Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: January 2012

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Actually Republicans got exactly what they wanted with the Keystone XL pipeline decision today

And that, of course, was a “no”.   It’s still a temporary “no”, but it is  a “no” nonetheless.  What it does is place the Obama Administration in the awkward position of claiming to be all in for creating jobs while nixing a project that both sides admit will create them.

Obama had hoped to delay this decision until 2013, well after the election.

The decision today doesn’t kill the pipeline by any stretch, unless Trans Canada decides not to resubmit applications for permits that would reroute the pipeline from Nebraska’s Sand Hills.  That’s unlikely.  Word is they already have an alternative plan developed.

So what has happened today plays into the politics of the moment.  In last month’s payroll tax cut extension signed by President Obama, Republicans had included a provision that precluded the administration from delaying a decision on the pipeline.  In fact, it required a decision by Feb. 21st.

Now, apparently, the White House has complied with the law and blocked the pipeline.  This, of course, comes on the heels of the President’s Jobs Council recommending the administration go “all in” on exploiting North American oil and gas assets.  That included recommending fast approval for key pipelines, of which Keystone is among the top.

This then gives the GOP plenty of political fodder for the upcoming campaign.  It’s hard to claim to be the jobs president when you disapprove projects that would clearly provide jobs and further,  disapprove the project in the face of your own Jobs Council’s recommendation to do otherwise.   It is also rather difficult to claim to “share the goal of  expanding domestic oil and gas production” as Presidential spokesperson Jay Carney said yesterday when you’re turning down a project that could do exactly that.

And, of course, a key constituency, who has been all for the construction of the pipeline has now been thrown under the bus.  I’m talking about unions.

So, politically speaking, not a good one for the O. 

Oh, and one more thing that can be made very clear to those upset by the administration’s decision.  If you want to see the pipeline built there is a fairly easy solution. 

Make Obama a one-term president.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 18 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Industrial production rose by 0.4% last month, with manufacturing increasing 0.9%. Capacity utilization rose to 78.1%.

The overall Producer Price Index fell -0.1% last month, but is up 4.8% on a year-over-year basis. The Core PPI, minus food and energy—rose 0.3%, and is up 3% for the year.

The Housing Market Index rose from a depressed 21 to a slightly less depressed 25 last month.

The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting a huge jump in mortgage applications, with purchase apps up 10.3% and re-finance apps up 26.4%, bringing the composite up 23.1% for the week.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a second slow weeks of retail sales, with a year-over-year sales increase of only 2.8%. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales are also soft, with chain store sales up only 0.1% for the week, and 3% over last year.

Overall, we’re continuing to see mildly good news overall, in terms of production and housing, but retail spending and employment remains relatively weak, and inflation threats still hover over what remains a somewhat recessionary economy.

~
Dale Franks
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President’s Jobs Council: “Drill, drill, drill”

President Obama’s “Jobs Council”, formed to take the heat out of criticism that he’s not doing enough to foster job growth, has come back with an interim report that can pretty well be distilled into three words: “drill, drill, drill”:

President Obama’s jobs council called Tuesday for an “all-in approach” to energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipelines.

“[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” states the year-end report released Tuesday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

This, of course, is directly at odds with the administration’s attempt to “green up” American by pushing alternate and renewable fuels while engaging in foot-dragging, regulation and bureaucratic red-tape to slow down and sometimes stop the search for (and use of) fossil fuels.

You can almost hear the jaws of Steven Chu and Ken Salazar falling open. So what’s a President to do?

Well first, argue that what they said isn’t what they said, of course:

White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted Tuesday that the jobs council report does not endorse the Keystone pipeline.

"Well, first of all, the Jobs Council wasn’t talking about Keystone specifically," Carney said at his daily briefing. "The Jobs Council was talking about the importance of expanding domestic oil and gas production, a goal this president shares and has expounded upon at length, and has taken action as a policy matter to demonstrate his commitment to."

Nice double-talk Jay … this President “shares” the goal of  expanding domestic oil and gas production about as much as al Qaeda shares a goal for peaceful secular coexistence with the West.

His administration talks the talk, but when you look at the action they’ve taken it is hard to find evidence of that “shared” goal.

The problem for him, however, is this Jobs Council was his idea and he certainly implied that its existence meant he’d listen to their findings.  While he and Carney can weasel-word all they wish about the Keystone Pipeline, it does mean jobs.  Just as the shale gas finds in in the Ohio and Pennsylvania area do.

But instead we see the usual suspects involved in trying to demonize fracking and stop that process with the tacit approval of the Obama administration. 

The report notes that the Obama administration has called for new lease sales and said it will consider opening up new areas to drilling. But it says “further expanding and expediting the domestic production of fossil fuels both offshore and onshore (in conjunction with more electric and natural gas vehicles) will reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and the huge outflow of U.S. dollars this reliance entails.”

Beyond oil and gas, the report calls for policies that improve energy efficiency, encourage private investment in energy research and development and expand renewable energy.

Note two things.   One the Council tries to soften the blow to the administration by attempting to gild their record up to now – an acknowledgement that the administration has “called for new lease sales and said it will consider opening up new areas to drilling”.

But again, what actions have they taken to this point to do those two things?  Nada.  Again, all talk, no action – at least no action that conforms with what the President has supposedly called for.

And also note the council calls on policies to “encourage private investment in energy research and development and expand renewable energy”.  Why?  Because the possibility of another Solyndra would be vastly reduced.   Sound advice that will most likely go unheeded.

Republicans, as you might imagine, have seized upon this report:

House Republicans quickly pounced on the jobs council report Tuesday, noting that the recommendations echo their "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.

"The President’s Jobs Council today confirmed what House Republicans have known all along, that American energy production will spur job creation and strengthen our national security," House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it appears President Obama is ignoring his Council’s recommendations, much as he has ignored the views of House Republicans on energy production, economic growth and job creation."

More broadly, the jobs report calls for expanded oil-and-gas drilling, as well as “safe and responsible” natural-gas extraction from shale formations.

So?  So this is going to be a tough one for Obama to ignore, especially as his election campaign gears up.  He’s voted present on Keystone by delaying a decision until after the election.  But events keep going to spite him – PM Harper of Canada,  tired of the delays and nonsense surrounding the pipeline is now wooing China and Obama’s own Jobs Council has now pointed to the common sense solution to creating thousands of jobs – get the government to hell out of the way.

Problem?  The man just isn’t wired that way.  Government is the solution in his world – never the problem, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Let’s see how he handles this.  If Carney’s statements are any indication, China will be shipping Canada’s oil sands production west in the next few years unless we manage to get this man back to Chicago in January of next year where he belongs.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


How out of control is government spending?

This out of control. 

Obviously what I’m about to list isn’t going to make or break us as a nation in terms of monetary outlay.  Each taken individually is but a drop in the sea of $16 trillion dollar debt we now float in.  But the fact remains that each is an indicator of why we’re in that deep of a hole.  Each points to another area where government has no business, especially spending taxpayer, or more likely borrowed money.  Or it points to an expenditure not made on its reasoned merits, but on bureaucratic inertia, lack of control or monitoring or any of a great number of reasons the payment shouldn’t have been made.  Doug Bandow provides us with the list.

Now, on with the show:

~The U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) spent $30 million to spur mango production and sales in Pakistan—and failed utterly.

Yup, mango production … in Pakistan.

~The Air Force spent $14 million to switch three radar stations to wind power; poor planning forced cancellation of one turbine and consideration of the same for the other two.

Because we all know windpower is proven and reliable.

~The Federal Aviation Administration devoted $6 million to subsidize air service at small, underused airports.

Market smarket … we’ll just create one.  Until the money runs out, of course.

~A federal grant for $765,828 went to—I am not making this up, to quote Dave Barry—bring an International House of Pancakes franchise to Washington, D.C.

Because bringing IHOPs to DC is a primary function of the United States government and worthy of every dollar spent.

~The Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided a $484,000 grant to build a “Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers” restaurant in Texas.

Because it is not the market’s job to decide what restaurants should exist in a certain area, it’s the job of government.

~Another HUD grant, this one for $1 million, went to a foreign architectural firm to move its headquarters from Santa Monica to Los Angeles.

Because we knew you’d want us to do it.  You need to move?  Tough cookies.

~NIH gave the University of Kentucky $175,587 to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail.

Because we’re sure Japanese quail are the next target of drug dealers.  Or something.  But this is important … important enough to up the debt over and don’t you forget it.

~The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) gave $916,567 to underwrite horse-drawn carriage exhibits and survey shipwrecks in Wisconsin.

Because, well, we couldn’t think of anything else to do with the money.

~The Oregon Cheese Guild received $50,400 to promote cheese.

Because obviously the Oregon Cheese Guild wouldn’t be able to promote cheese without this.

~Uncle Sam spent $111,000 to send brewery experts to conduct classes in China.

Because the folks making Tsing Tao obviously couldn’t handle that.

~The ever busy NSF devoted $300,000 to developing a dance program to illustrate the origins of matter.

Because without it … oh nevermind.

And my personal favorite:

~Washington helpfully gave almost $18 million in foreign aid to China—money effectively borrowed from China.

The circle is complete.  Borrowing money to give money back to the entity from which we borrowed it while still owing the balance.

Brilliant.

Your government at work.  Be sure to read the rest of the top 100 wastes of money that Sen. Tom Coburn has helpfully put together.  And remember.  They’re the top 100.  There are plenty more than just didn’t make the cut.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Who won last night’s debate? Who cares?

Who cares as in “will it matter”?  

Seems to me that while it was clear that Romney didn’t do as well as he has in the past, Gingrich ruled and the others, beside Ron Paul, had at least OK nights, it really doesn’t matter as I believe the South Carolina primary vote will show.

If the debate mattered, Gingrich will surge dramatically in the polls and, one would think, in the final vote to at least close to a close second to Romney.  I simply don’t think that will happen.  Huntsman dropped out and that brought absolutely no reaction from the crowd last night when announced.  I think precisely the same would be true for any of the non-Romneys at this point, including Gingrich.

That is not to say I am at all pleased that Romney seems to be the inevitable nominee.  I haven’t been pleased with a GOP nominee since Reagan.  I mostly see Romney as another Dole or McCain.   That said, I see the man in the White House as far more dangerous than Romney.   But again, it seems this election season will distill itself down to the usual choice – the lesser of two evils.

There were some good lines last night from the non-Romneys and I was glad to see them back off the attack on capitalism and Bain.

That said, and considering this was a debate moderated by the GOP friendly Fox network, where in the world were the questions about the economy and the European crisis?  Where were the queries about jobs and how to go about creating them? 

Instead we got silly race baiting questions from Juan Williams (which, thankfully, were turned on him to the point that the crowd gave Newt Gingrich a standing O for his answer to one of them), questions about tax returns and other ancillary topics that really didn’t address the main problem of our time.

Certainly, if you watched Twitter during the debate, people had fun scoring the punches and the hits, the “dodges” and the answers, but in the big primary scheme of things, does any of that matter?   If polls are to be believed, Romney is comfortably ahead in both South Carolina and Florida.

I’m personally tired of the debates.  For the most part they’ve delivered more entertainment than information. They’ve devolved into scorekeeping about who got the best shot in on Romney.  This is something like the 15th Republican debate and we’re no more enlightened about the serious topics we should be addressing than we were after the 1st. 

If we have to go through more of this debate nonsense, can we have one solely focused on jobs, the economy and the proposed policies each of the candidates would try to have implemented to turn this mess around?   Can we hear an intelligent discussion of what the European mess portends and how it will effect us?  Can we toss a question out there addressing the President’s new defense strategy and its implications and effect on future American foreign policy?

And can we give them more than 90 seconds to answer?   I’m tired of hearing the same old stump speech for the umpteenth time, the usual fall back when there are time limits on answers.   If the debate is 2 hours and that means only 2 to 3 questions get asked, but each candidate gets, say 5 to 7 minutes to answer, I’m fine with that. 

Because that will actually require them to say more than the canned generalizations they tend to throw out there now in response to questions.  That will allow probing for more detail and follow up.  It will actually shed some light on positions and better inform Americans.

Instead we seem to be stuck with the equivalent of Twitter debates, with about enough time for a candidate to attempt to summarize his answer into 140 characters or less.

Is there something wrong with demanding substance in these things and the time necessary to produce it?

Or is that just simply not good for ratings?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Medicare’s Doctor (and patient) trap

John Goodman poses a scenario for you to consider:

Suppose you are accused of a crime and suppose your lawyer is paid the way doctors are paid. That is, suppose some third-party payer bureaucracy pays your lawyer a different fee for each separate task she performs in your defense. Just to make up some numbers that reflect the full degree of arbitrariness we find in medicine, let’s suppose your lawyer is paid $50 per hour for jury selection and $500 per hour for making your final case to the jury.

What would happen? At the end of your trial, your lawyer’s summation would be stirring, compelling, logical and persuasive. In fact, it might well get you off scot free if only it were delivered to the right jury. But you don’t have the right jury. Because of the fee schedule, your lawyer skimped on jury selection way back at the beginning of your trial.

This is why you don’t want to pay a lawyer, or any other professional, by task. You want your lawyer to be able to reallocate her time — in this case, from the summation speech to the voir dire proceeding. If each hour of her time is compensated at the same rate, she will feel free to allocate the last hour spent on your case to its highest valued use rather than to the activity that is paid the highest fee.

None of us would ever want to pay a lawyer by task, would we (not talking about a will or legal document production here, but instead some form of defense against charges which necessitates a jury trial and requiring the accomplishment of many tasks)?  We’d instead insist upon paying them for a package of services designed to do whatever is necessary to defend us to the best of their ability with the ultimate goal of us walking free.

Right?

So why is it we can’t demand the same of doctors?  Why can’t we demand a package of services designed by them to address all of our medical problems?

Well if your stuck with Medicare or Medicaid, you’re stuck with government price fixing and payment by task, that’s why.  First the price fixing:

Medicare has a list of some 7,500 separate tasks it pays physicians to perform. For each task there is a price that varies according to location and other factors. Of the 800,000 practicing physicians in this country, not all are in Medicare and no doctor is going to perform every task on Medicare’s list.

Yet Medicare is potentially setting about 6 billion prices across the country at any one time.

OK?  Bad enough that Medicare has completely removed the price mechanism from the process. As economist Dr. Mark Perry notes:

These problems sound a lot like the deficiencies of Soviet-style central planning in general when the government, rather than the market, sets prices, see Economic Calculation Problem.

Exactly and stultifyingly obvious, correct?  In fact, it’s something one shouldn’t have to point out.  Nor, would it seem, should it be something that we’re doing either.  But we are.  You just have to remember, our government doesn’t care about history, because, well, you know, it will get it right where all these other governments have failed.  Just watch.

If the price fixing isn’t bad enough, it has also hit upon a procedure that actually inhibits the delivery of good health care rather than incentivizing it.

Medicare has strict rules about how tasks can be combined. For example, “special needs” patients typically have five or more comorbidities — a fancy way of saying that a lot of things are going wrong at once. These patients are costing Medicare about $60,000 a year and they consume a large share of Medicare’s entire budget. Ideally, when one of these patients sees a doctor, the doctor will deal with all five problems sequentially. That would economize on the patient’s time and ensure that the treatment regime for each malady is integrated and consistent with all the others.

Under Medicare’s payment system, however, a specialist can only bill Medicare the full fee for treating one of the five conditions during a single visit. If she treats the other four, she can only bill half price for those services. It’s even worse for primary care physicians. They cannot bill anything for treating the additional four conditions.

So, for example, if you have diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure or any combination of a number of other chronic diseases, tough cookies, your doc can only treat one per visit – unless, of course, he or she wants to work for free on the others.

Don’t believe me?

[When Dr. Young] sees Medicare or Medicaid patients at Tarrant County’s JPS Physicians Group, he can only deal with one ailment at a time. Even if a patient has several chronic diseases — diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure — the government’s payment rules allow him to only charge for one.

“You could spend the extra time and deal with everything, but you are completely giving away your services to do that,” he said. Patients are told to schedule another appointment or see a specialist.

Young calls the payment rules “ridiculously complicated.”

That has nothing to do with being complicated.  It has to do with stupidity overruling common sense and the stupidity being enforced by an uncaring bureaucracy.  “Rulz is rulz, Doc”.   Do what is best for your patient and do it for free – that’s one way to lower costs, isn’t it?

But don’t forget – government involvement will mean better care at lower cost.  That’s the promise, right?

Instead government is now redefining “better” to mean “their way or the highway”.  It has nothing to do with what is better for the patient or the doctor.  It has to do with what is better politically.  And, of course, better for the bureaucracy.  In this case, that means squeezing the doctor for everything they can get at the expense of the patient.  Since you don’t have a choice about Medicare when you reach 65, any doctor you see doesn’t have a choice about how he or she treats you.

The only choice you have? 

Live with it … if you can.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


One more time: The unemployment numbers in context

Context is one of those tricky words for some.  Because, when applied, it tends to trip up their attempts to shade news a certain way.  Without it, they’re much more able to do their shading than when context is added to their formulation.

Take the unemployment numbers – the “official” unemployment numbers.  We’re supposed to believe that everything is getting better because that number has come down from 10% to its current “official” level of 8.5%.  

But when one digs into that number, it becomes apparent that one can only get to 8.5% if one is willing to write off over a million American workers who’ve somehow “vanished” from the labor force.

Or in other words, in context, with those workers being added back in as they should be, our unemployment rate is much higher than 8.5%.  Dale has explained this many times.  I’ve pointed it out a few times.  Investors Business Daily does it this time:

In the 30 months since the recession officially ended, nearly 1 million people have dropped out of the labor force — they aren’t working, and they aren’t looking — according to data from Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past two months, the labor force shrank by 170,000.

This is virtually unprecedented in past economic recoveries, at least since the BLS has kept detailed records. In the past nine recoveries, the labor force had climbed an average 3.5 million by this point, according to an IBD analysis of the BLS data.

"Given weak job prospects, many would-be workers dropped out of (or never entered) the labor force," noted Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute in her analysis of the BLS jobs report issued last Friday. "That reduces the measured unemployment rate but does not represent real improvement."

According to the BLS, the "labor force participation rate" — the ratio of the number of people either working or looking for work compared with the entire working-age population — is now 64%, down from 65.7% when the recession ended in June 2009. That’s the lowest level since women began entering the workforce in far greater numbers several decades ago.

That “labor force participation rate” hasn’t changed significantly.  In fact, given our expanding population, it has probably remained at least the same.  What the “official” number does is ignore the missing million plus workers and thereby misrepresent the true level of unemployment in this country.   That official number also hides the real problem that IBD’s chart shows us – something unprecedented in past recoveries:

 

WEBa1jobs0113.gif

 

Labor force growth, as you might imagine, is one of the indicators of a recovering economy.  Instead we seem to be in the middle of fooling ourselves that such a recovery is happening by viewing a falling “official” unemployment number as an indictor of progress in that area.  I’m not sure how one can make that argument – in context, as provided by this chart.

IBD goes on to outline what this all means in the long run:

Not only does the shrunken labor force mask the real size of the unemployment problem in the country — since only those actively looking for work are counted as unemployed — it likely means that economic growth will be subpar going forward.

[…]

The weak job market has also helped depress wages. Real median annual household income has dropped 5.1% since the recession ended, more than the 3.2% decline during the recession itself — according to a new Sentier Research report.

The smaller labor force is just one of the problems with the current unemployment number. The other is that the jobs being created aren’t keeping pace with population growth. Since June 2009, the economy has added 1.4 million jobs, which is below the more than 2 million needed to keep up with population growth and far below the gains experienced at the same point in the previous 10 recoveries — which saw job gains average more than 4 million.

So, what has happened?  Well there are all sorts of explanations being bandied about – Baby Boomers choosing retirement instead of seeking work, etc.  But the fact remains, as IBD points out, “the labor force had been climbing until Obama took office. In fact, it peaked in May 2009, the month before the recession officially ended.”

That sort of dampens the “Baby Boomer retirement” explanation and leaves us again searching for an answer.

The whole point of this post, however, isn’t so much wrapped up in the answer, but the context of the problem.  Or said another way, you’re being led down the primrose path with the “official” unemployment number and here’s why. 

Context.   A dirty word to those who would prefer to feed you false sunshine via their “official” numbers.  But when you look at their numbers remember that you’re mostly looking at contextless nonsense. 

Oh, and if you’re not depressed enough:

The Economic Policy Institute calculates that when you add the number of jobs lost in the recession and the growth in the working age population over the past few years, the "jobs deficit," as EPI calls it, "remains well over 10 million."

There’s also the problem of people who want full-time work not being able to find it. The BLS offers a different unemployment measure that counts not only those currently looking for a job, but those who’ve given up looking, as well as those who are underemployed because of the soft job market.

That measure has unemployment at a whopping 15.2%.

But don’t look for this administration to ever tell you that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Was Solyndra just the tip of a failed taxpayer funded “green energy” iceberg?

It appears so.  CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson (yes the same Ms. Attkisson who has been the only reporter following up on Fast and Furious) has checked and it seems Solyndra was just one of many “green companies” which the Obama administration attempted to pick as “winners” by “investing” your money via loan guarantees:

Take Beacon Power — a green energy storage company. We were surprised to learn exactly what the Energy Department knew before committing $43 million of your tax dollars.

Documents obtained by CBS News show Standard and Poor’s had confidentially given the project a dismal outlook of "CCC-plus."

Read the documents

Asked whether he’d put his personal money into Beacon, economist Peter Morici replied, "Not on purpose."

"It’s, it is a junk bond," Morici said. "But it’s not even a good junk bond. It’s well below investment grade."

Was the Energy Department investing tax dollars in something that’s not even a good junk bond? Morici says yes.

"This level of bond has about a 70 percent chance of failing in the long term," he said.

In fact, Beacon did go bankrupt two months ago and it’s unclear whether taxpayers will get all their money back. And the feds made other loans when public documents indicate they should have known they could be throwing good money after bad.

That’s one.  But there are more:

Others are also struggling with potential problems. Nevada Geothermal — a home state project personally endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid –  warns of multiple potential defaults in new SEC filings reviewed by CBS News. It was already having trouble paying the bills when it received $98.5 million in Energy Department loan guarantees.

SunPower landed a deal linked to a $1.2 billion loan guarantee last fall, after a French oil company took it over. On its last financial statement, SunPower owed more than it was worth. On its last financial statement, SunPower owed more than it was worth. SunPower’s role is to design, build and initially operate and maintain the California Valley Solar Ranch Project that’s the subject of the loan guarantee.

First Solar was the biggest S&P 500 loser in 2011 and its CEO was cut loose – even as taxpayers were forced to back a whopping $3 billion in company loans.

Anyone – does the Constitution have a “venture capitalist” clause in it that we somehow missed?  Is it the job of our government to pick winners and losers in a market using taxpayer dollars?

Well according to the brilliant Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, no politics were involved in any of this.  But:

Nobody from the Energy Department would agree to an interview. Last November at a hearing on Solyndra, Energy Secretary Steven Chu strongly defended the government’s attempts to bolster America’s clean energy prospects. "In the coming decades, the clean energy sector is expected to grow by hundreds of billions of dollars," Chu said. "We are in a fierce global race to capture this market."

The government is blowing it big time.  Why?  Because, despite Chu’s claim, it is all about politics.  And ideology. 

In fact this administration has no trust in markets to develop the technology they desire so they’re sold on the idea that the central government should be used to facilitate their ideology.  And that is precisely what this is all about.  Solyndra, Beacon Power, Nevada Geothermal, SunPower and First Solar are just failed indicators of the bankruptcy of their approach.  Given a treasury and the ability to spend money almost unchecked, they’ve committed to implementing their ideology on the back of taxpayers.  And, unsurprisingly, they’re failing miserably.

But we’re assumed to be so dumb we can’t see through their political scheme.

Unfortunately, as it has been for quite some time, no one will be held accountable for this fiasco that has cost us billions in money we simply don’t have.   If anyone ever wanted a case study of how out-of-control and outside the Constitutional box government has become, the failed “green energy” sector loan program provides the perfect scenario.

Meanwhile, in Canada:

Canada is now looking to Asian countries to market its abundance of oil, natural gas and minerals as plans to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have stalled with the U.S. administration.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to China next month to discuss selling Canada’s bounty to the rapidly growing nation.

The preferred initial plan was to build the $7 billion Keystone pipeline to deliver Alberta’s oilsands crude to refineries in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.

Harper reasoned that the U.S. government would prefer to deal with a friendly neighbor to help meet its energy needs while creating thousands of jobs.

With widespread opposition by U.S. environmentalists, the Obama administration has delayed its decision on whether to approve the project proposed by energy giant TransCanada Pipelines.

The new plan would market to China and Asian countries through the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would transport Alberta’s oil and natural gas to British Columbia for shipment by tankers.

Yup, no politics at all.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 16 Jan 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the Marines incident, re-organizing government, and the coming economic collapse.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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