As I've learned just on a personal level of late, there are plenty of people who aren't familiar with the name of the taxpayer-funded, failed solar company Solyndra, let alone the many other green-energy companies that have fallen by the wayside under Obama's watch, but most are more generally aware of the Obama administration's push to forcibly incorporate green energy jobs into our economy. Ergo, in the new ad they released this morning, I think it's wise of Romney camp to point out just how wishy-washy and wasteful the Department of Energy's various stimuli and loan programs have been, and point to specific failures to combat the White House's enchanting hopenchange-y rhetoric. You can't make an idea work well for the economy just because it works well for your own politics, President Obama:
As the Washington Examiner pointed out over the weekend:
"We can invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy ... to create 5 million new jobs, new energy jobs, all across [the] country, jobs that pay well, jobs that can't be outsourced," Obama, the candidate, told an Ohio crowd.
But the president has fallen far short of his own mark.
The wind industry has actually lost about 10,000 jobs since 2009, even though it doubled its domestic production, the American Wind Energy Association reports. And Republicans were quick to point out that as Obama blocks the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since the start of his term.
Obama spent $90 billion of his stimulus package on green energy projects, including weatherization of buildings and development of electric vehicles. Yet, by the end of last year, just 16,100 people landed new jobs in the so-called green industry, Labor Department statistics show, far short of the 200,000 jobs the White House projected it would help create each year.
Hey, remember this time two years ago, when President Obama was busily declaring things like, "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra"? It would be laughable... if he wasn't still doing the exact same thing.
Uhm, yeah, 'jobs will be lost' if Congress doesn't act and put a definitive stop to President Obama's farcical economic equivalent of playing God. Honestly now -- is he joking?
President Obama stopped in Newton, Iowa to campaign for a renewable energy tax credit set to expire at the end of the year. The tax credits are part of the president's "To-Do" list for Congress.
Speaking at TPI Composites, which manufactures wind blades for wind turbines and employs 700 people, the president told the crowd that extending the tax credit is "a big deal."
"This industry -- thanks in large part to some very important tax credits -- has now taken off," the president told the crowd largely made up of TPI workers. ...
However, he said "that progress is in jeopardy. If Congress doesn't act, those tax credits I mentioned - the ones that helped to build up the wind industry and bring it here to Newton - will expire. If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost."
Let's just rid ourselves of the romantical notion here that the President gives a hoot about these Iowans' jobs at the ol' wind-turbine factory (wind turbines, by the way, are very environmentally costly to manufacture. Just sayin'.). The renewable energy tax credit to which he is referring is what all such subsidies are about: rent-seeking special interests hankering to get their share of corporate welfare. That is all.
And if, as the President claims, the wind industry has really "taken off," why for pity's sake does it need more subsidies? Because it hasn't taken off, and the industry needs these subsidies to stay healthy. Ergo, The American Taxpayer is paying for unproductive jobs in a politically-favored industry, at the opportunity cost of actual economic growth and the creation of real, productive jobs.
For me at least, this week there was nothing sweeter than watching Team Obama flail desperately in its attempts to discredit Mitt Romney, only to watch the righteousness of free enterprise trip them up so miserably that their own allies had to tell them to lock it up. Nothing.
Ouch. When your fellow Democrats have to pile it on to let you know that, dude, there is a line and you are more than flirting with it, you know you've got problems. Sorry, but Americans like free enterprise (otherwise known as, you know, FREEDOM), and you can't keep a good man down--the Obama administration likes to credit themselves for the meager gains the economy is gradually managing to eke out, but really, the economy is keeping its head above water in spite of Obama's horrid central-planning policies. Free enterprise won't go down without a fight, and as "brilliant" as he ostensibly is, it is wildly clear that President Obama neither understands nor appreciates that.
Watching liberal academics pretending to understand the real world and how businesses work is a part of life that will never go away, like insects and tofu. What is unforgivable is those pretending to understand business attacking Wall Street in general and Governor Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital in particular. The very essence of capitalism is under assault, and defending it at all costs is the only acceptable option. ...
The last few days saw several Democrats from Corey Booker to Harold Ford to Deval Patrick try to stop the reflexive anti-business madness of the Obama administration. ...
The liberal myth is that Mitt Romney played the Danny Devito role of Larry the Liquidator. He took companies, stripped them dry, kept all of the money for himself, and destroyed everyone else. The left would have no idea how to explain how this actually works, but it sounds good. The problem with this "analysis" is that people and businesses have reputations. If this narrative of Mr. Romney as Conan the Financial Destroyer were accurate, potential clients would catch on after a few decades and stop doing business with him and Bain Capital. They are still in business precisely because their track record is quite good. Critics of Romney and Bain Capital know they dislike him and the firm, but cannot exactly articulate why.
Also, Governor Romney cannot and should not be responsible for any successful or failed deals that happened at Bain Capital before or after he left. Some leftist critics blame President George W. Bush for failing to deal with al Qaeda during the Clinton and Obama presidencies. Logic should remove those criticisms. Only the deals that occurred during the Romney tenure should matter. He had a 78% success rate, which is slightly better than the almost 0% success rate of the Obama environmental gambling spree.
I hate that I feel compelled to say it, but the gentleman most definitely has a point. Some words of wisdom from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.):
"S&P's downgrade on us was right, matter of fact we're going to get another downgrade. I can tell you right now, you can have a great legal case for suing the rating agencies for not downgrading us again because we have not demonstrated the political will to solve the problems," said Coburn on CBS's midweek show "Face to Face," posted online Wednesday. ...
"We should see another downgrade, because we have not done the structural things that will fix our country," he added. ...
When asked if he agreed with Boehner's decision to push forward the tumultuous debt-ceiling debate, Coburn said, "I think that's exactly what our founders had in mind." ...
"Those are all things people don't want to hear, but it's going to happen, because if we don't do it, the people who are loaning us the money are going to make us do it," he said.
Coburn is essentially saying that last summer's downgrade, which took our credit rating from AAA down to AA+ for the first time ever, was pretty much our just desert. We've had the ability to foresee the consequences of our metastisizing federal government's spending binge for ages, and we have failed to summon the political will it's going to take to effect real change in Washington. The United States creditworthiness is still a better bet relative to lots of other countries, but we're going the way of Greece -- and fast.
So much truth:
“President Obama hasn’t run anything before he was elected President of the United States. Never ran a state, never ran a business, and never ran a lemonade stand. This job’s too important for on-the-job training. In contrast, Mitt Romney’s been a successful governor, successful businessman; he’s got the executive experience," Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) said on FOX News today.
For a breakdown on just what type of pre-public office experience President Obama does have, I refer to this timeless piece from the Weekly Standard. The mind reels:
By this point Obama had left law school, and academia was courting him. The University of Chicago Law School approached him; although they didn’t have any specific needs, they wanted to be in the Barack Obama business. As Douglas Baird, the head of Chicago’s appointments committee, would later explain, “You look at his background—Harvard Law Review president, magna cum laude, and he’s African American. This is a no-brainer hiring decision at the entry level of any law school in the country.” Chicago invited Obama to come in and teach just about anything he wanted. But Obama wasn’t interested in a professor’s life. Instead, he told them that he was writing a book—about voting rights. The university made him a fellow, giving him an office and a paycheck to keep him going while he worked on this important project.
In case you’re keeping score at home, there was some confusion as to what book young Obama was writing. His publisher thought he was writing about race relations. His employer thought he was writing about voting rights law. But Obama seems to have never seriously considered either subject. Instead, he decided that his subject would be himself. The 32-year-old was writing a memoir.
Whatever you might think about his political views, you've got to admire Ron Paul: he is perhaps one of the most steadfast, unwavering, honest politicians around (no pandering, under-the-table deals, or bipartisan compromising for this guy!). His hardcore libertarian committments often inspire -- er, how shall I put this -- duly unflagging devotion from many of his more avid supporters, who are rarely shy about making themselves heard in their quest to cut through mainstream politicians' disenchanting blather and achieve a smaller government that fully adheres to the Constitution. The Ron Paul camp is at least aware that his disciples can be a rather rowdy bunch, and are taking steps to mitigate their delegates' rambunctiousness before the GOP convention in August. Just take it down a notch, guys:
Ron Paul's campaign, concerned about recent state conventions sent into an uproar by its supporters, has made it clear that they'll expect their delegates to behave at the Republican National Convention. Insiders tell BuzzFeed the delegates will be prepared for Tampa with phone calls and training programs. …
Paul will have more than 100 bound delegates to the convention in Tampa and hundreds more Paul supporters have won slots as pledged Romney delegates at the convention, forcing them to support Romney — but freeing them to cheer for the libertarian and his cause. …Republicans fear they could turn what is usually a carefully-staged infomercial into a chaotic zoo.
Paul's campaign, which hopes to give him a platform and to install his son, Rand, as a major figure in the party, aims to restrain his rowdiest supporers. Training the delegates hasn't started yet, though the campaign expects to begin communicating with them later this spring. …
Paul supporters came to blows with Romney supporters at the Oklahoma state convention recently, and Paul supporters at the Arizona convention booed Mitt Romney's son Josh off the stage in another incident.
The campaign knows that its delegates can't behave this way at the national convention if it wants its issues considered for the party platform. "One of the best ways to be respected is to be respectful," the strategist said.
I'm glad Ron Paul's team is preparing to ensure they have a serious voice at the convention -- I for one think that Rep. Paul's ideas add an extremely valuable element to the national dialogue, and I'd hate for them to be discounted because of some of his supporters' kookier tendencies.
Does this man just live in la-la-land or what?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blasted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for threatening not to raise the debt ceiling next year unless greater spending cuts are enacted.
“The brinksmanship we are seeing from Republicans today reminds us of days prior,” he told reporters. “Instead of meeting us in the middle on the problems facing the country, Republicans are already digging these trenches that they are in and saying they are not going to move.”
Reid said that Boehner risks turning the GOP into a rump party of extremists by making such statements.
“It’s pretty clear to me that the Tea Party direction of the Republican Party is driving them over a cliff. And I would suggest that Speaker Boehner look at the long term, which is what will the Republican Party look like in the future,” he said.
Please, allow me the honor of breaking this one down for you, Sen. Reid, real simple-like: We are more than fifteen trillion dollars in debt and still spending far and away beyond our means. Spending cuts, big ones, are in order, and your credibility on money matters is all but spent -- besides your compelling fiscal arguments for "cowboy poetry festivals" and the USPS because "seniors love to get junk mail" and whatnot, this is day 1,112 that the Senate has failed to pass a budget, I believe? Don't you worry about the Republican party going off a cliff in the long-term, sir: no Americans of any party are going to thank you when the country goes off of a financial cliff.
We all know that we're in for what is sure to be another nasty upcoming debt-ceiling fight, but Sen. Reid doesn't appear to attach much meaning to those goings-on, as if it really is just some political circus and fiscal apocalypse actually isn't creeping ever-closer. It looks like Speaker Boehner decided to just get the gauntlet thrown down early, to which Sen. Reid, despite his lofty lecturing sentiments, responded in kind:
Although Reid criticized Boehner for making ultimatums, he also reiterated the hard Democratic position that tax increases must be part of any deficit bargain and that social programs must be protected.
So, wait... you're accusing Speaker Boehner of being too partisan and confrontational, playing with brinkmanship, and being unwilling to compromise, but then you're turning around and... oh, nevermind.
Elizabeth Warren, currently fighting a hot contest for the Massachusetts' junior U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Republican Scott Brown, has done a bunch of financial and bailout-related advising for the Obama administration and styles herself a "consumer advocate." ...Hah. I'm sure everyone in the Obama administration, most especially those on the new-ish Consumer Financial Protection Bureaua borne of the Dodd-Frank Act, fancy themselves 'consumer advocates' -- which offers at least a partial explanation for why all American consumers are still stuck in these economic doldrums.
"There has been a guerrilla war out there in which the largest financial institutions have been doing everything they can to make sure that financial regulations don't get put in place and if they do get put in place, that they are loaded with loopholes and not very effective," Warren said on CNN's "Starting Point." ...
"There is a lobbying army hired by these financial institutions because they really don't want to have any oversight," Warren said. "They want to take on risks, and let the rest of us deal with the consequences with anything goes wrong." ...
"We need to stop the cycle of bankers taking on risky activities, getting bailed out by the taxpayers, then using their army of lobbyists to water down regulations," Warren wrote in the statement. "We need a tough cop on the beat so that no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street."
In a nutshell, Elizabeth Warren is worried that these big banks will take on more risks when they know the taxpayer is one the hook. ...Uh, you're darn right they will -- and who's fault is that?! For years, the federal government incentivized large financial institutions to take on more risk, and then decided to excuse sketchy behavior with bailouts and allow these banks to grow even bigger. Now, they're continuing to invite rent-seeking behavior with even more federal involvement.
If you're going to provide people chances to manipulate the political environment rather than compete in the free-market, they're going to do so. Obama promised real financial reform, but several years laters, the biggest problems haven't really been addressed. As much as Obama loves to channel the populist "fat cat" rhetoric, it's no coincidence that so many of Obama's closest advisors and biggest donors are Wall-Streeters -- they've been sidling up to him in droves throughout his tenure.
As to the JP Morgan fiasco to which Warren is specifically referring, I defer to the WSJ:
Even though the blunder won't come close to breaking J.P. Morgan, Mr. Dimon deserves thanks for unwittingly reminding regulators of the need for clear playbooks to wind down failing financial behemoths without bringing the system down. …
Mr. Dimon's stumbles underline the two biggest problems left over from the financial crisis: Large banks are both too complex to understand and too big to fail. The latter has become such an integral part of Wall Street's conscience that it has its own acronym: TBTF.
On complexity, regulators should shoulder part of the blame. During the crisis, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve encouraged banks to buy each other—J.P. Morgan gobbled up securities firm Bear Stearns Cos. and the banking operations of Washington Mutual Inc., which was felled by bad mortgages. The result is financial institutions that would have made Mary Shelley proud.
Having overly complicated banks makes it all the more imperative to resolve the TBTF dilemma: how to wind down a large institution without forcing taxpayers to bail it out and destroying the financial system. …
After all, as one Wall Street executive recently wrote to his investors, this process "is critically important for forcing managements and creditors…to understand that they are NOT too big to fail—and to understand that they are NOT so important that the taxpayers will bail them out and that they are NOT immune to the consequences of excessive risk taking."
His name? James Dimon.
Adding to the legions of bureaucrats operating with high-minded ideals and imperfect information, who regulate random minutiae like debit card fees on the ostensible behalf of the consumer, does not prevent the type of industry consolidation that the feds claim caused this economic mess, and will only be a hindrance to all financial institutions in the process. You can bet your bottom dollar that these banks are fighting tooth-and-nail against the onslaught of Dodd-Frank regulations -- and the following lone paragraph (from a very helpful breakdown from The Economist) pretty much sums up why:
But the really big issue that Dodd-Frank raises isn’t about the institutions it creates, how they operate, how much they cost or how they are funded. It is the risk that they and other parts of the Dodd-Frank apparatus will smother financial institutions in so much red tape that innovation is stifled and America’s economy suffers. Officials are being given the power to regulate more intrusively and to make arbitrary or capricious rulings. The lack of clarity which follows from the sheer complexity of the scheme will sometimes, perhaps often, provide cover for such capriciousness.
For your viewing pleasure -- Happy Mother's Day, from the Mitt Romney campaign:
And from the Obama campaign:
With Team Obama constantly pulling rhetorical sleights-of-hand with the mainstream media, especially with Obama's ostensibly "evolved" ideas (a.k.a, quadruple flip-flopped political interests) on gay marriage this past week, I find it moderately refreshing that there are still federal politicians capable of a little straight-shootin' real talk. At a dinner in Iowa last night, Sen. Rand Paul yet again demonstrated his aptitude for cutting through the blather and offered up his succinct take on the political realm's recent gay-marriage themed events:
GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) on Saturday blasted President Obama's decision to endorse same-sex marriage, mocking the president's claim that the announcement was the result of years of personal reflection.
“Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer,” said Paul, in remarks to the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition dinner, first reported by the Des Moines Register.
"It did kind of bother me though that he used the justification for it in a biblical reference," Paul continued. "He said the biblical golden rule caused him to be for gay marriage. And I'm like what version of the Bible is he reading… I don't know what version he's getting it from." …
"That doesn't mean we need to be harsh and mean and hate people," said Paul. "But that doesn't mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions. We've got 6,000 years of tradition."
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