Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: October 22, 2010


Campaign finance reform: be careful what you wish for Democrats

You’ve heard all the whining by Democrats about “outside spending” on election campaigns and the lecture of the members of the Supreme Court by President Obama during the last State of the Union address because they overturned the unconstitutional campaign finance law?  Their concerns, as they stated them, were about “outside spending” on campaigns.  That’s a Dem code phrase for “corporate spending”.  But as this election cycle is demonstrating, most of the “outside spending” for the mid-terms isn’t coming from corporations per se – it’s coming from public employee unions.

Of the top five “outside sources” of spending, three are pubic employee unions.  The top spender is The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at 87.5 million dollars.  The next two are the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads (Karl Rove).  Numbers four and five are the SEIU and NEA.  Of those five the two supporting Republicans has spent 140 million.  The public sector unions, committed to Democrats, have spent 171.5 million.

Asked about this here’s the White House response:

When asked about AFSCME’s ramped up campaign efforts following the court’s decision, the White House focused on largely anonymous campaign spending by what it termed "special interests."

"The president has been crystal clear that third-party groups which spend tens of millions of dollars from anonymous sources are a threat to our democracy—regardless of which candidates they support," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. He said these groups are disproportionately backing Republican candidates.

Yeah, not so much Josh.  And you have to wonder why “anonymous” sources are somehow more of a “threat to our democracy” than known sources like the AFSCME, SEIU and NEA?  And since when haven’t they been as much “special interests” for Democrats as they claim Big Business is for the GOP?

By the way, you’ll love this:

Previously, most labor-sponsored campaign ads had to be funded by volunteer donations. Now, however, AFSCME can pay for ads using annual dues from members, which amount to about $390 per person. AFSCME said it will tap membership dues to pay for $17 million of ads backing Democrats this election.

Nice.  Any guess as to whether union dues will rise next year since much of them are now being spent on political lobbying/campaigning/advertising?  And how does it feel to have your tax dollars indirectly supporting political advertising with which you don’t agree (and for those in the unions who don’t agree, their dues are directly supporting such efforts).

Back to the point of the title though – given these numbers, one wonders how much continued caterwauling we’ll hear from Obama and the Democrats with 2012 looming?

Yeah, not much.

~McQ


Are you willing to pay much more for green energy?

It is a legitimate question, wouldn’t you say, especially if government plans on forcing its use through mandates.

Here’s a list that gives the cost of a megawatt of power (2008 dollars) in 2016 according to the government’s Energy Information Agency:

•Conventional coal power: $78.10
• Onshore wind power: $149.30
• Offshore wind power: $191.10
• Thermal solar power: $256.60
• Photo-voltaic solar power: $396.10

That’s what it will cost you, depending on the method of generation, for the mandated “integration” of renewable energy if Senate Democrats have their way:

A nationwide renewables mandate, or RES, is a longstanding pillar of Democratic energy plans that requires utilities to source certain amounts of their electricity from renewable sources. The bill currently under consideration in the Senate would require utilities to derive 15 percent of their electricity from sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2021.

Here’s the problem.  At the moment, “renewables” comprise about 6% of the electricity generated in the US.  Not included by the Democrats is nuclear generation.   Oh, and btw, of that 6% renewables, half, or 3%, comes from hydro-electric.  There are no plans to increase that by Dems either.

So here we have the beginnings of a wooden headed plan to mandate the use of heavily subsidized “renewable” energy which would, without a doubt jack up the price of energy that is absolutely critical to the fundamental functioning of America.  David Kreutzer:

“Electric power is one of the most critical inputs to a modern economy. Thus, it is no surprise that forcing the cost of electricity to rise dampens economic activity. The cost increase for electricity can be viewed as a particularly damaging energy tax, because a renewable mandate, unlike the case of a normal tax, provides no revenue to at least partially offset the higher cost. By way of comparison, the highway use tax on gasoline raises the price of gasoline, but it also generates revenues for building and maintaining roads and bridges. On the other hand, a renewable energy standard raises costs in the form of less efficient production, which provides no economic benefit.”

As Con Carroll points out:

If electricity created by wind and other renewables was cost competitive, consumers would use more of it without a federal law to force consumption. But renewable energy is not cost competitive, hence the need for government coercion to force the American people to buy it.

And it will be both a job and economy killer as Kreutzer explains.  If this is “going forward”, then I’m all for bringing back the old America.  This is simply stupidity on a stick and another example of the Democrats being agenda driven instead of reality driven (so much for the “reality based” community, no?).  It’s a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” ideologically driven recipe for economic disaster.  

But if Democrats have their way, you’ll be paying the bill in a few years that could be much, much higher than it is now for no appreciable difference or reason other than that’s how they want it to be.  You’ll be paying it, that is, if you have a job.

Another reason to change the balance of power in the Senate and limit the danger Democrats pose.

~McQ


Quote of the day – Bill Clinton gap edition

You’ve gotta love Bubba – when he’s not losing nuclear launch codes, or entertaining interns, he’s engaged in some pretty hilarious rationalization:

“This election is about whether you want to reverse all the things that we’ve done,” Clinton said. “Because there’s always a time lag between when you do the right thing and you feel better. We’re in the gap here. This election is occurring in the gap."

Yeah, because given time we’ll absolutely be delighted with spending 3 trillion dollars we don’t have in 2 years with trillions more to come over the next 10 years.   We’ll thrive on jacked up health insurance bills.  And the anti-business atmosphere – a wonderful thing which is definitely settling the markets and getting businesses to commit their money toward recovery.  “Lean forward” and you’ll just get more of the same.

The only “gap” evident to me is that between the ears of anyone who buys into Clinton’s nonsense.  But hey, it’s Bubba – a man never much acquainted with the truth.

~McQ