The EPA’s Agenda: Undermine Capitalism and America

The Environmental Protection Agency has been in a full assault on the U.S. economy since the 1980s when the global warming hoax was initiated. It has been assisted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

To put it in other terms, our own government has engaged in lying to Americans and the result has been the expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars on something that was not happening and is not happening.

On January 22, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released the deposition transcript of former senior EPA official John Beale. After defrauding the agency of nearly $900,000 and spending weeks and months away from his office by claiming he was on assignment for the CIA, the transcript contained a bombshell.

Discussing his job, at the time as a close associate of Gina McCarthy, the new EPA administrator, Beale revealed that he was there to come up with “specific proposals that could have been proposed either legislatively or things which could have been done administratively to kind of modify the capitalist system…”

EPA - BustedDan Kish, senior vice president of the Institute for Energy Research, responded to the revelation saying “In his testimony under oath, Beale, perhaps unwittingly, has laid bare the administration’s end goal. The President’s policies are not about carbon, they are not about coal, and they are not even about energy and the environment. They are about fundamentally altering the DNA of the capitalist system. These policies are not about energy, but power.”

When the new EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, in testimony before a congressional committee in mid-January was asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL-R) to confirm a statement made by President Obama last year that global temperatures were increasing faster in the last five or ten years than climate scientists had predicted.

She said, “I can’t answer that question.”

“You’re asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy and you won’t answer the simple question of whether (temperature around the world is increasing faster than predicted) is accurate or not?” Sessions responded.

“I just look at what the climate scientists tell me,” said McCarthy.

The Earth is in a cooling cycle that has lasted seventeen years at this point, but the EPA administrator was not inclined to accept this fact, nor question the climate scientists who provided the data based on computer models that have been consistently wrong now for decades.

We owe the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank a debt of gratitude for the eight international conferences it has held to debunk global warming. Joseph Bast, its president and CEO, has said, “The toll our EPA is taking on the country is staggering, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work at a time when millions of people are unemployed and our reliance on foreign sources of energy threatens to compromise our nation’s security.” Heartland’s science director points out that “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health, Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies…” I serve as an advisor to Heartland.

This is the same EPA that proposed restrictions for new wood stoves in early January. The reason given was to reduce the maximum amount of fine particulate emissions (soot) allowed for new stoves sold in 2015 and 2019. The soot is made up of solid particles and liquid droplets that measure 2.5 micrometers or less. The EPA claims, as it does for virtually all its regulations, that it is linked to heart attacks, decreased lung function, and premature death in people with heart and lung disease. This is worse than junk science. It represents no science whatever, being an invention of EPA employees who specialize in such nonsense. The Earth produces soot every day and circulates it globally.

The only way Americans will be protected against the EPA’s attack on our economy will be a Congress controlled by the Republican Party and a Republican President that will support the oversight that is needed and the reversal of its vast output of regulations. It will have to do this as well for NOAA, NASA, and other governmental departments and agencies that, until recently, spewed forth all manner of “data” supporting the global warming hoax.

At the heart of the global warming hoax, now called climate change, is the assertion that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases” have been dangerously warming the Earth by trapping heat, but you don’t have to be a scientist to know that the current cold spell, comparable to the 1500-1850 mini-ice age, is the result of lower solar emissions by a sun. CO2 is a minor (0.038) element of the Earth’s atmosphere, but the second most vital gas for all life on Earth because it is the “food” that maintains all vegetation.

Little wonder, during the government shutdown, more than 93% of EPA employees were furloughed when designated as “non-essential.” That was more than nine out of every ten employees!

In September 2013, the Republican members of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee issued a report that EPA officials had, from the beginning of President Obama’s tenure had “pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight.” It detailed violations of the Freedom of Information Act and other federal laws and regulations intended to encourage transparency and accountability in the government.

In mid-January, the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute revealed that emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the EPA used official events to help environmental groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking. “The level of coordination in these documents is shocking” said an EELI spokesman. The EPA has a long history of this, including a policy of “sue and settle” working with environmental groups to bring a suit to advance regulations and settling the suit to enable it to implement those regulations.

In an April 2013 article in Investor’s Business Daily, John Merline reported that “Overall air pollution levels dropped 62% from 1990 to 2012, while GDP grew 69% and population climbed 26%.” The pollution the EPA keeps claiming is rising includes carbon monoxide, soot, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and others, all well below the EPA’s safety threshold. Water quality, too, has also improved over several decades.

In May 2013, Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) noted that the EPA, since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, had generated 1,920 new regulations. “The EPA’s actions are forcing us to expend vast financial, human and technological resources to achieve minimal or even zero health benefits.”

This is the same EPA leading the effort to shut down coal-fired plants that produce electricity. It is the same EPA seeking to stop the Pebble Mine, described as “a natural resource project in Alaska that could yield more copper than has ever been found in one place anywhere in the world.”

The EPA is the instrument of those who want to undermine capitalism in any way it can. Only that can explain why entire books have been written about its impact on the economy of the nation and the deceptive way it has imposed regulations responsible for it.

President Obama called for “hope and change” when he first ran for office. We can only hope that a new Congress and President will bring about the change we need to shut down the EPA and return control over the nation’s environment to its 50 sovereign states.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Minimum Wage Hike: What you need to know

As Democrats seek to turn attention away from the rollout of ObamaCare and dedicate 2014 to the theme of income inequality, discussions on raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour have been gaining ground. The following is what you need to know about raising the minimum wage, adapted from the testimony in front of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 25, 2013 by James Sherk, a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at the Heritage Foundation. The testimony transcript can be read in its entirety by clicking here. Other sources will be noted as they are used:

  • Didn’t we just raise the minimum wage? The last federal minimum wage hike was voted on in 2007, and phased in throughout 2009. It raised the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. To raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, as some are suggesting, would be a 40% raise. Talk in Washington of raising the minimum wage began last year when President Obama set it as a policy goal in his State of the Union address:

State of the Union 2013: Obama Wants Minimum Wage: ‘A Wage You Can Live On’

  • When was the minimum wage first instituted? Congress instituted a minimum wage in 1938, and since then the inflation-adjusted buying power of the minimum wage has averaged at $6.16 in 2013 dollars. At some points the minimum wage has harnessed less or more buying power than that average, the low being $3.09 an hour in 1948 and $8.67 an hour in 1968. As Sherk noted in his congressional testimony, “Today’s minimum wage buys more somewhat more than the minimum wage has historically, although it remains over a dollar an hour below its historical high.”
  • When does Congress raise the minimum wage? Historically, Congress has voted to raise the minimum wage in relatively good economic times. Congress has never voted to raise the minimum wage with unemployment over 7.5% since the Great Depression.
  • Who works for the minimum wage? The two groups of people who typically work for the minimum wage are teenagers or young adults who are also in school, and disadvantaged adults over the age of 25. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, Sherk calculated that three-fifths of the teenagers and young adults working minimum wage jobs are enrolled in school and only 22% live at or below the poverty line since they are usually not the breadwinners in their households; three-fourths of older workers earning minimum wage live above the poverty line, because often those workers are married or choose to work part-time.
  • How many minimum wage workers are single moms or dads? Only 4% of minimum wage, full-time workers are single parents.
  • The minimum wage is a learning wage: Over half of Americans started their careers making within $1 of the minimum wage. Two-thirds of those making the minimum wage receive a raise within a year.
  • States have the power to raise their minimum wage if they wish to: James Beattie at CNSNews.com reported two weeks ago that 13 states increased their minimum wage last year, and 14 states and the District of Columbia have bills in their legislatures this year to raise the minimum wage.
  • How many Americans only earn $7.25 an hour?Ed Feulner, former President of the Heritage Foundation, wrote last month that only 3% of American workers earn just $7.25 an hour.
  • What are the effects of raising the minimum wage? Sherk noted, “The minimum wage especially hurts disadvantaged workers’ job prospects. Higher minimum wages encourage employers to replace less-skilled workers with more productive employees. Given the choice between hiring an unskilled worker for $10.10 an hour and a worker with more experience for the same rate, companies will always choose the more experienced and productive employee.” If the minimum wage is raised, more experience and educated workers will settle for minimum wage jobs, because “Higher minimum wages…make working in such jobs more attractive, drawing greater numbers of workers with outside sources of income into the labor market….[and] they crowd out urban teenagers and disadvantaged adults who would have sought the jobs at the previous wages.”

Bill Gates thinks raising the minimum wage will not help disadvantaged workers:

ACTION ALERT: Time to help Ethanol bite the dust

After years of dramatically increasing the amount of ethanol required in gasoline, EPA is finally beginning to reserve course. But EPA needs to hear from you. If you think that EPA shouldn’t force people to use ethanol, let them know today.

For the first time since 2007, the EPA has proposed a slight cut to the amount of ethanol that must blended into the nation’s fuel supply this year. But this may not happen unless the EPA hears from you.

Ethanol can be harmful to engines, especially at the levels EPA has proposed in the past. And worse, the current law forces farmers to turn food into fuel because the law requires Americans to consume billions of gallons of ethanol a year, even if they don’t want to.

Although progress has been made, there’s still more work to do. The Renewable Fuel Standards Program (RFS) is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the belief that government bureaucrats can accurately predict gasoline demand years in advance, as well as ethanol production and demand.

Tell the EPA that reducing the ethanol mandate is not enough. Congress must repeal the RFS to let the free market flourish and support a healthy energy future.

David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. writes, “The ethanol mandate in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard increases corn prices and food prices. This harms consumers and distorts the domestic and international commodity market. While waiving the mandate would be an improvement, eliminating it is the best choice.”

Using food for fuel is immoral. According to  UNICEF and the World Health Organization every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday. This equates to 16,438 children a day. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving. Since you’ve entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger.

Private property: An extinct species in Florida?

Dan Peterson, Executive Director of  Coalition For Property Rights (CPR) in an email states, “It seems all but official…last week the announcement was made that a sufficient number of signatures has been obtained to place an amendment proposal to Florida’s Constitution on the November 2014 ballot.”

What is it?

The ballot is entitled “Water and Land Conservation” (see the full text below). The Ballot “dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.”

The amendment will require 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents (the state documentary stamps on real estate transactions) for 20 years be placed in the “Land Acquisition Trust Fund.” That adds up to a potential of $10 Billion available to be spent. The monies will be designated to acquire land, manage lands, improve lands, and service debt on bond issues among other things.

Who is behind this initiative?

The campaign is called, ‘Florida’s Water and Land Legacy.” It is being promoted by The Florida Conservation Coalition headed by Bob Graham, Lee Constantine, and Nathaniel Reed. It has the endorsement of many extreme environmentalist groups. And, it has been advised and funded by “The Conservation Campaign,” a Washington, DC organization that has generated more than $35 Billion in new public money (tax money) for land conservation.

“The American dream was founded upon the principle of private citizens owning property as a protection against the potential tyranny of the state. This principle, emphasizing owners with the freedom to prosper (through the achievement of an economic expectation) by using their land, is the reason our country has become the most exceptional in history. Large amounts of government owned lands threaten that dream for many reasons,” warns Peterson.

Government already owns and controls more than 30% of Florida. More than 27% of Florida is already held in conservation. With additional government ownership of land, comes added government bureaucracy. For years, government has struggled to produce an accurate inventory of the lands it owns and controls. And, the funding to manage or maintain these lands has been less than adequate.

Peterson states, “Government is not the desired manager of money nor is it the best steward of property. Private citizens are much better at accounting for and managing money and property. In fact, Randall Holcombe, in a 2009 article written for the James Madison Institute, documented how private land management firms could manage acreage at a much lower cost than the state. The plans described in his study were never attempted because government bureaucracy got it the way.”

What happens when government owns and controls land?

  1. Florida tax dollars are spent to purchase the land. Since 2001, nearly $3 Billion of your tax dollars have been spent to buy land for conservation.
  2. Additional tax dollars must now be spent to maintain those lands including the hiring of more state employees (increasing the size of government) and the purchase of more equipment and facilities.
  3. When property goes unmaintained, it can become a safety hazard to other people and their property (as illustrated by Florida’s brush fires).
  4. Once government controls land, it often becomes “off-limits” to Floridians and visitors even though taxpayers theoretically own them. No trespassing signs often dominate the fences forming the boundaries of “state owned” lands.
  5. When government owns and controls property, the natural resources of those properties become untouchable.
  6. Land placed in conservation usually sits fallow and makes little to no contribution to Florida’s economy.
  7. Parcels owned and controlled by the state are taken off the tax rolls.This places an additional burden on local government and citizens to fund their own local needs of things like education, local fire & safety, local infrastructure improvements, etc.

CPR is urging Floridians to oppose this amendment for the following reasons:

  1. Eroding the amount of privately owned property erodes the American dream.Our Founding Fathers understood an important principle: the right to property that ensures the other rights we enjoy and is a defense against tyranny.
  2. Private property ownership leads to maintenance and wiser use.Before entrusting government with more money to buy land, it should be held accountable and demonstrate its ability as a wise steward to maintain what is currently owned.
  3. This amendment creates and funds additional government bureaucracy that will be neither accountable nor efficient.
  4. Florida currently has action plans and agencies (such as the Department of Environmental Protection) which are positioned to balance the purchase and management of land while coordinating those plans with protecting Florida’s water quantity and quality.
  5. Funding allocated to fulfilling those plans (already approved and in action) would be a much better use than putting billions into the hands of narrow, special interest groups, many of which have an extreme environmentalist philosophy.

CPR asks Floridians to consider two opposing philosophies of those who wish to direct Florida’s future.

The special interest, extreme environmentalist/sustainable development philosophy is expressed in this preamble quote from the United Nations (UN) Habitat 1 Conference, held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976:

“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes…Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection…”

Alternatively, the principle and value which made America the land of the free and the home of the brave is expressed in this quote by Virginia Colonist and Founding Father Arthur Lee in 1775:

“The right of property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.”

Peterson concludes with, “Perhaps, rather than increasing land purchase, it would enhance liberty and be more beneficial to the potential property owners in Florida to consider lowering the high cost of current doc stamp tax taxes by a third.”

FULL TEXT:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA THAT:

Article X, Section 28, Florida Constitution, is created to read:

SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.–

a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.

b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:

1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.

2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).

c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.

Panama Canal widening troubles may Impact World Trade

For several weeks now, the local Panama newspapers have been carrying the story of how the winner of the canal widening bidding has been reneguing on the contract. They are claiming that the preliminary study by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) was not accurate and that if they had been more diligent, the contracting consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) would have bid higher.

Dredging Today reports, “The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has warned that the suspension announced for today [January 20, 2014] by Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) is not valid, lacks merit and goes against what is established in the Contract for the Design and Construction of the Third Set of Locks. Currently, the production levels are low in the new locks project without any justification.”

But two of the other consortiums, one including the American company Bechtel Corporation and two Japanese companies, warned shortly after the award was made that the offer by GUPC was not safe (with regard to the seismic safety features, which, they maintained would not withstand a major earthquake) and were based on what seemed to be fictitious figures for the costs, which could not have been as low in reality as offered.

The consortium that won the bid was constituted of three companies, all European.

Shortly after the award, a free trade agreement was signed with the EU and food prices soared in some sectors here in Panama. Now GUPC is running to Daddy EU for refinancing with still more German money thrown down still another hole.

GUPC has suspended 70% of its operations in the middle lock. The problem is compounded by the fact that most of the work should have been completed in the dry season, which lasts only about 2-3 more months.

Of course, the widening will be done eventually, but there is something further to this story:

Nicaragua is planning to build a competing canal with Chinese assistance and financing. That project is due to start in 2014.

Panama is way over its head in debt thanks to what the hostile media call “pharaonic” construction projects, and if this canal project fails to tilt the fiscal balance sheet in its favor, a tsunami of debt could take it into dangerous territory.

The current President Martinelli of Panama belongs to a party called Democratic Change (Cambio Democrático).

Obama promise kept: “Your Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket”

There is no reason for the U.S. to be in such a slow recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. If President Obama would get out of the way, our national debt could be dramatically reduced and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created in the nation’s energy sector, leading to the expansion of its manufacturing sector and still more jobs.

As Daniel Simmons, the Director of Regulatory and State Affairs for the Institute of Energy Research told the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements in February 2013:

“The federal estate contains vast energy resources, but the federal government allows energy production on a very small percentage of taxpayer-owned federal lands. The Interior Department has leased just two percent (2%) of federal offshore areas and less than six percent (6%) of federal onshore lands for oil and gas development.”

“These technically recoverable resources total 1,194 billion barrels of oil and 2,150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that is owned by the federal taxpayer…the value of the estimated oil resources is $119.4 trillion and the value of the estimated natural gas resources is $8.6 trillion for a grand total of $128 trillion.”

As 2014 began, Mark D. Green, editor and lead contributor to Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, noted that “Oil and natural gas are the energies of our lives.” They heat and cool our homes and apartment dwellings. They fuel our vehicles and aircraft. They are components of products we use every day. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil for these uses and more.”

Green also noted the important role the energy industries play in our economy, citing the “5.6 percent (5.6%) of total U.S. employment. “With the right policies in place—pro-development policies that increase access to domestic reserves—the industry could add another 1.4 million jobs by 2030.”

Jobs for younger workers would increase because 50 percent (50%) of the oil and natural gas industry’s skilled workers could be retiring within a decade. Pro-development policies would fuel a renaissance in manufacturing as lower energy prices would reduce outsourcing and attract manufacturers to build and expand facilities in the U.S.

One factor stands in the way of this brighter economic future and that is President Obama and those who direct the work of the Environmental Protection Agency—an enemy of the coal industry—and the Department of the Interior which has slowed the provision of leases to energy companies to expand the discovery and extraction of energy resources.

Instead, Obama has delayed the construction of Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would generate jobs to build it and jobs resulting from it. Green says that “As unimaginable as it might have been just five years ago, the right policy decisions could see the U.S. meet 100 percent (100%) of its liquid fuel needs domestically or from Canada by 2014.”

Energy industries already send $85 million a day to the U.S. Treasury in income taxes, royalty payments, and other fees. Obama, though, wants to raise the nation’s borrowing limits after having added six trillion dollars in debt in his first term.

It was Obama who wasted a trillion dollars on a failed “stimulus”, discovering belatedly that there were few “shovel-ready” jobs while at the same time wasting billions in loans to wind and solar companies that went into bankruptcy shortly after receiving them.

As Simmons points out, “In 2011, wind power produced 1.2 percent (1.2%) of the energy used in the United States, solar power produce 0.1 percent (0.1%) and hydroelectric power contributed 3.3 percent (3.3%) of the total energy used. Solar and wind energy is unpredictable and require back-up from traditional electrical energy plants. “Today, there are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States and construction began for all of these reactors prior to 1974.”

Thanks to the EPA 153 coal-fired plants have been shut down!

What the public is not told is that the coal-fueled electric sector has invested $110 billion in a variety of clean coal technologies that reduced emissions by 90% and intends, over the next decade, to spend $100 billion more. Even so, the EPA continues to issue rules—New Source Performance Standard—that make operating coal-fired plants too costly to operate.

The Obama administration’s justification for its policies is the bogus claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for “global warming” or “climate change” when it plays NO role whatever regarding the Earth’s climate.

The same lies the Obama and Democrats in Congress, as well as the Health and Human Services department told Americans about the Affordable Health Act are reflected in their lies about the nation’s energy sector.

Obama has been waging a war on America’s energy needs and the benefits that would result from its expansion.

Until Obama leaves office and voters remove the opponents of the nation’s energy sector, the enormous benefits to Americans in jobs and debt reduction will not occur.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED COLUMN AND VIDEO: Under Obama, Electricity Rates Are ‘Necessarily’ Skyrocketing

How did the FL Congressional Delegation vote on the $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill?

It seems Congress just can’t cut spending or the debt these days. Of course, it is an election year and you would think with all the Florida Congressional delegation members up for reelection in 2014 they would be just a little bit fiscally conservative. If you believe that I have a bridge from Miami to Cuba to sell to you.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (H.R.3547), better known as the omnibus appropriations package, increases base discretionary spending by $24 billion in FY 2014. Heritage Action states, “The omnibus takes the country in the wrong direction, both in terms of policy and overall spending levels.”

This omnibus bill funds a Tamiami Trail Project (subject to availability of funds) and acquiring lands for Everglades restoration. The word “abortion” appears twenty-seven times in the bill. The word “sterilization” appears six times and the words “subsidy and “healthcare” eleven times each.

Sorry no tax refunds are in the bill for us Floridians.

“On top of increasing overall spending the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill irresponsibly increases funding for failing programs like Head Start, funds flood insurance subsidies, and pays for ineffective green energy projects. Additionally, an Obamacare funding loophole could provide subsidies to health plans that cover abortion,” notes Heritage Action.

Heritage Action reports, “Lawmakers and their constituents had less than 48 hours to read the 1,582-page bill before the House voted. On Wednesday, the House passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill, 359 to 67 (with three liberals voting no). Now the spending bill moves to the Senate, where a vote is expected this week. The omnibus takes the country in the wrong direction, both in terms of policy and overall spending levels.”

So how did the Florida Congressional delegation vote? Here are who voted YES, NO and DNV:

Voted YES on Omnibus Spending Bill:

FL 19 REP. TREY RADEL (R)
FL 1 REP. JEFF MILLER (R)
FL 15 REP. DENNIS ROSS (R)
FL 7 REP. JOHN MICA (R)
FL 3 REP. TED YOHO (R)
FL 12 REP. GUS BILIRAKIS (R)
FL 2 REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND (R)
FL 17 REP. TOM ROONEY (R)
FL 10 REP. DANIEL WEBSTER (R)
FL 4 REP. ANDER CRENSHAW (R)
FL 25 REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R)
FL 27 REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R)
FL 9 REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D)
FL 5 REP. CORRINE BROWN (D)
FL 14 REP. KATHY CASTOR (D)
FL 22 REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D)
FL 23 REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D)
FL 21 REP. TED DEUTCH (D)
FL 18 REP. PATRICK MURPHY (D)
FL 24 REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D)
FL 20 REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D)
FL 26 REP. JOE GARCIA (D)

Voted NO on Omnibus Spending Bill:

FL 6 REP. RON DESANTIS (R)
FL 11 REP. RICHARD NUGENT (R)
FL 8 REP. BILL POSEY (R)

Did not vote (DNV) on Omnibus Spending Bill:

FL 16 REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R)

RELATED COLUMNS: 

Who Read 1,582-Page $1.1T Spending Bill? Congressman: ‘Nobody Did’

Fed Owns 64% More U.S. Government Debt Than China (+video)

China Now Owns a Record $1.317T of U.S. Government Debt

Obama is Denying Energy Independence to America

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East, it occurred to me that, if we had a president who had even the slightest grasp of energy facts, we could be living in a nation that is not dependent in part on Middle East oil.

Instead, we have a president who will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be extended from Canada at no cost to American taxpayers while providing thousands of jobs, short and long-term and whose administration denies access to the nation’s vast energy reserves.

Why? Some observers say President Obama is trying to maintain his bona fides among environmentalists and it’s important to keep in mind that virtually every major environmental organization opposes any and all forms of energy development. I suspect the President simply sees the pipeline as symbolic of his overall attack on America’s ability to have sufficient energy to meet its needs and provide for growth. It is an attack on our economy.

Billions of gallons of crude oil is used daily in America and the nation has an extensive network of pipelines to transport it; approximately 55,000 miles. In addition there is also an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines, located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. Right now, hundreds of miles of Keystone XL pipe sit idle on 83 acres of leased land outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Testifying in April before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, said that both America and our neighbor Mexico are energy rich countries with total recoverable oil reserves that exceed 1.7 trillion barrels. At our current rate of use, that is enough for the next 242 years.

In terms of natural gas, North America has approximately 4.2 quadrillion cubic feet, enough for 176 years at the current rate of use. U.S. recoverable coal reserves are estimated at more than 497 billion short tons; enough for nearly 500 years at our current rate of use.

As events in Egypt are reported, commentators note the importance of the Suez Canal through which much of the oil the West uses must pass, but given the U.S. oil reserves our nation could function independent of that imported oil.

Ironically, we will have to build more pipelines to transport it internally and we need to build more liquid gas facilities to export our huge reserves of natural gas. This is not likely to occur over the remaining years of the Obama administration, nor will the shutdowns of coal-fired plants in a nation that is the Saudi Arabia of coal cease. Coal in federally controlled land is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but it remains barred from mining.

Not only could the U.S. be energy independent, but could be a major exporter to other nations because oil, natural gas, and coal will comprise almost eighty percent of the global energy supply in 2040. Energy demand is expected to grow by fifty-six percent between now and 2040, mostly due to the economic growth of nations such as China and India.

The nation remains mired in an economy that is barely growing at two percent annually and part of that is due to the energy policies of the Obama administration. As this is being written, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies have quietly raised their estimated “social cost” of carbon emissions from $21 per ton to $35 per ton. The increase was not debated in Congress, nor available for public review. Instead, its announcement was buried in an unrelated Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens!

Having been defeated in its efforts to impose a tax on carbon emissions, the Obama administration is engaging in the outright fraud of claiming that carbon emissions are causing global warming/climate change. As part of its war on energy provision the Obama administrated wasted billions on wind power, solar power, and electric car company failures throughout its first term. Without mandates and subsidies, none of these enterprises could remain in business or be competitive.

The U.S. economy should be booming given the huge reserves of natural gas and oil that exist nationwide, but instead it remains hostage to nations such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time a major oil exporter, Iraq, has seen its exports reduced due to the turmoil that has escalated since the U.S. military was withdrawn. Sanctions on Iran affect its oil exports. Expect the cost of oil to remain high for years to come.

The U.S. is suffering from the attacks on its energy sector by the major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth at the same time the Obama administration continues its regulatory attacks to reduce the coal mining industry and restrict access to oil reserves. In states and on privately owned lands, there is a boom in natural gas extraction.

Every American who fills up his auto’s gas tank, air conditions or heats their home or apartment, and whose livelihood is directly affected by the cost and availability of energy is being held hostage by the Obama administration, forced to pay higher costs and forced to suffer the loss of opportunity in a nation whose access to its own vast energy reserves is being denied.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Overstock.com now accepts payment in Bitcoin

I wrote a column questioning if 2014 would be the breakout year for the Bitcoin. It appears that it very well may be! John Stossel from Fox Business News reports:

The big online retailer Overstock.com now accepts payment in Bitcoin. That’s good news for lovers of liberty because Bitcoins give us an alternative to government-controlled money. Bitcoins are a currency created by anonymous, private tech nerds, not by government.

Governments don’t like competition, and our government sometimes bans competing currencies. But as more of us use Bitcoins, and more businesses accept payment in Bitcoin, it becomes harder for government to dismiss the currency as illegitimate, or ban it.

There are two advantages to Bitcoin.

First, it’s harder to trace transactions back to people who make trades. I don’t particularly care about that, because at the moment, I don’t hide anything from my government. But I do fear government destroying the value of my dollars by printing more of them, the way governments in Germany before World War II and in Zimbabwe in recent decades did, forcing people to make trades using wheelbarrows of nearly worthless bills.

“Bitcoins are not controlled by anybody,” states Mercatus Center senior research fellow Jerry Brito.

Bitcoins have become a concern for central banks and governments around the world. They are beginning to fear it and with that will come efforts to control it. Bitcoins, much like the TEA Party movement, are hard to control. But that does not mean the powers to be won’t try.

Stossel notes, “The biggest risk to private currencies may be that governments will become jealous of how well these upstart forms of money work. If people all over the world decide to trade in digital currencies, it will become more obvious than ever that government isn’t what makes economic activity happen. It will also be harder to trace — and tax — people’s economic activity. Government doesn’t like to get sidelined. To its credit, the German government announced that it recognizes Bitcoin as a legal alternate currency.” Read more.

Bitcoins will truly breakout when businesses small and large not only accept them but can use them to pay their utility bill, purchase raw materials and pay their employees. If you want to see the future of Bitcoins then watch the new FOX TV series “Almost Human“.

Fasten your seat belts this will be a wild ride.

Smart Meters – The Gateway to Time of Use Rates

Smart meters collect detailed energy usage data at certain time intervals. When initially deployed, utilities and government entities will talk up the reasons and benefits as being “to provide users with more information in order to better manage their energy”. Consumers who have studied the smart grid and the purpose of smart meters will point to their main purpose as being necessary for “time of use (TOU) billing.” Utilities and government officials will accuse them of “fear mongering”.

Well, California is ahead of Florida, so let’s look at their experience with smart meters. A few days ago, San Francisco Gate reported that the California Public Utilities Commission is proposing sweeping new rate changes for California’s Investor Owned Utilities. Guess what they entail – time of use pricing!

SF Gate reports that residential customers with typical monthly usage of 600 kilowatts will see their bills rise 13% if they stay on flat rates and 16% if they switch to TOU pricing and don’t “change their habits”. What changes in habit are they talking about? Running those dishwashers and washing machines at times that they don’t want you to use energy.

For residential customers who use 1200 kilowatts, well they will see reductions of 14-17% in their bills. What you say? Hasn’t everyone been saying we need to conserve energy so we don’t have to build power plants and turn on peak power plants? The article goes on to claim that changes made during the last energy crisis caused an imbalance in pricing where heavy users were subsidizing low users.

Although there is a choice, note that everyone will be automatically enrolled in TOU pricing unless they “specifically” choose to stick with tiered rates.

Last year, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) proposed time of use pricing too. An editorial in the Sacramento Bee stated “The current system results in heavy users unfairly subsidizing low-use customers who use a disproportionate amount of electricity during times of peak demand. It sends the wrong price message to customers.”

The narrative is changing in California. But that is no surprise, as it changed in other places around the globe that have deployed smart meters and then later mandated time of use rates.

I questioned the Public Service Commission back in May 2012 on smart meter deployment asking “FP&L states we can have access to our usage on a continually basis. … The only time this becomes important information, as a consumer to have, is when you move to pricing based on “time of day usage”. Is this where we are heading with this “smart grid” and if so shouldn’t the public be alerted now?”

Walter Clemence responded in an e-mail on June 6, 2012 as follows:

“Will time-of-use rates become mandatory after smart meters are deployed?

Time-of-use rates are optional and customers may continue to take service under their current rate schedule.  Customers have had the option of time-of-use rates since 1974. “

Pay close attention to the words he used. He did not say that there were “no plans to move to TOU pricing”. And in fairness, California is letting those that want to stay on flat rate pricing do so. But as smart consumers know, that with nearly 20% rise in rates, eventually good comrades do what the State demands. They comply.

Google “smart meters and dynamic pricing” and see what you find.  There is a 10-year audit trail on their plans to move everyone to dynamic pricing and change behaviors through pricing. And just for the record, TOU pricing is just an interim step; the ultimate goal is “real time” pricing (RTP). This is a staged implementation for a reason. It’s like the frog. Put him in boiling water and he will jump out. Put him in cold water and gradually turn up the heat and he stays there until he can no longer get out.

Skeptics (pro-smart grid) will argue changing consumer behavior is essential and they will talk about the overloaded grid. But the forecast for electricity load growth tells a different story. Check out this Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, July 23, 2013 presentation to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Electricity Load Growth is expected to decline.

Source: July 23, 2013, Utility Business Models in a Low Load Growth/High DG Future, Charles Goldman, Andy Satchwell, and Peter Cappers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

What’s in store for Florida? Can all its seniors handle staying up until 7:00 p.m. to do their laundry? Perhaps they will offer senior special discounts so they can afford to run the air conditioners during those hot summer afternoons. The rest of us will pay or sweat.

EDITORS NOTE: TOU means that instead of a single flat rate for energy use, time-of-use rates are higher when electric demand is higher. This means when you use energy is just as important as how much you use. To learn more about time of use rates watch this video from Pacific Gas & Electric:

RELATED COLUMN: DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

America’s Unemployment Sinkhole

A President who thinks that extending unemployment compensation “creates jobs” is so out of touch with reality that it should come as no surprise that Obama has the worst record of unemployment rates since the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The latest employment figures for December showed that the economy only added 74,000 non-farm jobs, the fewest in three years! The government claims that the unemployment rate dropped 0.3%—the first time in 60 months that it dropped below 7%. And the official rate is bogus. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively looking for work.

As of October 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that “The U.S. now has 90.6 million ‘non-institutionalized’ men and women over the age of 16 not working—an all-time high. That’s 10 million above the 80.5 million when President Obama took office. With total unemployment at 144.3 million, for every three Americans over the age of 16 earning a paycheck there are two who aren’t even looking for a job. That’s an ugly portent for American prosperity.”

In a September 2013 edition of Investor’s Business Daily, Betsey McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “Beating Obama-Care”, wrote that “After 4-1/2 years of the Obama presidency, an unprecedented number of Americans have given up looking for work, wages are stagnating, low-wage earners are suffering most and the U.S. is fast becoming a nation of part-time workers.”

You can thank Obamacare for the rise in part-time workers as it increased the cost of hiring full-time workers and many businesses have reduced the hours of workers to avoid incurring it. Obamacare is a job killer. From Jan 1 through July 31, 2013, 77% of jobs created were part-time. Fewer than one out of four people got hired for full-time jobs. This is the opposite of a normal economy.

The official Labor Department figure of seven percent (7%) unemployment is a fiction as it does not include the millions who have given up looking for work. Mort Zuckerman, the chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, writing in a July 2013 edition of The Wall Street Journal, said “The unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading. An estimated 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.”

McCaughey noted that since 2008 Congress has extended jobless benefits from a maximum of 26 weeks to as many as 99 weeks every year, but failed to do so for 2014. While benefits ended for more than 1.9 million unemployed, the President and Congress went on vacation.

Now the most important piece of legislation according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a three-month extension of benefits. In an election year, this is likely to be extended repeatedly as Republicans are being described as heartless and indifferent, but the facts reveal a President who has been responsible for the millions of unemployed.

According to Paul Harrington, the director of Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy, “Back in 2007, 7% unemployment would seem disastrously high, but now it’s more like a humble brag.” For those that are working, the “fiscal cliff” agreement with Congress included an increase of the Social Security payroll tax that raised it from 4.2% to 6.2% which translates for a worker earning $30,000 a year to a loss of $50 a week less in take-home pay.

The percentage of Americans who have a job or are seeking one plunged to a 34-year-low in the spring of 2013 to 63%. Little wonder that a record number of Americans households saw their real income drop by $2,627 and the number of people in poverty increased by approximately 6,667,000 according to the Census Bureau.

A record 46,496,000 are now poor by government standards. This represents an increase of 16.73% from 2008 to 2012.

Obama’s policies have created a nation of millions on some form of government dole. By June 2013, a record 23,116,928 American households were enrolled in the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—AKA food stamps—according to data released by the Department of Agriculture. That outnumbers the population of the entire Northeastern United States or those living in the entire Western U.S.

By December 2013, the total number of people now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,988,269, up from the previous record of 10,982,920 set in November, according to the Social Security Administration. The average monthly benefit was $1,146.43, an increase from the previous December. CNSNews.com reported that the number of Americans getting disability benefits exceeded the entire population of Greece. The number has increased every month for 202 straight months.

The poverty level has broken a 50-year record.

POVERTYThe poverty rate has stood at 15% for three consecutive years, the first time that has happened since the mid-1960s, famed for LBJ’s “war on poverty.” More than $20 trillion has been spent on poverty since then. Today the government spends nearly $1 trillion annually on 80 federal means-tested programs providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and targeted social services for the poor and low-income Americans.

The poverty level is defined by the government as an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four. The poverty is directly attributable in part to Obama’s failed efforts to improve the nation’s economy.

To put it in other terms, the U.S. spent $3.7 trillion on welfare over the past five years that Obama has been in office.

New research from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, reported in October 2013, noted that “The enormous sum spent on means-tested assistance is nearly five times greater than the combined amount spent on NASA, education, and all federal transportation projects.

It isn’t even the entire amount because states contribute more than $200 billion each year, primarily in the form of low-income health care. And, of course, Obamacare has already produced an increase of those enrolling in Medicaid.

The statistics all add up to a nation in which Americans are worse off since the election and reelection of President Obama and we have another three years in which to endure his historic failure to turn around the economy. What can we expect from a President who thinks that unemployment compensation “creates jobs”?

The government does not “create jobs”; the private sector does that and, under Obama, it has been under attack with a vast increase in government regulations and policies that produce unemployment.

Is there “income inequality” in America? Yes, there always has been, but what Obama does not talk about is the “income mobility” that permits low income Americans to secure employment and higher wages when the economy is improving. It is another Big Lie from a President who is wedded to Marxist “solutions” that have never worked.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Tax Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform goes to —

The Tax Foundation is honoring six individuals with awards for Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform. As the name of the award suggests, the honorees were selected for their extraordinary efforts to advance the cause of simpler, smarter tax policy in the previous year.

2013 was an exciting year for tax reform throughout the states. Numerous legislators made commitments to smarter, more principled tax policy. We are excited to introduce this new award in recognition of their efforts and are encouraged by the growing support for the kinds of policies this year’s honorees have worked toward.

The following individuals are the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform award:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence in 2013 achieved an income tax reduction while maintaining the state’s scheduled reduction in corporate taxes and elimination of the inheritance tax. Building on the administrative reform work of his predecessor Gov. Mitch Daniels, Pence has sought further business tax reforms, continued budget restraint, and a determination to make Indiana more attractive to investment and growth.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in 2011 achieved the elimination of the state’s unique and economically destructive Michigan Business Tax (MBT) replacing it with a corporate income tax. Snyder has also successfully scaled back overly generous business tax incentives and demanded greater accountability and transparency from the ones that remain.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez proposed a far-reaching business tax reform and, by skillfully working with the Legislature, signed into law in 2013 a final bill that included much of what she had sought. Provisions include a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 7.6 percent to 5.9 percent over several years, tightening of some tax credits, and improvements to tax administration.

North Carolina Senator Phil Berger in 2013 led the legislative effort to enact the year’s most significant state tax reform, offering an impressive initial proposal and ultimately crafting the version that became law. Provisions include reducing the individual income tax from a top rate of 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 5.75 percent by 2015, a more generous standard deduction for all taxpayers, a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5 percent by 2015, and an immediate repeal of the estate tax.

Ohio activist Ron Alban in 2011 created and coordinated a grassroots effort of thousands that led to the repeal of the state’s estate tax beginning in 2013. With an exemption level of just $338,333, about 8,000 estates each year paid the tax in Ohio, harming family businesses and investment. Alban’s coalition-building skills and persistence overcame strong opposition by special interests and local governments that sought to preserve the tax.

Wisconsin Representative Dale Kooyenga championed pro-growth state tax reform and worked to ensure that the 2013 budget included income tax reductions and some business reforms. While a modest first step, they are a result of Kooyenga’s expertise and ability to craft reasonable, practical solutions to widely acknowledged problems with the state’s tax system.

Tax Topic State Tax and Spending Policy

An Open Letter To Ways And Means

Welcome back to Washington and Happy New Year

As you return to the business of the House Committee on Ways and Means, you and your colleagues will, in many ways, determine the direction of our nation by the decisions you will soon make on fundamental tax reform.

You have a clear and distinct choice to make. You can continue to pander to the special interests that will forever hold you hostage to their gluttonous demands, or you can break from this insidious cycle and fully represent the will of the people who elected you.

If you choose to continue in the bondage of special interest slavery, the demands they exact will rise to levels that even you cannot imagine. Once the fatted calf becomes addicted to the feed trough, its’ appetite becomes insatiable.

Contrast this to the people who elected you who simply want to pay their fair share of taxes without the fear and intimidation of an agency that continues to be used as a political weapon.

Even the IRS’s own watchdog, Nina Olson, stated in her just published annual report, “Public trust in [IRS] fairness and impartiality was called into question because of reports the IRS subjected certain applicants for tax exempt status to greater review based on political-sounding games.”

Sadly, Olson’s only remedy is an IRS generated U.S. taxpayer Bill of Rights. By the way, didn’t you already try this in 1988 when Congress passed the first of three Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

To Olson’s suggestion, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t this a little like the fox guarding the hen house; just like the U.S. Justice Department appointing Barbara Bosserman to lead the IRS targeting investigation?

fox guards henhouse

Silly me, I am sure any individual who shelled out over $6,000 in donations to the Obama campaign will show total impartiality during a criminal probe involving conservative organizations.

The bottom line is this – the American people want a simple and fair system of taxation without all the drama, theatrics and corruption. They want the fox to leave the hen house and they want their representatives to put a stop to the longstanding reign of terror by the IRS.

The FairTax® Plan does this and more.

Reduced to its most basic terms, the FairTax eliminates taxes on wages while taxing wealth and borrowing when spent. It eliminates the income/payroll tax system and replaces it with a single rate tax on consumption.

More importantly, it is fair, simple and universal in application – no exceptions, no exclusions, and no more special interests feeding at the trough.  And, it fosters economic growth and efficiency while fully funding the government. 

You will soon have a decision to make on fundamental tax reform.

Option 1: You tinker with the current system, call it major reform and continue in the bondage of special interests.  With this option the American people continue as the losers.

Option 2: You represent the will of the people who elected you and enact HR 25, The FairTax Act, freeing them from the bondage of an out-of-control IRS and a gobbledygook tax code that is fast approaching 100,000 pages. With this option, the American people have a fair and simple tax code that also eliminates the yearly tax return nightmare that has already begun.

Which decision will you make? Perhaps you can draw inspiration from General Robert E. Lee who once said, “You have only always to do what is right. It will become easier by practice, and you enjoy in the midst of your trials the pleasure of an approving conscience.”

Your electorate awaits your decision. Remember, they too have decisions to make in November 2014.

Florida Public Service Commission caves to FP&L smart meter demands

As expected the Florida Public Service Commission approved the staff recommendation today to allow FP&L to charge $95 upfront and $13 per month to those customers who wish to opt out of a smart meter.

My apologies, I did not know you could call in and make verbal public comments at this meeting over the phone. One citizen did that.

The OPC did little but suggest a reduced fee of $75 upfront and $10/month and based it off of California. They also recommended two paragraph’s be included in the Order. It was read quickly and I did not fully understand the significance, if any, of those inclusions. But basically OPC supported the tariff and the fee being charged.

Health and medical exemptions were never even discussed. No discussion of the definition of a non-communicating meter occurred, nor any of the other issues brought up to mitigate costs such as self-readings.

FP&L did admit that the fee needed to be and was designed to be high enough to disincentivize opt outs!

When questioned, they claimed customers who had an analog could keep it but also said there were NO savings by people opting out (which is not true since they will not be spending money putting on a smart meter). They also re-enforced that at any time if a customer wants to switch from an analog to a smart meter that there would be NO fee. Those customers refusing to pay the fees will be put into their normal collection process for non-payment. They admitted that the $77 visit charge may not occur for all customers but some customer may have 5 visits and it is meant to be an average assumption (so much for cost based and cost causer!).

If you wish to watch the meeting, it will be archived at this link and Item #6 starts at the 57 minute mark: http://www.floridapsc.com/agendas/audiovideo/index.aspx

FP&L will be revising their tariff and resubmitting today to reflect the staff recommendations. They indicated that they expected this service to become effective in May 2014 (I assume that is when they will start charging us).

If no protest is filed, the Order will become effective in 21 days.

The Very Green Keystone Pipeline Delay

Stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from carrying Canadian oil, a major trading partner and ally of the United States, is just part of a much larger environmental agenda aimed at preventing access to this energy source, but it is larger in scope; stopping or slowing the development of America’s huge reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas.

Just before 2013 came to an end, the Sierra Club sent out an email claiming that “2014 is shaping up to be a defining year for the environment” warning that “Superstorms, wildfires, and mass destruction from climate change threaten us all. Future generations and endangered species like wolves and bear are counting on us.” This is pure fear-mongering. In 2013, all the factors mentioned were in decline.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, here are just some of the predictions that were made:

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.” — Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

On December 29, 2013, the Sierra Club was celebrating the shutdown of the 150th coal-fired plant that provided electricity. They want more solar and wind power, the least reliable source of the smallest production of electricity. They applauded the Obama administration’s plans to restrict any drilling for oil in the Arctic and “proposed new EPA rules on carbon pollution.” There is no carbon pollution.

According to Wikipedia, “Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium and oxygen. It is present in all known life forms, and in the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen. This abundance, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming ability at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth make this element the chemical basis of all known life. (emphasis added).

Calling carbon a threat to human life is so absurd that it defies known science, but that was exactly the basis for all the “global warming” lies, claiming that carbon dioxide would warm the Earth when it plays no such role in the atmosphere. Suggesting that humans have any role in “climate change” is the basis for the legislative and regulatory objectives of the Obama administration that declared a “war on coal” when it is in reality a war on electricity production, the most essential element of life in America.

My friend, David Rothbard, the president of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) a free market think tank, led a team to visit to Fort McMurray, Canada in 2012 to see first-hand the tar sands from which oil is being extracted. “I have to tell you,” he said, “not just by the technology being used to bring much-needed oil up to the surface in situ with hardly a trace of environmental impact…but much more so, by the infectious spirit of opportunity in this bustling frontier town. To me, Ft. McMurray is a symbol of the kind of progress and prosperity that can come when people are able to discover and access abundant natural resources in a way that serves society and protects the environment.”

What the Greens see in Northern Alberta and in Nebraska that is enjoying an economic boom thanks to the fracking technology that produces more natural gas are people having more wealth and freedom, more jobs, more energy for the rest of us.

Pipelines in US

Pipelines in United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

“The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars every day.”

“Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products. The federal government rededicated itself to pipeline safety in 2006 when the PIPES Act was signed. It mandates new methods and makes commitments for new technologies to manage the integrity of the nation’s pipelines and raise the bar on pipeline safety.”

So why has President Obama, for five years now, blocked the extension of the Keystone XL pipeline to America’s Gulf Coast where many of the nation’s refineries are located? Because it represents jobs and further economic development.

The AFL-CIO wants to see Keystone XL built. “The American construction industry has suffered greatly. The national unemployment rate for construction workers remains about 13% and far too many of our members have lost homes and are struggling to put food on the table. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a life line.”

Typical of Obama’s lies was his view of the Keystone XL pipeline when he said “They keep on talking about this—an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs—that’s not a jobs plan.” His own State Department estimated that 42,000 jobs would result from the construction of the pipeline.

Obama does not want more jobs. He wants more Americans on the unemployment dole and on food stamps. He doesn’t want more electricity, more gas and diesel for our vehicles. He wants to destroy the nation’s healthcare system. He wants to undermine the economic growth of America in every way he can.

And thanks to the Democratic Party and the millions who still believe in “global warming” and “climate change” he was elected to a second term in 2012.

© Alan Caruba, 2014