Monday, October 31, 2011

Student Loan Order Scams Students : Who Knew?

It seems it never ends how Obama uses tax dollars to get support for his reelection. This is no more than a tool to get student votes at taxpayer expense. He knows it won't work but the majority of students see only the bottom line, their huge debt forgiven if Obama is reelected. The fact that if he does get into office again, a real possibility, he will just blame the Republicans for his failure to implement this scam.

It works every time. Just see what Obama is doing with the "Jobs Bill", stimulus 2, more money for teachers and unions. Only 5% goes to 'infrastructure' repair. He knows this won't pass as even his own party won't even bring it to the floor for a vote.

Obama's Student-Loan Order Saves the Average Grad Less than $10 a Month
Source: Daniel Indiviglio, "Obama's Student-Loan Order Saves the Average Grad Less than $10 a Month," The Atlantic, October 26, 2011.

Of the many long-term problems the U.S. economy faces, student loans are a big one. Education costs are rising very quickly and incomes aren't. As a result, students will have to borrow more and more money to obtain university degrees and will have a tougher time paying their loans. President Obama seeks to respond to this problem with an executive order, yet his effort isn't like to have much impact, says Daniel Indiviglio, an associate editor at The Atlantic.

His order contains three separate components.

He will assist borrowers with direct government loans and government-backed private loans to consolidate their balances, cutting the effective rate on student loans by up to 0.5 percent.
He will further limit the amount of student loan payments from 15 percent of a graduate's income to 10 percent.

Debt forgiveness will kick in at 20 years instead of 25, as it is now. It bears mention that the second and third components of this order were already set to be implemented by legislation in 2014, and that President Obama's executive order has simply bumped up the time horizon.

Regardless, the aggregate effects of these reforms, even following the somewhat optimistic estimates produced by the White House, have little potential to bring about real change in the student loan sector.

Within the first component, a 0.5 percent decrease on the effective rate on loans will do little to alleviate the financial burden of loans on recent graduates. Over the past 10 years, the average student loan debt varied from $17,464 to $27,204 -- meaning that with a 0.5 percent decrease in rates the average graduate stands to gain between $4.50 and $7.75 per month. This is hardly a financing breakthrough.

The final two components also do little to relieve the problem. These components can neither reverse the spiraling costs of higher education, nor can they drastically reduce the payments that students make on their loans. Therefore, the executive order (which might not even stand if it is challenged in court) will likely do little to change the system of higher education financing.

Right to Work States Forge Ahead

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone - when pushed to the edge of collapse, industry and the free market will find a way to get the job done. Unfortunately it has come on the backs of current workers in that they are now doing more for the same pay. Or put differently, the worker is forced to be more productive or get laid off.

Industry is finding out that they can do more with the same people that they have rather than hire to increase production. As demand increases, manufactures will find new ways to meet the demand with the same work force.

This new found productivity does not bode well for the unemployed. To increase hiring, industries must develop new products and then hire new people to produce this product. If new hiring does occur for increased demand, it will be only what is needed in the short run, that is, temporary workers to avoid federal and state hiring regulation demands. When demand is down, the temp is gone.

Right to Work Is Working in Oklahoma
Source: J. Scott Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik, "Oklahoma's Improved Economic Performance Suggests Right to Work Is Working," Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, October 4, 2011.

Contrary to reports from detractors, the implementation of right to work (RTW) laws in Oklahoma (first approved by the state's voters in 2001) has brought about significant gains for the manufacturing industry in that state, say J. Scott Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik, research fellows with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Between 2003 and 2010, Oklahoma's manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) has grown 45 percent, outstripping that of the average manufacturing growth in RTW states (31 percent) and in non-RTW states (22 percent).

Simultaneously, Oklahoma witnessed a productivity growth rate of 67 percent (measured by manufacturing GDP per worker), outgrowing non-RTW states (55 percent) and RTW states (62 percent).

In those same years, 13,215 households, 40,693 people and $99 million in income have migrated to Oklahoma, with most of these gains coming from non-RTW states.

Critics of the RTW laws have cited a decline in the number of manufacturing jobs as evidence that the legislation has crippled the manufacturing industry of the state, but this conclusion is based on myopic analysis. It is confounded by simultaneous increases in technology that have replaced traditional manufacturing positions, thereby reducing the manufacturing workforce across the country regardless of RTW laws.

Rather, the true gain from RTW policies is seen in the increasing productivity of workers who have remained in the industry. Furthermore, by increasing productivity within the field, RTW laws have created several beneficial economic effects within the state.

First, higher productivity yields higher wages and larger corporate profits, and the increased spending associated with these gains can be expected to spill over into other areas of the economy.

Second, increasing efficiency of labor frees up workers from positions for which they are ill-suited, allowing them to seek more gainful employment elsewhere. The ultimate benefit in this regard is that several sectors will benefit from optimized allocations of labor, thereby seeing gains for the entire state brought about by right to work laws.

Republicans/Democrats Defined : Right and Left

Interesting how things work out in the real world -

(author unkown)
Origin of Left & Right

I have often wondered why it is that Conservatives are called the "right" and Liberals are called the "left."

By chance I stumbled upon this verse in the Bible: The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)Thus sayeth the Lord. Amen.
Can't get any simpler than that.

Spelling Lesson
The last four letters in American..........I Can
The last four letters in Republican.......I Can
The last four letters in Democrats.........Rats

End of lesson. Test to follow in November, 2012

Sunday, October 30, 2011

University Endowments Tapped for Student Help?

Here's a thought for the college administrators - if you want to help the students get through the year without excessive costs, remember the 'Occupy Wall Street' and college loans that are in debate? Well, with billions in their endowments which only serves the few, why not tap into this reserve and help the many students that want to get a good education but can't afford the huge cost?

I have a great idea, why not tax the endowments and use the funds for student aid? We tax everything else, right?

Of course, this idea is tongue-in-cheek as most university administrations don't really care about what makes it easier for the students to get into school, only what the students can bring to the university in the form of more money for the staff and their supporters.

After Obama took over the student loan program, federalizing it, tuition went up which was the purpose of taking over the loans from the banks. It makes sense that now taxpayers will be footing the bill, not only for future generations but also pay for the past generations that have gone into debt and don't want to pay it back. That is, a supposedly bottomless pit of money to tap into for everyone that doesn't want to take responsibility for their own actions, OWS.

But wait, there is no money. The pit is empty! We're broke!!

Law Aims to Give More Accurate Tally of College Costs
Source: Brandon James Smith, "Law Aims to Give More Accurate Tally of College Costs," USA Today, October 21, 2011.

A new federal law kicks in October 29 that requires all college websites to have an online tool called a net price calculator, which is intended to help give students and families a more accurate estimate of real costs. Many universities have already launched them. University officials believe that this will help families with transparency in understanding the costs of attending college, says USA Today.

The net price calculator allows families to punch in their financial information to see the impact of their personal situation on costs. Some of the options parents can input include residence plans, how many other students the family has in college, and any scholarships or grants they've acquired.

The 2010 College Board survey reported tuition and fees at private, not-for-profit four-year colleges averaged $27,293, a number that does not include room and meals.
The survey showed that full-time students at those schools receive an average of more than $6,000 in grants that don't have to be repaid.

There are concerns among those monitoring the calculators. The non-profit Institute for College Access and Success, for example, identified problems, including calculators buried "in obscure parts of college websites" or requiring extensive information. Some admissions administrators say that the calculator can help but that it doesn't show precise costs, and that it is only an estimator.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Regulatory Agencies Run-A-Muck

Remember back when Bush was being attacked by the media with information that was supposedly classified? Conservatives believed, and rightly so, that there is a shadow government in place to insure progressive agendas are kept in place if Republicans gain power.

With the New York Times, Washington Post having information at their disposal that was classified on a continuing bases, and dropped into the public domain at critical times to keep the Republican administration of balance, is not by chance.

And what is playing out now with the out of control, unelected regulator agencies, is just more of the same. Only this time it is designed to make any role back of destructive progressive laws and regulations nearly impossible if by chance Republicans gain power.

Taming the Fourth Branch of Government
Source: Kathleen Hartnett White, "Taming the Fourth Branch of Government," Texas Public Policy Foundation, October 2011.

In spite of President Obama's public championing of efforts to rein in the regulatory state, federal regulations continue to abound as governmental agencies take on unprecedented amounts of power over policy.

Acting increasingly as a fourth branch of government, the influence that these agencies wield subverts the principles of the Constitution by flouting the structure of government that it espouses, thereby damaging the founding principles of American government in addition to harming its economic wellbeing, says Kathleen Hartnett White, director of Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Federal Register has increased in size from some 11,000 pages in the 1950s to about 80,000 currently -- 3,500 new policies have been adopted in the last three years alone.
Additionally, 4,257 new policies are currently in the pipeline to adoption.

A 2009 report from the Small Business Administration estimates that the aggregate cost of major regulations alone amounts to $1.75 trillion per year.

Furthermore, a number of developments over time have entrenched the clout of the federal agency conglomerate in federal decision-making. First, agencies have slowly been given greater latitude for independent decision-making over the last few decades. This trend is largely due to the increasing number of responsibilities that the federal government takes on.

Second, their function is largely informed by broad grants of power from Congress. In principle, the non-delegation doctrine necessitates that the legislative branch maintain control over policy creation. However, precedents that are tested by time and cemented by the judicial branch have allowed Congress to confer upon an executive agency wide-ranging authority, so long as their actions are guided by an explicit (though frequently vague) principle.

Finally, individual members of these agencies are increasingly difficult to rein in or circumvent because most are staffed by the civil service -- meaning it is nearly impossible to fire them or replace them.

Medicaid Growth Like Drugs : More IS Disaster

Here comes the winds of destruction - the stimulus is running out, the huge number of recipients that took advantage of the increases in medical money availability find they are out of luck for more services in the future.

What the stimulus did was act like cocaine or crack on the population of Medicaid patients and others. They took the increases monies with relish and abandon, but now with the money running out they are angry and demand more of the services that brought the good life to them from providers.

What isn't so clear to recipients, and the country as a whole, is the stimulus was designed to make them dependent on the 'all giving' government. And if they want more of the same, they will have to vote to keep the providers of cash flow in power. Like beating a drug habit, free money and services once provided will prove very difficult to end.

But the reality facing us now, there is no more cash, and there wasn't any to begin with for the first stimulus, we borrowed it, means nothing to those that want to keep power.

More States Limiting Medicaid Hospital Stays
Source: Phil Galewitz, "More States Limiting Medicaid Hospital Stays," USA Today, October 24, 2011.

In order to cut costs and offer relief to hard-pressed budgets, some states are implementing new restrictions regarding the use of Medicaid within their borders. Seeking to limit their required contribution to the program, which is funded jointly by the state and the federal governments, these states are limiting the number of days for which Medicaid recipients can stay in the hospital each year. In some cases, such as Hawaii, this restriction has been brought down to as little as 10 days per year, says USA Today.

Medicaid spending was projected to rise by an average of 11.2 percent in fiscal 2011, which ended in June, from $427 billion in 2010. For fiscal 2012, it is estimated that state Medicaid spending will rise 19 percent, largely because of the end of the federal stimulus dollars.
Medicaid served approximately 69 million people last year.

This latest policy initiative is only a reflection of a broader goal on the part of the states to rein in Medicaid spending. While some states seek additional means, federal Medicaid planners are keen to cooperate in order to ensure that states do not adopt measures that are overly austere.
It also bears mention in discussing caps on the number of days for which Medicaid recipients can stay in hospitals that these caps are not necessarily absolute.

Hospitals are quick to reassure potential patients that they will not turn out those patients who are in genuine, significant need of medical help. This policy, however, will inevitably lead to hospitals being forced to absorb a greater burden for Medicaid patients, which will then almost certainly be passed onto those patients who can in fact pay: the privately insured.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Green Energy AND Climate Change Are Frauds

Wait a minute - why would any government consider 'green energy' to solve climate change when nearly all information that has been available over the past 5 years has shown proponents of green energy and climate change lied about both?

The lies about climate change and the benifits of green energy producing jobs and getting us free from forgien oil have been proven with hard evidence.

This is so rudimentally simple to understand but entire governments fall pray to the fraud that is climate change, now even Forbes? The bigger question is, WHY?

Green Energy Is a Luxury Good
Source: Patrick Michaels, "The Great Green Energy Crack-Up," Forbes, October 21, 2011.

While green initiatives abound in times of economic wellbeing, this splatters to a halt when economies go south. Though recessionary downturn does not obscure the truth about climate change or the need for continued action in order to rein in ever-increasing rates of emissions, the fact of the matter is that greenness is a luxury good -- it can only be afforded when the time is right. This can be seen doubly so in the current debt crisis in Europe, first because stifled economic growth limits attention to long-term green initiatives and second because green policies are partially to blame for the crisis in the first place, says Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute.

In Spain, which President Obama touted as a paragon of economic stewardship while on the campaign trail in 2008, numerous policies wasted enormous amounts of federal funding in the name of greening up the country. The government subsidized the purchase and use of residential solar panels via power purchases, yet this program invoked costs and debts far greater than the economic benefit obtained from the panels. A similar program in the United Kingdom saw wide participation (15,000 installments last month) despite the fact that the United Kingdom is one of the cloudiest countries on earth.

Only the severe economic downturn could reveal the blatant wastefulness of these policies to citizens of these countries, recognizing that they could no longer afford to be so generous with their anticlimate change initiatives when their governments have insolvency fears. This reversal in public sentiment is reflected in sweeping changes to green initiatives around the world as various nations tighten their belts.

Spain announced a 40 percent reduction in its wind power subsidy.

The European Commission's energy department is questioning the wisdom of its go-it-alone global warming policies, citing loss of economic competitiveness.

The British government pulled the plug on its budget-bending carbon capture and storage facility.

Japan announced it is reconsidering its plan to cut carbon dioxide by 25 percent in the next 8 years, citing a wealth drain in its attempt to meet the target.

These policy reversals track perfectly with the economic model predicated on recognition of greenness as a luxury good. It flourishes with economic growth, and is almost immediately cut when the impact of a recession is felt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

University Education for The Masses : Wrong!

When I was in college, I knew it was not the place for me but it was the thing to do at the time. I was told by my parents and high school teachers I would get nowhere if I didn't get some kind of higher education.

The problem was I didn't want to get a higher education, I just wanted to go to technical college be a mechanic of some kind. I just loved machines all kinds. But it wasn't to be. I wound up getting a degree in business which got me a job in a gas station as a manager. Not all that bad, but it wasn't what I wanted to do.

While in school, I saw hundreds of people that had no business being in college. I'm sure the same thing applies today. And with the cost sky rocketing, it doesn't make any sense to go into debt for thousands just to work at jobs that didn't require a university education.

It seems only the universities are getting rich on the backs of the delusional students.

College Has Been Oversold
Source: Alex Tabarrok, "College Has Been Oversold," Investor's Business Daily, October 19, 2011.

Over the past 25 years the total number of students in college has increased by about 50 percent. But the number of students graduating with degrees in the vital fields of science, technology, engineering and math (the so-called STEM fields) has been flat. Further exacerbating this problem is that, of the few graduates in those fields, many are foreign-born and often return to their native countries upon graduation.

Altogether then, the United States is producing a proportion of college graduates in STEM fields far smaller than it did in years past, says Alex Tabarrok, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University.

In 2009, the United States graduated 37,994 students with bachelor's degrees in computer and information science -- a number that is below absolute figures from 25 years ago. That same year, the United States graduated 5,036 chemical engineers and 15,496 students in mathematics and statistics, both of which are almost the same as they were in 1985. In the field of microbiology, 2009 graduates totaled just 2,480, which is almost the same number as 25 years ago.

Politicians and economists focus on STEM areas of study because science, technology, engineering and math are the most reliable sources for innovation and growth in the economy. Desire for this growth and the belief that higher education provides a positive spillover effect for the country as a whole is the primary rationale behind public subsidization of college programs. However, with fewer students entering these fields, it becomes questionable if society is truly gaining a return on its investment.

Furthermore, gradual migration away from STEM fields is also hurting students, leaving them ill-equipped to enter the workforce and uncompetitive for good positions. Half of all graduates in humanities settle into jobs that don't require degrees, and their average wages are far below that of their STEM-studying colleagues. Therefore, the declining proportion of STEM graduates compels two conclusions.

First, the public is no longer receiving ample return on its investment in higher education.

Second, incoming students are being oversold on the financial benefits inherent in a college degree, without performing ample comparison of the benefits of each area of study.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fannie/Freddie Nightmare : Democrats! Who Knew?

The real guarantee is that no matter how bad a job Fannie and Freddie do, they still get more money to continue the process. And who is behind this nightmare of Freddie and Fannie?

Why it's the same guy who, along with Chris Dodd, brought us the new regulations that guarantee the same problems that gave us the first financial disaster, home mortgage free fall, Barney Frank, a big time progressive liberal Democrat.

Who Knew?

How Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Guarantees Work
Source: Anthony Randazzo, "How Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Guarantees Work In Brief," Reason Foundation, October 19, 2011.

Though they do not garner as much media attention as they did in 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to bail out mortgage investors through their guarantee programs, which do not operate much differently than they did before the recession.

The idea here is that, once a local bank or a branch sets up a mortgage structure with a borrowing consumer, this mortgage is subsequently sold into a secondary market where government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie and Freddie will buy it up. They will then package it with other mortgages, creating a mortgage-back security, and sell the bundled product to investors in a tertiary market, says Anthony Randazzo Director of Economic Research for the Reason Foundation.

This would all move smoothly were it not for the agreement that accompanies the final sale: the GSE guarantees the securities for the investors, promising to continue payments on the mortgages even if the consumer stops paying. This became a problem in 2008 when many consumers stopped paying all at once, depleting the GSEs' excess reserves, causing insolvency and forcing them to default on their guarantees. Dealing in these subprime mortgages and non-liquid assets is what caused so much trouble for Fannie and Freddie in 2008, yet this exact practice continues to this day in much the same way.

The GSEs and Federal Housing Administration have bought or guaranteed 95 percent of all new mortgages thus far in fiscal year 2011, compared with 40 percent in the early 2000s.
Fannie and Freddie continue to post losses every quarter, yet receive subsidies from the federal government to keep them solvent -- these subsidies currently total $169 billion.
The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that $51 billion more losses are likely for the GSEs over the next 10 years.

This places the issue in clear perspective: taxpayers and lawmakers decry the use of bailouts to save irresponsible lenders, yet the practice continues to this day. Though the funding is coming in smaller packages, the fact that it continues at all is the true problem.

Taxpayers should be outraged that the financial industry seems so content in its ethically dubious practice, and further outraged that this exercise is facilitated by compliant politicians in Washington.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

California Loses Jobs : WHY? Big Government!!

Whatz California's biggest problem to job creation? Easy! Big government! Whatz the biggest problem to job creation in the US , Oh No, Who Knew? Big Government!!

How California Drives Away Jobs and Business
Source: Steve Malanga, "How California Drives Away Jobs and Business," Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2011.

California has long been among America's most extensive taxers and regulators of business. But it had assets that seemed to offset its economic disincentives: a sunny climate, a world-class public university system that produced a talented local workforce, sturdy infrastructure that often made doing business easier and a record of spawning innovative companies. Yet the net impacts of these benefits no longer seem able to outweigh the costs of doing business within the state, says Steve Malanga, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.

A poll conducted by a California-based business coalition states that 84 percent of business executives and owners said that if they weren't already in the state, they wouldn't consider starting up there, while 64 percent said the main reason they stayed was the difficulty of relocating their business.

Between 1994 and 2008, California ranked 47th in net jobs created through business relocation, losing 124,000 more jobs to outmigration than it gained from other places.
Simultaneously, it generated only 285,000 more jobs through in-state startups than it lost in in-state business failures.

Researchers have traced this distressing problem of the Golden State to several distinct factors.
First, extensive environmental regulations delay business projects and impose substantial financial costs (estimated at a statewide loss of $493 billion annually by professors from California State University).

Second, a plaintiff-friendly legal system has caused undue caution amongst businesses and brought about costly litigation that further increases the costs of doing business in the state.

Finally, a highly progressive state income tax structure with a 9.3 percent bracket that kicks in at a mere $47,000 causes the state to be unattractive to skilled workers. A high corporate tax rate of 8.84 percent further compounds tax frustration.

Dozens of companies, including those that were founded in California or conduct most of their business within the state's borders, are gradually moving their operations to business-friendly states such as Florida, Texas and South Carolina. If California wants to reverse this trend, it will need to recognize the causes of the toxic work environment it has created and address them. Until then, the exodus of corporations out of places like Silicon Valley will almost certainly continue.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Education Cost Cutting Sports? Nah!

This will be a nonstarter in cost cutting. Have no doubts here, the universities will cut math and science before they cut sports.

After all, we have to have priorities in order, right?

Stop Funding College Sports
Source: A. Barton Hinkle, "Stop Funding College Sports," Reason Magazine, October 14, 2011.

Though the economic crisis has taken a striking, media-grabbing toll on the federal government, state governments are also scrambling to address budgetary issues. Many states are implementing across-the-board spending cuts, while others are targeting those programs that they believe are most expendable.

Whatever their strategy, lawmakers are ripping through budgets, looking for excess fat that can be eliminated to trim down expenditures. Given this political and budgetary climate, it seems remarkable that state lawmakers continue funneling taxpayer dollars toward college and university athletic departments, says A. Barton Hinkle, a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

A Bloomberg study found that 46 of the 53 schools examined subsidize their sports programs, supporting a statement by the NCAA that most athletic departments operate in the red.

According to a story in USA Today, six Virginia schools charged each of their students more than $1,000 as an athletics fee for the 2008-2009 school year, constituting between 10 percent and 23 percent of the total tuition and mandatory-fee charges for in-state students.

Using the University of Florida as an example, while the school gained $44 million and $2 million from its profitable football and basketball teams, respectively, it lost $2.8 million on women's basketball, $5.3 million on other men's sports, $10 million on other women's sports, $17.4 million on coaches' salaries, $7.5 million in aid to student athletes and $1.4 million in recruiting.

Given that most athletic departments are net losses for funds, it is time that state lawmakers ask themselves a more fundamental question: how does athletic entertainment further the purpose of universities? While some claim that university athletics programs help to produce better-rounded students, this is only true for those few students who actively participate -- it is difficult to accept the argument that merely watching the game molds character.

This underlines the crux of the issue: universities and the lawmakers who fund them need to revisit the purpose of higher education, and rededicate themselves to attaining it. In a time of budget cuts and belt-fastening, wasteful and unproductive spending should not be allowed to continue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unemployed Need Motivation to Find Work

It seems the more the unemployed get paid to do nothing, the more they do nothing. After doing nothing for extended periods of time, the worker believes he or she can't rejoin the work force because of believed motivation incentive to do nothing and get paid for it is too strong to over come.

The only way to stop this is to begin the painful process of cutting off benefits. As there is no more money left to give, it would seem the unemployed will have to decide on their own what is best for themselves when the checks stop coming.

Unemployment Insurance Taxes
Source: Joseph Henchman, "Unemployment Insurance Taxes: Options for Program Design and Insolvent Trust Funds," Tax Foundation, October 17, 2011.

Record high levels of unemployment and record low reserve funds have placed great pressure on the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) tax and benefit system, says Joseph Henchman, vice president of legal & state projects at the Tax Foundation.

Between 2008 and 2011, $174 billion was paid in unemployment taxes while $450 billion was paid out in benefits, a gap of $276 billion. In 2011 alone, employers and employees are projected to pay $51.8 billion in taxes, while $131.4 billion is projected to be paid out in benefits for workers recently unemployed. Benefits are drawn for an average of 18 weeks, with many claimants receiving the maximum 99 weeks of benefits.

Over the past two years, 34 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands exhausted their unemployment insurance trust funds and have had to borrow from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits; 27 states have outstanding balances. While some states have repaid their balances and others are no longer borrowing additional amounts, the current outstanding balance of loans is $37.3 billion.

Beginning on September 30, 2011, states must pay approximately $1.3 billion in interest on those outstanding balances; in many cases, businesses and employees in those states will also face increases in federal unemployment insurance tax rates as a result of those federal loan balances.

These unemployment insurance fiscal policies may exacerbate negative job growth and tax trends, instead of operating countercyclically as the program was intended. Consequently, this may be an appropriate time for the federal government and the states to contemplate significant changes to the structure of unemployment insurance taxation and benefits. Program design alternatives could offer more innovative and more sustainable methods to find jobs for the short-term and long-term unemployed while preserving benefits to support them in the meantime.

These options include eliminating the firewall between administrative costs and benefits, reducing cross-subsidies through greater use of experience ratings, relying more on face-to-face training and advising, adopting elements of state workers' compensation programs, and experimenting with individual accounts to encourage saving, says Henchman.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Federal Spending Still Increasing

The insanity that is the federal government will not end until the Conservatives take control. Democrats have always relied on Conservatives to fix the wreckage that they leave behind after their term at the controls.

As history shows, after the Democrats do as much damage as they can to the country by grabbing for power and squeezing as much money for themselves from tax payers, the general public begins to wake up to the disaster and elect Republicans to save them.

History also shows that after only a relatively short period of time and life is good again, the general public decides it time to get rid of responsibility and elect Democrats again.

Why or how does this happen? One would think this would be generational thing, but no, it happens almost every eight years! Are we that stupid or ignorant or lazy as citizens that we can't see how this threatens are very existence?

Federal Spending Continues to Increase
Source: "A New Spending Record," Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2011.

Maybe it's a sign of the tumultuous times, but the federal government recently wrapped up its biggest spending year and its second biggest annual budget deficit, and almost nobody noticed, says the Wall Street Journal.

This is said to be a new age of fiscal austerity, yet the government had its best year ever, spending a cool $3.6 trillion. That beat the $3.52 trillion posted in 2009, when the feds famously began their attempt to spend America back to prosperity. What happened to all of those horrifying spending cuts? Good question.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that overall outlays rose 4.2 percent from 2010 (1.8 percent adjusted for timing shifts), when spending fell slightly from 2009. Defense spending rose only 1.2 percent on a calendar-adjusted basis and Medicaid only 0.9 percent, but Medicare spending rose 3.9 percent and interest payments by 16.7 percent.

In somewhat better news, federal receipts grew by 6.5 percent in fiscal 2011, including a 21.6 percent gain in individual income tax revenues.

The budget deficit increased slightly in fiscal 2011 from a year earlier, to $1.298 trillion.
That was down slightly as a share of gross domestic product to 8.6 percent, but as CBO notes, this was still "greater than in any other year since 1945."

Some increase in deficits was inevitable given the recession, but to have deficits of nearly $1.3 trillion two years into a purported economic recovery simply hasn't happened in modern U.S. history.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nuclear Power AND Fossil Fuels Needed

Nuclear power is a must if we are to become independent from foreign sources. Also, it has to be only part of the total resources needed to sustain our economic expansion.

Fossil fuel will be with us for decades to come, so it is imperative we develop our own resources of which we have several hundred years of supply.

If this all makes good sense, then why don't we do this?

Think Again: Nuclear Power
Source: Charles D. Ferguson, "Think Again: Nuclear Power," Foreign Policy, November 2011.

After a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, many predicted dooming consequences for the use of nuclear power around the world.

In Japan, where support for nuclear power fell from two-thirds of the public to one-third after the meltdown, plans for 14 reactors slated for construction by 2030 were soon scrapped. Fukushima also tipped the scales in Switzerland's decision to phase out nuclear power by 2034 and contributed to more than 94 percent of Italian voters rejecting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's June referendum on renewing nuclear power, says Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists.

However, the rest of the nuclear-powered world seems bent on continuing to exploit its enormous power. This is likely due to the numerous benefits that nuclear energy provides.

First, once the plant is built, nuclear reactors are capable of providing electricity that is comparable in cost to that produced by coal-firing plants.

Second, nuclear power limits the need to import energy resources from abroad, increasing domestic security from external supply shocks.

Finally, the emissions reduction advantage that nuclear plants have over coal power cannot be ignored.

Critics of nuclear power are quick to throw numerous arguments against its use, outside of accidents such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima most recently. They allege that proliferation of nuclear power will undo efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons. However, this fear can be checked by providing ample supply of nuclear fuel so that individual countries have no motivation to build their own enrichment facilities.

Critics also emphasize difficulties in storing nuclear waste, but in fact this problem is more political than scientific. In the correct geological formation, nuclear waste can be safely stored for tens of thousands of years.

Perhaps what matters most in discussion of nuclear energy is that climate change must be addressed, and no other forms of alternative energy are technologically advanced enough to do so. Despite exceptional growth, wind and solar energy comprise only 3 percent of the world's electricity production, and still require substantial government subsidies to achieve economies of scale (and even this is often not enough: see Solyndra).

Nuclear power offers a viable package of reliable electricity with fewer greenhouse gases.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Freemarket Decisions Best : Subsides Fail the Test

Don't we live in a free market environment? Why do we need subsides for every enterprise that deals directly with the public? Is this just more 'vote buying'? Why not let the free market decide what the price will be on a specific commodity and then we live with that? After all isn't it the buying public, in the end, that decides outcomes in the market?

Who in Washington could possibility have a clue as to what is best for the general public? What is best, Washingtion deciding who wins and who loses or the freemarket?

Farmers Facing Loss of Subsidy May Get New One
Source: William Neuman, "Farmers Facing Loss of Subsidy May Get New One," New York Times, October 17, 2011.

It seems a rare act of civic sacrifice: in the name of deficit reduction, lawmakers from both parties are calling for the end of a longstanding agricultural subsidy that puts about $5 billion a year in the pockets of their farmer constituents.

But in the same breath, the lawmakers and their farm lobby allies are seeking to send most of that money -- under a new name -- straight back to the same farmers, with most of the benefits going to large farms that grow commodity crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton. In essence, lawmakers would replace one subsidy with a new one, says the New York Times.

The new subsidy is being championed by Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, but it is unclear how much support a new subsidy would garner, since many lawmakers view farm programs as a likely source of budget savings. In lean times, such support might seem vital, but in recent years commodity farmers have done well.

The Agriculture Department forecasts that farm profits this year, measured on a cash basis, will total $115 billion, 24 percent higher than last year, thanks to soaring crop prices. Adjusted for inflation, profits are expected to be at their highest level since 1974.

The average income for farm households has been higher than general household incomes every year since 1996, and was $87,780 for all farms in 2010 and $201,465 for families living on large farms. It is unclear how much the proposal would cost taxpayers.

Gary D. Schnitkey, a professor of farm management at the University of Illinois, said the plan could pay farmers $40 billion over 10 years. That would be $20 billion less than the programs it replaced, including direct payments and some smaller subsidies.

But Vincent H. Smith, a professor of farm economics at Montana State University, said the cost could be much greater because the plan used recent high crop prices as its benchmark: "If farm prices move back towards what are widely viewed as more normal levels than their current levels, farmers will be compensated for going back to business as usual."

HealthCare Workers Productivity Stagnant

This is not a surprise, labor cost and productivity dropping or staying the same as demand grows for health care. When ever a product is mandated like health care, and a government that believes they have your best interest at heart despite 'death panels', we have a health care labor force with no reason to become more productive. The attitude is 'take the money and run'.

It is no stretch of the imagination to believe this is the prevailing attitude among most government institutions we have today. How do we start to heal this disease, change the government!

Health Care Labor Sees No Productivity Gains
Source: Robert Kocher and Nikhil R. Sahni, "Rethinking Health Care Labor," New England Journal of Medicine, October 13, 2011.

Health care, as it is designed and delivered today, is very labor-intensive. Yet unlike virtually all other sectors of the U.S. economy, health care has experienced no gains over the past 20 years in labor productivity, defined as output per worker. Even more striking is that despite the failure of health care workers to increase their real output value, health care wages overcame the recession, growing at an annual rate of 3.4 percent from 2005 to 2010.

Now, taking into account effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), growing demand for health care will exacerbate these disparities even further, say Robert Kocher and Nikhil R. Sahni in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Of the $2.6 trillion spent in 2010 on health care in the United States, 56 percent consisted of wages for health care workers.

The ACA will expand health insurance coverage to 34 million additional people over the next 10 years.

Allowing for assumptions regarding labor force growth and employment structure, total health care costs will increase by $112 billion in that same period.

In order to arrest growing labor costs within the health care sector, the labor structure will require reform. While this may conflict with job creation goals, health care costs must be controlled in order to reduce the economic burden of ACA. To this end, decision-makers will need to consider numerous policies that can augment labor productivity, thereby reducing wage costs within the sector.

Vertical delegation needs to be increased so that simple tasks can be performed by lower-skilled workers, freeing up highly-skilled workers to specialize in difficult jobs. Record standardization should be encouraged to reduce unnecessary administrative costs and avoid rework. Technological advancements should be further integrated in order to eliminate certain tasks altogether.

Such reforms, however, must hurdle extensive and expansive government regulations that limit changes in the health care sector. If politicians at each level of government want to improve a crumbling heath care system, they will not only have to be proactive in establishing new policies -- they will also have to remove their own regulatory obstacles to maximize effectiveness.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Economic Disaster Began January 3, 2007

This should be common knowledge, but when the truth gets in the way of spin for the progressive liberal left Democrats, they proclaim foul, it's not fair. hmmmmm Of course, according to all leftists, it's always someone else's fault when things go wrong.

But the facts show how the liberal Democrats have driven the ship of state onto the rocks, but amazingly, a huge number of citizens are still willing to say Mr. Obama is the 'one' while swimming for the lives away from the sinking ships they were told unsinkable.

Remember Jan 3, 2007

The day the democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009
it was actually January 3rd 2007 the day the Democrats took
over the House of Representatives and the Senate, the start
of the 110th Congress. The Democrat Party controlled a
majority in both chambers for the first time since the end
of the 103rd Congress in 1995. For those who are listening
to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is
"Bush's Fault", think about this:

January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the
Senate and the Congress:

At the time:

The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77

The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%

The Unemployment rate was 4.6%

George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT

Remember the day...

January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over
the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took
over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in
what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!

Thank Congress for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and
4.6% Unemployment to this CRISIS by dumping 5-6 TRILLION
Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac fiasco's! (BTW: Bush asked Congress 17
TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie - starting in 2001, because
it was financially risky for the U.S. economy, but no one
was listening).

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND
Freddie Mac?


And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie???
OBAMA and the Democratic Congress.

So when someone tries to blame Bush...

Bush may have been in the car, but the Democrats
were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they
were driving. Set the record straight on Bush!

So, as you listen to all the commercials and media from the
Democrats who are now distancing themselves from their
voting record and their party, remember how they didn't
listen to you when you said you didn't want all the
bailouts, you didn't want the health care bill, you didn't
want cap and trade, you didn't want them to continue
spending money we don't have..

I'm not forgetting their complicity in getting us into this
mess, and I'll be marking my vote accordingly!

"It's not that liberals aren't smart, it's just that so
much of what they know isn't so" -Ronald Reagan

Green Energy / Regulation Nightmare / Job Creation Failures

This is right on the money - over regulation and short sighted politicians have created our business nightmare. Where progressive rule, failure will follow. It has always been this way and always will be.

Creation Myth
Source: Matt Welch, "Creation Myth," Reason Magazine, November 2011.

With the recent bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel-manufacturing company that received $535 million in government loans, President Obama lost the poster child of his 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and its promise to create more green jobs. Unfortunately, the mistakes of that legislation and its eventual failures were not isolated to one specific company in California, but were prevalent across the board. The government scooped up hundreds of billions from taxpayers, redistributed it in the name of creating jobs, and then attached a series of requirements that made job creation much more expensive and therefore unlikely. The end result was not worth the cost, says Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason Magazine.

The ARRA's $7.2 billion in "clean tech" money created only 7,140 jobs, at a cost of about $1 million each.

In January 2009, the White House predicted that its stimulus bill would create up to 4.1 million jobs, yet the economy ended up losing 4.7 million nonfarm payroll jobs in 2009.

With all of the rhetoric about creating jobs and jumpstarting the economy in order to get growing again, recent results suggest that the government is incapable of such ambitious projects. However, President Obama and the federal government do have one area in which they can act so as to "create" jobs: removing cumbersome regulations from the private sector.

According to the inspector general of the Department of Energy, one reason that the ARRA failed to create as many green jobs as was expected is the wage and regulatory provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Buy American Act.

Similarly, the Department of Justice's increased workplace raids to enforce immigration, drug and even milk pasteurization laws add a cost of compliance on all businesses that hurts their ability to employ additional workers. Instead of focusing its efforts on uniting unwilling and mismatched employers and employees, the federal government ought to work on reining in these regulations so that corporations will have the time and money to seek additional employees on their own.

Hydrocarbon Energy Here to Stay : Green Energy Decades away

The question that remains is who gave the power to change how we live to the enviro fascists? How is it that so many politicians bow to the demands of so few people with an agenda that is mostly self serving and a lie.

Global climate change and hydrocarbons seem to be watch words that control our energy production. Common sense doesn't seem to enter the picture here, but then common sense never really did have anything to do with politics and the grab for power.

Still, one has to wonder why so many people in our country have not asked the question of why do we rely on the 'opinion' of a proven fraudulent group, like the progressive environmentalists, for answers to our basic energy needs?

Don't Count Oil Out
Source: Robert Bryce, "Don't Count Oil Out," Slate, October 14, 2011.

Carbon dioxide emissions will continue rising because hundreds of millions of people in places like Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea are transitioning to a modern lifestyle. Specifically, they are using more hydrocarbons -- coal, oil and natural gas. And while many argue that we should quit using carbon-based fuels, the hard reality is that hydrocarbons are here to stay, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

There are three reasons why hydrocarbons will continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come.


A recent analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that wind-generated electricity from onshore wind turbines costs $97 per megawatt-hour -- about 50 percent more than the same amount of electricity generated by natural gas. Offshore wind is even more expensive, coming in at $243 per megawatt hour. The least-expensive form of solar-generated electricity costs $210, or more than three times as much as the juice produced by burning natural gas.

The slow pace of energy transitions.

According to the EIA, in 1949, oil provided 37 percent of America's total energy needs.
In 2009, oil's share of U.S. primary energy still stood at 37 percent, despite uncounted billions of dollars spent on efforts to reduce our need for oil.


Global energy use now totals about 241 million barrels of oil equivalent per day -- approximately equal to the total daily oil output of 29 Saudi Arabias. And of those 29 Saudi Arabias, 25 -- about 210 million barrels of oil equivalent -- come from hydrocarbons. Where and how will we find the energy equivalent of 25 Saudi Arabias and have it all be carbon-free?

Here's the bottom line: Renewables will remain niche players in the global energy mix for decades to come. The past -- and the foreseeable future -- still belong to hydrocarbons. And we can expect natural gas, the cleanest of the hydrocarbons, to garner a bigger share of the global energy pie in the near term and in the long term, says Bryce.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Public Education Falling Behind Society's Demands

Why do we continue to ignore the facts that seem to be right in front of our faces? Our public schools are not producing even average students and yet we continue to support this system of public education with our tax dollars in ever increasing amounts.

Bottom line here is the saying, 'the art of learning something is by taking an interest in the subject'. Are we too busy with making living to find time to take an interest in what are kids are or aren't learning, or just too lazy and unconcerned with the future requirements demanded by society for our kids?

You make the call.

When the Best Is Mediocre
Source: Jay P. Greene and Josh B. McGee, "When the Best Is Mediocre," Education Next, Winter 2012.

While the American public education system garners more and more negative criticism, the wealthy and politically influential elite seem relatively complacent with the situation. This is probably because the school districts of their comfortable suburban neighborhoods, when compared with their high-population urban counterparts, appear exceptional.

However, because America's students are increasingly competing with students outside the United States for economic opportunities, this comparison is no longer valuable, and may even prove dangerous. By providing comfort to movers and shakers around the nation about the state of the public education system, this false comparison discourages the drastic reforms that are necessary to allow American students to catch up with their peers internationally, say Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and economist Josh B. McGee.

A recent Global Report Card, produced by researchers studying math and reading performance amongst developed nations between 2004 and 2007, returned the following results:
Ninety-four percent of all U.S. school districts have average math achievement below the 67th percentile for developed nations.

Similarly, 68 percent have average student math achievement that is below the 50th percentile compared with that of the average student in other developed countries.
Not one of the largest 20 school districts (which collectively contain 5.2 million students or 10 percent of the nation's total) is above the 50th percentile in math relative to other developed countries.

The researchers focused on math results first because they are the easiest to quantify and compare, and second because they serve as a more reliable indicator of future economic performance. While there are undoubtedly some small pockets of success that did extremely well relative to international competitors, these success stories are rare.

Rather, the message that ought to be taken away from the results of this report card are that American students are falling behind and that there are a decreasing number of places that even the country's elites can flee to in order to guarantee their children an internationally competitive education.

Monday, October 17, 2011

America's Birthright According to OWS : You Owe Me!

Mark Steyn nails it!

Mark Steyn on middle-class decline and what Occupy Wall Street protesters expect as their birthright.
Columnist Mark Steyn in the Orange County Register, Oct. 14:

Beneath the allegedly young idealism [of Occupy Wall Street] are very cobwebbed assumptions about societal permanence. The agitators for "American Autumn" think that such demands are reasonable for no other reason than that they happen to have been born in America, and expectations that no other society in human history has ever expected are just part of their birthright.

But a society can live on the accumulated capital of a glorious inheritance only for so long. And, in that sense, this bloodless, insipid revolution is just a somewhat smellier front for the sclerotic status quo.

Middle-class America is dying before our eyes: The job market is flat-lined, college fees soar ever upward, the property market is underwater, and ObamaCare is already making medical provision both more expensive and more restrictive. That doesn't leave much else—although no doubt, as soon as they find something else, the statists will fix that, too. As more and more middle Americans are beginning to notice, they lead more precarious and vulnerable lives than did their blue-collar parents and grandparents without the benefit of a college "education" and health "benefits."

For poorer Americans, the prospects are even glummer, augmented by ever-grimmer statistics on obesity, childhood diabetes and much else. Potentially, this is not decline, but a swift devastating downward slide, far beyond what post-war Britain and Europe saw and closer to Peronist Argentina on a Roman scale.

It would be heartening if more presidential candidates understood the urgency. But there is a strange lack of boldness in most of their proposals. They, too, seem victims of that 1950 moment, and assumptions of its permanence.

Green Energy "Fundamentally" Wrong/A Fraud

How is it possible that we continue to believe the Obama Administration has our best interests at heart when all we hear and see is how he is taking the entire country to the cleaners.

It seems every project that Obama produces is to make his friends fat with tax payer's money. This story about wind energy is just one of the worst yet but I'm sure there are more.

It is also clear that these deals that our president is doing is just another way to get campaign funds for his reelection. The term that is bantered about is "money laundering", similar to how the unions, especially the public unions that rely on taxes for revenue, operate by funneling members dues to Democrat candidates.

It's not a stretch to believe Mr. Obama's objective is to "fundamentally change America" in favor of the liberal Democrats. We, as citizens, are only here to provide money for him and his friends.

America's Worst Wind Energy Project
Source: Robert Bryce, "America's Worst Wind Energy Project," National Review Online, October 12, 2011.

The more people know about the wind energy business, the less they like it. And when it comes to lousy wind deals, General Electric's (GE) Shepherds Flat project in northern Oregon is a real stinker, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

The arguments being put forward by wind energy proponents are similar to those that the Obama administration is using to justify its support of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that got a $529 million loan guarantee from the federal government. In some ways, the government support for the Shepherds Flat deal is worse than what happened with Solyndra.

The majority of the funding for the $1.9 billion, 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat wind project is coming courtesy of federal taxpayers. That largesse will provide a windfall for General Electric and its partners.

The Obama administration's loan guarantee for the now-bankrupt Solyndra has garnered lots of attention, but the Shepherds Flat deal is an even better example of corporate welfare. Several questions are immediately obvious:

Why is the federal government providing loan guarantees and subsidies for an energy project that could easily be financed by GE, which has a market capitalization of about $170 billion?

Why is the Obama administration providing subsidies to GE, which paid little or no federal income taxes last year even though it generated some $5.1 billion in profits from its U.S. operations?

How is it that GE's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, can be the head of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness while his company is paying little or no federal income taxes?

Green jobs are costly. If we ignore the value of the federal loan guarantee and only focus on the $490 million cash grant that will be given to GE and its partners when Shepherds Flat gets finished, the cost of the projected 35 permanent "green energy" jobs will be about $16.3 million each.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

China's Currency Connected to American Jobs?

In the end, the discussion should be what is 'fact' about the Chinese currency and what is 'fiction', and then make decisions based on facts.

It seems too many decisions are based these days on political expediency at the expense of the American people and prosperity for the country. One can also say it has always been this way and that change would be too difficult for any politician.

Well maybe we can bring change about by changing the politicians we have now for some that don't believe changing for the betterment of the country is impossible.

Oh, by the way, I believe this new change is already happening, remember the Tea Party folks? They aren't going away!

The Facts about China's Currency, Chinese Subsidies and American Jobs
Source: Derek Scissors, "The Facts about China's Currency, Chinese Subsidies and American Jobs," Heritage Foundation, October 4, 2011.

While America's political leaders emphasize China's currency manipulation as a significant irritant to the ability of American exports to compete internationally, this focus is misleading.
Studies and empirical evidence suggests strongly that a weak yuan is not raising unemployment in the United States (if anything, the correlation seems to be the opposite).

Rather, the true source of Chinese market intervention comes in the form of backhand subsidies that dole preferential treatment out to dozens of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This is accomplished through a variety of policies that augment SOEs' ability to compete and sustain otherwise risky business models, says Derek Scissors, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

First, because these mega corporations are owned by the state, they face little real risk of default.

Second, the central government does not allow fair competition between SOEs and foreign-owned companies, or even domestic private firms.

Third, the government subsidizes SOEs in a more traditional sense, giving them access to artificially low interest rates.

Finally, the aforementioned currency devaluation, though it does not have adverse impacts on American employment, helps SOEs compete internationally with other, non-American companies.

In recognizing these forms of subsidies, American decision-makers can finally start to be proactive in addressing China's impact on the domestic economy. This includes a focus on subsidies in bilateral discussions and official appeals to the World Trade Organization, in addition to reactive subsidies if necessary.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Postal Service Solution : Free Enterprise

As is the case where ever it occurs, when the government is involved, it's a disaster. What isn't mentioned here is the real problem with funding the service is the union benifits. Billions of dollars in retirement mandates are unfunded.

And, as always, everybody has to have a hand in how the institution is run and, of course, has to grab the spot light when the great changes are made, but blame others when the the great changes fail.

The postal service is just a typical government run enterprise.

A Solvent U.S. Postal System
Source: Tad DeHaven, "Toward a Solvent U.S. Postal System," Forbes, October 10, 2011.

When the government decided to replace the Post Office Department with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in 1971, it exchanged a taxpayer-dependent bureaucracy with a government-owned business that was supposed to rely on the sale of postage, mail products and services for revenue. In order to subsist without taxpayer support and still meet its obligation to provide the American public with "universal service," Congress grants the USPS a statutory monopoly on the delivery of first-class and standard ("junk") mail.

However, policymakers should end the monopoly and put the USPS on the path toward privatization, says Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute.

Privatization is the next step. While some consider "privatization" to be a dirty word, countries around the globe have been successfully subjecting their former state-run postal monopolies to market forces for years.

For example, 69 percent of Germany's formerly government-owned post office Deutsche Post is now privately owned. The Netherlands' TNT Post is completely privately owned.
And the European Union intends to eliminate the national monopolies of all EU member states.

What would a privatized postal market look like? That's the beauty of a free market -- freed from the government's one-size-fits all model, a new system would unfold through the interaction of postal customers and providers.

Freeing America's postal market offers the potential for significant consumer benefits because entrepreneurs have the strongest incentives to innovate, improve quality and reduce costs.
The next great postal innovation is more likely to come from an entrepreneur than a government employee.

Before that can happen, however, Congress needs to at least commission studies on what it would take to prepare the USPS for privatization, as nobody in the private sector would touch it in its current state. But the choice is becoming clear: Congress can unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit on mail service or it can force taxpayers to bail out its lack of foresight and imagination.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Economic Reality : Obama's Socialism A Failure

Comparing Reagan's success in restoring our country to prosperty after the Carter years is a reality, but the possibility that Obama will have the same success recovering from our financial disasters brought on by Bush and Obama himself is ludicrous.

Reagan inherited the mess that he had to fix and he did just that by instituting sound Conservative principles. While Obama inherited a mess as well but Obama only made it worse, but not only worse, he made it four times worse and is trying to add to the calamity that is his administration's agenda to "fundamentally change America".

Bush added nearly 1 trillion to the national debt in 8 years. Obama added 4 trillion to the debt in just two years and with no results to show for it.

The 'change' Obama is talking about is one from a free republic based on our Constitution to one that reflects the European's socialist democracy nightmare which has failed continent wide. This is not lost on the general public. The agenda that is Obama's socialist vision for our country has failed.

It is imperative then, that we vote this man out in November 2012. If we fail in this, we will get the government we deserve. It won't be the Democrats or Obama that will be at fault for the demise of America, it will be the voting public that will be responsible. There will be no escaping this reality.

Obama's Economic Burden
Source: Steve Chapman, "Obama's Economic Burden," Reason Magazine, October 10, 2011.

Democrats contemplating Obama's reelection search for hope despite the economic atmosphere. In doing so, they are tempted to look to Ronald Reagan's first term, where he presided over a serious recession only to win 49 out of 50 states in 1984. Additionally, President Obama still has a whole year to help the economy rebound.

However, this hope is ill-founded -- while the situations of the two presidents might seem similar, popular sentiment and real economic indicators tell a completely different story. The disparity in these facts explains Reagan's success and reins in much of the optimism regarding Obama's electoral prospects, says Steve Chapman, a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

The first and second quarters of 1983 saw growth of 5.1 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively, while the economy in the first and second quarters of 2011 grew only 0.4 and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The number of people employed in the United States dropped by 2 million in the Reagan recession, while that population plunged by 8.6 million during this recent downturn.

Before the contraction hit, 66.4 percent of all adults had jobs or were looking for them while only 64.2 percent still are currently, showing the largest exodus out of the workforce in 60 years.
In addition to facts on the ground, popular feelings over the current recession are different from those in the early 1980s.

While the public seemed willing to brace the pain of recession in order to check the roaring inflation that had consumed the Carter administration, the nation seems far less understanding in the current debacle (the fact that little success has been had and there remains little optimism in sight exacerbates this frustration).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

EPA's Grab for Power Unprecendented

It appears, from this and other articles on the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, this department is a major force in the destruction of the American economy. It also has become clear since the Obama administration has taken power, the EPA has been able to operate with absolute impunity when ever and where ever it deems necessary to advance it's agenda of reducing industrial progress and inovaton in this country without any interference from congress.

The Environmental Protection Agency has become a separate government ruled by one person with no responsibility to anyone or any organization such as congress. In short, this agency operates above the law welding power equal to or more then the president and congress combined.

What we see here is the unchecked power grab by progressive liberal left Democrats on a massive scale. An administrative agency dictating to the entire country rules and regulations that change how we live. This is insane!

EPA Overreach
Source: Adam Peshek, "Two Examples of EPA Overreach," Reason Foundation, October 11, 2011.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is acting like President Obama is going to be a one-term president -- meaning they need to act fast. With this in mind, the Agency is pushing through the most expensive set of regulations in American history, says Adam Peshek, a research associate at the Reason Foundation.

Measures taken to protect the environment are necessary and welcomed. But concerns for air quality should always be measured against the larger context of the economy and real-world achievability. Peshek examines two current examples of EPA's neglect for this principle.

Boiler MACT. "Boiler MACT" is the name given to EPA's new standards aimed at cutting emissions from boilers used in industries like manufacturing and processing and in commercial use by the likes of malls and hospitals. Under the regulations, the majority of boilers will need to be retrofitted with new and costly emissions curbing technologies, with an upfront price tag of $10 billion and annual compliance costs of around $3 billion.

Picking on Texas.

In July, EPA finalized their Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, an updated Bush-era program that regulates emissions from power plants in states that the EPA finds "contribute significantly" with the maintenance of healthy air quality in neighboring states. When the proposal was released in 2010, EPA data that showed Texas' contribution to out-of-state emissions were not high enough for inclusion.

But when the final rule was released in July, Texas found itself included in the program because of a hypothetical linkage between Texas emissions and a pollution monitor hundreds of miles away in Granite City, Illinois.

Compliance costs for this rule are estimated at $2.4 billion annually.

These are just two examples of EPA's lack of discretion when crafting major rules that affect jobs, energy costs and billions of dollars in diverted capital. The EPA is acting like they'll be out of a job in 2013, and with this tunnel-visioned lack of restraint they have become the biggest contributor to that cause, says Peshek.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Innovation : America's Free Market Enterprise

Innovation in the free market is the life's blood of freedom and the capitalist system. This is how we became the center of the world and this is how we will remain the strongest and most prosperous nation to have ever existed.

Of course, like most successful enterprises, if they are left unattended by common sense and sound Conservative principles, they will become unmanageable. The entrance of the progressive socialist's programs of big government have driven America to believe we can not take care of our selves.

The slide into this morass of self indulgence and nanny state mentality accelerated in the 60's with Democrat advancement of crushing entitlements and has continued to drag us all down the path to financial ruin.

The problem we face now is a complete collapse of our way of life by allowing progressive socialist left Democrats to rule for the last five years. They have taken a bad situation and made it a catastrophe.

The (Illegal) Private Bus System that Works
Source: Lisa Margonelli, "The (Illegal) Private Bus System that Works," The Atlantic, October 5, 2011.

Privately-owned mini-transit entrepreneurs, such as the dollar van fleet, are giving people alternative ways to get around and are creating jobs, says The Atlantic. In Brooklyn, almost all of the dollar vans are Ford E350s, with a high body and side doors and enough seats in the back to hold 14 people. At $2 a ride, one operator needs to get 14 people in the van on the 5.6 mile trip from downtown Brooklyn to King's Highway to turn a profit.

While some people worry that dollar vans pick up passengers who would otherwise ride the bus, dollar vans seem to complement the bus service. Their advantages include being a lot faster than public transit and van drivers waiting for regular riders to arrive.

However, the service is technically illegal. While most its operators are fully licensed, insured and have proper inspection for their vehicles, the vans are prohibited from doing the one thing they really do -- picking up passengers off the street

In 1993, New York outlawed dollar vans entirely. It took the intervention of some activist van owners with the help of the Institute for Justice to get them legalized.

What's interesting about dollar vans is that they could gravitate to where the riders are and where they want to go faster than public transit, which requires more infrastructure and meetings. In some cities, bus routes have histories going back decades, and they don't change to reflect how people's lives and work habits have changed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Climate Change Truth : A Fraud

What a reasonable approach to climate control the author presents here - but what is missing is the entire debate isn't really about climate control, it about getting and keeping power no matter what it takes to do it.

The progressive left socialist Democrats know that the best way to do this is to restrict or eliminate as many freedoms as possible in the name of 'saving the planet'. By curbing the assess to affordable energy to individuals and industry, the population will have little choice but to seek help from those in power.

Little wonder then why the progressive left is so invested in the fraud that is climate change.

Five Truths about Climate Change
Source: Robert Bryce, "Five Truths about Climate Change," Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2011.

Inspired by groundbreaking steps such as Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," but spurned by the constant obstinacy of federal governments, climate changes activists continue the fight on the streets via protests and demonstrations. Yet, when assessing climate change and what to do about it going forward, it is important to avoid submitting to propagandist dogma, and recognize five facts we have come to learn about climate change thus far, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

First, carbon taxes are not feasible (at least in the near future). Even while Mr. Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change dominated the environmental debate, global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 28.5 percent. This reflects increased demand for electricity (up 36 percent) which fostered increased consumption of coal, natural gas and oil by 47, 29 and 13 percent, respectively.

The lesson is, as the world modernizes, larger portions of the population will want access to energy, thereby making a tax on that energy evermore unpopular and untenable.

Second, assuming that current demographic trends hold, this demand for energy will continue to increase.

Third, the issue of climate change is no longer U.S.-centric.

While the United States is the second-largest energy consumer, its carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.7 percent over the last decade. In this same time span, Africa's carbon dioxide emissions jumped by 30 percent, Asia's by 44 percent and the Middle East's by a whopping 57 percent.

Fourth, there is most certainly room for improvement in the use of resources we already have, and this must be taken advantage of.

Fifth, a definitive end goal is not yet clear -- the science has not been settled, and therefore drastic policy decisions ought to be left out of the viable political arena until a certain end is clear.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Government Benefit Increases Crushing Growth

This is incredible - remember Paul Ryan's bill to change how we think and act about government mandates? His plan would have worked for those of us receiving Social Security now and it would work for those coming on line in the future. But it wasn't perfect so congress, the Senate, it passed in the House of Representatives, dumped it as the Democrats control Senate.

The Democrats would not allow a success for the Republicans and the country. Their agenda is to stop success as they have no idea what success is other than to crush their opponents.

Nearly Half of U.S. Households Receive Government Benefits
Source: Sara Murray, "Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit," Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2011.

Families were more dependent on government programs than ever last year, says the Wall Street Journal. Nearly half -- 48.5 percent -- of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data.

Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4 percent lived in households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008. The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years.

Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2 percent of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care program for the poor).

Another 14.5 percent lived in homes where someone was on Medicare (the health care program for the elderly), and nearly 16 percent lived in households receiving Social Security. High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation's share of taxpayers.

Some 46.4 percent of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
That's up from 39.9 percent in 2007, the year the recession began.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Obama Regulations Killing Economic Growth AND Jobs

From the very beginning of the Obama reign as king and rule giver, it was clear to anyone that wanted to listen to his words before and after the election, this was his intention " to fundamentally change America". He said what he would do on energy, immigration, foreign policy and finances in most every speech. All we had to do was listen but so many of us just waited for others to tell us what he actually said.

Here is where the main stream media did a bang up job for Obama. It really didn't matter what he said but how he said it. They made sure the spin was in to show just how the 'one' would make every one's life better by managing the news and facts about his real plan for America. Now the fainting is over as the country is falling into the worst financial disaster ever in our histroy.

As it is so painfully clear today, the media did a great job telling his story of smoke and mirrors. Why didn't the rest of us who knew exactly who he was fall for the media spin? How did we know who he was and what he planned to do? Easy - Rush Limbaugh and the rest of Conservative radio and Fox News.

Remember this line, "I hope he fails". Rush made this statement from the very beginning and how he was vilified for it. Now the progressive left socialist Democrats are gnashing their teeth and renting their clothing. Oh no, Rush is right again!

Who Will Regulate the Government?
Source: Clyde Wayne Crews, "The Other National Debt Crisis," Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 4, 2011.

The United States has the largest government on Earth, measured in annual government expenditures. Our great wealth permits a hefty bulk of regulation, much like a bigger dog can have more fleas. But the spending and regulatory burden can no longer be tolerated.

The quagmire of intricate rules and carefully tailored exceptions is making the United States an increasingly difficult and cumbersome place in which to do business, as corporations find themselves having to expend larger amounts of time, energy and money complying with numerous regulations, says Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The U.S. government justifies these regulations as symbols of progress in the fight to rein in the natural excesses of free market capitalism. However, an enormous federal government that controls approximately a quarter of national income has equally excessive tendencies. This state of affairs begs the question, if it is the responsibility of government to maintain oversight and check excesses of corporations, who will regulate the government?

Regulatory agencies have little incentive to police themselves, and the truth of this claim is evidenced by their growing body of work.

In 2010, regulation proliferation set a new record with 3,573 final rules in the 2010 Federal Register, and proposed rules were up by 20 percent.

Solutions to halt this negative slide are many and diverse. One of the easiest is to implement an annual review of old and outdated regulations so that they do not outlive their usefulness on the books. Furthermore, Congress ought to vote on all new rules, as this will allow greater oversight within the federal government and will allow the voting public to hold their elected officials accountable for their stances on frivolous regulations.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Progressive Democrat "Good Intentions" A Poor Strategy

The entire progressive Democrat left's agenda is based on this premise - 'if it feels right, it's good for everyone'. But always remember this about the progressive, if the 'feel good' strategy doesn't work out, it will be someone else's fault.

The left never, ever takes responsibility for their action. Most all decisions made by the left Democrats have this as part of the agenda. There has to be a scape goat or 'straw man' waiting in the wings ready to take the fall if the plan fails. And as history can prove, most liberal agendas have failed, understanding the mess we are in today is precisely a failed Democrat progressive agenda.

Government's Good Intentions Can Have Negative Consequences
Source: Eli Lehrer and Ben Schreiber, "Go Green...," Weekly Standard, September 12, 2011.

The federal government consumes about a quarter of the United States' gross domestic product and owns more real estate, uses more energy and has more cars than any other entity. The government's size allows it to invest in projects on a scale that private entities cannot. That means decisions the federal government undertakes have enormous impacts -- which means enormous damage when the government makes spending choices that are bad for the environment.

While government projects that marginally benefit environmental protection efforts are touted as victories for the green movement, substantial government spending on wasteful and environmentally destructive policies undoes much of this progress, say Eli Lehrer, vice president of the Heartland Institute, and Ben Schreiber, a climate and energy tax analyst at Friends of the Earth. Consider:

The $50 billion-plus five-year tab for ethanol subsidies has brought millions of acres of previously wild land under cultivation, increased the use of chemical fertilizers and wasted billions of gallons of water.

More than $8 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees for coal provide enormous taxpayer support for the dirtiest of all widely used fuels.

Oil interests, subsidized mainly via huge tax benefits like an "intangible drilling cost" tax advantage, reduce Treasury revenue by almost $20 billion a decade.

While these are some of the larger, government-funded projects that are accelerating the destruction of the environment, there are still dozens of others: tax credits for consumers to buy inefficient vehicles, wasted fuel for unnecessary plane flights, direct crop subsidies that encourage deforestation, etc. And with $380 billion in spending of this kind scheduled for the next five years, changing this trend does not appear to be a goal for the near future.

Without doubt, at least a few of these policies were intended to be eco-friendly. However, planning macroeconomic policy often limits the ability to foresee all the potential side effects, such as adverse consumer reactions or exploitative business decisions.

For this reason, government ought to take a step back from its environmentally-motivated market intervention and stick to policies that are broader and less pervasive: funding for basic public research, maintenance of refuges and parks, etc.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Taxes : A Short History

Tax reform is probably one of the most important issues in the financial debate. Just consider the fact that 47% of the population pay no tax at all and the top 1% pay 37% of all the tax.

A Short History of the Income Tax
Source: John Steele Gordon, "A Short History of the Income Tax," Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011.

Before the modern era, the federal tax system was manifestly unfair by any reasonable standard, grossly biased in favor of the well off. Ironically, attempting to fix that unfairness is what has brought us to the present moment, with a federal tax system that is grotesquely complex, often arbitrary, and corrupted by mutual backscratching between members of Congress and influential lobbyists, says author John Steele Gordon.

While America saw its first temporary income tax during the Civil War, it wasn't until 1894 that a federal income tax on the rich became law. The 1894 law was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court, but it was later revived by progressive Republicans and others in the early 1900s. This ultimately led to ratification of the 16th Amendment just as President Taft was leaving office.

The new president, Woodrow Wilson, and Congress promptly passed a personal income tax.
It kicked in at 1 percent on incomes above $3,000 (a comfortable upper middle-class income at the time) and reached 7 percent on incomes over $500,000.
But there were many deductions, bringing the effective tax rates down sharply from the marginal ones -- a feature of the tax system ever since.
Unfortunately the corporate income tax, originally intended as only a stopgap measure, was left in place unchanged. As a result, for the last 98 years we have had two completely separate and uncoordinated income taxes. This has had two deeply pernicious effects.

One, it allowed the very rich to avoid taxes by playing the two systems against each other -- when the top personal income tax rate soared to 75 percent in World War I, for instance, thousands of the rich simply incorporated their holdings in order to pay the much lower corporate tax rate.

The other pernicious consequence of the separate corporate and personal income taxes has been a field day for demagogues and the misguided to claim that the rich are not paying their "fair share."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

EPA : American's Worst Nightmare Among Nightmares?

This is a fantastic read - a little long but worth every minute. It explains how the EPA is probably the most intrusive and disastrous organization in the country. There is no other unelected organization that has proven, beyond a shadow of doubt, they can and are making decisions that even congress could not and would not make given the complete and total disaster for their reelections.

The Obama administration is using the EPA as a substitute for his inability to pass legislation, read as a progressive liberal agenda, to "fundamentally change America". Even though the agenda will cause billions in lost revenue and millions of lost jobs and crush family budgets with higher energy costs, he doesn't care as long as he satisfies his progressive left liberal base of voters. He Believes he can be reelected by these people alone?

But the EPA has no fear about reelections, they decide who lives and who dies, who succeeds and who fails simply by saying it is so. Actions like this were driven out of this country 236 years ago.

The driving force now is to get it done so who ever comes next to govern will have to live or die with these new regulations. What a great reason alone to change government leadership.

Economic Euthanasia: More Poison Pills
From The EPA Sep 27, 2011 Forbes

You just gotta know President Barack Obama recognizes the U.S. economy along with his personal job prospects are truly on life support when enactment of a new industry-toxic EPA proposal is delayed until after the next election. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a lot more bad medicine is about to be dispensed.

Obama’s announcement to set aside the EPA’s proposed “Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards” almost immediately followed the politically destructive September employment report that showed zero new job growth and an economy teetering on the cusp of recession. Reflecting an apparent epiphany, he issued a statement recognizing “the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”

As Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) top Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee observed in a joint response, “This sudden admission by President Obama that ill-considered regulations do, in fact, have a negative impact upon our economy is a welcome breakthrough.” Commonly known as the “smog rule”, the proposed regulation would have limited ground-level ozone to between 0.06-0.07 parts per million, down from 0.075 ppm set by the Bush administration, and from 0.08 ppm under Clinton. The recent plan has been widely seen as a substitute strategy for “cap-and-trade” legislation that Obama had failed to push through Congress even when Democrats held big majorities in both houses.

The smog rule would impose electricity generation-related costs projected to reach as much as $90 billion annually by 2020, a figure that even the EPA acknowledged as possible. An estimated 85% of monitored U.S. counties would be put into compliance “non-attainment” status, forcing many utilities, businesses and agricultural operations to forgo any expansion plans.

Most of the Midwest, the South, Northeast, Florida and California would be out of compliance due to prohibitively high costs. This, according to Andrew Grossman of the Heritage Foundation, is because “the technology needed to comply doesn’t exist.” For damage control against liberal fallout, Obama emphasized that his ozone override is only a temporary matter; that the EPA had planned to review the underlying science and re-evaluate the standard in 2013 anyway. In the mean time, be assured his base that there’s plenty of other action going on.

As noted by H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis: “The EPA is in the process of codifying a whole slate of new air quality rules, the sheer number and economic impact of which have not been seen at any time in the EPA’s history.

The new standards for mercury, other toxics and greenhouse gases will have an unprecedented negative impact on the U.S. economy.” Burnett predicts that this will put millions more people out of work by 2020, will shrink local tax bases as businesses cut staff or relocate, and will force many more cities and counties into bankruptcy.

All of the debilitating new regulatory barrages are centrally targeted on coal in the EPA’s relentless war against fossil energy use. However the real casualties will be businesses, jobs and household energy budgets, with few if any public health benefits. Even the EPA estimates that its “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” rule scheduled for enactment by 2015 will result in a loss of nearly one percent of all U.S. electrical power generating capacity (10,000 megawatts).

According to an August 12 New York Times report some utility experts believe that the EPA’s estimate is still way low. When combined with other restrictions on coal ash and cooling water that the EPA is planning, capacity losses will more likely be somewhere between 3.5% and 7%. To meet these standards, new facilities will not be allowed to exceed emissions of the least polluting power plant currently using the same type of fuel.

Existing coal and oil-fired power plants must reduce average emission levels of the least 12% of current plants. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) that is responsible for the reliability of the nation’s electric transmission grid projects that this will require modifications of up to 753 generating units, resulting in power shortages and supply instability. Researchers at Credit Suisse estimate that the rule will cost the industry $100 billion by 2017.

How much good will this rule really accomplish? Consider that America’s coal-burning power plants which provide about half of all electricity emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury each year. Compare this amount with U.S. forest fires that emit at least 44 tons; human cremation about 26 tons; Chinese power plants 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other natural sources spew out 9,000-10,000 tons.

Of all these emissions that enter the atmosphere, the power plants account for less than 0.5%.

Also consider some recent health survey and risk assessment results. The Centers for Disease Control’s National Examination Survey which monitors blood mercury counts for U.S. women and children found that mercury levels have decreased steadily from 1999-2008. A 17-year Seychelles Children Development Study of mercury risk to babies and children who eat several servings of ocean fish every week found “no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects.” And the World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has set mercury-risk standards that are two to three times less restrictive than EPA’s. Besides, if conditions were truly dangerous, our Congress certainly wouldn’t virtually mandate the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent fixtures containing mercury destined for landfills would they? On second thought, forget I asked that.

Then there’s the EPA’s new “Cross-State Air Pollution Standards” rule that will go into effect on January 1, requiring 27 “upwind” states to dramatically reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 2014. Based upon 2005 emissions, power plants must cut sulfur dioxide emissions 73% (from 8.8 million tons per year to 2.4 million), and nitrogen oxides 54% (from 2.6 million to 1.2 million). How necessary are these regulations? Consider that according to the EPA’s own data, nitrogen dioxide emissions fell 48% between 1980 and 2009, sulfur dioxide emissions fell by 76%, and lead emissions fell by 93%. As noted by the NCPA: “These decreases came despite a 22% increase in population and a 19% increase in energy consumption since 1990.”

Still, according to the Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm, this rule can be expected to cost up to $120 billion by 2015, and further reduce the nation’s power supply by more than 55 gigawatts (almost 4%). Combined with higher fuel prices and the plant closure impacts of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, the U.S. could produce a net loss of 1.4 million jobs by 2020, along with 11.5% electricity bill increases for households and 35% increases for some businesses.

In arguably the greatest regulatory overreach of all time, the EPA now claims permitting authority to restrict carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” emissions from stationary sources they attribute to causing climate change. Included are electrical generation facilities, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills and cement production. Individual permit approvals are subject to case-by-case “best available technology control assessments”, essentially putting EPA bureaucrats squarely in corporate boardrooms and boiler houses.

Perhaps with continued Republican pressure, there is still some hope for a reprieve. Originally scheduled to take effect on September 30, the EPA has recently announced that the rules can’t be finalized by that deadline. The delay length remains uncertain. The EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” used to justify these actions was even at odds with conclusions of its own internal study on the matter. That report stated “given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.”

It’s not like a lot of tax money isn’t being blown on solving a bogus climate crisis already. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010 (a total $106.7 billion over that period). This doesn’t include $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, tax breaks for “green energy”, foreign aid to help other countries address “climate problems”; another $16.1 billion since 1993 in federal revenue losses due to subsidies; or still another $26 billion earmarked for climate change programs and related activities in the 2009 “Stimulus Bill”.

The American Council for Capital Formation estimates that the new EPA regulations will result in 476,000 to 1,400,000 lost jobs by the end of 2014. Management Information Services, Inc. foresees that up to 2.5 million jobs will be sacrificed, annual household income could decrease by $1,200, and gasoline and residential electricity prices may increase 50% by 2030. The Heritage Foundation projects that the greenhouse gas regulations will cost nearly $7 trillion (2008 dollars) in economic output by 2029. EPA representatives maintain that considerations regarding such regulatory economic and employment impacts fall outside the administration’s purview.

Responding in a letter to a question raised by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo), EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy was very clear on this point, stating “Under the Clean Air Act, decisions regarding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) must be based solely on evaluation of the scientific evidence as it pertains to health and environmental effects. Thus, the agency is prohibited from considering costs in setting the NAAQS.”

As for impacts on jobs, the EPA wrote in February that “in periods of high unemployment, an increase in labor demand due to regulation may have a stimulative effect that results in a net increase in overall employment.” ….Huh? Isn’t this like creating jobs for underemployed doctors, medical administrators and undertakers by making more people sick? Maybe it’s a good idea to get a second opinion regarding that “scientific evidence” before taking a prescription for disaster.