Archive for May 13th, 2009

John Norquist: ILUVCENTRALPLANNING

May 13, 2009

In an effort to play the “energy efficiency” card on opponents of oppression-via-CO2-regulation, former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist concludes a piece entitled “Global Warming Skeptics Often Own Worst Enemy” with:

Is it a good idea to obsess on global warming as a threat to human life on earth? I don’t know, but as a supporter of free-market capitalism I do know that if we can produce the same or more wealth with less energy, we should do it. And if that also helps the environment, what’s the problem?

Norquist says he supports free-market capitalism yet he resorts to the collective — that is, “if we can produce the same or more wealth with less energy, we should do it.” Who is “we,” Mr. Norquist? The government? If so, count me out of we.

Has not the 20th century entirely debunked the concept of central planning? How many more people, Mr. Norquist, must suffer and/or die to prove the folly of central planning on a societal scale.

Certainly any capitalist can determine on his own and without the assistance of bureaucrats whether energy efficiency efforts make sense. As a sop to those with central planning inclinations, however, if we are going to do anything, why not act to make energy more available and more affordable, rather than act to make it less available and less affordable.

A few more points. The potential gains of energy efficiency on a societal basis have been way oversold and there is no reason to believe that will change any time soon.

Also, Mr. Norquist, perhaps you’ve heard about the problems with the compact fluorescent lightbulbs you seem to embrace? You know: they are expensive, provide inferior light, aren’t reliable, may be dangerous and are definitely a hassle if broken, come from China (as opposed to incandescent bulbs from Kentucky), pose quite a health risk to Chinese factory workers and, in all likelihood, provide no environmental benefits whatsoever.

As far as your penchant for smart growth, Mr. Norquist, you may want to live in a “compact” community, but count me and many Americans out. We like our spacious homes and yards, and the comfort, convenience and freedoms afforded by automobiles, cheap gas and roads. We don’t want our lives circumscribed and rationed by the pestilence that is meddlesome government.

Finally, how is anything that the green movement wants to do, particularly with respect to greenhouse gases, going to help the environment? I’ve worked on environmental issues for 20 years and have yet to be so enlightened. As far as I can tell, societal wealth is what makes for a clean environment. As the greens want to make us poorer, be assured that the quality of our environment will suffer if they succeed.

No stop signs. No speed limits. John Norquist would put us on the highway to:

Green Hell JACKET.indd

Western Climate Initiative: Costly and Ineffective

May 13, 2009

From the Western Business Roundtable:

A new study says that a climate action plan promoted by several Western governors could prolong the economic recession, weaken already overburdened Western power grids and will deliver a temperature “benefit” of only one ten-thousandth of a degree Celsius even after a century of operation.

Most popular: Green Hell on GlennBeck.com

May 13, 2009

Glenn Beck’s radio interview with Green Hell author Steve Milloy is at the top of GlennBeck.com’s “Most Popular” item list.

Click here to check out the interview about Chinese workers being poisoned with mercury while making compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).

Subsidymagination: GE CEO advises Obama to just ‘give me the money’?

May 13, 2009

It has paid General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt very well to snuggle up to President Obama and his plan to socialize America and to do away with free markets and free enterprise.

General Electric will receive $40 million in federal stimulus money and another $15 million in New York State grant money to build a $100 million locomotive-battery plant near Albany, NY, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plant will eventually employ 350 people and could generate as much as $500 million per year in revenue by 2015, according to GE.

A few points to ponder:

  • The feds and NY state will be spending a total of $55 million to create 350 factory jobs. That works out to government spending of about $157,000 per factory job created. The median household income in Albany County for 2007 was about $70,000 per year. The factory jobs would not commence until mid-2011.
  • If it only takes a $100 million capital investment to build a plant that will be generating $500 million in revenue in six years and $1 billion within ten years, shouldn’t GE — a company with almost $180 billion in annual revenue, $19 billion in cash flow and $18 billion in operating profits — be able to afford the plant without nursing off taxpayers?
  • Since taxpayers will front 55 percent of the plant’s construction costs, what exactly will taxpayers receive in return? Will GE repay taxpayers with profits from the factory?
  • Hybrid locomotives are not some slam-dunk technology. A recent effort to market a hybrid locomotive designed for limited railyard use just failed.
  • Keeping in mind that GE’s hybrid locomotive has yet to be commercialized, it’s featured benefit is only a 10 percent fuel savings at best, plus the attendant reduction in air emissions — hardly something to get excited about.
  • Is GE getting this sweetheart stimulus deal because CEO Jeff Immelt sits on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board? Exactly what advice does Immelt provide to Obama — ‘give me the money’? Isn’t this a conflict-of-interest?
  • Immelt is also a big supporter of Obama’s plans for greenhouse gas regulation (called “Ecomagination”) and nationalizing health care (called “Healthymagination”) since GE would benefit immensely from such legislation.
  • GE has already received a $140 billion bailout from taxpayers.

Ask Gary Sheffer, GE’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, whether GE should just collapse its rent-seeking efforts under the single rubric of Subsidymagination. E-mail him at gary.sheffer@ge.com or phone him at 203-373-3476. Feel free to share his response with the rest of us.