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"Hilarious." – Daniel Hannan

Regulated to Death

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Never let reality and truth get in the way of your political narrative…

From Politico:

GOP lawmakers assailed Browner’s office after a recent report showed that the White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six month ban on offshore oil drilling.

‘It was found out that it was the climate czar that actually doctored the president’s own scientific study to try to say that scientists that the president appointed recommended a moratorium on drilling,’ Scalise said. ‘It turned out the scientists didn’t say that at all.’

Are we so far gone in accepting corruption and abuse of power from Washington that we hardly even notice when a President and his staff falsify scientific findings with the goal of shutting down an entire industry?  Not to mention the fact that the President has absolutely no constitutional power to shut down private businesses, whether he finds “scientists” willing to back his political propaganda or not.  Nixon could learn a thing or two about manipulation, corruption and ambition from this administration.

Meanwhile, the EPA seems determined to regulate us into a pre-industrial society.  Obama’s “skyrocketing” energy prices would’ve been bad enough, but it seems we’ve already progressed beyond that point in some places, evidenced by the rolling blackouts in Texas.  The simplistic response from the White House communications director:

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, these blackouts were actually the result of extreme cold temperatures and high winds, which led to a variety of mechanical failures at more than 50 power plants around the state.
 
Some are trying to blame these blackouts – which the industry has already provided explanation for – on Clean Air Act standards under consideration to curb dangerous pollution, including carbon pollution. While these claims gained traction on the internet, there is a major problem with this theory – no power plant in Texas has yet been required to do anything to control carbon pollution.

So, is the power grid maxed out, or did fifty power plants break down because of “cold temperatures and high winds”?

A representative of Oncor said, in this local news story:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that oversees the state’s power, says the energy grid is nearly maxed out.  The agency has warned consumers that if they don’t conserve power this morning, rolling blackouts will likely happen once again.

Based on this statement, and the fact that Texas is buying power from Mexico, it seems most likely that their power grid is indeed maxed out.  It also seems unlikely that there would be a systemic failure of the power production system in Texas just because it was especially cold and windy.
 
Now concerning the statement “no power plant in Texas has yet been required to do anything to control carbon pollution”:  an inability to meet energy demand right now would have its origins several years ago, when the power plants that would have been built to anticipate future demand were left unbuilt due to government interference.  It is ridiculously simplistic to argue that current capacity has not been impacted by government regulation.  At the very least, the market’s capacity for responding to an increase in energy (or any) demand is slowed by the intervention of government.
 
Lowered energy consumption is currently being imposed on Americans, whether it be through direct government compulsion, higher prices, and in some cases even complete unavailability.  But the EPA can only regulate us so long as we allow it to.  We fund it, and we can unfund it.  I don’t think anyone will be missing the “clean air” the EPA has gifted us with when they lose power to their home for a week.

This article (from the archives of my new favorite website) provides an interesting perspective on regulation, from 1999 — the author even mentions the dangers of the Community Reinvestment Act and ACORN — maybe the housing crisis wasn’t quite as unpredictable as the politicians who created it would like us to believe…

Perhaps the most egregious example of all of regulatory blackmail is enforcement of the so-called Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in the U.S. The CRA was enacted in 1978 under a patently false pretense — that banks made fewer loans to residents of low-income neighborhoods not because there were fewer creditworthy borrowers there, but because of allegedly pervasive “discrimination” against the residents of those neighborhoods, primarily black residents.

Banks do — and should — “discriminate” against less creditworthy borrowers, but in doing so they run the risk of regulatory extortion. An entire industry of sometimes federally-funded “community groups” has sprung up, with names like “Center for Community Change” and Association of Community Groups for Reform Now (ACORN), which essentially extort money from banks with the following ruse: Whenever a bank proposes a merger, expansion, or building of a new branch, it is subject to regulation by the Fed, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the FDIC. If anyone files a complaint to any of these agencies accusing the bank of making too few CRA loans, the merger or expansion is halted. So-called community groups frequently lodge such complaints and do not withdraw them until the banks give them or other groups which they designate large sums of money, sometimes in the tens of millions of dollars

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Written by MikeM

February 21st, 2011 at 4:42 pm

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