Sunday, July 31, 2011

Obama's Seal Team 6? Really?

Just what you might expect, right? These people are serious!

OBAMA'S OWN WORDS TRAP HIM:2008: "Navy Seal Team 6 is Cheney's private assassination team." 2011: "I put together Seal Team 6 to take out Bin Laden." 2008: "Bin Laden is innocent until proven guilty, and must be captured alive and given a fair trial." 2011: "I authorized Seal Team 6 to kill Bin Laden." 2008: "Guantanamo is entirely unnecessary, and the detainees should not be interrogated." 2011: "Vital intelligence was obtained from Guantanamo detainees that led to our locating Bin Laden." I HOPE THIS GETS SENT AROUND TO PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT THE TROOPS.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NASA's Report Shows "Warmers" Fraud

More evidence that the "warmers" are really not about the climate, they are about getting and keeping power over others.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA's ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a "huge discrepancy" between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wisconsin : A Bright Light of Conservative Accomplishment

Welcome to the world of reality - a world built on sound Conservative principles that Wisconsin has shown work.

The progressive liberal left in Wisconsin and nationally, unions and Democrats, are spending huge amounts of money on the recall of 6 Republicans state senators, hoping to turn the senate in their favor, that stood strong against more spending and out of control government corruption, enduring vicious attacks, both personal and media attacks on them and their families.

The whole focus of the attacks are to stop the Conservatives from succeeding in turning the state around. A prosperous Wisconsin, under the leadership of Republicans and Conservatives, will spell disaster for progressive liberal Democrats and their union friends that drove the state into a financial nightmare.

The WISCONSIN MIRACLE at a glance!
by Vicki McKenna on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 9:06am

Almost every article run in the papers concerning Wisconsin's State government has "Associated Press" at the top of the column, and the stories seem to be slanted to make the Governor and the Republican majority State Legislature appear to be destroying the school system, all labor unions, the middle class, jobs, children, and old people.

The list of State Republican accomplishments is a very positive message...
We have suffered through a decade of overspending in Wisconsin, and the reality of an anti-taxpayer, anti-job, anti-business climate in this State, that raised the tax-burden for the citizens of Wisconsin to the 4th highest in the nation. The result was a multi-billion dollar hole in our state budget of over $2,000 per taxpayer.

Our new Governor, along with the Republican led Legislature, have.....

-Turned a 3.5 billion dollar budget deficit into a surplus, without raising taxes on the citizens of Wisconsin
-They have given local communities and schools the tools that they need to hold the line on expenses and prevent teacher layoffs
-They have guaranteed that property taxes will not skyrocket as has been common in the past
-They have expanded "school choice" to give parents and students more education options
-They have provided tax incentives for businesses to move to Wisconsin, and to reinvest in Wisconsin They have passed legislation to ensure the integrity of the vote, through election reforms
-They have passed "enterprise zone" legislation to help bring jobs to depressed areas of Wisconsin
-They have passed legislation requiring a super-majority for passage of any future tax increase legislation
over 40,000 jobs created since the beginning of the year, and the best june jobs numbers since 2003.
-They have paid back 234 million dollars that were taken from the segregated and privately financed "Patients Compensation Fund", that the previous administration had illegally used for general State expenses.
-They have paid back 56 million that was owed to the State of Minnesota for years, eliminating both the debt, and the interest that was compounding annually.
-They have rolled back the expensive auto insurance mandates of the last administration
-They have repealed the taxes on Health Savings Accounts, making it easier to save for future health needs
-They have opened the door to a more open government. They are building a website where every Wisconsin citizen will be able to see how the government spends your hard-earned tax dollars.
-They have turned our State, from one of the top ten "most likely to default" States in the union, into a State that pays it's bills, and operates with a budget surplus, all without further burdening the taxpayer or driving away business. rolling back the outrageous tax punishment called "combined reporting", which punished companies who had corporate headquarters in WI by taxing them twice.

Taxes at the State level increased almost 2 billion dollars (1.976 billion) during 2007-2011 under the previous administration. The new 2011-2013 budget actually lowers the Wisconsin State tax burden by 24 million dollars. This is a significant change in direction. It will help promote economic development, and induce manufactures to bring more jobs back to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's ranking on "good places to do business" has risen 17 places nationally. The latest Department of Workforce Development release of June jobs data shows that Wisconsin had added more than 12,900 new private sector jobs. Fully 50% of the jobs added in the entire United States last month, were the result of job gains in Wisconsin.
More jobs means prosperity, and new business brings more jobs.

Our improved Wisconsin business environment is encouraging more business activity, and with it, comes the jobs that will pay the bills, both for our citizens, and for their necessary government services.

If we fail to continue this new direction of fiscal responsibility, if we return to the days of ever-more-taxation, and ever-more-spending, Wisconsin will return to the list of "States most likely to default". Wisconsin would become a State of fewer public services, with less opportunity for employment.

Our families deserve more than a return to budget deficits, and ever-higher-taxes.... our families need the healthy, vibrant, growing economy that fiscal responsibility and low taxes nurture.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

States' Shale Resources Creat millions of Jobs

Of course, this all comes as a surprise, right? Drilling in our own country to supply our own needs is right out of the blue. Who knew?

Remember Hillary saying to become energy independent we must find our own sources of energy. What she had in mind, of course, was 'green energy' not 'black energy' or natural gas or nuclear. And she made that statement in New York.

It all boils down to states that have most of their land under their own control. Texas is a big one as is North Dakota. They are creating jobs and making millions in new taxes. WOW!

Now the progressives have to take a stand but will they have the spine for the nasty work of fighting the eco-fascists, progressives as well, that have driven this country into energy ruin. hmmmmm

A Tale of Two Shale States
Source: "A Tale of Two Shale States," Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2011. Timothy Considine, Robert Watson, Nicholas Considine, "The Economic Opportunities of Shale Energy Development," Manhattan Institute, June 2011.

Politicians wringing their hands over how to create more jobs might study the shale boom along the New York and Pennsylvania border. It's a case study in one state embracing economic opportunity, while the other has let environmental politics trump development, says the Wall Street Journal.

The Marcellus shale formation offers one of the biggest natural gas opportunities. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell recognized that potential and set up a regulatory framework to encourage and monitor natural gas drilling. More than 2,000 wells have been drilled in the Keystone State since 2008, and gas production surged to 81 billion cubic feet in 2009 from five billion in 2007.

A new Manhattan Institute report by Timothy Considine estimates that a typical Marcellus well generates some $2.8 million in direct economic benefits from natural gas company purchases; $1.2 million in indirect benefits from companies engaged along the supply chain; another $1.5 million from workers spending their wages, or landowners spending their royalty payments; plus $2 million in federal, state and local taxes.

The state Department of Labor and Industry reports that Marcellus drilling has created 72,000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011.

Then there's New York.

The state holds as much as 20 percent of the estimated Marcellus shale reserves, but green activists have raised fears about the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing and convinced politicians to enact what is effectively a moratorium. The Manhattan Institute study shows that a quick end to the moratorium would generate more than $11.4 billion in economic output from 2011 to 2020, 15,000 to 18,000 new jobs, and $1.4 billion in new state and local tax revenue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he wants to lift New York's moratorium, and the state's recently released draft rules are a step forward. But they must still undergo legal review and a public comment period that could bar New York drilling for the rest of this year, if not longer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Benevolent Dictator A Myth : Freedom to Choose is Not

I find it amazing that such an article would find it's way into our daily reading - but maybe not given what exists in the White House today. How can this happen in America?

The Obama presidency has changed how we all look at the office of president.

The Myth of the Benevolent Dictator
Source: Aleksandr Shkolnikov, "The Benevolent Dictator Myth: Strong Leaders versus Strong Institutions," Center for International Private Enterprise, June 15, 2011.

There is a real danger that the search for a benevolent dictator may become a development mantra in many countries. Proponents of democracy should take notice and show that democracy is the path for sustainable development, and that there are no substitutes for institutional reforms in seeking growth and development, says Aleksandr Shkolnikov, director of policy reform at the Center for International Private Enterprise.

Rapid economic growth in some authoritarian countries has led many to believe that democracy is not necessary for prosperity and economic development. Democratic governance, however, is essential for economic growth to be sustainable in the long term.

Strong democratic institutions, not strong leaders, are necessary for continued growth and investment.

The rise in interest of having a strong leader, often with unchecked power, rather than a democratic government is driven in part by the continued rapid economic growth of Asian tigers among the stagnation of economies in Western Europe and the United States. History is also playing its part.

As Ronald J. Gilson from Stanford Law School points out in his recent paper, only a relatively small number of countries have experienced successful development since World War II and among those there are many autocratic governments that have successfully transformed their economies.

The perception that democracies have experienced unstable economic performance in the past decades as compared to authoritarian regimes perpetuates the myth.

It is only a perception, because there is no concrete evidence that autocracies outperform democracies across the board -- the data is inconclusive.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wind Power in Demark Misrepresented

More evidence that wind power is a fraud. Green jobs are a fraud. Liberal progressives are lying again to the general public. Liberal progressives are a fraud.

Wind Power Doesn't Live Up to Hype in Denmark
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "Rotten Wind in the State of Denmark," The American, July 18, 2011.

President Obama has praised the Danes for their aggressive wind power program, telling an Earth Day audience in Iowa: "Today, America produces less than 3 percent of our electricity through renewable sources like wind and solar... In comparison, Denmark produces almost 20 percent of their electricity through wind power." The U.S. Energy Information Administration says, "Denmark ranks ninth in the world in wind power capacity, but generates about 20 percent of its electricity from wind." That sounds impressive, but is it true, asks Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Not according to Danish think tank CEPOS, which issued a 2009 report entitled "Wind Energy, the case of Denmark." CEPOS found that rather than generating 20 percent of its energy from wind:

Denmark generates the equivalent of about 19 percent of its electricity demand with wind turbines, but wind power contributes far less than 19 percent of the nation's electricity demand.
The claim that Denmark derives about 20 percent of its electricity from wind overstates matters.

Being highly intermittent, wind power has recently (2006) met as little as 5 percent of Denmark's annual electricity consumption with an average over the last five years of 9.7 percent.

The CEPOS study revealed that while Denmark can only produce and consume as much wind power as it does due to a convenient circumstance: neighboring countries have hydropower that can quickly and effectively balance the flow of electricity on their energy grid, allowing Denmark to export surplus wind capacity.

With regard to green jobs, CEPOS found "that the effect of the government subsidy has been to shift employment from more productive employment in other sectors to less productive employment in the wind industry. As a consequence, Danish GDP is approximately DKK1.8 billion ($270 million) lower than it would have been if the wind-sector workforce was employed elsewhere."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post Office Melt Down : Changes Needed Now

How did we get to this point in time where we talk about billions in red ink? Didn't we lose billions last year and the year before?

Why can't congress make the move right now? Why wait 15 years? Why couldn't congress have made the move years ago to address this porblem?

This just points up the fact that our government is ineffectual, compromised. We definitely are in need of a new leader. A new leader? We need a leader, period!

Days Are Numbered for Saturday Mail Delivery
Source: Carly Mallenbaum, "Postmaster Says Days Are Numbered for Saturday Mail Delivery," USA Today, July 20, 2011.

Falling mail volume and soaring red ink may soon doom Saturday mail delivery and prompt three-day-a-week delivery within 15 years, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warns, says USA Today. Donahoe's forecast is based on a projected $8.3 billion loss this year as the drift from paper to electronic communication hammers the Postal Service.

"On Sept. 30," he told USA Today, "I won't be able to pay my bills."

Chief among them: a $5.5 billion payment due Sept. 30 to cover future retirees' health benefits.
Mail carriers have been making rounds six days a week since the 19th century. After postmasters started talking about cutting back, Congress mandated the six-day delivery in 1983.

The Postal Service estimates stopping Saturday mail delivery would save $3.1 billion a year.
Asked about the long term, Donahoe said, "At some point, we'll have to move to three" days a week of mail delivery, possibly in 15 years.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carbon Dixoide Increase Good for Plant Growth - Food Production

Goodness! What a mess. Now scientists know carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth. In fact, scientists know that plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen. This is not speculation. Humans inhale oxygen and exhale, give off, CO2. Humans and plants, mother earth, are compatible.

This doesn't come as a surprise to the climate change nutjobs. They know exactly how the system works. What they rely on is the ignorance of the general public. They believe most people are too lazy to stop and think about such things, how the systems works and how, if not stopped, environmentalists will drive us all into poverty.

It's all about power and control. How to get it and keep it.

The eco-fascists believe once the general public wakes up to the truth, it will be too late. Control of our cars, our homes, our lives will in the hands of tyrants. Whoa! What's this? Who to blame here? Look in the mirror!!

A World Food Crisis?
Source: S. Fred Singer, "A World Food Crisis?" Independent Institute, July 8, 2011.

Forecasting world famines has become a favorite pastime for some. The latest catastrophic forecast comes to us from climate alarmists who focus on a world food crisis, supposedly as a consequence of global warming. While there may well arise problems about world food, it is more than likely that a global warming will increase food production rather than lower it, says S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist and research fellow at the Independent Institute.

The main cause cited for a decrease is loss of soil moisture; but it should be obvious that any increase in global temperature will also increase evaporation from the oceans and therefore the total amount of global precipitation.

Global warming is a perfect recipe for creating more fresh water, which according to the alarmists is badly needed.

Another reason for increased food production stems from the warmer temperatures themselves. Again, according to climate models, an increase in average global temperature points toward only a slight increase in the tropical zone -- with the major increases in higher latitudes, where climates tend to be more severe.

The final reason for improvements in agriculture stems of course from the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide -- irrespective of its putative effects on climate.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) will continue to increase because of the burning of fossil fuels to create energy.

The rate of future increase is not known with any degree of certainty; it depends on population growth, changes in economic activity, technology and other factors.

But CO2 is plant food and a natural fertilizer.

Countless experiments conducted by agriculturalists in different nations have established that increased CO2 levels not only speed up plant growth, of crops and forests, but enable plants to do better under stressed conditions of drought, pollution and attacks by insects and fungi.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Higher Education going Bust : Too Much Government

Again, as one might expect, when the government gets involved, all hell breaks loose. The conventional wisdom that the universities, and even the tech schools use, is 'it's someone else's money, so let's get all we can', and they do.

As Barone points out, all aspects of higher education has become so expensive that many are now opting for other alternatives. So what happens when enrollment drops but the huge bureaucracy remains? It will come down to what's going on in California or what's going on in Wisconsin.

It's called getting in the game of saving the state, country, or sitting on the bench while others play the game to win. Those that decided to sit out, are losers. The problem remains as what to do with the losers?

Is the Higher Education Bubble About to Burst?
Source: Michael Barone, "Will College Bubble Burst from Public Subsidies?" Washington Examiner, July 19, 2011.

When governments want to encourage what they believe is beneficial behavior, they subsidize it. Sounds like good public policy, but there can be problems. Behavior that is beneficial for most people may not be so for everybody. And government subsidies can go too far, says Michael Barone, a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

Subsidies create incentives for what economists call rent-seeking behavior. Providers of supposedly beneficial goods or services try to sop up as much of the subsidy money as they can by raising prices. After all, their customers are paying with money supplied by the government -- bubble money, as it turns out. And sooner or later bubbles burst.

We are still suffering from the bursting of the housing bubble created by low interest rates, lowered mortgage standards and subsidies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now some people see signs that another bubble is bursting -- the higher education bubble.

Government has been subsidizing higher education with low-interest college loans, Pell Grants and cheap tuitions at state colleges and universities.
The predictable result is that higher-education costs have risen much faster than inflation, much faster than personal incomes, much faster than the economy over the past 40 years.

For what have institutions of higher learning accomplished with their vast increases in revenues? The answer in all too many cases is administrative bloat. Take the California State University system.

Between 1975 and 2008 the number of faculty rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions.
During those same years the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183.
Now consumers seem to be reading the cues in the marketplace. An increasing number of students are spending their first two years after high school in low-cost community colleges and then transferring to four-year schools.

Politicians still give lip service to the notion that everyone should go to college and can profit from it. And many college and university administrators may assume that the gravy train will go on forever. But that's what Las Vegas real estate developers and home builders thought in 2006, says Barone.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gas Prices Reflect Politics of Control : Democrats, Higher Taxes

Illinois may be one of the highest taxed states in the country, but rest of the country isn't that far behind. It's only where Conservatives have taken control has there been any signs of relief from excessive spending and corruption.

We are moving in the right direction, especially in Wisconsin with Conservatives in control. The contrast is stark when compared to the past 10 past years when this state was controlled by progressive liberals rolling up a 3 billion dollar deficit. Corrupt activity at the capital was a daily occurrence.

The idea of drilling for more oil doesn't seem to be part of a plan to relieve the suffering at the pump for the poor or disadvantaged. With reserves in the trillions of barrels in this country, one has to wonder just what the progressive liberal has in mind when they say no more oil, no more nuclear and now even no more natural gas.

It really isn't that difficult to understand given the rhetoric before the election and after of Barack Obama, "I want to fundamentally change America".

Pain at the Pump
Source: "Pain at the Pump: How Illinois Taxes Drive up the Cost of Gas," Illinois Policy Institute, June 2011.

National surveys continually find that Chicago tops the list of highest average gas prices in the country, says the Illinois Policy Institute. Most consumers understand that the forces of supply and demand are largely responsible for setting gas prices. But people are often shocked to find that Illinois has the fifth highest gas taxes in the nation. Even worse, the state reaps "windfall profits" when gas prices rise.

Specifically, the state applies a 6.25 percent sales tax on gasoline, in addition to a flat-rate excise tax. When gas prices go up, so does the state's "take" from sales taxes. Over time, this can significantly increase the tax burden on motorists. In 2002, the Illinois sales tax accounted for 12 percent of all taxes applied to a gallon of gasoline in Chicago, or 7.2 cents.

Illinois is one of only seven states that fully or partially apply general sales taxes to gasoline, and this tax hits the poor and disadvantaged particularly hard.

Illinois should eliminate the five percent state share of the sales tax on gasoline (the rest goes to localities), thereby taking the tax from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent.
Under this scenario, the average motorist would save $2.83 each time he filled up his tank at the current prices. Over the course of a year, the savings could top $180.

A permanent reduction of motor fuel sales taxes would be welcome relief to struggling families, as would a temporary moratorium.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ethanol Subsidy Proves Inefficient for Market Place

Right on! The question remains, why do we have to subsidies something to make it competitive? If it can't stand on it's own, then it shouldn't survive in the market place.

The Costs and Benefits of U.S. Ethanol Subsidies
Source: Christopher R. Knittel, "The Costs and Benefits of U.S. Ethanol Subsidies," American Enterprise Institute, July 2011.

Policies to promote biofuels are extensive. The political rhetoric justifying them typically takes one of three forms. The first is to support farmer wealth. The second is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And the third is to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).

To meet these objectives, policymakers have historically relied on biofuel subsidies. Indeed, the Government Accountability Office recently estimated that federal ethanol subsidies add up to roughly $6.7 billion per year, says Christopher R. Knittel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Knittel examines whether current policies are cost-effective at meeting any of the three goals.
The author arrived at the following conclusions:

It is not clear that biofuels have a lower social cost compared to petroleum-based fuels.
Perhaps most importantly, there is no well-founded scientific research suggesting that subsidy programs, such as the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC), and performance standards, such as the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), are cost-effective ways to reduce petroleum-based fuel consumption.

Subsidies and performance standards carry a substantial increase in the risk associated with measuring the indirect land-use changes associated with biofuels. If the goal of the current biofuel policies is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil or reduce GHG emissions, tariffs on foreign low-GHG biofuels, such as Brazilian ethanol, should be abandoned.

If the goal of the current biofuel policies is to increase farmer wealth, basic economics shows that subsidies are an inefficient way of funneling money to farmers.

Given points one through five, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the VEETC, RFS and import tariffs should be eliminated, and a national LCFS should not be adopted, says Knittel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wind Generators Offshore : Public Cost Staggering

Let's take a look at what is going here. From this report on wind power and what we know about the costs and results of demanding installation of wind generators, and in the face of global warming facts proven a fraud, the definition of insanity works well : doing something over and over again but expecting different results.

For Christie to even ask for this is puzzling, other then maybe he just wants to show how ridiculous it is in the face of the state's huge debt.

This hasn't worked anywhere it's been done, why would the governor believe it will work in New Jersey?

The Cost and Economic Impact of New Jersey's Offshore Wind Initiative
Source: David Tuerck, Paul Bachman and Ryan Murphy, "The Cost and Economic Impact of New Jersey's Offshore Wind Initiative," Beacon Hill Institute, June 2011.

A law that orders the state of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to develop an offshore wind energy certificate program that would support at least 1,100 megawatts (MWs) of generation from qualified offshore wind projects was signed by Governor Chris Christie on August 19, 2010. The law also provides subsidies to potential offshore wind developers.

Researchers at the Beacon Hill Institute have conducted a cost-benefit analysis of 1,100 MWs of offshore wind power for New Jersey. The findings are as follows.

The project will produce a net cost of $3.245 billion to New Jersey, within a range of $2.106 billion and $4.137 billion.

New Jersey's electricity prices will increase by 2.1 percent in 2017, within a range of 0.5 percent and 4.2 percent.

From 2017 to 2036, the average household ratepayer will pay $431 in higher electricity costs; the average commercial ratepayer will pay an extra $3,054 and the average industrial ratepayer an extra $109,335.

By 2017 New Jersey will lose an average of 2,219 jobs, within a range of 528 jobs and 4,440 jobs.
Annual wages will fall by an average of $111 per worker, within a range of $26 per worker and $222 per worker.

Real disposable income will fall by $330 million, within a range of $79 million and $660 million.

Net investment will fall by $48 million, within a range of $11 million and $95 million.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stimulus Didn't Work : Gov Spending A Failure

History is a funny thing, it has a tendency prove what went wrong with an idea, or what went right. As the saying goes, failure to heed the past will ensure failure in the present.

Obama's failure to heed past mistakes have ensured failure for our country. But it isn't just our past history he has failed to recognize, but he has decided to continue the failed history of Europe as well.

Fundamentally changing our country from a Republic, market based, freedom based society to a socialist nightmare from decades ago, has proven destructive for us all. How did this happen?

Stimulus Spending Facts and Myths
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "The Facts about Stimulus Spending," Reason Magazine, July 8, 2011.

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, dispels three myths about federal government stimulus spending.

Myth 1: Stimulus spending can jump start the economy and fix unemployment.

Fact 1: Recent experience suggests stimulus spending won't help.
The unemployment rate started at 7.6 percent when President Obama took office and peaked at 10.2 percent in October 2009. Since the enactment of the stimulus bill in February 2009, the unemployment rate has not approached pre-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) levels, even though $382 billion has been made available by government departments and agencies (on top of tax credits and other tax-related items).

In fact, unemployment recently edged up, from 9 percent in April to 9.1 percent in May.

Myth 2: Additional infrastructure spending is an effective way to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Fact 2: In theory, infrastructure spending injects more money into the economy than other types of government spending. In reality, however, politicians rarely include infrastructure spending in stimulus bills. Instead, they spend money on items like transfers and tax cuts.

Only 3 percent of the last stimulus went to infrastructure.

Myth 3: Tax rebates will stimulate the economy.

Fact 3: The evidence says they don't. First, people usually save the extra money.
Second, even if tax rebates did increase consumption, companies don't hire employees or build new plants because of a one-time boost.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Education Myth : Class Size

This is really interesting - the unions have always trotted out this class size business as the control force in labor negotiations : we must have smaller class size to adequately educate the children.

This study shows how just contracted the union myth is and has been for decades.

Smaller Is Better Myth
Source: Larry Sand, "Sizing Up Classrooms," City Journal, July 7, 2011.

Teachers like smaller classes, and understandably so. The advantages include fewer papers to grade, fewer students to manage and fewer parents to deal with. The teachers' unions like smaller classes, too. Smaller classes mean more teachers -- and more union dues. And parents like smaller classes because they believe that their children benefit from more individual attention. Everyone agrees that smaller classes are better, right? In a word: no, says Larry Sand, president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.

Much of the rhetoric supporting small classes is demagogic and runs afoul of the research. Let's begin with the oft-heard union claim that classes are getting larger.

Since the mid-1950s, the U.S. student population has increased by 60 percent, while the number of public education workers, including teachers, administrators and other non-certificated staff, has exploded by 300 percent.

What's more, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, teacher-pupil ratios across the nation have diminished steadily since 1955, when the ratio of public school teachers to students was 26.9 to one. By 1970, the ratio was 22.3 to one. And by 2007, the last year for which federal government statistics are available, the ratio came down to 15.5 to one.
In California, going back to 1999, the student-teacher ratio across all elementary and secondary schools was 20.9 pupils.

Today, it's 21.3 -- a paltry 1.9 percent increase.

For many, the possibility that reducing class sizes may have negative effects on student achievement might at first seem counterintuitive. But what happened to student test scores as classes got smaller between 1970 and 2007? Nothing. The fact is, scores have stagnated for almost 40 years. Moreover, classes are larger in Korea and Japan -- two countries that regularly clobber us in educational comparisons, says Sand.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Economic Recovery : Freedom to Choose

What great ideas for our recovery! But wait, they won't work because we can't implement them before the 2012 elections and have them show great results. Free trade agreements take time and then to show results it take even longer.

Oh, no - what will Obama do to turn the economy around before the election? Easy - QE 2-3-4-5 -ever few months, have the Federal Reserve print billions of dollars so the progressive base will be well funded and vote their pocket books. Problem solved.

But won't that cause more problems down the road? Sure, but it's not about solving problems we have now, it's about getting reelected: it's about keep power: it's about "fundamentally" changing America.

Can this be happening in America? Are we all asleep and having a huge nightmare? When we wake up on November 3rd, will this all be gone with the sun shining and people going to work saying what a great country we have. I can't wait to get started making a new life?

The answer is yes, but we have to wake up before November to get started before the lights go out in Reagan's 'shining city on the hill'.

Blueprint for Recovery
Source: Anthony Randazzo, "A New Blueprint for Recovery," Reason Foundation, July 8, 2011.

Mainstream economists are waking up to the haunting reality that the rosy economic growth scenarios they had projected for 2011 were beyond delusional. According to the recent jobs report, unemployment rose to 9.2 percent for the month of June, the highest level this year. Housing also continues to falter, and to make matters worse, the Federal Reserve has downgraded its outlook on gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the next year, says Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation.

So what can we do about it?

To address unemployment and GDP growth we should roll back America's regulatory environment and loosen trade restrictions. The United States' ranking has dropped for the third year in a row in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Now in 9th place behind Hong Kong, Singapore and Denmark (and barely above Bahrain), America continued its decline due to reduced "Business Freedom" and "Trade Freedom."

We also should be pursuing more free trade agreements (FTAs).

The pending pact with South Korea is expected to generate 50,000 to 100,000 new jobs as American companies gain better access to Korean markets. The recently negotiated free trade deal with Columbia would boost exports to the South American nation by 7 percent from Florida alone, and an FTA with Panama opens up a platform for U.S. businesses to increase their investment opportunities all across the Americas.

The housing recovery process can be moved forward simply by Washington ending its programs that aim to prop up prices. Changes are needed in monetary policy as well. A consistent strong dollar policy could make America a more attractive place for foreign investment.

These ideas represent the pillars of a blueprint that would greatly benefit the American economy. Recovery would not be immediate, but it would be stable and sustainable, says Randazzo.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Medicare : The Stamede for The Free Stuff

Rocket science? Not really. Anytime something is deemed to be free, the herd will trample weaker under foot to be first in line for the prize.

Again, the government can not allow the people to control their own destinies as this would take too much power away from the politicians. After all, control is where the votes are.

The problem comes when the system collapses, who will they blame? The new agenda for failure blame is too much freedom. The general public can't understand the complicated systems that make our country work. The people need to be shown the best why to live their lives. And what better way to do this than have government make all the decisions.

The sad conclusion, and becoming all to apparent in our society, is that the politicians may be right. A huge number of our citizens, and it seems more every day, believe they are actually incapable of self control. They are ready to lead.

Why Medicare Patients See the Doctor Too Much
Source: Merrill Matthews and Mark Litow, "Why Medicare Patients See the Doctor Too Much," Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2011.

Almost all discussions about Medicare reform ignore one key factor: Medicare utilization is roughly 50 percent higher than private health insurance utilization, even after adjusting for age and medical conditions, say Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation, and Mark Litow, a retired health care actuary.

Several factors help cause this substantial disparity.

First and foremost is the lack of effective cost sharing. When people are insulated from the cost of a desirable product or service, they use more. In addition, Medicare's convoluted benefit structure encourages the purchase of various forms of supplemental insurance.

Medicare covers roughly three-fourths of total costs, but about 85 percent of the Medicare population has expanded coverage with small to limited cost sharing. This additional cost insulation pushes seniors' out-of-pocket costs toward zero, thereby increasing overall utilization.

Another reason for such high utilization is Medicare's so-called delivery system. In 2007, MIT economist Amy Finkelstein explained the effects of Medicare's introduction in 1965: "By 1970, the program caused a 37 percent increase in hospital spending." That spending explosion led Congress to impose price controls on in-patient hospital expenses in 1983, on physicians' services in 1992 and on outpatient hospital expenses in 2000.

Those price controls have led to countless economic distortions, forcing physicians and hospitals to look for ways to maximize the reduced reimbursements. Of course, price controls haven't controlled spending.

A third factor behind increased Medicare spending is fraud.

Medicare needs to be totally revamped. The benefits package needs to be rationalized so seniors can tell what their financial exposure is and choose from private-sector, high-deductible options, including a Health Savings Account plan. Giving them more options and control is the best way to reduce that 50 percent additional utilization while preserving the program for the future, say Matthews and Litow.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Debt Limit and Common Sense : No Money/Stop Spending

What we do know about the debt is we can afford it! That sounds a little off hand but it true - we don't have the money. It should be simple to figure this out, when you run out of money you stop spending.

If you go to the store to buy food, you always check out the check book account, or you look in your wallet to see if you have enough cash. Or you think back on how much money you have already spent on the credit card and how much you have left before the debt becomes too much to pay. All these things should have an effect on what you buy, no matter what it is.

It a matter of allocation of resources - do I have enough money to buy food and pay the mortgage or rent and still buy a new TV or some new furniture, or maybe I will have to postpone some of these items to make sure I can cover the obligations I have already signed on to.

Is this any different then what our government has to do to make ends meet? We all do it, for the most part, why not the feds? Why is this a problem? It's only common sense, right?

Five Facts about the Debt Limit
Source: Nick Gillespie, "Five Uncomfortable Facts about the Wonderful, Horrible Debt-Limit Debate," Reason Magazine, July 8, 2011.

It's all debt limit, all the time, it seems. Everyone's talking about what may or may not happen when the U.S. government finally butts up against its legal borrowing limit on August 2. That's the date that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the feds will max out the credit lines that account for about 40 percent of all current spending, says Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of and

While the debt limit is important, it really represents the pretext of a battle over spending and revenue between Republicans and Democrats, with each side waving away the other's claims. Stuck in the middle are the American people. To help clarify the discussion, Gillespie provides five facts about the debt-limit discourse worth keeping in mind.

August 2 is an arbitrary date.

Reaching the debt limit is not the same as defaulting on the federal debt.

Both sides are using the August 2 deadline to negotiate terms; the plain fact is that both sides are trying to get something out of the current moment. This is no way to run a country.

A February 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the debt limit has sparked a lot scrutiny because it found that in some (though not all) recent cases where debt-issuance auctions were delayed, markets responded by increasing the government's borrowing costs. The real takeaway, however, is that procedural changes adopted from other countries might help to actually link spending to its effect on national debt.

This is no way to run a country, part two.

The debt-limit debate has to be properly understood in its larger context of a country whose spending has effectively run amok for at least the past 10 years, during which time federal spending has increased by over 60 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green Technology TOO Costly and Environmentally Harmful

More evidence that "fundamentally" changing America, the liberal progressive Democrat agenda of turning America into a socialist nightmare, is a fraud, just like all the other brain dead ideas of the Obama administration.

Green Technology Mandates Are Bad for Consumers and the Environment
Source: H. Sterling Burnett and Wesley Dwyer, "Green Technology Mandates Are Bad for Consumers and the Environment," National Center for Policy Analysis, July 13, 2011.

Recent government promotion of "energy efficient" consumer products has increased sales of various household appliances, such as washing machines and toilets, and light bulbs. These products have been touted as environmentally friendly. However, the performance of these products is often subpar, reducing energy savings or environmental benefits. They also have other drawbacks, including safety hazards, say H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow, and Wesley Dwyer, a policy intern, with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Consider light bulbs. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act effectively banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs, starting with 100-watt bulbs in 2012 and progressing to a ban on 40-watt bulbs in 2014. The alternative for most households will be compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Unfortunately, CFLs contain mercury -- a potentially serious hazard to consumers if the bulb is broken.

CFL bulbs have also exploded spontaneously while in use, sometimes resulting in fires.
In addition to the safety risk, a CFL bulb can cost six to 10 times as much as an incandescent. The energy benefit of CFLs is that they use less electricity to produce the same amount of light. However, because laboratory conditions rarely match typical use, consumers rarely save that much.

Consider: CFLs must be left on for at least 15 minutes at a time and used continuously for several hours a day to achieve their full energy savings, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

CFLs can take up to three minutes to reach full brightness when turned on, say manufacturers, initially providing as little as 50 percent of their rated output.

CFLs used for only a few minutes at a time, such as in closets and bathrooms, burn out as fast as incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The federal government should cease interfering with consumer choices for household goods and appliances, say Burnett and Dwyer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NASA's Shuttle Program Shutdown : Money/Expertise Wasted

Even though the program was expensive and we can sure can us the money to help pay down the debt, which they won't, the real loss will be the expertise of all the people that are being laid off.

Also, a program like the Shuttle was a 'building' type program where every year the agency added new ideas and expertise to improve the Shuttle and it's iteration. Now, of course, with the shutting down of the program, there won't be a 'next' of anything. A huge mistake! All of those building years will be for nothing.

Now, on orders from the present Obama, NASA will be focused on Muslim out reach.

Cost of Space Shuttle Program Tough to Pin Down
Source: Carl Bialik, "As Shuttle Sails Through Space, Costs Are Tough to Pin Down," Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2011.

Now that the space shuttle Atlantis has lifted off, NASA is closing the books on its shuttle program, prompting a final reckoning. One piece of the history is surprisingly elusive: the price tag, says the Wall Street Journal.

Some media outlets have pegged the total cost of the shuttle program, and its 135 launches, at between $115 billion and nearly twice that amount, demonstrating the challenge of tallying a bill over such a long time span. Among the difficulties are properly accounting for inflation and imprecise budgeting in the program's early years. Furthermore, none of the figures include about $18 billion, in today's dollars, spent by the Defense Department on the shuttle program, by one estimate.

Roger Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, first estimated the shuttle's cost to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through the early 1990s.
Tracing the program since 1971, when the first significant outlays were made, Prof. Pielke came up with a total of $83.7 billion through fiscal year 1993.

Earlier this year, he and Dr. Rad Byerly reported in Nature an updated total of $193 billion in 2010 dollars, including an estimate of this year's shuttle spending.

NASA prefers to count the spending differently, mainly by not adjusting for inflation.
That yields a far smaller figure: $115.5 billion -- which amounts to $860 million per launch, far more than the $7 million the agency projected in its early days.

Adding to the confusion, NASA also has released an inflation-adjusted figure, despite its preference for a figure representing cash outlays. That number is even higher than Prof. Pielke's: about $211 billion.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Health Care for Everyone : Provider Competition

Again, the market place is the best arena for health care to become a real servant of the people. Each provider will be out to get everyone they can through competition with each other.

Compare this with government control of all aspects of health care from a Washington committee. Guess who wins and who loses!

Price Competition Can Lead to Quality Competition
Source: John C. Goodman, "Price Competition Can Lead to Quality Competition," Heartland Institute, July 6, 2011.

In our third-party-payer health insurance system the price for care is typically set by entities outside the doctor-patient relationship. As a result, providers rarely compete for patients based on money prices. Potentially they can compete on the time price of care, on amenities, and on quality. Yet providers rarely compete on quality, says John C. Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

In those health care markets where third-party payment is nonexistent or relatively unimportant, providers almost always compete for patients based on price. And where there is price competition, transparency is almost never a problem.

Not only are prices posted (as in walk-in clinics, surgi-centers, etc.), they are often package prices, covering all aspects of care (as with cosmetic surgery, Lasik surgery, etc.), and therefore easy for patients to understand.

Wherever there is price competition, there also tends to be quality competition.

In the market for Lasik surgery, for example, patients can choose traditional Lasik or more advanced custom Wavefront Lasik. Prices range from less than $1,000 to more than $3,000 per eye.

In the international medical tourism market, some hospitals in India, Thailand and Singapore disclose their infection, mortality and readmission rates and compare them to such U.S. entities as the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.

Competition tends to produce more uniformity of fees and waiting times than would otherwise be the case. Similarly, quality competition tends to produce either uniform quality or a uniform trade-off between money prices and quality, says Goodman.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Medicare Spending Differs by Region : Why?

What we have to learn is what states they are talking about, and what is the political motivation of the citizens that inhabit the highest spending areas. When we find out just who is spending the money and on what services, we will be able to determine a solution.

Why Does Medicaid Spending Vary Across States?
Source: Todd P. Gilmer and Richard G. Kronick, "Differences in the Volume if Services and in Prices Drive Big Variations in Medicaid Spending Among U.S. States and Regions," Health Affairs, July 7, 2011.

It is well known that Medicaid spending per beneficiary varies widely across states. However, less is known about the cause of this variation, or about whether increased spending is associated with better outcomes.

In a new article, Todd P. Gilmer, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and Richard G. Kronick, the deputy assistant secretary for health policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services, describe and analyze sources of interstate variation in Medicaid spending over several years. They find substantial variations both in the volume of services and in prices.

Overall, per capita spending in the 10 highest-spending states was $1,650 above the average national per capita spending, of which $1,186, or 72 percent, was due to the volume of services delivered.

Spending in the 10 lowest-spending states was $1,161 below the national average, of which $672, or 58 percent, was due to volume.

In the mid-Atlantic region, increased price and volume resulted in the most expensive care among regions, whereas reduced price and volume in the South Central region resulted in the least expensive care among regions.

Understanding these variations in greater detail should help improve the quality and efficiency of care, say Gilmer and Kronick.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Medcaid Experiment Shows ObamaCare's Flawed Agenda

ObamaCare will not have a leg to stand on with the general public when they claim the benefits to the poor after they digest this new study. But then, this isn't news at all. Most of the country knew ObamaCare was a bust from the very beginning, that is if you weren't living under a rock.

Oh wait - 43% of the population believes ObamaCare could work for them. But why? Easy, they were told by their betters, the Democrat party, it would. Little wonder we are on the road to financial ruin.

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment
Source: Michael Cannon, "Oregon's Verdict on Medicaid," National Review, July 7, 2011.

Americans may be surprised to learn that little solid evidence exists to support the claim that expanding health insurance will improve the health and financial security of the uninsured; that some research calls into question whether broad coverage expansions improve health at all; and that some research even suggests that the overall benefits of such expansions may not be worth the cost.

We lack definitive evidence because no developed nation has ever conducted a study that randomly assigns people to receive health insurance in order to control for other factors that might affect these outcomes. Until now, says Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.

In 2008, Oregon decided to enroll an additional 10,000 people in its Medicaid program via lottery. Recently, the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (OHIE) researchers released their results after year one of the experiment.

As one might expect, Medicaid coverage led to higher medical consumption. It also reduced financial strain for beneficiaries. Other findings were less intuitive.

For example, medical consumption was no higher in the first half of the year, suggesting there was no "pent-up demand" for medical care.

Also, the OHIE found no discernible difference in emergency room use between Medicaid enrollees and the control group. Supporters of President Obama's health care law may tout these benefits, but the OHIE does not provide the vindication they seek.

First, despite being eligible for Medicaid, 13 percent of the control group had private health insurance -- suggesting that on some dimension, Medicaid's eligibility rules are already too broad.

Second, the OHIE extended coverage to the most vulnerable population of uninsured Americans, yet the improvements in health and financial security are so far apparently modest.

Third, supporters must show not only that expanding coverage improves health but also that it does so at a lower cost to taxpayers than alternative policies.

Friday, July 08, 2011

US Housing Market Good for Foreign Buyers

What I don't understand is why are they flooding into this country from Europe? What is happening over there, or is about to happen over there, that is driving the buyers over here? The Canadians I can understand, summer homes, and the Chinese getting away from the crush, but the rest are a mystery.

Is the Euro going down the tubes or is it immigration from the middle east? Maybe both at the same time? This can't be just the price of houses.

Foreign Buyers Lifting U.S. Home Sales

Source: Julie Schmit, "Foreign Buyers Lifting U.S. Home Sales," USA Today, July 6, 2011.

Foreign buyers are helping to stoke home sales in U.S. vacation hot spots decimated by the real estate crash, especially in southern Florida, says USA Today.

For the 12 months ending in March, 31 percent of Florida's home sales were to foreign buyers, up from 10 percent in 2007, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

In Arizona, 6 percent of sales in the same period were to foreigners.
That was down from 11 percent last year but still up from 5 percent in 2007.
Foreign buyers are being enticed by low U.S. home prices, down 30 percent nationwide since peaking in 2006, and the weakened dollar, which makes their money go further. Since the start of 2006, the Canadian dollar has soared 18 percent against the U.S. dollar, while the euro has gained 22 percent, says data tracker Oanda.

U.S. home prices, meanwhile, have fallen far more than the national average in some places -- down 55 percent from their peaks in Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix and 36 percent in Los Angeles, according to

The number of U.S. homes sold to foreigners dropped to 288,000 in the 12 months ending in March, from 224,000 a year earlier, the Realtors survey shows. The largest share of foreign buyers, 23 percent, comes from Canada.
China followed at 9 percent.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

USDA Decides Science Unnecessary : Agenda is Best

Why would an unelected individual find it necessary, or the need to using completely intellectually unfounded data, to dictate conclusions based only on a agenda driven mind set of anti-science, anti-common sense, anti-corporation, anti-innovation and anti-prosperity to deny this new product to be used in favor of 1% of the growers?

Is agenda, the socialist ideology, always the driving force of the progressives?

And still millions believe progressives, liberal Democrats, have America's best interests at heart. What determines common sense? Who are these people?

The USDA's Anti-Science Activism
Source: Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko , "The USDA's Anti-Science Activism," Cato Institute, Summer 2011.

A comprehensive environmental review by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists concluded that a genetically engineered alfalfa variety was substantially equivalent to other conventional varieties and posed no genuine risks.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack chose to ignore those findings and pandered to the organic food lobby by announcing that the Agriculture Department might forbid farmers to plant the alfalfa variety on huge swaths of American cropland, say Henry I. Miller, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Gregory Conko, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Organic farmers -- who produce less than 1 percent of the nation's agricultural output -- have long complained that the cultivation of biotech crops jeopardizes their own production because plants of the same species can cross-pollinate with one another. Organic farmers may not use the products of biotechnology, but unintended cross-pollination by a neighbor's genetically engineered plants could in certain circumstances "contaminate" organic crops.

A federal court even rescinded the USDA's initial approval in 2005 of a biotech alfalfa variety on the grounds that the department failed to complete an Environmental Impact Statement addressing the issue of "coexistence" between genetically engineered and conventional varieties.

But even after the USDA's subsequent environmental review concluded that coexistence was not a problem, Vilsack nevertheless sowed confusion and concern among American plant breeders and farmers by proposing geographic restrictions as well as minimum separation distances from other crops for the commercial cultivation of the genetically engineered alfalfa variety, say Miller and Conko.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Unemployment Fraud Under Attack : States/Feds

If there is one thing that we can always rely on in the life is when the government is involved, disaster is soon to follow and unemployment compensation is just one example. Getting the government out of our lives will save the country. Turning over control of most regulations to the states is a good start.

A good example of this is Wisconsin and how Scott Walker has turned a bleak future into a hope for prosperity despite the unions massive attack on him and his programs.

The true test will be the 'recall' of six Republican senators and three Democrats in a few weeks - the question that remains of course, will the people step up to the plate this time around, like they did last November, and show the whole country that they understand what is at stake here, not only in Wisconsin, but the country as a whole.

Our only saving grace will be the knowledge possessed by the voting public on what is at stake. If they fail here, on these recalls, all is lost.

Unemployment Insurance Waste and Fraud
Source: Paul Davidson, "Regulators Combat Unemployment Insurance Waste and Fraud," USA Today, July 5, 2011.

State and federal regulators are cracking down on waste and fraud in the unemployment insurance system, abuses that have hit record levels as jobless claims surge in a weak economy, says USA Today.

In the 12 months through March, the overpayment rate was 11.6 percent -- more than $1 for every $9 paid out, Labor Department figures show. That's up from the 12 months ending in June 2010, when a record $16.5 billion, or 10.6 percent of the $156 billion in jobless benefits disbursed to Americans, should not have been paid.

The overpayment rate was 9.6 percent in fiscal 2009 and 9.2 percent in 2008.
The main reason for overpayments is that some workers continue to receive unemployment checks even after they land a new job. Another problem is that many employers fail to adequately provide state officials the reason an employee left the company so the worker's eligibility can be determined. Also, some workers receive benefits even when they don't comply with state job search requirements.

How state and federal officials are trying to reduce overpayments:

A national directory of new hires lets states identify workers still receiving benefits even after they get a new job. A new computer system makes it easier for employers to report why workers left their jobs.

New rules let states recover improperly paid benefits from U.S. income tax refunds.
The Labor Department also has proposed legislation that would require states to impose penalties of at least 15 percent of excess payments on workers.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Natural Gas Powered Cars : Good for America

We have enough natural gas to last us 200 years. The problem is Obama has decided this is not a good idea. What we need, according to Berry, is electric cars, wind powered electrical generation, solar panels and biomass power to lead us into the twenty first century.

Stop and think about this for a few minutes. We have enough fossil resources to last us into the 23rd century but we are not allowed to go after these resources. Why?

Americans Open to Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles
Source: Raghavan Mayur, "Drivers Warm to Natural Gas," Investor's Business Daily, June 29, 2011.

Americans are open to natural gas-powered vehicles, says Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. In a recent TechnoMetrica survey, 70 percent of Americans said that they are familiar with natural gas as a motor fuel and nearly half of those who are aware would consider buying a vehicle that runs on natural gas.

These days natural gas costs about $2 a gallon compared to $4 a gallon for gasoline.
The outlook for natural gas vehicles in the global market is strong with the number of vehicles expected to reach 28.7 million units by 2015.

In the past, the industry slighted natural gas vehicles because the United States had a low supply of the fuel. Now, with the discovery of vast fields of natural gas deposits, which are estimated to last for the next 100 years, interest has ticked up. The automobile industry is starting to take notice of the merits of natural gas.

First, it is abundant in the United States and gives off a great deal of energy when it burns.

Second, a vehicle designed to run on natural gas is clean and has few emissions with lower levels of harmful byproducts.

Third, since it is lighter than air, it will dissipate in an accident with no flames and no run-off into streams.

Fourth, using natural gas in vehicles will decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil.

Granted, the automobile industry has to climb a few hurdles, but they are doable. To succeed, the industry needs to embark on a major educational effort to further educate the public to the advantages of natural gas and natural gas cars, says Mayur.
Source: Raghavan Mayur, "Drivers Warm to Natural Gas," Investor's Business Daily, June 29, 2011.

Americans are open to natural gas-powered vehicles, says Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. In a recent TechnoMetrica survey, 70 percent of Americans said that they are familiar with natural gas as a motor fuel and nearly half of those who are aware would consider buying a vehicle that runs on natural gas.

These days natural gas costs about $2 a gallon compared to $4 a gallon for gasoline.
The outlook for natural gas vehicles in the global market is strong with the number of vehicles expected to reach 28.7 million units by 2015.

In the past, the industry slighted natural gas vehicles because the United States had a low supply of the fuel. Now, with the discovery of vast fields of natural gas deposits, which are estimated to last for the next 100 years, interest has ticked up. The automobile industry is starting to take notice of the merits of natural gas.

First, it is abundant in the United States and gives off a great deal of energy when it burns.

Second, a vehicle designed to run on natural gas is clean and has few emissions with lower levels of harmful byproducts.

Third, since it is lighter than air, it will dissipate in an accident with no flames and no run-off into streams.

Fourth, using natural gas in vehicles will decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil.

Granted, the automobile industry has to climb a few hurdles, but they are doable. To succeed, the industry needs to embark on a major educational effort to further educate the public to the advantages of natural gas and natural gas cars, says Mayur.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Federal CAFE Standards Causing Deaths to Rise

Why is this loss of spare tires a puzzle? When the federal government gets involved, as it has in the car industry, everything it touches goes bad and the safety of our cars is no exception.

The demand for higher and higher fuel mileage from our car industry is just one example of how this administration is heading us into future changes of life style. Not necessarily all bad, in that we should be able to changes with the times, but when it's only purpose is to make us change to fit some one's ideology, then it's time we changed them.

If America is to remain a successful and prosperous nation, we need to make the change that will bring us back from the brink, the election of a new president in November 2012.

Carmakers Do Away with Spare Tire to Increase Fuel Efficiency
Source: Sam Kazman, "Why Your New Car Doesn't Have a Spare Tire," Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2011.

The Department of Transportation is floating 62 miles per gallon (mpg) as a possible fuel efficiency standard for 2025, more than double the current 27.5 mpg standard. How the industry can meet that target, and at what cost, is anyone's guess. A new study in mid-June by the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research put the tab at about $10,000 extra per new vehicle, while admitting that even this estimate might be far too low, says Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

And that's not the only bad news; in the past few weeks there have been two other unwelcome developments. First, General Motors announced that several versions of its compact Chevy Cruze would no longer have spare tires; instead, they'll have vehicle-powered sealant repair kits. This is a major jump in the trend toward eliminating spare tires, a trend due largely to corporate average fuel economy's (CAFE) drive to shed every possible ounce of car weight.

Some argue that spare tires are unnecessary given the growing presence of run-flat tires, tire pressure monitors and roadside assistance systems. But the fact that spares are being eliminated in the name of fuel economy, rather than market demand, demolishes one of the chief claims of CAFE's advocates.

For several decades, the need to reduce vehicle size and weight in order to raise mileage has been CAFE's Achilles' heel. Smaller, lighter cars not only hold fewer passengers and less baggage; they're also less crashworthy.

CAFE-induced downsizing causes several thousand additional traffic deaths per year.
Getting rid of spare tires alone won't be nearly enough to meet the more stringent mandates that are looming, says Kazman.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Health Care Cost Reductions: Consumers Understanding the System

This all makes good sense for getting the public to take an interest in what they pay out for medical procedures. It also makes good sense that when the bill comes, the individual looks it over and tries to understand what was charged for each procedure and what we paid, what the insurance company paid, for each.

It's very important to understand this bill can be challenged by the patient. This isn't set in stone that we, as consumers, have to pay what ever they want us to pay, even if much of the bill is covered by an insurer. Call the insure if the bill looks out outrageous or just doesn't make good sense. You probably won't get anywhere with them, but it always makes one feel less helpless and it let's the insurance company know you are taking notice of what they are doing.

Just imagine what we could accomplish if everyone called.

What this all means is we have to take responsibility for what happens to us. Remember, nothing is free. If we, as consumers, don't pay attention now to what is going on around us and take a stand for what we know is right, all is lost.

Health Care Costs Vary Widely
Source: Kelly Kennedy, "Health Care Costs Vary Widely, Study Shows," USA Today, June 30, 2011. "Healthcare Transparency Index," Change:healthcare, June 2011.

Patients pay as much as 683 percent more for the same medical procedures, such as MRIs or CT scans, in the same town, depending on which doctor they choose, according to a new study by a national health care group, reports USA Today.

That means patients who pay for a percentage of their care, instead of a copayment, may end up spending hundreds of dollars more for a certain procedure than they would if they chose treatment somewhere else -- often within a few minutes' drive.

Change: healthcare looked at claims data from May 2010 to May 2011 for 82,000 employees of small businesses to determine price differences for several procedures: MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds and PET scans. For a pelvic CT scan, they found that within one town in the Southwest, a person could pay as little as $230 for the procedure, or as a much as $1,800.
For a brain MRI in a town in the Northeast, a person could pay $1,540 -- or $3,500.

Howard McClure, CEO of Change:healthcare says health plans are moving toward "reference-based pricing," in which they look at the average price of a procedure for a region, then say that's all they'll reimburse. But if a patient does not know how much a procedure costs, he or she gets stuck with the remainder of the bill if it goes above that average price.

Providers, he said, often don't know real costs, either. When asked by patients for the cost of a procedure, providers often say they need to check with the insurer. The patient only learns the real cost when the bill arrives, McClure says.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Taxes : A Tool To Control Behavior

Is it reasonable to say that some taxes are good? Maybe, but the object is to have as few as possible. Taxes are a tool of others to control the lives of a population through lowering or raising the price of a commodity or service. Some taxes are needed, I suppose, to fund the national defense and to run a government, and according to the Constitution, that is supose to be by and for the people.

The problem, of course, who will decide what is good or what is bad for the population as a whole. What organization, or political party, should have so much power that they can control what we eat, drink or drive or think?

Keep this in mind next November when you make your X or pull the lever for the next president or the next senator.

Excise Taxes in the States
Source: Thomas Stratmann and William Bruntrager, "Excise Taxes in the States," Mercatus Center, June 2011

Taxes on the sale of goods and services are an important source of revenue for state governments within the United States. In 2010, states collected $344 billion or nearly 49 percent of their total tax revenue from sales taxes, and in the past this ratio was even higher. Fifty years ago, states received around 58 percent of their tax revenue from sales taxes, say Thomas Stratmann and William Bruntrager of the Mercatus Center.

Selective sales taxes -- also known as "excise" taxes -- are special taxes or rates that apply to the sale of particular goods or services.

The highest excise tax revenues are collected in Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire, Minnesota and West Virginia, with over $600 in excise revenues per capita. Wyoming stands as the only state with less than $200 in excise-tax revenues per capita.

Excise taxes play an important role in public finance and public policy. On the finance side, they are an important source of revenue, making up 17 percent of total tax revenue in 2010.

In terms of public policy, the selective nature of these taxes gives state governments a useful tool in discouraging certain types of consumption. Cigarettes, alcohol and, lately, sugary soft drinks are among the items whose use is influenced or might be influenced by state governments through excise taxation.

Although excise taxes create deadweight losses compared to a no-tax baseline, they are efficient in comparison to prohibition. A further consideration is that, where charging users directly for publicly provided goods and services is costly, excise taxes on complementary goods may be reasonable, as with fuel taxes as a proxy for the use of public roads, say Stratmann and Bruntrager.

Friday, July 01, 2011

ObamaCare Unintended Consequences?

I wonder if this just slid past the people that read this nightmare before they sent it to congress? Yeah right! It took years to develop this bill so it would render our health care system inoperable. It sure didn't happen just after Obama took office.

Little wonder Pelosi said we have pass this thing so we can find out what's in it. The news is we knew, so what anyway, what was in the bill before it passed and we didn't want it then, and after reading it, we definitely don't want it now.

Another Unintended Consequence of Health Reform

Source: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, "Fuzzy Math in Health Law Formula," Associated Press, June 30, 2011.

Older adults of the same age and income with similar medical histories would pay sharply different amounts for private health insurance due to what appears to be an unintended consequence of the new health care law, reports the Associated Press.

The glitch mainly affects older adults who are too young for a Medicare card but have reached age 62, when people can qualify for early retirement from Social Security. As the health care law is now written, those who take early retirement would get a significant break on health insurance premiums.

That's because part or all of their Social Security benefits would not count as income in figuring out whether they can get federal subsidies to help pay for coverage until they become eligible for Medicare at 65.

To see how the Social Security wrinkle would work, consider a hypothetical example of two neighbors on the same block. They are both 62 and have the same income of $39,500 a year.
But one gets all his income from working, while the other gets $20,000 from part-time work and $19,500 from Social Security. Neither of them gets health insurance on the job; they purchase it individually.

Starting in 2014, they would get their coverage through a new online health insurance market called an exchange. The neighbor who is getting Social Security would pay an estimated $206 a month in premiums. Half of his income from Social Security, or $9,750, would not be counted in figuring his federal health insurance tax credit. But the neighbor who makes all his income from work would not be able to deduct any of it; he would pay $313 for health insurance, or about 50 percent more.