Thursday, August 09, 2012

Democrats Go "Nucelar" Over Energy


If we examine the energy strategy of the Obama administration, it can be summed up as: "And then a miracle happens."

President Obama has directed his comrade, Lisa Jackson head of the EPA, to effectively shut down 1/3 of the electricity produced from coal.  President Obama has taken credit for the increased oil production in the U.S., primarily on state and private land, while effectively reducing output on federal lands.  President Obama and his friends, led by Sen. Harry Reid, effectively shut down new nuclear plant building by shutting down Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal.

"I am proud that after over two decades of fighting the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, the project is finally being terminated.  
The proposal to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain threatened the health and safety of Nevadans and people across our nation. Yucca Mountain, which is 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is simply not a safe or secure site to store nuclear waste for any period of time." [source]

Which led to:

The U.S. government said it will stop issuing permits for new nuclear power plants and license extensions for existing facilities until it resolves issues around storing radioactive waste. 
The government's main watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believes that current storage plans are safe and achievable. But a federal court said that the NRC didn't detail what the environmental consequences would be if the agency is wrong. 
"We are now considering all available options for resolving the waste issue," the five-member NRC said in a ruling earlier this week. "But, in recognition of our duties under the law, we will not issue [reactor] licenses until the court's remand is appropriately addressed." 
There are 14 reactors awaiting license renewals at the NRC, and an additional 16 reactors awaiting permits for new construction.
But then a court also believes that CO2 is a "pollutant."

The fact is that the "green revolution" has been embraced by the cadres who lead the Obama administration's "economic revolution."  They truly believe that by distributing the nation's wealth in alternative energy the nation will be more secure economically in the future.  The problem is that other nations who have been more aggressive with this policy have had to backtrack because the "alternatives" have demonstrated a distinct lack of equality or superiority to coal or nuclear generated electricity.

Here is the real problem: Subsidies make solar appear viable today, so where is the motivation for an entrepreneur to risk money, or even focus on developing real energy alternatives when solar is “almost” there? How can an inventor justify striving with the effort it takes to really develop something great when he is competing against a straw man technology which can provide power at almost the same cost of traditional power sources today? But of course it really doesn’t. 
The answer is he can’t justify the effort, so the next great thing is not developing, at least not with the sense of urgency it should be. Why enter a contest when you are competing against someone with an unfair advantage? You may be the faster swimmer, but your competitor is using flippers. 
Solar subsidies are a placebo which is giving the general public a sense of security about our energy future and is robbing the motivation of those entrepreneurs that could actually address our energy problems. Subsidies are much worse that just wasteful, they’re diabolical. They lull us into thinking we have almost solved the problem and they hinder us from seeking the real solutions. [full article]
In Britain, the economic impact is far worse than the mere issue of substituting a few percentage points of conventionally generated electricity with solar power.  There, the commitment to wind power is real and economically harmful:
THE Government’s ideological obsession with wind power is inflicting ever greater damage on Britain, driving up our energy bills and ruining our countryside. Brutalist, expensive and inefficient, wind farms are nothing more than vast monuments to political vanity. They contribute little to our electricity supply, yet they cost us all a fortune. 
The full insanity of this approach has been exposed by a new report from respected economist Professor Gordon Hughes, who warns that the Government’s green agenda is likely to push up electricity bills by more than £300 a year by 2020. In total, argues Professor Hughes, the Government’s subsidy for wind power amounts to more than £124billion over the next eight years, a colossal burden on families and businesses at a time when the economy continues to struggle. [full article]
Right now, the only reprieve from this occurring in the U.S. is that natural gas prices have fallen dramatically due to new sources from shale fields... a source that the government was reluctant to allow into production.  At some point, the price of natural gas will rise if only because its cost elsewhere is so high that it will be economically worthwhile to export it rather than sell it in the U.S.

Then the real impact of the anti-coal, anti-nuclear, pro-wind, pro-solar policy will hit home... and hard.

h/t Benny Peiser

2012 IS HERE


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)