Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 17, 2011


Notes from RightOnLine

The conference has a full list of breakout sessions that are quite interesting. I’ve attended two now, both fairly basic, but they’re on “tracks” meaning that subject will be built upon as the day progresses and you follow the track through to its conclusion.

I’ve run into some friends and acquaintances here and its good to see them. But the vast majority are obviously strangers. I’m wondering though whether this is more regional than an event like CPAC.

One interesting thing going on concurrently is the left is holding Netroots Nation right across the street and a good number of them are staying in the hotel in which RightOnLine is being held.

Sweet.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO


RightOnLine

OK, I’m sitting in the bloggers lounge at RightOnLine in the Twin Cities. If the name tags waiting to be picked up are any indication, it is going to be very well attended. It’ll be interesting to see how different this is from CPAC.

I may attend some of the breakout sessions just to get a feel for what is being pushed by Republicans. Hopefully I’m going to hear a lot about fiscal issues, budget, debt, deficit and spending cuts.

Michele Bachman, Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain will be speaking here. I’m going to try to live blog their speeches. I’m also trying an experiment with the iPad, using it as my primary means of blogging (a little downsizing).

So … let the games begin.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO


New CAFE standards could cost a quarter million jobs

When is a "green job" not a job? When you lose yours because of the initiative:

The Detroit News’s dogged David Shepardson has unearthed a study by one of world’s most respected automotive research firms that reveals that President Obama’s radical CAFE mandate that vehicles average — average! — 62 MPG by 2025 “could force vehicle prices up by nearly $10,000, reduce sales by 5.5 million vehicles annually, and eliminate more than 260,000 jobs.”

Shepardson is quoting from the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research and the 260,000 job loss figure (consistent with past job losses from CAFE rule hikes) is another dent in White House’s propaganda that Green creates jobs.

The CAR study also reveals that Obama’s NHTSA and EPA have been gaming the figures when it comes to the cost of their new rules. The center’s study predicts it will cost between $3,744 and $9,790 per vehicle, while the agencies have low-balled the figure at $770 to $3,500 per vehicle.

The resulting costs would shrink the new-car market, with 5.5 million potential buyers disappearing (and manufacturing jobs with them) by 2025. That assumes that the auto fleet can even be built to meet such an absurd spec. Currently, no car — much less the average — meets 62 mpg. Indeed, only a handful of small vehicles meet the 35-mpg fleet-wide standard mandated in just five years.

Yes friends, just like the story I covered the other day, we have an administration which is more agenda driven than reality driven. We’re in the middle of a horrible recession, unemployment hasn’t really moved in over a year, the future doesn’t look much better, but the agenda to raise the price of energy (at the cost of jobs) and CAFE standards (at the cost of even more jobs) continues apace.

If you’ve ever wondered what market distortion and intrusion by government looks like, this is a good example.  And this intrusion will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and price many consumers out of the new car market (again, this administration sees that as a feature, not a bug). 

Another in a litany of reasons Mr. Obama needs to be retired in 2012.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Ethanol subsidy axed

Or an alternate title: “A good start”.

The Senate voted 73-27 Thursday to kill a major tax break that benefits the ethanol industry, handing a political win to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that call the incentive needless and expensive.

The vote also could have ramifications on future votes to reduce the deficit. Much of the GOP conference supported Feinstein’s bill even though it does not include another tax break to offset the elimination of the ethanol tax credit.

[…]

Feinstein’s amendment to an economic development bill would quickly end the credit of 45 cents for each gallon of ethanol that fuel blenders mix into gasoline. The credit led to $5.4 billion in foregone revenue last year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The amendment also ends the 54-cent per gallon import tariff that protects the domestic ethanol industry.

So we have actual bi-partisan agreement to end a subsidy and cut spending.   Good.  I’m also pleased with the fact that the tariff would be lifted.   This means less market distortion and real signals sent by that market as to whether or not ethanol is a viable product in the energy sector.  My guess is it is, however, not to the extent the subsidy made it.   It may also have an effect of lowering food prices as less corn production will probably go to ethanol than is now.

As the article points out, the issue is “more regional than partisan”.  That’s probably the case with many subsidies.   Let’s carry this on by hunting down a few more of those types of subsidies and immediately end them.  A few billion here, a few billion there and pretty soon you’re talking big money.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO