19 May 2009

2009 = 1984

Go ahead, call me paranoid. Me and all the other whack jobs who seem to think that this administration is slowly, but obviously, changing the fundamentals of the American way of life. Okay, feel better? Now let’s have an honest assessment of where things stand:

AUTOMOBILES: So GM/Chrysler CEO Barack Obama has now unilaterally (that’s right, this is not up for congressional approval) forced what are considered by many rational people to be unrealistic expectations for fuel efficiency and emissions controls on ALL cars by 2016. In the process, the Auto Designer-in-Chief openly admits that the cost of a new car will go up by around $1300. But goes on to presume that the savings in fuel will pay off in about three years – once the car is in your driveway.

So, let’s analyze… First of all, current hybrids have a huge negative environmental impact on the environment based on the manufacture of the battery alone! In addition to the amount of that pesky pollutant CO2 emitted into the air by all the modes of transportation to shuttle the various parts around the world for manufacture and assembly, oh, and also the mining impact itself, they haven’t even begun to address how to dispose of or recycle these batteries yet! For a group of people so environmentally conscious, they aren’t thinking about these toxic batteries impact on the environment in 2014. Much like the other “politics of hurry”, they have no plan.

Second, Hybrids are significantly more expensive than their regular combustion-based counterparts. In some cases, the unit is almost 50% more (Hybrid Tahoe = $14,00 more), or for that matter, Escalade Hybrid = $12,000 more). Why? Because the technology and the demand aren’t there. In a free market system, demand would speed up the development of the technology. But that only happens when gas prices are over $3.50 a gallon – artificially I might add. This doesn’t make sense when gas is under $3/gallon. In fact, automakers have openly admitted that they need for gas prices to remain relatively high for them to be able to manufacture and sell these eco-friendly cars at a profit. But hey, with government bailout on speed dial, why worry about that?! (see ENERGY below)

So, we now are going to be flooded with a choice of small cars, hybrid cars, and other eco-friendly designs that they think will be fine for shuttling people around – never mind the fact that ALL goods and services will be impacted by the higher costs of transportation by smaller vehicles making more frequent trips. In addition, those of you who are being encouraged by the very same government to go out and buy a new car to save the auto industry, well, how will your investment play out over the next few years in terms of operating costs? Something to think about when you get ZERO value trying to trade it in on a zippy government-approved hybrid. And another point, why haven’t car companies brought European technology that is available for diesel and other cars that get 40-60 mpg to America? Unions? Consumer demand? I don’t think it’s the latter because the MINI is wildly popular here.

Costs and environmental aspects aside, the government does not have a plan for how the car companies will get there. Jim Lentz, President of Toyota Motor Sales stated on Great van Susteren’s show (5/19/09) that the technology is proving difficult to reduce costs and increase efficiency – especially in hybrid batteries. And to think that with government interference, that development will go even slower. History proves this point time and again.

So, what we have is the government meddling in another free-market system expecting idealistic results. If anyone truly believes that this will be good for Americans pocketbooks long-term, think again. But there’s yet another neglected impact…

ENERGY SOURCES: The administration is not making any projections as to what the cost of a gallon of fuel will be in 2016 or any time more than 6 months out for that matter. So, they cannot say with any degree of certainty that these cars will pay back with savings at the pump. What they can say with certainty is that they are not remotely interested in producing any more energy domestically because they are beholden to special interest environmental groups. Much like the Clinton and Bush administrations before them, they do not and likely will not have a comprehensive energy policy outside of silly regulations like were announced today. No opening up of domestic sources for exploration and development. That lifting of the ban you recall from last October? Election posturing. Wait for it... Forced conservation is not an energy policy, its parenting. And we don’t need parenting from the government (although 53% voted for it!)…

You might want to ask yourselves if the intention is to drive the government’s hand into energy markets to manipulate oil prices and gas futures for this very reason. There are no indications that this is expected, but given their unwillingness to relinquish the TARP hold on financial institutions tells me that they like the power that type of control brings. While we’re on the subject…

TARP PAYBACKS: So the government forced banks and FI’s to take TARP money because it was an “Emergency” and they went so far as to guarantee that the money would be paid back to taxpayers, most likely at a profit or with interest. Well, the banks are clamoring to pay the money back to get the government back out of the establishment. And well, well… what do you know? Now the government says you can’t pay it back. We’re still involved and we like it.

Does this pass the smell test with any reasonable person? Of course not. Couple the newfound control of the banks with the ability to dictate (along with unions) what car companies can manufacture, and you’ve got yourself a government with new toys to play with. New ways to tell you how you can live and where your money will go.

But I digress… it’s been one of “those” days. Let me give you an example of why all of this prudent observation ultimately may not matter… Here in Louisiana, the House unwittingly passed legislation that overrode Governor Jindal’s rejection of $98 billion in federal stimulus money. He did not want the funds because of the burdens it will place on taxpayers for ongoing programs when the funds run out. So, the Democrats, playing dirty politics, added an amendment that no one bothered to read or understand, and whoops… once it was approved and passed, they read it and found out. Thus, they created a monstrous headache for the governor and another black eye, not just for the uninformed, incompetent pols in Louisiana, but once again illustrating that this sort of thing is rampant at all levels of government – federal, state, and local. Most politicians don’t have the IQ to read a bill in its entirety much less comprehend all of the intricacies of the laws they are all too happy to blindly vote for – WITHOUT READING. Heck, if they can do it with a $787 BILLION package in DC, well, it must be okay everywhere else, right?

The problem is that politics and intelligence don’t often mix. People who are smart figure out ways to make laws work to their advantage to make more money in private business than in the political realm. And in response, the politicians who aren’t bright enough to do that, keep making laws to take more of what private business seems to make. It’s an endless cycle. But one day, smart people are going to have to suck it up and play dirty with the career politicians because they aren’t going to stop running for office. They need to be replaced from top to bottom. They’ll never get critical mass for term limits, but that’s what is needed.

Short of that, smart people are going to have to take some time off and get involved. I call their current unwillingness to do so “jury duty syndrome”. That’s when otherwise perceptive, smart people do whatever is necessary to get out of jury duty because they see it as a waste of their time and a poor way to earn money. And look at our criminal justice system. It’s being run by appointed judges who answer to no one with juries of our peers consisting of people who watch Oprah and Rachel Ray all day. And people wonder what is wrong when we hear jurors being interviewed saying things like, “Well, the evidence didn’t matter…”

There’s an old saying that a lot of people need to think about again. It says, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I rather like it… I just need a lot of other people to like it too.


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