two or three years until these benefits become more like permanent welfare programs. Since Obama has eliminated the work requirement from welfare, we could again see generation after generation on the dole. The administration is promoting home loans to more people who will have trouble making the payments, so it could be déjà vu all over again in the housing market. Altogether, the percentage of households receiving more in government benefits than they’re paying in taxes could soar past 60 percent. There will be a solid majority of takers rather than makers.

This could probably make it politically impossible to ever cut government spending peacefully. Private individuals as well as government employees would become so dependent on entitlements of one sort or another that efforts to cut back – even just reduce the rate of spending increases –could provoke violence, as has happened in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and many other places.

In addition, a second term for Obama probably would enable him to appoint more Supreme Court justices and establish a solid progressive majority indefinitely. The American Dream could be forgotten as Egyptians forgot the meaning of hieroglyphics and Romans forgot how to speak Latin.

All this makes steep tax hikes inevitable. Obama likes to talk about higher taxes on the “millionaires and billionaires” who make more than $250,000. But such taxes harm ordinary people. The less capital that’s available, the less growth and fewer private sector jobs there will be. Since a substantial number of rich people are investors and entrepreneurs, higher taxes on these people reduce the amount of capital available for the private sector – and throttle private sector job creation. In addition, higher U.S. business taxes encourage investors and entrepreneurs to look for opportunities overseas where business taxes are lower. As long as there’s a 35 percent tax on funds repatriated to the U.S., the money will stay overseas.

Moreover, there aren’t enough “millionaires and billionaires” to pay for a second-term spending spree, even if Obama expropriated all their assets. So inevitably Obama will have to raise taxes on middle class people. That’s where the money is. There are far more middle class people than rich people. In a desperate effort to fund runaway spending, Obama might end up demonizing “millionaires and billionaires” making more than $50,000.

The higher taxes go, the stronger the incentives people have to change their behavior in ways that reduce their tax liabilities. For example, more people would do business in cash to avoid leaving a paper trail, more people would incorporate themselves to claim more tax deductions, shelter income in trusts, shift assets to lower-tax jurisdictions, and so on. After various states imposed soak-the-rich taxes, the number of high-income tax filers declined as such people vanished — moving to lower-tax jurisdictions. There’s an undeniable point of diminishing returns when higher tax rates yield lower revenue.

During his first term, Obama became increasingly dependent on borrowed money. It’s no secret that the national debt went up by more than $5 trillion during his watch. Since Obama is so deeply committed to runaway spending, it seems likely that the federal government will continue borrowing at least 40 cents of every dollar it spends, unless of course the Treasury bond market collapses amidst accumulating credit-rating downgrades. In that case, though, the Fed would end up buying all the bonds, monetizing the debt and bringing us closer to a ruinous inflation.

In an Obama second term, there will be much more hammering on investors and private sector job creators. Obamacare taxes and mandates will take effect, making it more expensive and difficult for employers to hire people. Unemployment will almost certainly go up. Spending will skyrocket since Obamacare did much to subsidize demand for health care services and did nothing to reduce major factors driving up healthcare costs, like the prohibition of inter-state health insurance competition. By cutting reimbursements to health care providers, Obamacare creates more incentives for these people to find other ways they could earn a good living, which means long queues and health care rationing for the healthcare providers who remain. Bureaucrats, not patients, will make more decisions about treatment. Altogether Obamacare will be highly disruptive for people’s lives and for the economy.

The Dodd-Frank law, with its hundreds of regulations and additional bureaucracies, will have a greater impact in an Obama second term. It impairs the functioning of the nation’s financial system, promotes government allocation of credit and sanctions too-big-to-fail financial institutions – which means more and bigger bailouts.

That’s not all. Expect more restrictions on coal-fired power plants. The administration is already tightening regulations on fracking that has been a key factor responsible for the natural gas boom. Like India, we could find that unexpected stresses on the power grid lead to brownouts and blackouts, making it harder for businesses to function and encouraging more businesses to locate operations offshore — contributing to higher U.S. unemployment.

As the government is already financially-stressed, it’s vulnerable to unforeseen events that could trigger a crisis. While there has been much talk about state bankruptcies that would lead to huge federal bailouts, a Mideast war that would mean a surge of military spending, a cyber attack on critical U.S. assets like the power grid and communications networks — nobody knows when such things might happen. The government doesn’t have a crystal ball. That’s why U.S. intelligence officials were surprised by the 9/11 attacks, and Federal Reserve officials were surprised by successive financial bubbles. Moreover, when there are multiple crises simultaneously, which happens from time to time, the consequences could be overwhelming.

Americans could rediscover inflation during a second Obama term. Three decades have passed since the last serious American inflation was vanquished by Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker. Probably millions of Americans have no idea how destructive and dangerous inflation can be.

Inflation is an expansion of money and credit. Politicians resort to this when government spending exceeds what they can raise from taxation and borrowing. The most familiar effect of inflation is a general rise in prices, as opposed to a rise of particular commodities prices because of factors in those markets. A shortage of one commodity, for instance, would lead to higher prices for that commodity, but if government didn’t expand money and credit, the only way of paying those higher prices would be to spend less money on other things, so those prices would remain steady or decline.

Inflation depreciates the purchasing power of savings that people built up over many years. Inflation benefits some people – like government employees and contractors – who receive new money and credit soon after it’s issued and spend it before prices are bid up. By the time new money and credit has passed through many hands, it has lost substantial value as prices are bid up, people find that their purchasing power lags behind consumer price increases, and their living standards fall. There’s more and more anxiety. People on fixed incomes are virtually helpless.

There’s widespread resentment about the unfairness of inflation. Politicians blame everybody but themselves. They demonize oil companies, retailers, middlemen and others who deliver inflation. Politicians never point their fingers at the government where inflation is produced.

By causing economic chaos, runaway inflation provides a breeding ground for demagogues who promise to “restore order” and avenge people’s suffering. During the German runaway inflation that climaxed in 1923 and wiped out the middle class, Adolf Hitler emerged as a public figure by appealing to “starving billionaires” who had big bundles of paper money but couldn’t afford a loaf of bread.

Soaring prices, however, are only part of the devastation caused by inflation.

When inflation becomes front-page news, there’s usually a clamor for the government to “do something.” Invariably, this means price controls. But to the extent that price controls maintain below-market prices, they simultaneously encourage consumers to buy more and encourage producers to supply less. Everywhere, the result is chronic shortages. The next step is government-enforced rationing that disrupts businesses and consumers. Wage controls, profit controls, exchange controls and other inflation-related restrictions similarly make it harder for businesses to function. All this contributes to economic collapse, relieved mainly by a burgeoning underground economy based on barter or transactions involving precious metals, stable foreign currency or whatever else might be commonly accepted.

Although many politicians have promoted inflation as a cure for recession or depression, the end result is often a witches’ brew of both inflation and depression.
Nobody is immune from a ruinous inflation. Advanced as well as developing economies have had it, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, and, yes, the United States (during the Revolution, the Civil War and the 1970s).

So suddenly, Americans could find that we have become like a banana republic where the economy is a mess, and government employees go on strike and even riot in the streets, because the government is broke.

Something like this could be brewing in Chicago where the teachers’ union went on strike after rejecting a 16 percent pay hike over four years, demanding exceptional benefits and guaranteed job security despite the wretched performance of the public schools, while taxpayers are suffering through the worst recovery since the Great Depression.

Economic crises are bad, but as some of these comments suggest, the political consequences can be much worse.

Consider the case of Argentina. From about 1880 until World War I, Argentina pursued policies that encouraged individuals to make the most of their opportunities. The country was at peace. Taxes were low, and the peso was convertible into gold. There weren’t any major restrictions on the movement of people, goods or capital.

Back then, Argentina ranked among the world’s wealthiest nations — chiefly by exporting beef, wheat and wool. During the early 20th century, it was estimated that Argentina accounted for about half the railroad mileage in all South America. The most lavish buildings in Buenos Aires date from this era. Writing about Buenos Aires in 1914, the American author G. I. Morrill gushed about Argentine prosperity and sophistication: “An afternoon walk shows the city very much like Paris in its architecture and fashionable stores. At night it is a big white way with electric lights blazing a trail to the light-hearted cafes and theaters.” The British author James Bryce was every bit as enthusiastic in 1916: “All is modern and new; all belongs to the prosperous present and betokens a still more prosperous future.”

Unfortunately, by then Hipólito Yrigoyen, known as “el polido” (the hairy armadillo), became president. He served for eight years, promoted government intervention in the economy, and Argentina began to decline. Amidst disorder in 1943, the military overthrew the civilian government, and the socialist-fascist colonel Juan Perón became the labor minister. He did favors for powerful unions and gained control of them, emerging as Argentina’s president three years later. He promoted runaway government spending, printed plenty of paper money, expropriated private property, introduced pervasive economic controls, overturned a constitutional one-term limit and declared a “state of siege” that enabled him to gain even more power.

Perón and his wife Evita encouraged a personality cult not altogether unlike the cults that have arisen about other presidential couples. In 1948, journalist Philip Hamburger wrote in The New Yorker that “Everywhere I heard the same stories — how Señor Perón is at his desk each morning by 6:30 and does not leave until 7 or 8 at night; how Señora Perón arrives early at her office in the Under Secretariat of Welfare and Labor; how she receives from 10 to 20 delegations of farmers, laborers and sheepherders a day; how she attentively listens to their problems and comforts them with advice or a promise that their demands will be granted; how she has worn herself to the point of anemia by her untiring social work; how, when she travels around the countryside, she is greeted as though she were a saint; how the people blow kisses at her and call her ‘Blessed One’ and ‘Little Madonna,’ and how she, in return, often leans from the train window and tosses sweet cakes and bottles of cider at the crowd; how she speaks in such an inexpressibly low, sad, haunting voice that people feel themselves slipping under her spell.”

The Peróns’ personality cult, however, couldn’t avoid economic crises that were a consequence of the government’s policies. His oppressive regulation and expropriation discouraged private sector investment. Unemployment went up. Perón spent more money, but the result was a double whammy of both higher inflation and higher unemployment. Government-run enterprises lost money, adding to budget deficits and inflation. Economic controls caused chronic scarcity. Proud Argentines felt humiliated to endure coarse black bread and beef shortages.

Perón was overthrown, but subsequent Argentine rulers pursued similar policies with similar consequences, and they, too, were overthrown. Perón served another term as president of what could be called gangster government. Since then, there has been a discouraging succession of scoundrels, civilian and military. Three times in recent decades, the Argentine currency became worthless and had to be replaced by another currency. Private pensions were seized in the name of balanced budget that – naturally – never seemed to balance.

What, if anything, could be done to protect Americans from gangster government, runaway spending, taxes, debt, inflation and economic collapse?

A short answer is that it’s urgent to re-establish limits on government power while that’s still possible.

Jim Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the author of FDR’s Folly, Wilson’s War, Bully Boy, Greatest Emancipations and the forthcoming How People Fight For Their Liberty, among other books.

Obama’s Solyndra Stonewall Fails in Court

Right Side News

A federal judge has rejected a bid by the Obama administration to reject part of a lawsuit seeking documents about more than $500 million in federal loans to the failed Solyndra solar panel firm.

In an order issued Friday (August 31), U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras declined to remove the Department of Energy as a defendant in the case brought by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The ruling (posted here) turned largely on technicalities relating to the steps one must take before filing a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The Department of Energy attempted to advance the argument that Judicial Watch’s lawsuit was premature because JW had not exhausted all administrative remedies before filing suit. The court was not persuaded, and the case moves forward.  This type of gamesmanship only serves to delay the release of documents and further exposes the lie of this administration being the “most transparent in history.”

I can certainly see why the Department of Energy continues to obfuscate and stonewall. From what we know right now about this loan, it is flagrantly corrupt.

For example, we had previously learned that Obama White House officials rushed the Solyndra loan through the approval process to make a media splash at a press event: “The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory,” The Washington Post reported.

We also know that Tulsa billionaire and Obama fundraiser George Kaiser is Solyndra’s top financial backer. (Kaiser reportedly raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.) And we know that Kaiser reportedly discussed the Solyndra deal with White House officials, despite their claims to the contrary.

There is something else potentially very damaging to Obama Energy Department officials:  A Solyndra investment advisor noted in an email obtained by The Washington Post that the Obama administration was “pushing hard” to delay the company’s bankruptcy announcement until after the November 2, 2010, mid-term elections. (I’d include the link to the original article, but it is now broken.) Solyndra apparently complied, announcing the layoffs on November 3. Evidence suggests the company feared getting cut off from future government funding.

Sounds like extortion, doesn’t it?

And while the Energy Department attempts to run and hide from Judicial Watch, apparently, Solyndra executives attending the Democratic National Convention are playing a little hide and seek of their own. Per ABC News:

The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.

Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit.

The Solyndra deal was rotten from the beginning, tainted by corruption, political maneuvering, stonewalling, lying and quite possibly extortion. But what else are we to expect when the government gets involved in subsidizing and bailing out corporations?  By the way, don’t think that these types of bailouts and subsidies will end if Obama is no longer president.  Republicans have their own set of companies and favored interests on which to waste your tax money.

Obama administration officials may want to run and hide from the rule of law, but we continue in hot pursuit in the courts.

Barack Obama is jealous of small business owners

July 20, 2012
By Tim Dunkin

Much has been made of the recent comments by President Obama concerning small businesses and those who create them, build them up, and turn them into productive participants in our economy. On July 13, Obama told a crowd of supporters in Roanoke, Virginia,

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn't — look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

So essentially, despite the recent spin and backtracking by his media handlers, Obama is saying that when an entrepreneur goes out and takes the personal risk of starting a business, invests his or her own sweat and tears into it, puts in years worth of 80+ hour weeks, and finally sees it come to fruition as a successful company, the entrepreneur is not really responsible for this. Instead, "everyone else" had a hand in it as well, since we're "all connected." In fact, the government made your success possible.

Now, what would possess somebody to say such a flabbergastingly idiotic thing? The government didn't give you the idea for your business. All the other smart and hardworking people out there didn't give you the innate intelligence or the work ethic to grind through the lean years that so often accompany starting a business from the ground up. All the roads and bridges in the country didn't translate your idea from a blueprint into a tangible product. And let's not forget that as a taxpayer, the entrepreneur his or herself helped to make those roads and bridges a reality — not the other way around. So how is it that Obama — ostensibly an intelligent man (though I'm not convinced of this, myself) — would make such a foolish and ignorant comment?

The answer, of course, is that Obama — and others like him on the Left — are jealous of small business owners and other productive people. Let's face it, to be a hard-core leftist, to be a part of the network of politicos and bureaucrats and activists and community organizers and the like, does not require either much intelligence or much work ethic. All it requires is an ability and willingness to remember talking points off of a memo and to show up and wave a sign whenever you're needed. President Obama himself exemplifies this — he got hooked into the leftist network at an early age, and has had everything since more or less handed to him for free. However, a person like this who knows that they didn't really earn what they have and probably couldn't if they were forced to try will naturally be envious of those more capable than themselves. I am reminded of Robert Heinlein's statement,

"A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity."

Ultimately, those on the Left like Obama envy those who can do the things that they can't — produce, be successful, benefit others through the enlightened self-interest that makes capitalism the greatest wealth-generating engine known to man. Obama wants to take credit away from those who worked hard and created businesses, and give it to "everyone." This is a strongly socialist impulse — it is spreading around the "wealth" of credit for individual success. You were only successful because "society" and "the government" made you successful. This sentiment betrays Obama and the Left's neuroticism and enviousness.

There are several specific reason why they are jealous of producers and creators.

First of all, there is the simple fact that successful business owners (as well as others who are productive and excel in their chosen fields) don't need anyone else's help. They don't need the government to step in and give them a leg up. They don't need the myriad of welfare programs that leftists love to ensnare people with. Indeed, government that goes beyond its constitutional limits of keeping the peace and protecting us from invasion generally tends to get in the way of productive individuals and companies, rather than helping them.

This is grossly offensive to leftists. Leftists love to use the power of the state to give them ability that they otherwise would not have. They love the sense of power and ego that derives from believing they are "helping" all those people on welfare and food stamps and other forms of public assistance. If you don't need their "help," they take that as a personal insult. This is especially true with this President, whose narcissism and sense of personal importance make it very difficult for him to contemplate the idea of merely leaving other people alone to prosper and succeed without his "help." If they try, well, he'll make sure they see the error of their ways. He'll tear them down to the point where they have to rely on him and his cronies. Socialists hate successful individual existence apart from government. Indeed, they believe "individualism" is a dirty word.

Another reason for Obama's jealousy of business owners and creators is that they are hardworking. A small business owner doesn't just get to punch his eight hours into the clock and go home to vegetate in front of a television. Instead, successful small business owners often spend years putting in excessive hours and taking no vacations before they finally see the benefit of their hard work and sacrifice. Starting a successful small business is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strong work ethic as well as ingenuity and a willingness to forgo short term pleasures for long-term benefits.

Meanwhile, the only long hours that President Putting Green has been putting in are on the links, working on his mulligans. That, and taking extravagant taxpayer-funded vacations. Obama has treated the Presidency like a set of perks that happens to come with a little bit of work occasionally. This goes back to his history of having everything handed to him by the leftist network. He got to be President of the Harvard Law Review, a sinecure which he spent producing basically no intellectual work to speak of. His university years are a mystery, since his transcripts are sealed and he and his crew absolutely refuse to open them. One suspects that this might be because Obama's grades in college were pitifully poor, again belying a lack of work ethic. Even Obama's most prestigious award, the Nobel Peace Prize, was completely unearned. After all, he received it a mere ten days after taking office — hardly time for him to have done anything on the international scene, even if he were the hardest working man on the planet. No, it seems that the only thing that really moves Obama to strenuous activity is fundraising for his re-election campaign.

Yet another source for Obama's envy of the successful and productive is the very fact of what they do — they produce. They create. They make things that are beneficial for other people while they are profiting from their investment. Entrepreneurs, business owners, productive people — these genuinely make the world a better place by adding to the sum total of the wealth and production in the world. They take low-value raw materials and turn them into high-value goods that people want to buy so as to improve their own standards of living. They take ideas — which in and of themselves do nothing — and translate them into tangible products that advance society, science, the arts, and our very lives.

On the other hand, people like Obama do none of these things. Instead, Obama and his ilk are barbarians. They destroy, pillage, loot, tear down, and wipe out. They use the powers of the state to destroy the livelihood and ability to prosper of other people. They take our property, they hinder our ability to develop and use it, they seek to pull down everybody to the same subsistence level. They are like the barbarians who roared through the Roman Empire, burning the fields, pillaging the cities, taking away the villas and homes and crops that somebody else had worked hard to produce. They can do no other, for socialism is the creed of the destroyer. Socialism can only take from the successful individual — it can never give. To Obama and people like him, those of us who are productive and working to be successful are the kulaks — people ripe for being cleared out of the way and dispossessed so that the wealth can be "spread around."

Lastly, one trait of the successful business owner that invokes Obama's jealousy is that they are competent. A small business that makes it, that stands the test of the years, that maybe eventually even turns into a big business, is a testimony to the proven track record for success of its owner and creator. Incompetent and unable people do not create businesses that last. Foresight, dedication, skill, intelligence, character — these are all traits of competent people who build companies and become job-producers.

Obama displays none of these. His track record is one of failure, not success. Everything the man touches turns into a colossal catastrophe. His vaunted stimulus plan proved to be less than useless — it was a positive drag on the economy that sucked needed capital away from job producers and ended up pushing us close to double-digit unemployment (by the U3 reckoning, we're actually way past that by the more realistic U6 calculation). He tried to push government money into "green jobs," only to see companies like Solyndra collapse under their own inefficiencies. His health care plan is already destroying jobs and driving wealth-producers away from this country. His touch is the anti-Midas — it takes everything golden and turns it into garbage.

In short, Obama is a contemptible little man who hates and fears those more capable than himself, just like most everyone else on the Left does. I supposed that in a sense, the productive people, the successful, the hard-workers, the capitalistic-minded in this country should take this as a complement. Indeed, as Fulton Sheen has said,

"Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius."

Unfortunately, Obama and the Left's jealousies can result in very real, very detrimental, consequences for our nation and her people. Left to themselves, the Left would destroy every last one of us, reducing us to a state of dependency and bare subsistence. We have to fight to prevent this, no matter what the cost to us may be. The Left must not merely be defeated, it must be destroyed root and branch if we're to have the liberty to be free to prosper and produce as we can.

Obama Recovery Now Ranks Dead Last in Modern Times

Jul 10, 2012

Washington DC— With the new June jobs report in hand, President Barack Obama's economic recovery now ranks as the worst in modern times in terms of both job creation and economic growth, says the GOP leader of Congress's Joint Economic Committee.

Texas Congressman Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, observed that the June Employment Report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics along with the gross domestic product report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on June 28th has marked a milestone: President Obama’s economic recovery ranks as dead last in the post-World War II era.

“Since 1945, the United States has had ten economic recoveries that lasted more than one year. In terms of both how fast the U.S. economy has recovered and how many private sector jobs have been created since the recession's low point, President Obama now ranks tenth of ten - that's dead last", said Brady.

“Three years after the recession officially ended in June 2009, we still have more than four million fewer private sector jobs than we did when the recession started,” he continued. “And for the 41st consecutive month, the unemployment rate has soared above a discouraging 8%.”

Brady says that while President Obama boosts about the 4.4 million private sector jobs he claims have been created during the latest 28 months, put in perspective "President Obama's recovery has been weaker than every one of his predecessors in the past seven decades. He can try to spin it any way he wants but when measured by jobs or by economic growth he's at the bottom of the list."

Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that real GDP grew expanded by 6.7% over eleven quarters since the recession ended. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of private sector jobs had grown by a mere 4.1% since the cyclical low point.

In contrast, real GDP expanded by 17.6%, and private sector jobs ballooned by 10.7% during comparable periods of the Reagan recovery. “Obama’s economic record, frankly, is embarrassing,” Brady said.

“Think about it (THAT’S ASKING A LOT FOR DEMOCRATS) - despite President Obama's stimulus, financial bailout, housing bailout, auto bailout, cash-for-clunkers, cash-for-caulkers and an unprecedented five trillion dollars in deficit spending, the Obama recovery is officially dead last in results. Can unemployed Americans really afford four more years of this failed economic leadership?"

Just How “Presidential” is Barack Obama?

Jun 29, 2012
Demetrius Minor

As President Obama embarks upon his quest for re-election, it's time to evaluate exactly how “presidential” he has been in his first term. I am going to attempt to compare him to just a few of our nation’s past inhabitants of the Oval Office.

Let’s begin with Lyndon Baines Johnson and a quick glance at The Great Society. Its primary purposes were to implement social reforms to eliminate poverty and unchain the shackles of racial injustice. In all actuality, it was a clever political mechanism installed to keep minorities voting Democrat in every election.

Liberal supporters argued that this benefited the poor and less fortunate by assisting their needs. But the opposite was true: it made sure the poor and minorities were unable to circumvent their problems, elevate their class status and be productive in the workforce, and ensured that they were enslaved to the dependency of government.

Barack Obama epitomizes LBJ's way of promoting big government and class warfare. The two biggest examples from the current administration are the stimulus bill and what is affectionately known as “Obamacare.” Instead of allowing the free markets to take their course, Obama decided that government was the solution to creating jobs. He was wrong. Unemployment remains high and Obamacare is a monstrosity that intrudes on individual liberties and freedoms, and violates the Constitution with the individual mandate. Jason Stanford of The Huffington Post shows the parallel between Johnson and Obama, particularly regarding gay marriage. He compares Obama’s support of gay marriage as changing the political landscape just as when LBJ supported the Civil Rights Acts.

However, the truth of the matter is that LBJ was a southern segregationist and he realized that his support for civil rights would be appealing to the minority sector. Obama’s support for gay marriage came at the helm of wavering and dwindling support from the black community. Like LBJ, Obama made a political maneuver that was expedient and beneficial for the short-term, if at all.

The next President of comparison is Jimmy Carter. Michael Francis of The Examiner took a look into the Carter-Obama parallel. He points out that both Presidents were insufficient in dealing with the energy crisis. Carter did not know how to deal with OPEC and Obama has failed to allow for offshore drilling. The rejection of the Keystone Pipeline is another mindboggling example of how Obama not only rejected an opportunity for jobs to be created, but also clung to the idea of depending on international sources for oil.

Both presidents saw a spike in gas prices due to incoherent energy policies that weakened the private sector. They also oversaw tax hikes on energy companies. It must also be pointed out that both Obama and Carter had financiers that were indebted with corruption: Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was Carter’s threshold of deceit and dishonesty and Solyndra has become not only Obama’s burden, but a travesty at the sake of the taxpayers.

The final comparison is the infamous Richard Nixon. President Obama recently asserted executive privilege in the notorious “Fast and Furious” case, the case in which the U.S. Justice Department allowed the smuggling of nearly 2,000 firearms into the country of Mexico. This “gun-walking” program resulted in the death of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December of 2010.

Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to comply with Congress in their request for all of the documents in relation to Fast and Furious. A congressional committee decided to hold the top legal representative of the United States in contempt of Congress. President Obama, who originally claimed to be unaware of the operation, decided to exercise his power in applying executive privilege. This has sparked curiosity and raised questions from several House Oversight Committee members. “He’s either part of it or he’s not,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican lawmaker from South Carolina.

Richard Nixon inserted executive privilege in the Watergate scandal, and he resigned from office 15 days later. Nixon’s involvement in Watergate revealed lies and deceit. Will Obama’s involvement reveal the same? Does Obama have something to hide from the American people?

While Operation Fast and Furious can be compared to Watergate as far as being an escalated government scandal, one thing is vital to the discussion: There was not a body count in Watergate, unlike Fast and Furious.

So for those wondering if Obama is “presidential”, sure he is. However, being in the company of the afore mentioned presidents doesn’t exactly put him in the best category.

Energy Department brags about cash for a clunker
June 23, 2012
Washington Examiner

Department of Energy officials are a bit sore about Solyndra, the solar panel company that received $535 million from their stimulus loan guarantee program and abruptly declared bankruptcy, leaving 1,800 workers without a job and taxpayers on the hook.

So, in order to combat the negative press about their green energy programs, DOE officials have created a slideshow highlighting their favorite loan recipients. They titled it "Beyond Solyndra" because they want Americans to understand that their program is about much more than one bad company. Or even three bad companies, if you count two other recent "green energy" bankruptcies -- Beacon Power ($43 million DOE loan guarantee) and Ener1 ($119 million DOE grant). But who's counting?

The department's "Beyond Solyndra" presentation laments all of the unfair news coverage. "[W]hile critics have focused their attention on the Department's loan guarantee to Solyndra," it states, "the full story is that the Department's loan portfolio as a whole is having a transformative impact." Indeed -- DOE also funds transformative firms like Fisker, a Finnish electric car company that is featured in the department's slideshow. Fisker received a $529 million loan guarantee. Fisker's Karma, a $115,000 electric car, received the 2012 Design of the Year award from Automobile Magazine -- a fact that DOE's slideshow makes sure to mention.

Unfortunately, Fisker reportedly plans to cancel the manufacture of vehicles in the United States. Last May, its loan guarantee was frozen by DOE because, as a department spokesman explained at the time, "Fisker has experienced some delays in its sales and production schedule." Two months after winning the design award, Fisker laid off 66 employees since it was running out of the $193 million of the loan that DOE had already disbursed.

In noting how cool Fisker's Karma design really is, Automobile Magazine offered this caveat: "There is no way to know yet whether Fisker will be a Lamborghini-style success or a DeLorean-style failure." The latter is looking increasingly likely. In April, Fisker threatened to pull out of Delaware unless it got more government help -- three years after Vice President Biden's 2009 visit to its factory there. That factory was supposed to employ about 2,500 people by now, but USA Today reported in April that it is "absolutely empty."

Given all this, and the $193 million that taxpayers could lose, it is surprising that Fisker would be featured in the Obama administration's official propaganda as a positive sign of what the Department of Energy is doing. On the other hand, it seems oddly fitting that President Obama's administration would think it grounds to boast that it has subsidized a car that looks cool but doesn't sell.

The Energy Fairy Tale
By Duane A. Miller June 22, 2012

Energy is necessary to run this machine we call The United States.  And, once upon a time, the United States had plenty of cost effective energy.  But when this President was elected, America's energy was the wrong color.  It wasn't green enough.  Energy policy from this administration has been disastrous.  But, did you see the propaganda piece from the Department of Energy that was released yesterday?

It’s called, “Beyond Solyndra:  How the Energy Department’s Loans are Accelerating America’s Transition to a Clean Energy Future.”  It’s a real piece of work.  In it, The Department of Energy explains how “the conversion to a clean energy future” has been a rousing success.  All the slide show is lacking is the Disney animators, a soundtrack, and James Earl Jones to narrate it, and we would have a full blown blockbuster fairy tale.

Energy Propaganda

The Solyndra debacle is quickly glossed over with the words,  the “Department’s loan portfolio as a whole is having a transformative impact.”  We would agree.  The Department has transformed our country into a third-world unemployment morass and “loaned” money to crony greenies, transforming them from unfeasible and economically impossible, to having plenty of our tax money to waste.

One of the slides talks about “Recognitions and Validation from the Private Sector.”  In that section, the Department of Energy sights three companies as “successes” and trots them out as examples of the success of the loan guarantees.

One of the companies is Beacon Power.  Beacon Power took a $43 million Department of Energy stimulus loan guarantee.  Beacon filed for bankruptcy in October, 2011, one year after getting the loan.  We paid off the loan because the Department of Energy guaranteed the loan with our tax money.  Beacon Power…great energy success here, no doubt!  By the way, Beacon’s bankruptcy came just two months after Solyndra’s bankruptcy which cost us $535 million.

Another success story cited is, battery maker, A123.  A123 received a $249 million stimulus GRANT plus another $14 million in research GRANTS.  No middle-man here.  Just direct gifts from the Department of Energy.  And what did A123 do with the money?  Well, they took a private company public.  The shares opened to trading at $19.60 (which is what the owners were paid), but the shares today hover around a dollar.

King Barry decreed that by 2015 there would be over a million electric cars on the road, but his powers of prognostication are lacking.  Consequently, the market for A123 batteries was/is far smaller than projected by The Department of Energy.  And, oh yes, the batteries A123 did produce were faulty and had to be replaced.  This is exactly the sort of thing that demonstrates why an academic who has no understanding of business and the marketplace should not be allowed any position where his/her ignorance (lack of experience) will cost taxpayers money.

Then the propaganda piece mentions Fisker Automotive.  Now, here is another real success story for the Department of Energy.  Fisker received a $529 million ATVM stimulus loan from the Department of Energy.  According to an ABC News report, Fisker used the first $169 million in taxpayer funds to bring to market the Karma, a flashy $100,000 hybrid sports sedan that it assembles in Finland.”  Wait, did you say, “Finland?”  I thought our President was all about creating jobs in the United States.  I thought he castigated “big business” for shipping jobs overseas, but I guess his words don’t apply to green energy buddies.

Joseph Goebbels was the propaganda minister for the Third Reich.  His skills were truly remarkable.  I can’t help but wonder if the creator of this Department of Energy propaganda piece studied Goebbels in college.  Turning a nightmare into a fairy tale is a neat trick and the Department of Energy did their best.

We can’t wait to hear the end of the Obama fairy tale.  After November 6, we can all live at least a little happier ever after knowing he can no longer make it worse.

Duane A. Miller is COO of The Proud Americans.

Obama's Green-Jobs Fraud Exposed

Posted 06/21/2012 06:49 PM ET
Investor’s Business Daily

Industrial Policy: For a $9 billion investment, the administration created just over 900 new, permanent jobs. We could've had 20,000 jobs building a pipeline with not a dollar of taxpayer money being wasted.

According to the report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, Section 1503 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the stimulus), the part that covers green energy projects got some $9 billion in stimulus cash for 2009-11 and created a whopping 910 direct jobs — those involved in the ongoing operation of the wind and solar projects that were funded.

Now, the report doesn't come right out and say this. You have to pick through it and look past the "indirect" jobs said to have been created by the manufacture and installation of the bird-chopping wind turbines and water-cleansed solar panels.

The administration has a most curious way of describing what a green job is, but if you count just the "direct" jobs, it cost taxpayers $9.8 million to create each of those long-term jobs.

Throw in the indirect jobs supporting the direct jobs estimate of 4,600 (we're confused too) and there are 5,510 total jobs (direct and indirect). Starting with the $9 billion in grants, the result to establish 5,510 jobs averages out to $1.63 million per job.

In an attempt to make things look not quite so wasteful, the report in its summary claims that for the 2009-11 time frame, there were an average 52,000-75,000 "direct and indirect jobs per year" created for the construction, installation and related work on the wind and solar projects.

But can these jobs be called "green," since they involve skills and trades that can be used in other energy and manufacturing sectors? Can the people who operate the food trucks that feed these construction workers on their lunch break be said to have green jobs?

Yes, they can, according to John Galvin, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' acting commissioner.

Galvin was recently grilled by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who questioned whether jobs were classified as "green" based on their characteristics or whether they were so classified "for political purposes" and to make President Obama's green energy program less of a failure.

"Does someone who sweeps the floor at a company that makes solar panels — is that a green job?" Issa asked. "Yes," replied Galvin, who also acknowledged that a bike-repair shop clerk, a hybrid-bus driver, any school bus driver, used-record store employees and "the guy who puts gas in a school bus" are all defined as green jobs.

Galvin even said a lobbyist working on environmental issues would be classified as having a green job.

Meanwhile, we have foregone creating real energy and manufacturing jobs by blocking expanded oil drilling and delaying the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to deliver oil to American refineries from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.

Mark Ayers, past head of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, told the Huffington Post last November that "the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect." And not a dollar of taxpayer money would be involved. Tax dollars would be generated, not consumed and wasted.

While campaigning four years ago, Sen. Barack Obama promised that $150 billion in government spending on renewable energy projects would create 5 million green-collar jobs over 10 years. Near the end of this administration's first year in office, Vice President Joe Biden promised 722,000 green jobs would be generated by the stimulus.

To this end, avowed Marxist and wealth redistribution advocate Van Jones was appointed as green jobs czar. The wealth redistribution part has gone very well. But where, gentlemen, are the jobs?

Barack Obama’s dismal investment record
By Marc A. Thiessen, Special to The Washington Post
Posted May 26, 2012

Despite a growing backlash from his fellow Democrats, President Obama has doubled down on his attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. But the strategy could backfire in ways Obama has not anticipated. After all, if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity — and that record is not pretty.

Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions. Consider a few examples:

– Raser Technologies. In 2010, the Obama administration gave Raser a $33 million taxpayer-funded grant to build a power plant in Beaver Creek, Utah. According to the Wall Street Journal, after burning through our tax dollars, the company filed for bankruptcy protection this year. The plant has fewer than 10 employees, and Raser owes $1.5 million in back taxes.

— ECOtality. The Obama administration gave ECOtality $126.2 million in taxpayer money in 2009 for, among other things, the installation of 14,000 electric car chargers in five states. Obama even hosted the company’s president, Don Karner, in the first lady’s box during the 2010 State of the Union address as an example of a stimulus success story. According to ECOtality’s own SEC filings, the company has since incurred more than $45 million in losses and has told the federal government: “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.” Worse, according to CBS News, the company is “under investigation for insider trading,” and Karner has been subpoenaed “for any and all documentation surrounding the public announcement of the first Department of Energy grant to the company.”

— Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP). The Obama administration gave NGP a $98.5 million taxpayer loan guarantee in 2010. The New York Times reported in October that the company is in “financial turmoil” and that “[a]fter a series of technical missteps that are draining Nevada Geothermal’s cash reserves, its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was ‘significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.’ ”

— First Solar. The Obama administration provided First Solar with more than $3 billion in loan guarantees for power plants in Arizona and California. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report last week, the company “fell to a record low in Nasdaq Stock Market trading May 4 after reporting $401 million in restructuring costs tied to firing 30 percent of its workforce.”

— Abound Solar. The Obama administration gave Abound Solar a $400 million loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories. According to Forbes, in February the company halted production and laid off 180 employees.

— Beacon Power. The Obama administration gave Beacon — a green-energy storage company — a $43 million loan guarantee. According to CBS News, at the time of the loan, “Standard and Poor’s had confidentially given the project a dismal outlook of ‘CCC-plus.’ ” Last fall, Beacon received a delisting notice from Nasdaq and filed for bankruptcy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. A company called SunPower got a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration, and as of January, the company owed more than it was worth. Brightsource got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee and posted a string of net losses totaling $177 million. And let’s not forget Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that received $535 million in taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

Obama has declared that all of the projects received funding “based solely on their merits.” But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book “Throw Them All Out,” 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. Obama said this week that it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine.

The cronyism and corruption are catching up with the administration. According to Politico, “The Energy Department’s inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations” related to the department’s green-energy programs.

Now the man who made Solyndra a household name says Romney’s record at Bain “is what this campaign is going to be about.” Good luck with that, Mr. President. If Obama wants to attack Romney’s alleged private-equity failures as chief executive of Bain, he’d better be ready to defend his own public-equity failures as chief executive of the United States.

Marc A. Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes a weekly online column for The Washington Post.

Obama’s war on coal hits your electric bill

By Phil Kerpen
Published May 22, 2012

Obama’s War on Coal has already taken a remarkable toll on coal-fired power plants in America.

Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a shocking drop in power sector coal consumption in the first quarter of 2012. Coal-fired power plants are now generating just 36 percent of U.S. electricity, versus 44.6 percent just one year ago.

It’s the result of an unprecedented regulatory assault on coal that will leave us all much poorer.

Last week PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.

Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year's because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.

These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.

House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) aptly explained: “The PJM auction forecasts a dim future where Americans will be paying more to keep the lights on. We are seeing more and more coal plants fall victim to EPA’s destructive regulatory agenda, and as a result, we are seeing more job losses and higher electricity prices.”

The only thing that can stop this massive price hike now is an all-out effort to end Obama’s War on Coal and repeal this destructive regulatory agenda.

The Senate will have a critical opportunity to do just that when it votes on stopping Obama’s most expensive anti-coal regulation sometime in the next couple of weeks. The vote is on the Inhofe Resolution, S.J. Res 37, to overturn the so-called Utility MACT rule, which the EPA itself acknowledges is its most expensive rule ever.

This vote is protected from filibuster, and it will take just 51 votes to send a clear message to Obama that his War on Coal must end.

Of course, Obama could veto the resolution and keep the rule intact, although that would force him to take full political responsibility for the massive impending jump in electricity prices.

I have a form set up at to make it easy to contact your senators on this crucial issue.

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and author of “Democracy Denied.”

More Crony Socialism As Obama’s Bundler Gets Huge DOE Loan
May 22, 2012
By Sara Noble

Is Obama nationalizing the solar industry?

An Obama bundler, Arvia Few, received $1.2 billion in DOE loans for a solar power plant (NRG).

Guess who owns a stake in another NRG project? You probably guessed it – Warren Buffet.

This administration is awash with crony socialism. It’s who you know and how much money you have. Obama, now known to be allowing lobbyists to run amok through his administration, seems to think that cronyism is an acceptable way of life. Corporations and D.C. have unsavory and intimate relationships in this administration.

The rich are getting rich and the poor getting poorer but it’s Obama doing it. He’s in charge. He’s the 1%er helping out all the other 1%ers.

You might be interested in the definition of crony socialism -

Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks,and so forth. Free-market advocates refer to governmental favoritism as “crony socialism,” ”venture socialism” or “corporatism,” a modern form of “mercantilism” to emphasize that the only way to run a profitable business in such systems is to have help from corrupt government officials. In this view, high levels of interaction between corporations and governments are considered socialist, which is taken to its maximum in the form of nationalization of industries.

Free Beacon:..New disclosures show that one of President Obama’s bundlers is the wife of an executive at an energy company that received a more-than-$1.2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for a solar power plant.

Arvia Few is a bundler for the Obama re-election campaign who has promised to raise between $50,000 and $100,000. She began bundling for Obama in the first quarter of 2012. Her husband, Jason Few, is an executive at a company that has benefited handsomely from the Obama administration’s clean energy spending, records show.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted NRG Solar a $1.237-billion loan in September 2011 to help build NRG’s California Valley Solar Ranch, which is described as “a 250 MW alternating current PV solar generating facility” by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Few became senior vice president of Houston-based Reliant Energy in 2008. He was named President of Reliant in May 2009 when NRG Energy acquired Reliant for $287.5 million. He currently serves as executive vice president and chief customer officer of NRG Energy.

“This investment and its outcome represent a pattern in which the Obama Department of Energy took promises of technological development with an undue amount of credence,” says energy expert Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“On any given day, there are hucksters who say they can power the world. Unfortunately, there was also an administration that wanted to believe their claims,” Green said. “One has to assume that the administration was more likely to believe the people it knew.”

Other financial interests tied to the Obama administration have also invested in NRG Solar.

Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy holds a stake in another NRG project that received a $967 million Department of Energy loan guarantee New disclosures show that one of President Obama’s bundlers is the wife of an executive at an energy company that received a more-than-$1.2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for a solar power plant.

Arvia Few is a bundler for the Obama re-election campaign who has promised to raise between $50,000 and $100,000. She began bundling for Obama in the first quarter of 2012. Her husband, Jason Few, is an executive at a company that has benefited handsomely from the Obama administration’s clean energy spending, records show.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted NRG Solar a $1.237-billion loan in September 2011 to help build NRG’s California Valley Solar Ranch, which is described as “a 250 MW alternating current PV solar generating facility” by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Few became senior vice president of Houston-based Reliant Energy in 2008. He was named President of Reliant in May 2009 when NRG Energy acquired Reliant for $287.5 million. He currently serves as executive vice president and chief customer officer of NRG Energy.

“This investment and its outcome represent a pattern in which the Obama Department of Energy took promises of technological development with an undue amount of credence,” says energy expert Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“On any given day, there are hucksters who say they can power the world. Unfortunately, there was also an administration that wanted to believe their claims,” Green said. “One has to assume that the administration was more likely to believe the people it knew.”

Other financial interests tied to the Obama administration have also invested in NRG Solar.

Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy holds a stake in another NRG project that received a $967 million Department of Energy loan guarantee.

DOE announced a $967 million loan guarantee to NRG in August 2011 for its $1.8 billion Agua Caliente Solar Project. Agua Caliente will be one of the largest photovoltaic plants in the world upon its completion in 2014.

NRG acquired the Agua Caliente Solar Project from First Solar on August 5, 2011, as DOE announced the loan.

Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy bought a 49 percent stake in NRG’s Agua Caliente project in December 2011.

The multiple DOE loans did not stop NRG Energy from reporting a first-quarter 2012 loss of $206 million.

Even so, NRG has recently expanded its operations.

Since acquiring Reliant in May 2009, NRG Energy has also acquired the offshore wind development company Bluewater Wind, thermal energy company Northwind Phoenix, Texas-based South Trent Wind Farm, Green Mountain Energy Company, Texas-based Cottonwood Generating Station, and Energy Plus Holdings.

In November 2011, NRG Solar further expanded by acquiring the San Francisco-based developer Solar Power Partners.

“When you talk to a lot of people on the environmental left, there’s a deep desire to believe that wind and solar power can help us replace fossil fuels,” Green said. “It’s a naiveté that permeated the administration.”

Jason Few was named to TheGrio’s 100 list honoring “history-makers in the making” in February 2011 despite NRG’s multi-million dollar losses. Few was “turning a profit by greening Texas,” theGrio wrote. The article did not mention the Department of Energy loan program and its relationship with NRG Energy.

Jason Few and NRG Energy did not return calls for comment.

Looks Like Subsidized A123 Execs Want to Cash In

Submitted by Paul Chesser on Fri, 05/18/2012 - 09:09
National Legal and Policy Center

As taxpayer-backed electric car battery-maker A123 Systems reported a $125 million 1st quarter loss this week and its stock price dipped to near its 52-week low, the executives that were just awarded big raises and parachutes look like they want to cash in and sell the company.

Officials with the Massachusetts-based manufacturer, which received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy but this week said the ability for the company to continue is a “going concern,” also announced they retained an outside adviser for “evaluation of strategic alternatives.” Translation: they’re looking to sell. If they are successful, A123 President David Vieau and his colleagues stand to reap a windfall even after they laid off 125 factory workers ("Green jobs") in November.The move follows the actions its directors took in February, after Fisker Automotive – A123’s top customer and a company in which it was invested – announced that DOE had cut off its $529 million loan award. A day after A123’s stock dropped from $2.65 to $2.285, the company’s compensation committee bumped the base salaries of two vice presidents and its CFO by an average of 36 percent. Also in that February compensation meeting, Vieau received 400,000 additional restricted stock units while four other top A123 executives collectively received 810,000 additional stock units. Perhaps most significantly, the remuneration terms of its top officers were increased should control of the company change hands, which included: accelerated vesting of unvested stock option and restricted stock awards; increase in payment of base salary from 12 months to 18 months; payout of target bonuses for the year if terminated; and an increase in continuation of benefits from 12 months to 18 months.

Since then A123 reported huge losses for 2011 and its shares dipped as low as 82 cents – it closed yesterday at 88 cents. Investors have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that A123 executives inadequately disclosed information about two recalls of its batteries and related warranty payments of $55 million for fixes. An incident in which Consumer Reports’ testing of a Fisker Karma with a flawed A123 battery, which caused the vehicle to shut down, drew widespread scorn. In another accident, an A123 battery caused an explosion at a General Motors test facility.

Besides the $249.1 million DOE grant, A123 received nearly $30 million for a wind energy storage project as a subcontractor for another federal grantee. Also, A123’s batteries were used as part of a $5 million DOE stimulus project with Detroit Edison Company. A123 also received grants and tax credits from the State of Michigan – where it established its two manufacturing plants – that could total more than $135 million.

Recently A123 reported its first-quarter woes to DOE, in the best bureaucratic lingo it could muster: “Manufacturing activities were impacted as process improvement efforts attempted to remedy operational challenges and quality assurance issues. As a result of these activities and weakening market demand production levels were negatively impacted.” A day after the executives’ compensation boost, Forbes wondered if A123 and Fisker would become “Two Solyndras for the Price of One.” And Theodore O’Neill of Wunderlich Securities wrote in a February research article that A123 faced “a doomsday” scenario. 

With the latest move to seek “strategic” advice, the self-serving overpaid mis-managers at A123 may soon get a hefty payout just to go away. In the meantime the company is trying to raise $50 million from private sources and is trying to find another lender with fewer limitations on a line of credit than what they currently have, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

“Saying that they’re willing to look at all options may give investors something different to think about,” Amir Rozwadowski, an analyst at Barclays Plc in New York, told Bloomberg. “The announcement may be shifting the conversation to ‘what is the inherent value of this company’s assets?’”

Anybody who overpays for this phony “technology of the future” company will get what they deserve, but unfortunately current management and taxpayers won’t.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center.

Project run by Obama family, friends receives $5.9M HHS grant

Published: 4:20 PM 05/14/2012
The Daily Caller

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program run by one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends.

Obama’s longtime friend, Eric Whitaker, runs the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), which was founded as a means of connecting low-income patients with health clinics in their own communities.

The UHI was one of only 26 programs — out of 3,000 applications — to receive a slice of the $1 billion in taxpayer money from the executive’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative, which is aimed at spurring job growth via executive action, reported Keith Koffler at White House Dossier.

HHS has denied any White House involvement in the decision, but the president will have a tough time feigning surprise given his deep ties to the UHI:

•    Eric Whitaker runs the UHI, has known the president since his days at Harvard Law and occasionally vacations with the Obamas.
•    Michelle Obama launched the UHI while working as an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which runs the program.
•   Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior adviser, was the chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center board of trustees until she resigned her post to join the White House.
•    David Axelrod, now-communications director for the Obama campaign, provided public relations services to the UHI after Michelle Obama recommended that he be hired in 2006.

Despite those deep ties, HHS stands by its process, describing the decision making as free from White House influence.

“Applications that met the basic eligibility requirements underwent a competitive, objective review,” an HHS spokesperson told White House Dossier.

Dossier noted that this is only the latest incident where “red flags” have been raised in the administration’s tangled relationship with the UHI.

A September report by The Daily Caller showed that Obama donor George Kaiser gave the UHI $10,000 in 2009 — the same year that Kaiser received the $535 million Department of Energy loan guarantee for Solyndra.

Infinite Taxpayer Money Needed for Electric Truck Company's Survival

Submitted by Paul Chesser

Despite a new report out of the United Kingdom that says the future of the business is bleak without government subsidies, a three-year-old unprofitable electric truck company that received $32 million in U.S. taxpayer stimulus plans to raise more money via an initial public offering.

Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles was launched in January 2009, and despite its lack of track record and the inexperience of its leadership, the Department of Energy awarded the company $10 million in August 2009, and an additional $22 million in March 2010, for an electric truck demonstration program. The company was little more than a spinoff of a failed U.K. operation with the same name, owned by a troubled parent company called The Tanfield Group. In July 2008 – largely because of Smith-UK’s shortcomings – Tanfield’s stock price “collapsed” (scroll down at link) and was harming other holdings of its founder, Roy Stanley.

Smith-UK’s electric truck venture, part of the “green” energy economy euphoria that swept Europe, once received praise from luminaries such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called Tanfield “UK manufacturing innovation at its best.” But soon afterward media discovered that customers for the electric trucks were sparse, and investors wondered whether the company was “more hype than reality.”

A study commissioned by the U.K. Department of Transport confirms the industry was unworthy of the publicity it received. British consulting firm Element Energy examined the total costs of ownership of low emission vans, in light of the government’s plans (implemented in February) to extend its Plug-In Car Grant program to electric trucks. It found that for electric trucks to make economic sense, government would need to provide grants indefinitely in order to compete with diesel-powered vehicles.

“The report’s authors suggest that cash incentives will need to continue to compensate owners for the higher running costs, as well as non-financial incentives…,” reported England-based Fleet News. John Lewis, CEO of the British Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, said, “The government has put its money where its mouth is by delivering the Plug-in Van Grant and other tax incentives, but it needs to give operators confidence that these will be more than just short-term measures.”

So unsurprisingly, we have another industry in the clean energy economy that depends on public funding for its survival, rather than the appeal of its products or services. But a study isn’t required to show that’s the case; the Tanfield/Smith Electric-UK experience is proof.

After Tanfield’s stock lost 80 percent of its value in one day, and 97 percent of its value within a year, investors demanded changes in 2008. By January 2009 Smith-U.S. was started, CEO Bryan Hansel planned to raise $15 million, and in August 2009 had its first $10 million commitment from DOE – just eight months after its founding. By the end of the year, however, Smith-U.S. still had no revenues. 

In April 2010 Smith-U.S. had raised the $15 million it had sought – on top of another $22 million grant from the Department of Energy – so the company agreed to buy Smith-UK. Tanfield Founder Roy Stanley, and CEO Darren Kell, were added to the board of directors for Smith-U.S. But by late summer the deal had still not been consummated and the British company’s share price again tanked. Liberty, a rival British EV manufacturer, made overtures to Tanfield investors for a buyout, but were rebuffed.

Finally by the end of 2010 the sale was complete, for $15 million in cash, payable in 20 equal installments, plus other financing and ownership considerations. In its annual report Tanfield stated it now owned 32.2 percent of Smith-U.S., while Smith-U.K. was now formally a “discontinued operation.” But Tanfield’s woes may not be over, as the U.K. Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board announced a year ago it would investigate the conduct of its accountants in their preparation of the company’s 2007 and 2008 financial statements. The investigation is still ongoing.

It certainly looks like U.S. taxpayers helped bail out troubled British investors in Tanfield. But the government subsidized electric truck scheme, established in England, continues in North America. Smith-U.S. counts Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola, Staples and FedEx among its customers, but only because it is paying those companies to use their vehicles as delivery vans. 

Since April 2010 Smith-U.S. has filed seven quarterly reports that are viewable at the Web site. The company reported that through December 31 it had placed 240 trucks into service under the program, and had received $15 million from Recovery Act funds. Of that, Smith reimbursed its customer companies nearly $13.7 million for taking the ETs off its hands -- an average of just over $57,000 per vehicle. In addition, electric truck owners benefit from an array of other federal and state incentives programs.

With that business model in place, Smith-U.S. now plans an initial public offering, according to a filing earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has reported net losses of $17.5 million, $30.3 million and $52.5 million in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Besides having to pay for the Tanfield failure, Smith-U.S. needs to continue its program of paying customers to take its electric trucks. It reported to the SEC that it had “sold” 290 trucks in the U.S. and 279 outside the U.S.

Another bad sign for this taxpayer “investment” (and for prospective private investors) is that Smith-U.S. is contracted with floundering battery supplier A123 Systems, which has had at least two recalls of its batteries due to manufacturing flaws and an additional incident in which one of its batteries caused an explosion at a General Motors test facility, sending at least one person to the hospital. A123, which received $249.1 million in Recovery Act funds to produce its EV batteries, is in deep financial trouble and Smith-U.S. is one of its affected customers.

“We believe it is likely that substantially all of the battery modules we have sourced from A123 contain one or more defective cells,” Smith-U.S. reported to the SEC in its IPO prospectus, under “risk factors.” “We expect that A123 will replace all defective battery modules supplied to us beginning in April 2012 at A123’s cost…. At this time, we are unable to predict whether this issue will affect our production or operating results for the second quarter of 2012.”

And to pay for all this incompetence and for customers to buy its trucks, Smith Electric – confirming the findings of the British study – said in its SEC filing that it needs ongoing taxpayer support.“We believe that the availability of government subsidies and incentives currently is an important factor considered by our customers when purchasing our vehicles,” the filing said, “and that our growth depends in part on the availability and amounts of these subsidies and incentives.” 

Smith-U.S. even has “incentives specialists” as part of its sales team to make sure every government dollar is found to pay for its trucks. Aren’t you glad you’re invested? 

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center.

Obama Doubles Down On More Solyndras
Posted 04/18/2012 05:53 PM ET

Green Energy: Another day and another set of layoffs at a Department of Energy-backed solar company and an electric-car maker funded with stimulus dollars. Yet the President wants to double down on green energy.

First Solar, a solar energy company that received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, announced Monday it will lay off 2,000 workers worldwide. In December, First Solar laid off 100 employees at a Santa Clara , Calif., plant.

The DOE has committed the loan to a project in Riverside County, Calif., expected to create a whopping 15 permanent jobs and 550 construction jobs.

Contrast this boondoggle with the privately funded Keystone XL pipeline, delayed by President Obama over alleged environmental concerns, which would create 20,000 jobs initially and perhaps 10 times that over the life of the project. It will bring 800,000 barrels of oil daily to U.S. refineries, whether the sun shines or not.

Last Friday, Delaware Online reports, 12 more workers — including engineers and maintenance technicians — were laid off at Fisker Automotive's plant in Wilmington, Del., an old General Motors facility.

Originally Fisker was to build its $107,850 dream car, the electric Fisker Karma, there. The Karma, which Consumer Reports labeled "undrivable" after it had to be towed away after a test drive, is being built by Valmet in Finland. Fisker Automotive is the recipient of a $529 million federal government loan guarantee.

Unlike the "subsidies" allegedly given to oil companies, these are real dollars going from our wallets to theirs. The oil companies actually get not a dime, but the same tax breaks as all other manufacturers.

Solyndra, the politically connected recipient of a half-billion-dollar stimulus loan before it too went bankrupt, was only the tip of the iceberg in Obama's green energy failures.

Abound Solar, for instance, has laid off 280 employees since receiving its $400 million loan guarantee.

A123 Systems, an electric car battery company in Michigan that received $249.1 million in DOE grants, has laid off 125 employees and faces a lawsuit for allegedly hiding information about defective batteries.

Another solar firm, Beacon Power in Massachusetts, still owed $39.1 million in loans when it died in October.

Ener1, the parent company of an electric car battery maker that received $118 million in DOE grants, declared bankruptcy in January.

The DOE also conditionally awarded a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to Solar Trust for America. Fortunately for taxpayers, the company declared bankruptcy on April 2 before it could collect any of our money.

"We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by ending the subsidies for oil companies," Obama said in February, "and doubling down on clean energy that generates jobs and strengthens our security."

Of course, we could end our dependence on foreign oil by using our own vast resources that amount to centuries of natural gas and oil under or feet. Nature has dealt the U.S. a winning hand, but Obama wants to fold.

As Obama told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, "people felt like this (Solyndra) was a good bet."

As long as we're using gambling metaphors, how about this one: You got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

“Greenbacks” Energy Boondoggles versus Real Energy


Government tax and subsidy schemes waste billions. We need real energy and jobs.
Having had it with $4-per-gallon gasoline and the Obama Administration’s squandering billions of taxpayer dollars on phony “green” energy schemes, angry voters have told their senators “Enough!” Their calls provided sufficient spinal implants in enough senators to defeat three proposals to extend the wind energy “production tax credit” (PTC). The credit gives wind project developers taxpayer greenbacks whenever they generate high-priced electricity, even if there is no market for the power at the time it’s generated. Worse, the PTC is paid on top of other subsidies, fast-tracking of wind projects through environmental review processes, and exemptions from endangered species, migratory bird and other laws.

Confronted by the gale of public outrage, Senate Democrats tried a new tack.

They offered an amendment that would eliminate various tax deductions for five major oil companies, turn the supposed new revenue stream into more subsidies for wind turbine, solar panel and electric car makers – and use any leftover crumbs to “pay down” the skyrocketing budget deficit they helped engineer.

The ploy needed 60 votes – but got only 51, despite President Obama’s vocal support. “Members of Congress,” the president said, “can stand with big oil companies, or with the American people.”

Not exactly. The American people are no longer buying the partisan rhetoric. They increasingly understand that new taxes and restrictions on oil companies are not in their best interest. In fact, a recent Harris Interactive poll found that over 80% of US voters support increased domestic oil and gas production to create and preserve jobs, lower pump prices and increase government revenues.

They realize that only 12% of what they pay for gasoline goes to oil companies for refining, marketing and distribution. Another 12% is state and federal taxes. Fully 76% is determined by world crude oil prices – and thus by global supply and demand, and confidence or fear about world events.

They know that eliminating tax deductions for expenses incurred in producing and refining oil is the same as imposing new taxes. Those taxes would result in curtailed drilling and production, reduced royalty revenues, worker layoffs, still higher gasoline prices, and increased costs for everything we grow, make, transport and do with petroleum. Blue collar, poor and minority families would be hurt worst.

Every US business claims deductions for new equipment, facility depreciation, utilities, payroll, research and other expenses. This ensures that businesses, like individuals, recover their costs and get taxed only on their net incomes. Five oil companies should not be punished as the sole exception to this rule.

Legitimate expense deductions are very different from subsidies. Subsidies involve government taxing individuals and profitable companies, and transferring their money to politically favored companies and products that could not survive without perpetual support.

The system is even more insidious when subsidized entities return substantial portions of their taxpayer largesse as campaign contributions to President Obama and other politicians who arrange the wealth transfers. It’s still worse when hard-earned taxpayer money is used to reduce risks for wealthy investors who buy into boondoggles arranged by bureaucrats who are much better at choosing losers than winners.

As voters are learning, the Solyndra, Evergreen, Fisker, A123 and dozens of other “green energy future” scandals and insolvencies are only a small part of the subsidy cesspool.

Subsidies, punitive taxation schemes and “alternative,” non-hydrocarbon energy are often justified by claims that we face imminent manmade catastrophic global warming. In reality, virtually no empirical evidence supports hypotheses, assertions or computer model projections about melting polar icecaps, average global temperatures, storm frequency and intensity, sea levels and other natural phenomena.

Wind, solar and biofuel energy are also justified by claims that we are running out of oil and gas. In fact, America is blessed with vast proven petroleum reserves and even greater undeveloped prospects that government has made off limits. The natural gas and hydraulic fracturing revolution is merely a hint of the energy, jobs and revenues Americans could produce, if certain politicians would end their obstinacy.

“Renewable” energy is further justified by claims that petroleum “keeps us trapped in the past.” In truth, we need to worry about the present, especially our unemployment and debt crises. Oil and gas provide 60% of America’s energy. By contrast, despite untold billions in subsidies, wind and solar combined still provide barely 0.60% – and are unlikely to do much better for decades to come.

The $2-billion Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge area involved $500 million in outright subsidies, plus a subsidized loan guarantee of $1.1 billion for General Electric, plus production tax credits. At the whim of the winds, its 338 gigantic turbines will generate electricity for California, in wild swings between zero and their combined rated capacity of 845 MW – chopping up eagles, falcons, herons, bats and other protected species as they spin.

In 2010, GE generated over $5 billion in US profits – but paid no US income taxes, and no fines for the thousands of protected birds and bats that its Cuisinart wind turbines slaughtered.

By contrast, White House villain ExxonMobil (one of the companies targeted by the failed tax bill) earned $30.5 billion in profits that year, on revenues of $383 billion, paid $1.6 billion in US income taxes, and made combined lease bonus, rent, royalty, tax and other federal payments of almost $10 billion. When a few birds are killed on oil company property, companies pay substantial fines.

President Obama promised that he would “fundamentally transform” America and ensure that electricity prices “will necessarily skyrocket.” His Energy Secretary has said Americans should pay $8-10 per gallon for gasoline. His Environmental Protection Agency and Interior and Agriculture Departments have systematically foreclosed access to our nation’s oil, gas, coal and uranium resources.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chu’s Department of Energy recently awarded $10 million of taxpayer money to Philips Lighting for making an “affordable” light bulb – that costs $50 per bulb!

And it is working overtime to promote, subsidize and install thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines that generate too much ultra expensive electricity when it’s not needed and too little when it’s most needed, require too much land and too many raw materials, kill too many birds, cost too much money, and require perpetual subsidies and exemptions from environmental laws that apply to all traditional forms of energy.

This “green” energy “future” is unsustainable.

Oil companies do make a lot of money, because they produce, refine and sell enormous quantities of fuel and other petroleum products. But
they pay billions in taxes and royalties – and produce real energy.

Wind, solar, algae and switchgrass companies take billions in Other People’s Money. They pay virtually no taxes, and provide virtually no usable energy, except in the minds and press releases of their promoters.

Expecting that higher taxes on oil companies will produce more oil at lower prices is like saying we will get cheaper bread, and more of it, by eliminating tax deductions for bakeries’ electricity and equipment.

American voters and consumers understand this. It’s time our elected officials and unelected bureaucrats did likewise. ___________ Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

Clever politics, bad math

Like health reform, Buffett Rule redistributes chairs on the Titanic. By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER 

Syndicated columnist April 13, 2012 At the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama argued that the country's spiraling debt was largely the result of exploding health care costs. That was true. He then said the cure for these exploding costs would be his health care reform. That was not true. It was obvious at the time that it could never be true. If government gives health insurance to 33 million uninsured, that costs. Costs a lot. There's no free lunch.

Now we know. The Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate is that Obamacare will add $1.76 trillion in federal expenditures through 2022. And, as one of the Medicare trustees has just made clear, if you don't double count the $575 billion set aside for the Medicare trust fund, Obamacare adds to the already crushing national debt.

Three years later, we are back to smoke and mirrors. This time it's not health care but the Buffett Rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate on millionaires. Here is how Obama introduced it last September:

"Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a (higher) tax rate than Warren Buffett. ... And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money" to "stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. ... This is not politics; this is math."

OK. Let's do the math. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this new tax would yield between $4 billion and $5 billion a year. If we collect the Buffett tax for the next 250 years – a span longer than the life of this republic – it would not cover the Obama deficit for 2011 alone.

As an approach to our mountain of debt, the Buffett Rule is a farce. And yet Obama repeated the ridiculous claim again this week. "It will help us close our deficit." Does he really think we're that stupid?

Hence the fallback: The Buffett Rule is a first step in tax reform. On the contrary. It's a substitute for tax reform, an evasion of tax reform. In three years, Obama hasn't touched tax (or, for that matter, entitlement) reform, and clearly has no intention to. The Buffett Rule is nothing but a form of redistributionism that has vanishingly little to do with debt reduction and everything to do with re-election.

As such, it's clever. It deftly channels the sentiment underlying Occupy Wall Street (original version, before its slovenly, whiny, aggressive weirdness made it politically toxic). It perfectly pits the 99 percent against the 1 percent. Indeed, it is OWS translated into legislation, something the actual occupiers never had the wit to come up with.

Clever politics, but in terms of economics, it's worse than useless. It's counterproductive. The reason Buffett and Mitt Romney pay roughly 15 percent in taxes is that their income is principally capital gains. The Buffett Rule is, in fact, a disguised tax hike on capital gains. But Obama prefers to present it as just an alternative minimum tax because 50 years of economic history show that raising the capital gains tax backfires: It reduces federal revenues, while lowering the tax raises revenues.

No matter. Obama had famously said in 2008 that even if that's the case, he'd still raise the capital gains tax – for the sake of fairness.

For Obama, fairness is the supreme social value. And fairness is what he is running on – although he is not prepared to come clean on its price. Or even acknowledge that there is a price. Instead, Obama throws in a free economic lunch for all. "This is not just about fairness," he insisted on Wednesday. "This is also about growth."

Growth? The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Now, in the middle of a historically weak recovery, Obama wants to raise our capital gains tax to the fourth highest. No better way to discourage investment – and the jobs and growth that come with it.

Three years ago, Obama promised universal health care that saves money. Today, he offers a capital gains tax hike that spurs economic growth. This is free-lunch egalitarianism.

The Buffett Rule redistributes deck chairs on the Titanic, ostensibly to make more available for those in steerage. Nice idea, but the iceberg cometh. The enterprise is an exercise in misdirection – a distraction not just from Obama's dismal record on growth and unemployment but, more importantly, from his dereliction of duty in failing to this day to address the utterly predictable and devastating debt crisis ahead.

Obama’s Ten Worst Energy Policies

SATURDAY, 14 APRIL 2012 10:03

In his time in office, President Obama has made some seriously bad proposals and decisions on energy policy, and Americans are paying the price, whether it’s in higher energy costs, wasted tax dollars, or in jobs that have been left on the table. For those who aren’t keeping track, we’ve compiled a list of the President’s ten worst energy policies:

1) Saying “NO” to Keystone XL:
With oil prices going through the roof, the best way to drive down prices is to increase the supply of oil and it can be done by safely increasing access to resources in North America. The Keystone XL pipeline would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the United States (as well as jobs, economic growth and state tax revenue) but President Obama said “NO” the project despite bipartisan support and despite the Department of State’s conclusion that the project would pose no significant environmental risk.

2) Wasting Billions on Loan Guarantees:
President Obama has a grand vision for a green energy revolution, funded by taxpayer dollars. So in his trillion dollar stimulus, he added billions of dollars to the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, empowering it to to hand out Americans’ money to alternative energy companies. His plan failed miserably, as company after company went bankrupt, including Solyndra, Solar Trust of America, Beacon Power and Ener1. Others including Abound Solar and A123 Systems laid off American works despite receiving  millions in loan guarantees.  The federal government should not be playing venture capitalist with taxpayer money.

3) Banking on Electric Car Dream Machines:
President Obama made electric cars like the Chevy Volt a central part of his energy policy with subsidies for both the production and purchase of electric vehicles.  But the trouble is the American people just aren’t buying them, even with $7,500 taxpayer-funded rebates. In 2011, GM missed its projected sales volume for the Volt, shipping 7,671 of the vehicles — well short of its target of 10,000. Meanwhile, the DOE handed half a billion dollars in loan guarantees to Fisker, an electric car maker that has delayed production in the U.S., and another half billion in low interest loans to Tesla Corporation, which produces six-figure electric sports cars that can only travel 55 miles.  Even if electric cars save fuel, they still cost more to own than similar gasoline-only vehicles.

4) Saying “No” to Domestic Energy Production:
While Americans struggle to cope with high energy prices, President Obama has made it even harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy resources. Federal production onshore and offshore has been down from 2010 to 2011.  The Administration either cancelled, delayed or withdrew a number of lease sales for exploration and development. Meanwhile, huge swaths of federal lands have been put off limits for energy exploration.  Delays and restrictions in oil and gas production has resulted in abundant energy sources being unavailable and prevented job growth, economic activity and increased government revenue. The federal government also withdrew an approved permit for a coal mine and blocked and obstructed uranium mining.

5) The EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck:
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ream of new regulations will adversely affect existing power plants, requiring them to be retrofitted or in many cases shut down because it will be too costly to install emission-reduction controls The most recent announcement of the President’s ongoing campaign against carbon-based fuel, the EPA released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which would effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities. That will result in higher energy costs, fewer jobs, a less prosperous economy and no discernible difference in global temperatures.

6) Cap-and-Trade and the Clean Energy Standard:
When he came into office, President Obama latched on to the notion of cap-and-trade — a system of energy taxes and credits designed to reduce carbon emissions. The end result would have been disastrous for American businesses and the economy. When that legislation failed, the President proposed a Clean Energy Standard mandating that the power industry  meet government-determined goals with respect to renewable energy production. The effect, though, is the same.  Both serve as a draconian energy tax that burdens businesses and consumers – with no environmental benefits.

7) Subsidies for Some, Higher Taxes for Others:
President Obama likes to play favorites in the energy industry, handing out subsidies for those that he thinks are the “right” industries — in his view, wind, solar — while calling for higher taxes on the “wrong” ones — namely, oil. Whether it is for fossil fuels or renewable energy sources, subsidies waste taxpayer dollars, stifle innovation, create industry complacency, crowd out investment, and give industries the incentive to lobby Washington for handouts and special protections. Meanwhile, the President wants higher taxes for oil companies — the costs of which would be handed down to consumers who are already suffering from high gas prices. The problem is that the President is manipulating language to frame the energy debate to his liking while disregarding the facts.

8) Terminating the Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
The Obama Administration   says it wants to pursue nuclear power, but its rhetoric does not match its nuclear policy.  Its decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project without any technical or scientific data is a case in point.  With nearly $15 billion spent on the project, the data indicates that Yucca would be a safe place to store America’s used nuclear fuel.  Yet purely for political reasons the Obama administration decided to terminate the program without having anything to replace it. Absent any nuclear waste disposal options, the United States simply will not significantly expand nuclear energy.

9) Green Jobs Stimulus:
With the U.S. economy struggling to recover from a recession, President Obama turned to a trillion dollars in stimulus spending in an attempt to spend America out of the economic doldrums. A significant part of that stimulus was directed toward a new “green” economy with taxpayer dollars directed toward creating alternative energy jobs. Obama promised to create five million green jobs over 10 years. The trouble is that his plan didn’t work, and the jobs didn’t materialize. As The New York Times reported, it was nothing more than “a pipe dream.” Further, these are taxpayer-funded jobs that destroy jobs elsewhere in the economy. When the government gives money to build a windmill, for example, those resources cannot simultaneously be used to build other products. The net effect is job and income losses.

10) Job-Killing CAFE Standards:
Obama’s EPA has imposed a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard requiring auto makers to hit an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to today. The Center for Automotive Research warned that overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car, decreasing sales and thereby reducing production, destroying as many as 220,000 jobs, according to a report by the Defour Group. And a 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concludes that CAFE’s downsizing effect makes cars less safe and contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year.

SOURCE: The Heritage Foundation

The Keystone Pipeline Fallout: Canada Makes Over a Billion New Friends

APRIL 11, 2012
By James Baldwin, Contributing Writer, Money Morning

You can forget about energy independence for now.

Without Canadian oil it is nothing but the latest American pipe dream.

In the wake of the Keystone Pipeline decision, Canada has decided to play ball with China instead.

According to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the U.S. reluctance to build the Keystone Pipeline has caused his nation to increase the flow of oil headed west.

Instead of flowing south into the U.S., the same oil is now going to be headed to China.

"Look, the very fact that a 'no' could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets," Harper said last week, referring to the Keystone Pipeline decision.

"We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one, and in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position," Harper said.

Considering that Canada is our No. 1 source of oil, Harper's decision could place a serious dent in the idea that the United States can become energy independent in the next two decades.

Energy Independence: Forty Years of Broken Promises

Of course, energy independence has been the goal for some time now.

Every U.S. president dating back to Richard Nixon has proposed his own "silver bullet" to get us there.

But once elected, few leaders seem willing to explain to Americans how this will happen, the costs that are required and the sacrifices that must be made.

However, as supply concerns become greater and conventional sources of crude grow increasingly scarce, Washington can't seem to get it right.

The larger truth is that the United States and its North American trading partners stand to benefit from the drilling breakthroughs we have put into the field in recent years.

With these new technologies, the United States actually has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

Shifting forward, the United States can drill its shale fields and obtain a greater share of resources from the oil sands of Canada. But we need to make these sources a priority over the medium to long term.

And Washington doesn't seem to be doing that. In fact, they're doing the opposite.

The current administration continues to tout alternative energy projects that won't become economically viable for many years. They also have pushed policy and stimulus measures that rely too heavily on shaky assumptions of economic growth and human behavior.

Oil and natural gas (and even coal) will be necessary tools to maintain and stimulate future growth. Like it or not, they will remain the cornerstone of current and future energy policy.

Yet today, China seems poised to benefit from the U.S. idea of oil as the energy source of the past.

The Keystone Pipeline: How to Profit on China's Good Fortune

Ironically, China adopted a similar energy policy to ours in the past.

It centers on securing as much oil as possible, from whatever source possible. But that has significant drawbacks, too. The Chinese exposed themselves to the perils of international diplomacy in unstable parts of the world, particularly Africa.

What raises the stakes in Canada is that our neighbor to the north offers one of the most important characteristics one could seek from a trading partner: long-term political and economic stability.

Canada's business-friendly climate, resource-rich environment, and willingness to build infrastructure for its export markets are vital socioeconomic indicators of future success.

That may be why Chinese companies have already invested heavily in Canada's energy sector.

China's Sinopec made headlines in October when it agreed to buy Canadian oil and gas company Daylight Energy for a little more than $2 billion. Other companies, like EnCana (NYSE: ECA) and Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), are considered potential buyout targets in the near term.

But speculation on potential M&A activity isn't the best bang for your buck as an investor.

We have to examine the companies poised for long-term growth that have increased cash flows and rising demand for the services.

This takes us back to our favorite part of the energy value chain: the midstream.

Midstream companies are the ones that connect the upstream companies (exploration and production) to the downstream markets (retail, refining and marketing).

Companies that own the pipelines that need to transport oil from the Canadian oil sands to new export terminals in British Columbia, or down to the United States, will see a steady increase in service demand over the long term.

We are still just entering the most profitable time in history for the energy sector, and investors who pay attention to these growing shifts in policy, technology, and supply constraints are well positioned to enjoy very happy returns.

After all, oil always seems to find an eager buyer. But you don't need to tell that to the Canadians.

Over a billion people on the other side of the Pacific are their new best friends.

Betraying the Legacy of FDR, Eisenhower, and Other Great Infrastructure Presidents

March 28, 2012

More than 75 years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Boulder Dam (now the Hoover Dam), calling it “an engineering victory of the first order—another great achievement of American resourcefulness, American skill and determination.”

Indeed it was.

Built during the Great Depression, the project created thousands of jobs, guaranteed a reliable water supply for several states and harnessed the power of the Colorado River, ultimately generating electrical energy for millions throughout the West.

Just last month in his State of the Union Address, President Obama cited the Hoover Dam as a testament to American ingenuity, noting that the dam was built at a time in American history when Democrats and Republicans worked together and “invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.”

But this architectural and engineering wonder was built in an era when the government looked favorably on massive infrastructure projects, acknowledging the stimulus they provided to a struggling American economy. Today, Washington’s bureaucratic morass of overly complex and stifling regulations enacted at the behest of special interests would make building something as grand as the Hoover Dam or President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System well, impossible.

One need only to look at the tortuous, multi-year deliberations that have been taking place in our nation’s capital over whether to green light a far less formidable, but equally important, infrastructure project—the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring upwards of a million barrels of North American oil per day from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast—and eventually to cars and trucks across our country.

As the safest way to transport liquids and gases, there are already millions of miles of pipelines in the U.S. carrying all sorts of products needed to fuel our economy, including oil, natural gas, jet fuel, gasoline, water, and, in some places, even beer.

Similar to the construction of our Interstate Highway Systems and the Hoover Dam, building the pipeline to utilize this natural resource would create thousands of domestic jobs and provide cost-efficient energy to millions of Americans at a time when high volatility in oil prices caused by renewed tensions in the Middle East threatens our country’s fledgling economic recovery. And unlike the Hoover Dam or the Interstate System, Keystone XL would have been entirely privately funded. One need only observe spiking gasoline prices and continued sluggish recovery news to wonder why the Administration would not fast track a privately funded $ 7 billion project.

Yet, despite being cleared by the U.S. State Department and Secretary Hillary Clinton as eminently safe, President Obama put the brakes on the Keystone XL pipeline, rejecting its permit application and requiring the project’s developer to restart the multi-year approval process anew. This move, calculated to stall any real progress until after the 2012 election, was widely reported as a play to appease a small, but vocal environmentalist constituency.

This decision is indicative of a larger problem in Washington, specifically that politicians on both sides of the aisle are eschewing critical policy issues in favor of sound bites and political gamesmanship.

The need for reliable U.S. energy—specifically oil—is undeniable. And with the world’s third largest reserves sitting under our ally to the north—it is also undeniable that Canada is one of the most logical, efficient, and geopolitically “safe” places for the U.S. to obtain a reliable source of oil.

While the U.S. politicizes the issue, in Canada it’s a matter of economics. Although Canada would prefer to sell its oil to its closest ally, the U.S., if we say no, Canada will still move forward in developing its resources and sell them elsewhere—most likely to China.

The Chinese thirst for oil is virtually unquenchable as China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are constantly seeking new energy sources from around the globe, eager to enter into agreements with any nation willing to provide the country with the fuel it needs to grow.

Meanwhile stalemate continues to reign in Washington.

Speaker Boehner, on the Right, is threatening to attach a “Keystone provision” to every piece of legislation possible, as Members on the Left continue to bemoan unsubstantiated environmental concerns to thwart the project.

Americans’ frustrations with Washington, DC have never been greater. And it’s no wonder. The President touts his own ‘green’ stimulus programs, which did little to create jobs and resulted in multiple bankrupt companies. At least Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower had something to show for their federal spending projects.

As American families struggle to cope with high gasoline prices and an unstable job market, those in charge have lost their way—focusing on tone-deaf political fights instead of embracing practical bi-partisan policy solutions for the benefit of our Nation.

Unfortunately, the political reality is that the Keystone XL pipeline has been so battered by the partisan back-and-forth that any bill with its name may never be able to gain the President’s signature.

But, the President and Congress have an opportunity to match the successes of the New Deal and expand American infrastructure by approving the construction of a pipeline from Canada, be it Keystone XL or a different pipeline. Either way, such a project would certainly rival, if not eclipse, the economic benefits conferred by the Hoover Dam including, as President Roosevelt said, “giv[ing] actual work to the unemployed and at the same time … add[ing] to the wealth of the nation.”

Regrettably, the American spirit and the vision of yesterday’s leaders responsible for building our national infrastructure appears absent from our current representatives in Washington.

It’s time for our modern leaders to reject the special interests thwarting our forward progress and curtailing our economic recovery. Today is the day our leaders can bring us one step closer to energy independence, without even spending taxpayer money, by approving a project certain to bring jobs, security and lower gas prices to all Americans.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Regulation

by Kyle Isakower

March 1, 2012

Shale oil and natural gas development in the United States has been a clear economic success story during a time when successes have been few.  Our industry has been producing energy, jobs and revenue at a strong clip.  And yet we’ve only begun to realize the benefits of energy from shale. 

The industry is committed to producing this energy safely and responsibly, and in addition to strong industry standards, there are appropriate federal and state regulations in place for oil and natural gas operations, including those that employ hydraulic fracturing.  And many state rules have recently been strengthened.

So it is a concern that there are now 10 separate federal government agencies looking to study and potentially add new and unnecessary layers of regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the technology on which 70 percent of future gas wells depend.

Unnecessary layers of federal regulation could increase costs and delays for operators, which could harm new projects, sacrificing thousands of new jobs and depriving government of billions in revenue.

We are strongly encouraging policymakers and elected officials to keep shale energy development moving forward.  So during this election year, we will encourage voters to learn more about energy and about the candidates’ positions on energy policies, and to make energy a ballot box decision in 2012.

The benefits of shale energy development are indisputable.

•    Just yesterday, a new study in Ohio said development of the Utica Shale could mean 65,000 new jobs in the next two years.

•    In Pennsylvania, development of the Marcellus Shale created 72,000 new jobs from late 2009 to early 2011.  

•    In North Dakota, shale development helped drive down unemployment in the state to the lowest level in the nation, helped produce a state budget surplus of $1 billion, and elevated North Dakota to the nation’s fourth largest oil producer. 

•    In Arkansas, shale development has boosted state revenue by more than $1.5 billion over the last few years.

•    Houston is the first metropolitan area in the United States to regain all of the jobs lost during the recession, an analysis by the Texas Workforce Commission has concluded.  Many of the new jobs likely relate to the oil and natural gas industry and to shale development.

•    A study by former Census officials of U.S. household income in nine geographic regions between 2007 and 2010 found it increasing only in the four-state oil patch region: Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas – all centers of shale energy development.

•    Nationwide, shale gas development was supporting 600,000 jobs in 2010, according to a December IHS-Global Insight report.

•    Also, natural gas prices have fallen by half from their level three years ago.  That is benefiting families that heat their homes with natural gas, as well as businesses and consumers that buy their electricity from utilities that generate it with natural gas. 

•    Low natural gas prices are also benefiting chemical manufacturers and other businesses that use natural gas a raw material, and they are encouraging businesses to locate new facilities in America rather than overseas.  Dow Chemical, for example, plans to reopen an ethylene production plant near Hahnville, Louisiana, this year and build another one on the Gulf coast by 2017.  It also plans to build a new propylene plant in Texas by 2015.

And there is every reason to believe we could see more of all of these benefits in the future.  The IHS-Global Insight study estimates that the shale gas industry alone could support 1.6 million jobs by 2035, driven by capital investment approaching $2 trillion.

Finally, an analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers concludes that shale gas development – and more affordable natural gas supplies – could support about one million U.S. manufacturing jobs in 2025.

To realize the full extent of this promise, therefore, we must be thoughtful about any changes to an already robust regulatory structure for hydraulic fracturing.  We don’t need unnecessary or duplicative rules from multiple federal agencies.

The administration has been advocating more oil and natural gas development.  It has also called for streamlining regulations.  We believe they could do much to achieve both objectives by taking a critical look at what its various agencies are proposing to do on hydraulic fracturing and shale energy development.

The direction they’re headed in won’t be conducive to the development of energy we know our nation will need and the production of which could provide tremendous additional benefits to our economy. The administration needs to reconsider the wisdom of adding unnecessary layers of federal regulation on this truly game-changing opportunity.  A significant change of course is needed.

Global Warming Alarmism Points To Bad Karma For Your Tax Dollars

February 8, 2012

It’s too bad that airbags can’t save investments in automobile companies.  If they could, there might be some hope for taxpayers when Fisker Automotive, another one of Barack Obama’s “investments” in “green energy”, crashes and burns financially.

In May, 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) approved $529 million in loan guarantees to Fisker to help finance development of battery-powered cars.  Fisker had drawn down $193 million of this money by February 7, 2012, when DOE announced that it was “freezing” disbursement of the loans because the company had not met agreed milestones.

Fisker responded by laying off 26 people who were working on preparing a plant in Delaware to produce a “plug-in hybrid” car to be called the Nina.  They also laid off 40 contract employees at their headquarters in Anaheim, Calif., where Fisker still employs 600 people.  Fisker is currently seeking to renegotiate the terms of its deal with the DOE so that it can resume drawing down taxpayer-guaranteed funds, but the prospects are uncertain.

At this point, taxpayers should be concerned their $193 million loan to Fisker will follow the $535 million loan to solar energy firm Solyndra, the $118 million grant to battery maker Ener1, and the $39 million loan given to Beacon Power down the economic rat hole called “alternative energy”.

In a sense, Fisker’s woes could be attributed to bad karma, because most of the taxpayer-guaranteed funds it has drawn down thus far went to help it develop its first car, the Fisker Karma.

The Chevrolet Volt, which was also developed at taxpayer expense, has not been selling well.  Despite $7,500 (or more) in taxpayer subsidies to every purchaser, it turns out that there is not a huge market for a small, cramped hatchback that lists for $49,000 and can, at best go 40 miles before it must switch from batteries to gasoline power.

Now, try to imagine the sales prospects for a car that has a smaller back seat than the Volt, a smaller trunk than the Volt, can only go 25 miles on pure electric power, is backed by a company that most people have never heard of, and lists for $103,000.

Fisker claims to have produced 1250 Karmas and to have sold about 250 of these.  Its business plan calls for selling 15,000 Karmas a year.  This is more than Lexus sells of its LS460 luxury sedan, which is similar in size, much roomier, considerably quicker, gets similar mileage under gasoline power, is backed by Toyota, and lists for only $67,630.

To be sure, the Fisker Karma is a beautiful car, perhaps the most beautiful 4-door sedan in the world.  It might have made more sense for Obama to funnel the $193 million to Fisker through the National Endowment for the Arts rather than the DOE.  Unfortunately, however, the Karma’s commercial viability will depend upon its virtues as an automobile, rather than as a piece of sculpture.

The Fisker Karma exemplifies the inherent problem with “alternative energy”.  Namely, what is alternative energy an alternative to?  It is an alternative to energy sources that make economic sense.  If an alternative energy project were capable of producing energy that was worth more than it costs, it would not need taxpayer subsidies.

Extending loan guarantees to alternative energy projects, as the Obama administration has done in droves, essentially guarantees a series of bankruptcies and scandals.  It will be interesting to see how many of these cans can be kicked down the road past the election, and how many will blow up before then.Gasoline-electric hybrids like the Karma eliminate the “range anxiety” that comes with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) like the Nissan Leaf.  However, they do so at the cost of putting two power trains into the same vehicle, and compromised pure-electric performance.  When a Karma or Volt is operating on battery power, its gasoline engine represents dead weight.

A look at the technical specifications of the Fisher Karma reveals the inherent problem with electric cars.  Despite the “advanced lithium ion battery technology” used in the Karma, its 600-pound battery pack holds about the same amount of energy (in terms of driving range) as one gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6 pounds.  The Karma’s batteries also take hours to recharge, while pumping one more gallon of gasoline into a car’s gas tank takes about 5 seconds.

Interestingly enough, the 443-pound battery pack in the Chevy Volt also provides about the same driving range as one gallon of gasoline poured into the fuel tank of this vehicle.

Fisker’s ostensible purpose in seeking the release of additional DOE loan guarantees is so that it can resume preparing a plant in Delaware to produce the Nina, a smaller plug-in hybrid family car that is supposed to sell for about $50,000.  However, this vehicle will compete directly with the Chevy Volt, which is itself not selling well.  It’s hard to imagine a happy ending for this taxpayer-financed saga.

Progressives, like President Obama, believe that they are smarter than the rest of us, and so they should have the power to direct the economy from Washington.  Unfortunately, putting Progressives in the driver’s seat results in companies being driven off the economic cliff with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the trunk.  Solyndra, Ener1, and Beacon Power were just a start.  There are more to come.  There is no escaping karma.

California is Obama's Dream (a gentle reminder)

Written by Roger Hedgecock, former Mayor of San Diego****
Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I live in California. If you were wondering what living in Obama's second term would be like, wonder no longer. We in California are living there now.

California is a one-party state dominated by a virulent Democrat Left enabled by a complicit media where every agency of local, county, and state government is run by and for the public employee unions. The unemployment rate is 12%.

California has more folks on food stamps than any other state, has added so many benefits and higher rates to Medicaid that we call it "Medi-Cal."

Our K-12 schools have more administrators than teachers, with smaller classes but lower test scores and higher dropout rates with twice the per-student budget of 15 years ago. Good job, Brownie.

This week, the once and current Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown had to confess that the "balanced" state budget adopted five months ago was billions in the red because actual tax revenues were billions lower than the airy-fairy revenue estimates on which the balance was predicated.

After trimming legislators' perks and reducing the number of cell phones provided to state civil servants, the governor intoned that drastic budget reductions had already hollowed out state programs for the needy, law enforcement and our schoolchildren. California government needed more money.

Echoing the Occupy movement, the governor proclaimed the rich must pay their fair share. Fair share? The top 1% of California income earners currently pay 50% of the state's income tax.

California has seven income tax brackets. The top income tax rate is 9.3%, which is slapped on the greedy rich earning at least $47,056 a year. Income of more than $1 million pays the "millionaires' and millionaires'" surcharge tax rate of 10.3%.

Brown's proposal would add 2% for income over $250,000. A million- dollar income would then be taxed at 12.3%. And that's just for the state.

Brown also proposed a one-half-cent sales tax increase, which would bring sales taxes (which vary by county) up to 7.75% to as much as 10%. Both tax increases would be on the ballot in 2012.

The sales tax increase proposal immediately brought howls of protest from the Left (of Brown!). Charlie Eaton, a sociology grad student at UC Berkeley and leader of the UC Student-Workers Union, said, "We've paid enough. It's time for millionaires to pay."

At least five other ballot measures to raise taxes are circulating for signatures to get on the 2012 ballot in California. The governor's proposals are the most conservative.

The Obama way doesn't end with taxes.

The governor and the state legislature continue to applaud the efforts of the California High Speed Rail Authority to build a train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even though the budget is three times the voter-approved amount, and the first segment will only connect two small towns in the agricultural Central Valley. But hey, if we build it, they will ride.

And we don't want to turn down the Obama bullet-train bucks Florida and other states rejected because the operating costs would bankrupt them.

Can't happen here because we're already insolvent.

If we get into real trouble with the train, we'll just bring in the Chinese. It worked with the Bay Bridge reconstruction. After the 1989 earthquake, the bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was rebuilt with steel made in China. Workers from China too. Paid for with money borrowed from China. Makes perfect sense.

In California, we hate the evil, greedy rich (except the rich in Hollywood, in sports, and in drug dealing). But we love people who have broken into California to eat the bounty created by the productive rich.

Illegals get benefits from various generous welfare programs, free medical care, free schools for their kids, including meals, and of course, instate tuition rates and scholarships too. Nothing's too good for our guests.

To erase even a hint of criticism of illegal immigration, the California Legislature is considering a unilateral state amnesty. Democrat State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has proposed an initiative that would bar deportation of illegals from California.

Interesting dilemma for Obama there. If immigration is exclusively a federal matter, and Obama has sued four states for trying to enforce federal immigration laws he won't enforce, what will the President do to a California law that exempts California from federal immigration law?

California is also near fulfilling the environmentalist dream of deindustrialization.

After driving out the old industrial base (auto and airplane assembly, for example), air and water regulators and tax policies are now driving out the high-tech, biotech and even Internet-based companies that were supposed to be California's future.

The California cap-and-trade tax on business in the name of reducing CO2 makes our state the leader in wacky environmentalism and guarantees a further job exodus from the state.

Even green energy companies can't do business in California. Solyndra went under, taking its taxpayer loan guarantee with it.

No job is too small to escape the regulators. The state has even banned weekend amateur gold miners from the historic gold mining streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In fact, more and more of California's public land is off-limits to recreation by the people who paid for that land. Unless you're illegal.

Then you can clear the land, set up marijuana plantations at will, bring in fertilizers that legal farmers can no longer use, exploit illegal farm workers who live in hovels with no running water or sanitation, and protect your investment with armed illegals carrying guns no California citizen is allowed to own.

The rest of us only found out about these plantations when the workers' open campfire started one of those devastating fires that have killed hundreds of people and burned out thousands of homes in California over the last decade.

It's often said that whatever happens in California will soon happen in your state.

You'd better hope that's wrong.

(Roger Hedgecock is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. RADIO STATION 600 AM, SAN DIEGO)

Beautiful state that is destroyed by the city liberals and, like Texas, the huge illegal population. American citizens have to have insurance and pay taxes but not the “guests”. BUT, if one pays the cheap price to have their lawns mowed, their houses cleaned (and some cleaned out!), service at restaurants, etc., we will continue to loose this life our forefathers fought and died to be free.