Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It is time for a drastic change in America’s energy policy. For too long we have penalized the most cost efficient forms of energy while subsidizing the more expensive, least efficient forms. Whether the reasons are scientific or political the outcome of the policy is bad for our economy and our standard of living. The most efficient forms of energy (fossil and nuclear) have yet to find equals in the emerging solar and battery powered alternatives. To help grow our economy and create jobs. To create the wealth we need to lift ourselves and our neighbors out of poverty we must have a moratorium on government spending for alternative energy sources. We must end the subsidies for ethanol, wind power, solar energy and battery technology. This alone would equal the $100B the Republicans would like to cut in the upcoming budget. The government must issue permits for oil and gas exploration off all U.S. coasts and government property. It must end all moratoriums on oil, gas, coal, oil shale and nuclear energy. It must establish one nation-wide gasoline standard and it must reduce the federal tax on gasoline. The government must do for fossil fuel what it has been doing for alternative fuels. A reformed energy policy that focuses on efficiency instead of philosophy can help America’s economy recover.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
If America wants a recovering and expanding economy it must declare a moratorium on alternative energy and return to the cost efficiency of oil. The Oil Depletion crowd of the 1970’s was wrong. The world is not running out of oil and there will still be plenty left when we have moved on to a more efficient source of fuel. But for the near future oil is the most organic, diverse source of energy ever discovered by man. It is more useful than almost all other forms of organic material and is the residue of all organic life that ever lived on the Earth. Unlike coal whose versatility stops at burning and diamond making, or natural gas, which is a little more flexible, oil is the most versatile of all existing energy sources. The list of products derived from oil would fill a book merely by listing them without an accompanying text. Some of the basic categories include fuels, solvents, plastics, fabrics, resins and medicines. Within each of these categories are many of the things we use in everyday life that are cheap and widely available. It is the secret of the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed and the secret to the wealth of modern society. More expensive alternatives merely rob us of that future. Alternative sources of energy are still in the infantile stages and will remain that way for a long time. We should not abandon them, but we should be more realistic about what is good for our future and our country. Congress must lift the moratorium on oil drilling. The government must permit the refining of oil, oil shale and other oil-based alternatives on federal and private land. States must reduce the level of bureaucracy and increase the number of permits issued for oil exploration and production. America began its search for alternatives to oil when it was thought we were running out. The environmental movement began as a vehicle to support the move from oil to other fuels. It is now almost forty years later. We use more oil than ever and more is being discovered everyday. The world is not running out of oil and America should not suffer because some people think it may happen someday.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The Obama administration and its mainstream media lackeys have spent the entire weekend trying to convince the American public, which follows politics sparingly, that the Tax Deal passed last week was a victory for the new, more pragmatic Barack Obama. They would have you believe that he is triangulating in the Bill Clinton tradition and tacking to the center. Those of us who watch closely know the truth. The Tax Deal was an utter defeat for Obama, the Democratic Congress, and the class warfare special interest groups. The Democrats spent seven years trying to end the Bush tax cuts of 2003. They went as far as to add the tax that was never collected to the National Debt, to make it seem the tax cuts, and not excessive spending were the reason the debt had become so large. Obama campaigned on the promise he would end the Bush tax cuts. Not only did he fail to end them for another two years, but he also had to admit that increasing taxes would have a negative impact on the economy. In return for this devastating outcome and admission he was able to extend unemployment benefits, add a 2-percent social security cut, and get some continuation of already existing tax cuts that were part of the stimulus plan he enacted. The Tax deal was a total victory for the Republicans in Congress and all Americans. The Obama Administration and the media will try to spin it as an Obama victory, but the truth is there for everyone to see. The Tax Deal is a total repudiation of Obamanomics and further proof that cutting taxes increases tax revenue.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Omnibus Spending bill being put up by the Democrats must be stopped and a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) must be passed in its place. We are about to enter the second quarter of the 2011 budget, which the Democrat Congress has so far failed to pass, and they would like to make this 2,000-page Omnibus bill their final spending party. The Omnibus Bill includes thousands of earmarks and is just another wish list of Democratic programs that have so far failed to pass on the merits. Everyone in America, except the Democrats in Congress and their supporters, knows we must cut spending and we must start now. The $55 billion in Democratic goodies in the Tax Deal are miniscule when compared to the larded-up Omnibus catch-all budget bill, which is well-over $1.1 Trillion. Congress must pass the Tax Deal, pass a CR, and get out of town.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It is often said that if both sides hate it must be okay, and maybe that's what has to be said for this latest deal on taxes and unemployment benefits. Liberals are mad because it prevents income taxes from being increased on the wealthy and Conservatives are mad that unemployment benefits are being extended. People on both sides think they could have done better. Perhaps just the right balance was achieved. Consider the consequences of no bargain. Income taxes will go up over $300B in 2011 and unemployment for millions of people would end. Thanks to the deal, if it passes, the Federal government will not collect that money. You will get to spend it. That also means the total value of the deal is about $100B a year, not $400B as some are saying. In addition people who are unemployed get an opportunity to collect a subsistence level income until the economy improves. Finally if you are working your FICA tax will be reduced by 2-percent, which translates into a little more take-home pay. If the lame-duck Congress can close this deal and go home America will be very lucky indeed. The new Congress can be sworn in January and serious work on the 2011 budget can begin. In the final analysis the $300M will not boost a $14T economy very much but at least the government will not get the money and business can plan ahead. Republicans should take this deal and run.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Funding for the extension of unemployment benefits can be found in the funds being distributed under Quantitative Easing II by the Federal Reserve. Now that the dust is settling and the charade-playing is almost over it's time for the President and the Republicans to come to terms that can help them both instead of always looking for an edge. The President has the pulpit and veto power and the Republicans have the purse strings. The Senate will have to pick its poison. The President is in the perfect position to help the country out of its economic doldrums, and the Republicans are in the perfect position to control the budget and act as a brake on program expansion and deficit spending. Can they do it? This week the discussion will be the extension of the Bush Tax cuts, or implementation of the Obama Tax increases, for all income brackets. Whether you seem them as Bush cuts or Obama increases depends entirely on your political perspective. Also included in this discussion is the further extension of unemployment benefits. Funding for the extension could easily come from the funds being used for QEII by the Federal Reserve. This would resolve the issue of funding and take those benefits out of the upcoming budget discussions. The President and the Republicans are in the perfect position to do this. The question becomes will they?
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men fail. This is one of those times. After having to wait for eight exhaustive years for the Bush Tax cuts to expire, the Democrats are now in the position of having to support them. It should be remembered that the Democrats fought George W. Bush and the Republicans to include the sunset provision in order to prevent the cuts from being made permanent. So from 2001 until now the Democrats have looked forward to reclaiming the $3.7 trillion in tax revenue they were never able to get. The Democrats have always referred to them as the Bush Tax cuts, but the truth is the money was never the governments in the first place. The Bush Tax cuts simply allowed working Americans to keep more of the money they earned and were an attempt to get government to spend less. Now after eight years of anticipation and two years of failed economic policies under Barack Obama the Democrats are being forced to reconsider their position on the tax cuts. They would like to let them to expire and begin collecting them in 2011, but the ailing economy and an uncertain future have them reconsidering. Today they are staging votes to keep them in place for earners making less than $250,000. It will be followed by a vote to preserve them for people earning up to $1,000,000. Most likely both votes will fail and Democrats will be faced with the choice of letting them expire and impose the Obama Tax increase or maintain the cuts for all wage earners. Most experts think the Democrats and Obama will cave on this issue and maintain the status quo, which is probably the right choice. However, it should be noted that maintaining them is the last thing Democrats want to do. As a party the Democrats hate cutting taxes unless they can control how you spend the money they would otherwise take. President Obama wants the cuts to expire because he had planned to use the money to disguise the deficit and increase spending. In the end the Obama tax increases of 2011 may well be avoided, but not before those that do not support them are described as supporters of rich millionaires. It should be noted that $3 trillion of the $3.7 trillion total goes to people earning under $250,000, so in truth the Bush Tax cut was a middle class tax cut.