No presidential administration of the post-World War II era -- possibly not even Carter's, which was mainly just incompetent -- has behaved so negatively toward business as has Obama's. The first gentleman, to every appearance, really thinks government thinkers know more about everything than do people engaged in vulgar commerce. Including what kind of energy we need. Not the dirty kind -- oil and coal; rather, the clean variety -- wind and sun, and maybe a bit of nuclear as well.
This energy bill of goods, as dangled before us by the administration since the 2008 campaign, obscures practical and economic realities. To wit, trucks and cars don't run on sunlight or wind, and coal -- whose cost of generation the U.S. energy department priced at 44 cents per megawatt three years ago -- is our second cheapest form of energy, next to oil and gas, at 25 cents per megawatt. Nuclear power is $1.59.
And how much, according to the energy department, is wind power? Oh, $23.37 per megawatt. Solar power? A whopping $24.34.
Green jobs, anybody? The Heritage Foundation says a federal wind-power mandate could cost the economy 1 million jobs by 2017. All right, all right, Heritage, in policy circles, makes the near-fatal mistake of favoring capitalism. No doubt the administration can put on anti-capitalist witnesses of its own; more people to bash business and insist on the superiority of regulation at every turn.
The administration is kidding itself if it thinks Congress has the time, or is in the mood, to kick "Big Oil" and "corporate polluters" in that part of the anatomy for which we have a new presidential expression. Success at posterior-kicking isn't the point anyhow. Good old-fashioned demagoguery -- yea us; boo all you other guys -- is the point. For which there seems right now a downright surplus of energy.