Economy: 2009 Archives


The Obama administration keeps throwing taxpayer money to the winds, wasting precious dollars as it is saddling taxpayers with staggering deficits, wild-eyed spending and new taxes.

The fantasy is what renewable energy can do. It's certainly nice to talk about and feel good about, but it not in our life times be a major source of the energy this country or the world needs.

The federal govenment's own energy agency at least tells it like it is as the chief executive tells his fairy tales to the public.

No Substitute For Fossil Fuels

Energy: Earlier this year, Congress approved a scheme to pour $80 billion — on top of the tens of billions already spent — into renewables. A government report released last week indicates the money will be wasted.

Renewable energy is the shiny gem that everyone wants but no one can have. Not even a president. Campaigning last year in Lansing, Mich., President Barack Obama said that it was his goal for the U.S. to generate 10% of its electric power from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025. But he cannot, by the force of will or executive order, change the laws of physics and economics.

America has long relied on fossil fuels to power its economy. Oil, natural gas and coal provide about 84% of the nation's energy.

And for good reason. They are plentiful and typically easy to retrieve, and, consequently, cheap.

At the other end of the spectrum are renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. They supply only about 4% of our energy, the remainder coming from hydro and nuclear power.

An axis of environmentalists and Democrats want to change this ratio, because, according to the usual complaint, we depend too heavily on the fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide.

Trouble is, the market for renewables is poor. Few want to use the inefficient, unreliable and expensive sources. But that hasn't slowed the renewable energy campaign, which has succeeded in persuading the public that renewables are a sensible energy source and convincing Congress to fund supporters' daydreams.

The government can continue to "invest" in renewables, and the dreamers will keep using public money to find the magic formula. But little will change over the next 25 years.

The federal Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook says in 2035, demand for liquid fuels will increase by almost 10% over 2008 levels, natural gas by nearly 7% and coal by 12%.

While use of renewables will increase as well — by 81%, including hydropower — they will still be unable to unseat our dominant energy source. Fossil fuels' share of consumption will fall by only six percentage points, from 84% to 78% by 2035. Renewables will provide about 8%.

It's clear that renewables, which have benefited from government subsidies far in excess of what fossil fuels have received, can't compete in today's market and won't be faring much better a quarter century from now, according to the government's own reckoning.

It's just as clear that throwing taxpayers' dollars at renewables has produced little progress.

Spain provides perhaps the best lesson. The government there has spent $43 billion on solar energy projects, yet solar provides less than 1% of the country's electric power. It was a bad investment.

Chasing the wind is just as ineffective. When Congress temporarily eliminated wind power credits in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the number of new turbine projects fell sharply. The Texas Public Policy Foundation says that providing a modest level of wind power in that state would cost taxpayers at least $60 billion through 2025.

Read the rest . . .



If this summary of the so-called health care reform bill doesn't sicken you, what will?

Obama's desire to destroy the American economy is being implemented by a left wing Democratic Congress despite the opposition of a majority of the American people.

It's all about seizing control of peoples' lives, money and votes. By enlarging the number of Americans dependent on the government, Democrats hope to ensure a permanent majority who live off the earnings of productive Americans.

Socialism Creeps In As America Sleeps 12/22/2009 Investors Business Daily

Health Care: Democrats on the take and in the dead of night pass an execrable piece of legislation that they haven't read, the public doesn't want and only socialists could love. What has happened to this country?

If we hadn't stayed up past midnight Sunday, we wouldn't have known what was going on. Here we thought a vote on the proposed health care overhaul wasn't going to take place until Thursday night — Christmas Eve.

But there they were, the United States Senate, at 1 a.m. Monday, rushing to vote in the middle of a snowstorm to close debate on the most important piece of legislation of our time — the nationalization of the U.S. health care system. And we've been scrambling ever since to make sense of it.

Let's see if we have this right:

• This was a vote on a Democrat-concocted scheme that Americans have rejected every time it's been proposed for 100 years and that is opposed again, by 54% to 41% by the public at large, by 2-to-1 by practicing physicians and by every last member on the Republican side of the aisle.

• The vote was taken without any members having read the main 2,074-page bill, let alone the 383 pages of amendments that were tacked on at the last minute to buy off senators, including Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.

• Despite growing public opposition, Democratic members had the nerve to call those who questioned their monstrosity "obstructionists" and worse. Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse called health care bill foes "birthers," "fanatics" and "people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups." Is this what Democrats meant when they said they seek bipartisan solutions to the nation's problems?

• The bill contains at last count 18 new taxes totaling an estimated $406 billion — including significant new levies on those earning less than $250,000, a major breach of Obama's pledge not to raise taxes by "one penny" on those in that income group.

A family of four that refuses to buy into a "qualifying" health insurance program will pay a "surtax" of as much as $6,750. At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that health insurance premiums will nearly double by 2016.

As the nonpartisan Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation put it, "The House and Senate health care bills contain enormous tax hikes to accompany massive increases in government spending."

• Spending under the package, which Democrats vowed will "cut costs," will in fact increase. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that total health care spending will rise by $289 billion from 2010 to 2019. That's a lowball guess. Once all the budget gimmicks are removed, the real 10-year price tag is at least $2.5 trillion, Senate Budget Committee staffers say.

What's truly frightening about this bill isn't what it does, but what it sets us on course to do. Democrats have long said they see this bill as a first step toward a total takeover of U.S. health care, regardless of the consequences.

The bill's requirement that Americans buy insurance is a major step toward that takeover. It's the first time in our nation's history the government has made Americans buy something. Get used to it. It's going to become a pattern.



Of all the people who are to blame for the housing boom and bust and resulting world economic collapse that was triggered, the leading culprit is Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.


He was in the forefront pushing for lower credit standards so people who couldn't afford a house could buy it and establishing quotas for banks to make such loans.

He pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up those uncreditworthy loans from banks that had been forced to make them and to bundle them up with good loans and sell them off to unsuspecting buyers around the world. In just four years these subprime loans went from 9% of the total to over 30%.

When interest rates began to rise, defaults on no-interest, no down payment and adjustable interest mortgages began to cascade and an avalanche quickly followed, triggering defaults in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities from China to France to Dubai. The world plunged into recession.

Staggering losses hit every home with savings in mutual funds and stocks. House values plummeted, even for those who had solid fixed mortgages and had made a proper downpayment. Retirement plans for many were destroyed. Foreclosures exploded. Even homeowners not in default wondered whether they should walk away from a house that now was worth less than the mortgage on it. Unemployment has reached levels not seen in decades. Understandably, consumer spending has plummeted as saving for an uncertain tomorrow took precedence over everything else.

Barney Frank, a very smart man who specializes in rapid-fire speech drowning out all criticism, immediately began blaming "Wall Street" greed for the problems he created. A gullible press bought his story.

Yet, as Dr. Thomas Sowell has aptly put it (paraphrased),

Think of a heavy rainfall high up in the mountains and the many small riverlets that feed downhill into larger and larger streams and then flooding the lowlands. It was what happened up in the mountains that caused the problem. Housing problems developed in separate localities, but because of the purchases of the uncreditworthy mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the local problems were nationalized; with the sale of securities the problems went worldwide.

It was Barney Frank who thought he could ignore the laws of economics and do what he wanted to "serve his people." But economics can't be ignored and as a result he has visited disaster on "his people" and millions throughout the world whose savings vanished and lives were scarred.

But why did Barney Frank and his Democratic accomplices such as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Dodd do it?

Dr. Sowell explains.

Solving Whose Problem?
Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems-- of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

Many of the things the government does that may seem stupid are not stupid at all, from the standpoint of the elected officials or bureaucrats who do these things.

The current economic downturn that has cost millions of people their jobs began with successive administrations of both parties pushing banks and other lenders to make mortgage loans to people whose incomes, credit history and inability or unwillingness to make a substantial down payment on a house made them bad risks.

Was that stupid? Not at all. The money that was being put at risk was not the politicians' money, and in most cases was not even the government's money. Moreover, the jobs that are being lost by the millions are not the politicians' jobs-- and jobs in the government's bureaucracies are increasing.

No one pushed these reckless mortgage lending policies more than Congressman Barney Frank, who brushed aside warnings about risk, and said in 2003 that he wanted to "roll the dice" even more in the housing markets. But it would very rash to bet against Congressman Frank's getting re-elected in 2010.

After the cascade of economic disasters that began in the housing markets in 2006 and spread into the financial markets in Wall Street and even overseas, people in the private sector pulled back. Banks stopped making so many risky loans. Home buyers began buying homes they could afford, instead of going out on a limb with "creative"-- and risky-- financing schemes to buy homes that were beyond their means.

But politicians went directly in the opposite direction. In the name of "rescuing" the housing market, Congress passed laws enabling the Federal Housing Administration to insure more and bigger risky loans-- loans where there is less than a 4 percent down payment.

A recent news story told of three young men who chipped in a total of $33,000 to buy a home in San Francisco that cost nearly a million dollars. Why would a bank lend that kind of money to them on such a small down payment? Because the loan was insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

The bank wasn't taking any risk. If the three guys defaulted, the bank could always collect the money from the Federal Housing Administration. The only risk was to the taxpayers.

Does the Federal Housing Administration have unlimited money to bail out bad loans? Actually there have been so many defaults that the FHA's own reserves have dropped below where they are supposed to be. But not to worry. There will always be taxpayers, not to mention future generations to pay off the national debt.

Very few people are likely to connect the dots back to those members of Congress who voted for bigger mortgage guarantees and bailouts by the FHA. So the Congressmen's and the bureaucrats' jobs are safe, even if millions of other people's jobs are not.

Congressman Barney Frank is not about to cut back on risky mortgage loan guarantees by the FHA. He recently announced that he plans to introduce legislation to raise the limit on FHA loan guarantees even more.

Congressman Frank will make himself popular with people who get those loans and with banks that make these high-risk loans where they can pocket the profits and pass the risk on to the FHA.

So long as the taxpayers don't understand that all this political generosity and compassion are at their expense, Barney Frank is an odds-on favorite to get re-elected. The man is not stupid.

What is stupid is believing that politicians are trying to solve our problems, instead of theirs.

As for the FHA running low on money, that is not about to stop the gravy train, certainly not with an election coming up in 2010.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is also running low on money. But that is not going to stop them from insuring bank accounts up to a quarter of a million dollars. It would be stupid for them to stop with an election coming up in 2010.



This is exactly what's at stake: personal freedom.

Do we want the government telling us what to do?

"Fear of big government is all the rage."
The contrast between the parties is especially great for young voters who were swayed to vote for the hip, young guy over the grumpy senior citizen in 2008. It turns out the hip guy wants to force them to buy health insurance, load debt and an enormous future tax burden on their backs, and raise energy prices. It’s not very 21st century. As Michael Barone observed after ticking off the list of statist policies at the core of the Obama agenda, “The larger point is this: You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?”

It’s the Personal Liberty, Stupid

Jennifer Rubin On August 26, 2009 Pajamas Media

After the Republicans’ 2008 election wipeout, some conservative pundits and elected Republicans argued that there was no constituency for limited government. Republicans, we were told, had to give up on the notion that the public was averse to an ever larger and more intrusive government. That was then.

Now, as Matt Welch of Reason magazine points out, fear of big government is all the rage — and is cause for rage. He writes:

This isn’t about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. A majority oppose Obama’s policies because they fly in the face of this country’s bedrock values of personal liberty and limited government. Robbing Peter to pay Goldman Sachs does violence to that fundamentally American ethos.

Read on...



Texas Governor Rick Perry is the most successful governor in the United States. While most other states such as Massachusetts are swimming in red ink, Texas is running a surplus. People and businesses may be abandoning high tax states like California and Massachusetts, but they're moving into Texas. Unemployment is 2% lower than the national average. Local taxes are among the lowest in the country, no income tax, no capital gains tax. In 2008 Texas created more new jobs than all of the other 49 states combined.

Yet Perry is a conservative with a heart. When Katrina struck New Orleans, it was Perry who offered Texas as a place for the suddenly homeless. Texas took in more hurricane refugees than any other state, fed them, clothed them, educated the children and wound up giving many of them incentives to work and jobs.

He's running for an unprecedented (for Texas) third term in 2010. He isn't interested in going to Washington, but he keeps his eyes on what's happening there.

And when it comes to the Obama administration, Mr. Perry doesn't mince words: "To me, this is one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We've seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940."

As for the health care bill, he calls it "scary"and notes that it was the seniors who figured it out first.

[T]he aspect of this [bill] that has to do with end-of-life decisions . . . are pretty cold-hearted in my opinion. You're a little too old to be spending money on, so we're just going to put you over here in the 'gonna die' category. 'Bye.' That's pretty gruesome and scary to people that are my mom and dad's age."

Another important reason Mr. Perry believes the bill is flawed is because it ignores tort reform. "To talk about health-care reform and not talk about tort reform is like whistling past the cemetery. . . . In this administration's case, it's because they're bought and sold by the trial lawyers." The governor puts his cap back on, adding, "I'll be the pope before we get tort reform with this administration."

By contrast, Perry credits a tort reform measure which he engineered for bringing a lot of new business into Texas -- and doctors.

Perry believes the Republican Party, which lost its way spending like Democrats in Washington, can find its way back with its conservative principles.

The political divide, the governor insists, is between "mushy, middle of the road" Republicans and clear, devoted fiscal and social conservatives, like himself and Sarah Palin.

On that last point, he states emphatically, "I love Sarah Palin, I love her positions, I think she was a good governor. . . . I want her to be engaged in this rebuilding of the Republican Party. . . . She is substantially more the face of this country than some other people who might want to be the face of the Republican Party. To me she's the face of America. I mean she's a hard worker, she didn't come from money, she didn't come from privilege, she just worked hard. . . . I have not seen another person who invigorated the Republican base [like she did] with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan in 1976—the speech he made at the Republican Convention. People were looking around and saying, 'we nominated the wrong dude.'"

He intends to stay in Texas. He believes states are the place for innovation and experimentation, not Washington, and he wants to contInue to be part of that.

Read Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP, this weekend's Wall Street Journal featured interview.




What the Russians have to say about where we're heading.

How dare they?

Quote of the Week: “It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed........... The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.” - Editorial by Pravda (Russia’s largest newspaper) April 27, 2009


Michael Barone does a fascinating analysis of the prospects for the economically disastrous Obama energy bill in the U.S. Senate. It's a long way from making it through, which means the economy can be saved, at least for now. Not a sure thing by any means, but likely

Anatomy of the House cap-and-trade roll call

By: MICHAEL BARONE in the Washington Examiner
Senior Political Analyst
06/28/09 2:09 PM EDT

The House Democratic leadership succeeded in passing the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill by a 219-212 margin. In all, 44 Democrats voted against the bill, and 8 Republicans voted for it. It’s always interesting to examine the roll call on a close vote on an important issue—when members are voting for keeps and when some significant number of members cross party lines. And House roll call votes provide useful clues in gauging the legislation’s possible fate in the Senate.

This bill was passed by the votes of one-third of the nation—the Northeast (New England, NY, NJ, DE, MD) and the Pacific coast (CA, OR, WA, HI), as the following table shows. Just over half the votes cast for it came from those two regions.

Northeast & Pacific 110 31
Rest of US 109 181

To oversimplify just a bit, the one-third of the nation that doesn’t depend on coal for its electricity passed this over the less unanimous opposition of the two-thirds of the nation that does.

This was true despite Democrats’ gains in House seats in the rest of the nation in 2006 and 2008. Seven of the 8 Republicans who voted for the bill came from the Northeast & Pacific; 39 of the 44 of the Democrats who voted against it came from the rest of the nation. By the way, despite the opposition of Greenpeace and some other environmental restriction groups, only 3 of the Democrats who voted against this seem to have done so for similar reasons: Peter DeFazio (OR 4), Dennis Kucinich (OH 10) and Pete Stark (CA 9).

Only three members did not vote on the bill, Jeff Flake (AZ 6), Alcee Hastings (FL 23), and John Sullivan (OK 1). Nancy Pelosi made an exception to the usual custom that the speaker does not vote by casting an aye vote, indicating the importance she attached to the measure.

To gauge the bill’s prospects in the Senate, I’ll break the country down further.

● Northeast (CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT). Representatives from these states voted 66-7 for the bill. These 10 states have 20 senators, 17 Democrats and 3 Republicans: Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME) and Judd Gregg (NH). That looks like at least 17 solid votes for a bill similar to the one that passed the House, and perhaps a couple more.

● Pacific Coast (CA, HI, OR, WA). Representatives from these states voted 44-24 for the bill, with 20 of the noes coming from California Republicans (there is one vacancy in California). These states have 8 Democratic senators and no Republicans. Count another 8 for a House-like bill, which brings the number up to at least 25.

● The Germano-Scandinavian Midwest (IA, MN, WI). This is the only other one of the regions I am using for this analysis that voted for the House bill, by a 13-8 margin, all on party lines. These states have 4 Democratic senators and 1 Republican; the Minnesota seat formerly held by Republican Norm Coleman is now vacant but may go to Democrat Al Franken soon if the Minnesota Supreme Court rules as generally expected. Count another 4 or 5 Senate votes for a House-like measure, which gets the number up to 29 or 30, with a live possibility of a couple more.

● The Industrial Heartland (IL, IN, MI, MO, OH, PA). This region voted 41-48 against the bill, mostly on party lines. These states have 9 Democratic and 3 Republican senators. With the exception of IL, with its large nuclear power plants, they tend to depend on coal-fired electricity. Republican senators from these can be expected to oppose a House-like bill, and some Democrats may too. Evan Bayh (IN) is up for reelection in 2010 and his state’s House members voted 2-7 against the House bill, with 3 Democrats crossing party lines. Also, 4 PA House Democrats and 2 OH House Democrats crossed party lines. That leads me to think that Bob Casey (PA), who sees himself as the spokesman for culturally conservative ethnics, and Sherrod Brown (OH), who sees himself as the tribune of unionized industrial workers, cannot be counted as sure votes for a House-like bill. MI House Democrats all voted for the bill, which suggests that their concerns particularly about the auto industry have been assuaged, but the states two Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, may seek more concessions. As for Arlen Specter (PA), up for reelection in 2010, who knows? We’re having trouble here getting up to 40 sure votes for a House-like bill.

● The Great Plains and Rocky Mountains (AK, AZ, CO, ID, KS, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, SD, UT, WY). Representatives from these 13 states voted 13-24 against the House bill. Only the delegations from CO, NV and NM, the three states in this group which voted for Barack Obama, voted for it. These mostly sparsely populated states have much more leverage in the Senate (where they cast 26% of the votes) than in the House (where they cast 9%). Most of them depend on coal for electricity. They have 11 Democratic and 15 Republican senators. The refusal of Kent Conrad (ND) to support the reconciliation process for cap-and-trade suggests that he and his ND colleague Byron Dorgan cannot be counted on to support a House-like bill (ND gets 93% of its electricity from coal and has big coal deposits), and that may be the case also with Tim Johnson (SD), Ben Nelson (ME), Max Baucus (MT) and Jon Tester (MT). Harry Reid (NV), who is proud of putting the kibosh on the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, will likely support anything the administration does, but what about appointed Senator Michael Bennet (CO), who is up in 2010 and must be aware that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s brother John Salazar (CO) voted against the House bill? Better prospects are the just-elected cousins Mark Udall (CO) and Tom Udall (NM); the latter’s colleague Jeff Bingaman (NM) has been more cautious on some energy matters.

● The South Atlantic (FL, GA, NC, SC, VA). These were good states for Barack Obama, who carried 55 of their 78 electoral votes and helped elect Democrats to the House or Senate in FL, NC and VA. Nevertheless representatives from these five states voted 26-41 against the bill. It won pluralities in none of these 5 states. There are 4 Democratic and 6 Republican senators from these states. Bill Nelson (FL), Jim Webb (VA) and Mark Warner (VA) would probably not face too much political peril in supporting a House-like bill; Kay Hagan (NC) might, although I note that Duke Power, headquartered in her state, is one of the firms eagerly gaming cap-and-trade systems.

● The Interior South (AL, AR, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX, WV). Here is the heartland of opposition to the House bill; representatives from these 9 states voted 16-60 against the bill. The AL, LA, OK and WV delegations were unanimously against, with 7 Democrats among the 44 who opposed the House bill. AR and WV both have 2 Democratic senators, whose support for a House-like bill cannot be taken for granted; Mary Landrieu (LA) seems like a sure opponent, as do the 13 Republican senators from these states.

As I have gone down the list, I have stopped trying to tabulate the number of likely Senate votes for a House-like bill, but attentive readers will see that the number is clearly short of 50, much less the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. This doesn’t mean the fight is over. Senate Democratic and Obama administration vote counters are looking at the same numbers and trying to figure out how to modify the House approach to get the votes needed.

A couple more statistical exercises. The population increases from 2000 to 2008 in the regions favoring the House bill, according to Census Bureau estimates, was 5.9%; the population increase in that period in the regions opposing the House bill was 9.2%. As a result, according to projections by Polidata, the states whose delegations voted for the House bill will lose a net 5 House seats in the reapportionment following the 2010 Census, and the states who delegations voted against the House bill will gain a net 5 House seats.

If you assume those five seats would represent a shift in votes on the House bill, it would have lost by a 214-217 margin. Of course, that’s just an arithmetical exercise, and I expect that if the House Democratic leaders had actually faced such a counterfactual they would have switched a couple more votes and would have won. But it does suggest that cap-and-trade is not necessarily the wave of the future.



Let's hope all the intervention by government now doesn't turn a bad recession into a long Depression.

How Government Prolonged the Depression

Policies that decreased competition in product and labor markets were especially destructive.

OPINION FEBRUARY 2, 2009 Wall Street Journal

The New Deal is widely perceived to have ended the Great Depression, and this has led many to support a "new" New Deal to address the current crisis. But the facts do not support the perception that FDR's policies shortened the Depression, or that similar policies will pull our nation out of its current economic downturn.

The goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn't restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32.



Contact: Diane Bronsdon 508 945 9218
C R Facebook
To help us do our part to keep America strong and well informed, just click below. Donate Now!


Michael O'Keffe District Attorney
Leo Cakounes Barn.Cty Commish
Sheriff Cummings
Hot Air
Legal Insurrection
National Review
Power Line
Pajamas Media


Semper Fi Fund
Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops
Wounded Warrior Family Support
New England Center and Home for Veterans
Chatham Info
Monthly Archive

Category Yearly Archives