Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Men with beards respond…

I’m posting this here as a topical subject.  It may not seem economics related, but to me it is as it speaks to trust.  There is no way a nation can continue to produce $16 trillion dollars a year and not have trust as a basic position to starting all conversations.  No nation built on mistrust survives long as an economic growth machine  compared to humanity’s existence.

In response to all the intentional distortion regarding Bob Bergdhal’s appearance for the sole purpose of creating another path to discredit President Obama as part of a strategy for winning elections via the promotion of generic societal distrust, I present these men with beards and their response to tragedy which few have or will experience.  It is a tragedy that is not debated as to being the most powerful force for destroying ones sprit and will.

Amish men leaving trial

Men such as these did the following:

Charles Roberts wasn’t Amish, but Amish families knew him as the milk truck driver who made deliveries. Last month, it was announced that the Amish community had donated money to the killer’s widow and her three young children.

It was one more gesture of forgiveness, gestures that began soon after the shooting.

“I think the most powerful demonstration of the depth of Amish forgiveness was when members of the Amish community went to the killer’s burial service at the cemetery,” Kraybill says. “Several families, Amish families who had buried their own daughters just the day before were in attendance and they hugged the widow, and hugged other members of the killer’s family.”

But the above picture is not of those particular men.  It is a picture of men who were attending a trial for a hate crime that manifested in a man’s beard being cut off.   Sixteen men went to jail for that hate crime against a group of people who are capable of forgiving what the nation could not believe was forgivable.

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Gail Collins (and me): Free Us From ‘Freedom’

To be fair, I don’t think Hannity had any idea about Bundy’s racial theories. However, it’s generally a good idea to be wary of lionizing people who go around saying: “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”

Anyhow, Cliven was toast, although he did make an appearance on CNN, in which he explained that his racist remarks were all about — yes! — freedom. In this case, the “freedom to say what we want. If I call — if I say ‘negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ I’m — if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet.”

— Gail Collins, Of the Fox and the Cattle, NYT, today

I was happy, when I read that column this morning, to see that people are catching on to this rightwing “stick-the-label-’freedom’-onto-whatever-we-want-to-do” thing–this is very big at the Supreme Court these days–but now I’m having second thoughts.

I’ve always wanted a ranch out West.  And I don’t really recognize Cliven Bundy as even existing, nor the Recorder of Deeds in his county as even existing.  And if I can get a group of folks together who don’t either, I see no reason why I can’t fulfill my dream and have a ranch out West even though I can’t actually afford to buy one.

My dream involves horses, though; not cattle.  But there probably are some horse ranches in that county whose “owners” I don’t even recognize as existing, so while I don’t really want the land they claim is theirs–the Bundy ranch is big enough for my needs, and it looks nice–I’m sure my group and I can manage the horse-herding thing from one ranch to another.  At least as long as we have enough ammunition for our AK-47s.

The best part is that one of my senators–not Harry Reid; the other one–will be very supportive of me in this.  I can’t wait to vote for him in 2018.  If I haven’t shot myself with my semi-automatic by then.

I now want to see the Republicans regain control of the Senate.  So maybe I can convince the Democrats to feature ads quoting Heller on this whole freedom/Bundy issue.  I’m sure the Dems think that would scare some moderate folks into voting Democratic, so they won’t see my real purpose.  But I know better.  A lot of moderates want ranches in the West, too.

Wanna join me on the ranch?

 

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Killing Mitt Softly: His Not Being In a Position To show Leadership By Persuading Rightwing Republicans to Agree to Their Own Policy Proposals

Both Romneys said he would be more effective at navigating the current political moment.

“I’ll look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there,” Mitt Romney said. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done. The president is the leader of the nation. The president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together; the president leads. And — and I don’t see that kind of — of leadership happening right now.”

Mitt Romney: ‘It kills me’ not to be president, Reid J. Epstein, Politico, this morning, reporting on Mitt and Ann Romney’s recorded interview with fox News’ Chris Wallace,* aired yesterday

Seriously, Mitt?  Seriously?  

You ran on a Tea Party fiscal agenda of lowering tax rates by 20%–a huge tax break for the wealthy–and increasing defense spending, and absolutely gutting social-safety-net spending.  You chose as your running mate the very architect of most of this fiscal plan, the exceptions being the across-the-board 20% tax cuts and the increased defense spending, although the tax cuts, if not the increased defense spending, would probably be an easy sell to the Tea Party folks.  And you claim that your superior leadership skills would enable you to persuade the Republican congressional delegation to agree, grudgingly, of course, to go along with this?


Yes, it would be a tough, uphill battle.  But onward, Mormon soldier.  Especially one with leadership skills.

The easier part, I guess, would be persuading the Senate Democrats to go along with this, by throwing them a bone or two–e.g., I’ll agree to not completely gut the Medicaid subsidies to elderly nursing home residents, since many nursing home owners vote Republican, and I’ll persuade the Tea Party legislators to give in on that!–and by reminding them that we just held an election that amounted to a referendum on my proposed fiscal plan versus the Democrats’ fiscal plan, and I won.  

And by reminding the Dem senators who are up for reelection in 2014 that their electoral “district,” unlike the House members’ districts, can’t be gerrymandered.  Not without changing the boundaries of your state, anyway, which might be hard to do.

And, well, since the Dem senators aren’t, y’know, Republican senators, much less Republican House members, they would understand that in fact we did just have an electoral referendum on these very issues.  And they would have enough respect for the concept of democracy to agree to compromise somewhat.

Elsewhere in that interview, Romney attributed his loss to the 47% videotape and to a wholesale (my word; not his) rejection by racial minorities.  Which he was tremendously effective in navigating as part of the current political moment when, a week after the election, when he no longer was soliciting campaign contributions from very wealthy Republicans but was instead apologizing to the ones who donated generously, he effectively reiterated his hostility and condescension toward both the 47% and racial minorities by attributing his loss to minorities–mainly Hispanics–who were eager for the gifts (his word; not mine) Obama was giving them, especially the gift of “free” healthcare, through Obamacare.

Yup, that’s what made the difference in the election. Not a rejection of the Tea Party/Ryan/Romney fiscal plan, but gifts to Hispanics via Obamacare.   

Cluelessness continues to be a hallmark of Romney’s better half, as well.  Wife Ann, not to be outdone by her husband in missing the message of this election–that, by about five million votes in the presidential election. about one and one-half million votes in congressional elections, and by a clear majority in Senate elections, as well, the electorate rejected what Romney says his leadership as president would lead to–said all that was necessary for her husband to have won was for the public to learn how kind he is to members of his church, and to others he knows personally, when they need some kindnesses.

Really, Ann?  You really think that?

In an article today in the New York Times titled As Automatic Budget Cuts Go Into Effect, Poor May Be Hit Particularly Hard, Times reporter Annie Lowrey reports that federal housing vouchers, including to many disabled people, in New York City and Seattle and other high-rent cities, are about to be cut off, as are federal financial assistance to homeless shelters.  But few of the people, at least outside Utah, who will be affected are members of Romney’s church or know him personally.  So neither Romney’s kindnesses in his personal life nor his leadership skills as president, had he won the election, would have helped them, although his wife fails to understand this.  

The fact is that Romney is not in the White House because a majority of the electorate disagrees with him, and with the Tea Party, about what needs to be done. We do nonetheless await with bated breath his more effective navigation of the current political moment.  Assisted by wife Ann, his navigator.

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*CORRECTION: This post originally said the interview was with NBC’s David Gregory. My sincere apology, NBC and Mr. Gregory. Obviously, I didn’t watch the interview; I just read about it.

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Romney Says Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton Did Not Believe In Free People and Free Enterprise

Romney didn’t apologize for [his] comments, instead he doubled down, saying that his opponent, President Barack Obama, believes in “redistributing wealth,” while “we believe in free people and free enterprise.”

Democrats “believe you have to take from some and give to others. I don’t believe in that,” he said, repeating the same theme.

“I believe America was built on the principle of government caring for those in need but getting out of the way and allowing free people to pursue their dreams,” Romney said. “Free people pursing free enterprises is the only way we’ll create a strong and growing middle class and the only way we’ll help people out of poverty.”

— Mitt Romney, speaking to Neil Cavuto on Fox News today

Yup. That’s right. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton didn’t believe in free people and free enterprise. All presided over redistribution-of-wealth schemes of the sort that Romney warns against. 

Which is why George Romney made so little money in the ‘50s and ‘60s and why America’s economy and American society were so awful all those decades after we abandoned freedom of people and free enterprise after 1929, until George W. Bush restored some of our freedom and our free-enterprise system—but not enough of it.  No wonder George Romney left the auto industry for government.  He wanted to make some money!

We need to end this redistribution-of-wealth thing completely!  Forever! I don’t see why we have to tax people like Mitt Romney at all. Why does Romney want to reduce their taxes just 20% further?  I demand an answer! Free people pursing free enterprises is the only way we’ll create a strong and growing middle class.  Which is why we weren’t able to do that between the 1920s and the 2000s!
Poor Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others so hampered by our non-free-enterprise system during the decades preceding 2001, toiling under Communist rule and longing for freedom and a non-redistributive economic system.

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Seriously, folks.  If Obama doesn’t remove this straw man from this economic-history savant’s arsenal of parading apparitions by the end of the day tomorrow, I’ll be really frustrated.

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Oh, Mr. Ryan, Do Get Wonky On Us. Please. (I.e., thank you, Brit Hume and Matt Miller.)

In poker a “tell” is the physical giveaway or tic that lets you know someone is lying about his or her hand. In politics it’s the mode of evasion a politician chooses to sidestep a truth he or she doesn’t want to admit or to avoid saying something against self-interest. In his debut interview with Fox News’ Brit Hume Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan’s “tells” were audacious and revealing. They suggest an opening Democrats would be wise to pursue.

Ryan (R-Wis.) tried to cloak himself in his supposedly charming “wonky-ness” to sidestep two simple questions from Hume: When does Mitt Romney’s budget reach balance, and when does Ryan’s own budget plan do the same? Ryan pirouetted because Hume’s queries threatened to expose his famed “fiscal conservatism” as a fraud.

It’s worth parsing Ryan’s tactics in this exchange because it shows the brand of disingenuousness we’re dealing with. So let’s go to the videotape. Have a look at the relevant two-minute portion of the clip (excerpted on this CNN video) and then we’ll dissect it.

Okay, you’re back. Hume started with a simple question: “The budget plan that you’re now supporting would get to balance when?”

Now, for context, recall that in the last era of epic budget smackdowns, 1995 and 1996, Newt Gingrich would have had an equally simple answer: in seven years. President Bill Clinton’s failure to embrace the goal of a balanced budget at all was a major political liability that Clinton finally (and shrewdly) erased when he came out with his own 10-year plan in mid-1995. (It’s worth underscoring that a 10-year path to balance was viewed then as the outer limit of credibility — pledging to end the red ink any further than a decade out didn’t pass the laugh test.)

Since Ryan knows that Romney’s bare sketch of a plan never reaches balance, he stumbles momentarily before trying to move the conversation to his comfortable talking points about Romney’s goal of reducing spending to historic norms as a share of gross domestic product.

But Hume grows quietly impatient. He practically cuts Ryan off.

“I get that,” Hume says. “But what about balance?”

You can see Ryan flinch. He doesn’t know, he says. Why not? “I don’t want to get wonky on you,” he says, recovering, “because we haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan.” But that’s not “getting wonky” at all. As common sense (and the Gingrich/Clinton approach) suggests, there’s nothing arcane about this subject. You decide on a sensible path to balance as a goal and come up with policies that achieve it. All this means is that Romney hasn’t done what a fiscally conservative leader would do. Trying to evade this as a matter of not “getting wonky” is Ryan’s tell. He’s betting Hume is too dumb, uninterested or short on time to press the point.

Recognizing Paul Ryan’s ‘tell’when he is trying to avoid something, Matt Miller, Washington Post, today’s edition

Wow.  Okay.  That’s a much longer excerpt from someone else’s piece than I like to use, unbroken by my own commentary.  And it doesn’t even include the real coup de grace of that column, the best I’ve read in a really long time.  The column goes on recite further details of that interview:  

“Your own budget . . . when does that contemplate reaching balance?” Hume asks.

There’s no exit. Not until the 2030s, Ryan finally admits, looking uncomfortable — but then he quickly adds, making a face, that’s only under the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring rules, implying that they’re silly constraints every Fox News viewer would agree are ridiculous (instead of sensible rules meant to credit politicians only for policy proposals that are real). Ryan adds that “we believe” if we get the economy growing, “it would balance in 10 years.” But that’s supply-side faith-based budgeting again — exactly what we ran an empirical test on in the 1980s. (And the truth is, if Ryan’s big tax cuts were properly accounted for, his plan’s real date of balance would push well beyond 2040).

And finally that promised coup de grace:

Why am I harping on this? Because it’s impossible to overstate how central the unjustified label of “fiscal conservative” is to the Ryan brand and the GOP’s strategy. As Clinton understood in the 1990s, “fiscal responsibility” is a values issue important to the voters who decide modern presidential elections.

The point: Democrats can’t afford to let Ryan/Romney’s phony image as superior fiscal stewards survive. And Hume’s interview shows how swiftly this charade can be exposed if Democrats and the press zero in on simple questions like Hume’s. If the press is primed to cover this more intelligently, such queries will also expose the big Republican lie — the idea that you can balance the budget as the baby boomers age without taxes rising.

Let me be clear. The most important issue facing the country isn’t when we’re going to balance the budget. It’s how to get growth and jobs reignited in the near term and how to renew the country’s promise and competitiveness after that (an agenda in which long-term budget sanity is just the ante). But if Democrats spend all their energy on Medicare — and don’t knock out the GOP ticket’s undeserved reputation for fiscal responsibility — they’ll find themselves in unexpected peril as the race heads to the fall.

In a lengthypost I wrote on Wednesday I expressed my own fear of the danger to Obama and the other Democrats of an all-Medicare-all-the-time campaign focus, because it removes the emphasis on the dramatic income tax reductions for the wealthy and therefore on the radical reduction of tax revenue—which, among other things, surely would require a substantial reduction in Medicare benefits to current and imminent beneficiaries, despite Romney/Ryan’s protestations to the contrary. Here’s how I ended that Wednesday post:

A lot of eyebrows were raised on Sunday when Ryan, sitting next to Romney in an interview, told Bob Schieffer that he wants to end the tax breaks that apply only to the wealthy.  That’s nice, but of no effect.  A seminal part of his tax-and-budget plan, passed this year by the House, is the elimination of all income taxes on capital gains and dividends.  And although this would mean that many very wealthy people will pay no income taxes or estate taxes, and many other very wealthy people would pay income taxes at a single-digit rate, the elimination of these taxes would apply as well to the non-wealthy who have a capital gain or receive stock dividends, however small.  And so—voila!—Ryan’s statement, made with such earnestness, does not apply to the issue of taxes on capital gains and dividends.  Nor, for that matter, to estate taxes, which his plan entirely eliminates; some non-wealthy people leave small estates, after all.  And semantics is the name of their game, the objective of which is the enabling of ever more vast accumulations of wealth, utterly unfettered by tax obligations.  Pure and simple.

My big fear about the all-Medicare-all-the-time campaign that began last weekend with Romney’s Ryan announcement is that it allows Romney and Ryan to claim the mantle of straight talkers about what they warn is a Medicare-caused fiscal calamity that awaits.  They have yet to explain why, if they fear such a calamity, they propose to reduce federal revenue by trillions of dollars, through their tax-elimination-on-the-wealthy plan.  And when they stress, as they do again and again, that their destroy-Medicare-in-order-to-save-it plan will not end the current program for its current or relatively-imminent recipients (those who are 55 or older), maybe they’ll deign to reveal what programs will be eliminated in order to pay for Medicare for current recipients and baby boomers andand—the trillions-of-dollars tax cuts for the wealthy.

My suggestion: Hurricane disaster relief for the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, which will vote for this ticket en force, and crop insurance and drought disaster relief for the plains states, which will vote for them and their budget plan in almost as large percentages. 

In 2005, Ryan now-famously advised his audience when he addressed an Ayn Rand fan club that they should make no mistake: current politics is a clash between “individualism” and “collectivism.”  And indeed it is.

Now, let’s ensure that the public knows the specifics.  

After all, for all the indignant denials Romney has made about Harry Reid’s allegation that Romney paid no income taxes for a period of at least 10 consecutive years, Ryan’s plan—the plan being the one that Romney adopted all the way back last winter, during the primary season; the drafter being the person whom Romney has chosen to be a heartbeat away from the actual presidency has made —would enable Romney to openly pay no taxes on most of his income for the next ten years and beyond.

And about Medicare anyway: Isn’t it a collectivist program?

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UPDATE: Turns out, I’m very late to this party.  How could this not have gotten a lot of media attention earlier?

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Health Care thoughts: Hysterical Reporting

by Tom aka Rusty

Health Care: Hysterical Reporting

Fox News ran a screaming intro and a scary bottom summary line on a story on some survey of physicians, claiming a majority of physician will quit, retire or work part-time.

Link via Yahoo: http://news.yahoo.com/video/health-15749655/23362511

This is further proof that Fox News does not do journalism. The conversation eventually winds around and the expert really contradicts the story headline.

I have been spending a lot of time talking to people at the national level, and the one trend that is certain is the merger/sale of physician groups to hospitals and integrated networks, effectively making the physicians employees of a larger entity. The ownership of a private practice will fade like Marcus Welby MD (some of you may be too young to understand this popular culture reference).

PS: if you leave the link open you will see a story about Miley Cyrus puffing on a bong. Oh the horror.

Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt

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Fox Noise on Canadian private insurance boom

By: Divorced one like Bush

This is a heads up. Fox news has a report out that there is a rise in private insurance activity in Canada. The article suggests that it is because of all the wait time that people are tired of do to a shortage of doctors and possibly the low fees. And, that may be true, especially being there was a Quebec Supreme Court ruling on it.

If you google the headline, you will find many a posting touting this article as a sort of proof that the Canadian system really is bad stuff.

But, and with Fox there is always a butt, what they do not tell you is that their article is based on a report in the CMAJ – JAMC article from 2008: Canada Health Act breaches are being ignored, pro-medicare groups charge

Private for-profit medical clinics are proliferating across the country, according to a detailed report by pro-medicare groups.
The number of such clinics has increased significantly over the past 5 years and there’s evidence “to suspect that 89 for-profit clinics in 5 provinces appear to be in breach of the Canada Health Act,” states the 169-page Eroding Public Medicare: Lessons and Consequences of For-Profit Health Care Across Canada report.
But federal and provincial officials “have fallen down in their responsibility to protect patients against extra billing and 2-tier care,” says report author Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

The Fox article quotes the same Natalie, but not those quotes.

The CMAJ article continues:

Researchers also found evidence of physicians practising in hospitals but referring patients to their private for-profit businesses, where medically necessary services would be provided more quickly, for an out-of-pocket fee…

So, some illegal stuff is going on (boom in private activity), the government was suppose to do something about it, but it didn’t. Can you say “conservative, Milton Freedmon governance”?

Continuing:

In 1995, then-federal health minister Diane Marleau issued a policy interpretation letter calling on provinces to introduce “regulatory frameworks” to govern the operation of private clinics, and make illegal the “facility fees” charged by private clinics which provide publicly-insured services.

Basically as I read the real article, the boom is actually starting to create what we have here in the USA. A two class society regarding health care access with rising expenditures as doc’s have the market opportunity to charge more via cash deals. Kind of a black market situation? Is the solution to be more like us, or is the solution to solve the bottle neck of not enough doctors? Or maybe the problem is that once you let people who can pay for them self do so (choice?), you begin the destruction of what was a system that treated everyone equally. That is, for a basic human need such as health care, everyone is of the same stature.

We have a great opportunity here with Canada. What happened in our banking system is what has happened to Canada’s health care funding system. Same ideology implimented, same distruction for the benefit of the few.

We are seeing the effects of what happens when the ideology of individual freedom is made predominat in an economic system that assured equality regarding basic needs. That is the key: Basic Needs. Not wants, not money beyond autonomous consumption, but money at autonomous consumption. It is libertarian economics vs Jefferson democracy economics. Personal economic freedom for needs funnels down the benefits of human progress to fewer people instead of expanding the benefits to every more people.

There was one letter responding to the CMAJ article. An open letter to the minister of healthPaul C. Hébert, MD MHSc, Editor-in-Chief

After more than a decade, the health system has not fully recovered from the last round of federal cuts in the mid-1990s. The large reduction of about 10% in federal funding for health forced provincial governments to axe many health care programs, close some hospitals and reduce the number of beds in the remaining institutions, as well as slash training positions for physicians and other health care providers… Provincial governments have become much more autonomous and, in many instances, unwilling to adopt new programs and standards in the interest of all Canadians. The ongoing jurisdictional battle between federal and provincial governments, whether over First Nations health, public health, access to care and expensive medications or the setting of national standards, suggests that the federal government has little influence on Canada’s health systems. The ability of the provinces to offer private services1 and mount administrative barriers to portability of services without consequences is a constant reminder of this weakened federal authority…Canada’s health care systems seem to be moving further and further away from fulfilling the promise of the Canada Health Act.

The reason for limited progress is an erosion of national leadership in health. Successive federal governments have either decreased investments or, through inaction, allowed health to be a purely provincial matter. Despite the importance of health in the minds of the voting public, we remain very concerned that health has slipped entirely off the federal agenda.

Get it? What is actually happening in Canada is the results of the Grover Norquist training manual for conservative governance, the goal of which is the drowning of anything that suggests a social conscience.

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It’s not that Schiff was so correct, it’s that the shows were so manipulative

by: Divorced one like Bush

Crooks and Liar’s posted this video, but their presentation seems more from a position of how correct Peter Shiff was. I think what is more important, and a better lesson to learn is how much crap was being presented by Fox as real, reliable, truthful information that “you can use”. Listen to the other “panelists”.

If we do not learn to understand “crap” reporting, if we do not learn to understand story telling for selfish purpose, if we do not learn to understand that propagandizing is not solely a political tool, but more importantly an economic tool, we will not solve our’s and the worlds current economic condition.

What this video is, is the unvailing of one of the real life experiences of the Truman show we have been living in since Reagan, only this interpretation of the story used the constructed world of finance on the stage known as the economy.

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Money = Wind, Bush and Fox News?

By: Divorced one like Bush

Yes, you read that correctly. The right is reporting there is money to be found in wind. Sacrilege in their church of oil. In an article, May 17, 2008 we learn about a Bush administration report on wind.

A little back ground first:

With major government investments in wind in the 1970s, the U.S. was poised to be a dominant player in what was clearly going to be one of the biggest job-creating industries of the next 100 years. As late as the mid 1980s, we had over 85 percent of the world’s global installed capacity, and U.S. companies possessed the most critical knowledge about how to develop wind farms cost-effectively.
President Reagan cut the renewable energy budget more than 80 percent after he took office, and eliminated the wind investment tax credit in 1986.

Since the turn of this century, wind has been growing explosively. From 2000 to 2007, the industry increased fivefold in size. Last year, $36 billion in wind investments were made around the world, with $9 billion invested in U.S.-based projects. In 10 years, it is expected to nearly quadruple in size.

In fact, because the new wind turbines are tall, and don’t interfere significantly with grazing or farming, they have become popular in the central U.S., where the wind resource is best in the country. Some ranchers make half a million dollars a year by leasing only a fraction of their land for turbines.

From 2004 to 2007, the company’s wind turbine production has grown 500 percent, and the division brought GE revenues exceeding $4 billion in 2007.

While the multi-decade drop in wind prices has stalled temporarily, prices for the competition have gone up the smokestack. New nuclear plants, for instance, have tripled in price. Analysis for the California Public Utility Commission puts the cost of power from new nuclear plants at 15 cents per kWh. It also puts the cost of coal (without carbon capture and storage) at more than 10 cents/kWh. That’s a major reason why, since 2000, Europe has added 47 GW of new wind energy, but only 9.6 GW of coal and a mere 1.2 GW of nuclear.

The report:

…the recent Department of Energy report, called “20% Wind Energy by 2030.” With improved efficiency and a decrease in capital cost, the report found that wind power should cost 6 to 8.5 cents/kWh, unsubsidized, even including the cost of transmission to access existing power lines. And the cost of integrating the power into the U.S. grid would be under 0.5 cents per kWh. This effort would only add about 50 cents per month per household, or under 2 cents a day.

The study notes that “few realize that electricity generation accounts for nearly half of all water withdrawals in the nation.” By 2030, wind would be cutting water consumption by 450 billion gallons a year, of which 150 billion gallons a year would be saved in the arid Western states, where water is relatively scarce — and poised to get even scarcer thanks to climate change. And on top of that, we get half a million jobs, of which nearly a third are high-wage workers directly employed in the industry.

So, this is what could be. Being that we are a “global economy”, our companies need to be able to compete, correct? Here is the competition environment:

By 2020, many European wind farms will be generating electricity at 2¢ per kilowatt-hour, making it cheaper than all other sources of electricity.

Wind-generating capacity worldwide is growing at over 30% per year and has jumped from less than 5,000 megawatts in 1995 to 39,000 megawatts in 2003—an increase of nearly eight-fold. The fossil fuel with the highest growth rate—natural gas—grew at just over 2% annually during the same period. Oil grew at less than 2% annually, and coal at less than 1%. Nuclear generating capacity expanded by 2% annually.

One would think that an industry growing at 30% would be far more inviting to the “free market” entrepreneur than one growing at 2%. But, that is not where we are seeing money flow. No, we felt it was wiser to spend it creating a democracy in an oil rich country. Then again, in 8 years of neocon election policy and 50 plus 1 strategy, we have not seen any major news organization go after the 49% not being ideologically serviced. Think that might have something to do with the policies we vote for?

But, back to the environment to be competing in:

With wind-generated electricity, the principal production cost is the capital outlay for initial construction. Since wind is a free fuel, the only ongoing cost is for maintenance.
Many countries in Europe are pushing hard to bring in more wind power. Here are a few examples.

The United Kingdom is requiring an investment of over $12 billion in off-shore wind farms that should satisfy the residential electricity needs of 10 million of the country’s 60 million people.
Tiny Denmark, which led Europe into the wind era with the development of its own wind resources, now gets an impressive 20 percent of its electricity from wind.
Germany overtook the United States in terms of wind-based generating capacity in 1997. Now Spain is close to overtaking the United States as well.

As to investments being made, it is just as we are seeing in beer:

Regulatory issues do not appear to have deterred energy companies from making US acquisitions. Energias de Portugal paid nearly $3 billion to acquire Horizon Wind Energy from the Goldman Sachs Group. The purchase doubled the amount of wind power operations in the Portuguese company’s portfolio. German utility E.On has agreed to acquire the North American assets of Irish wind power company Airtricity Inc. for $1.4 billion. Acciona Energia has acquired the wind farm development rights of EcoEnergy, a company based in Illinois. Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has acquired Oregon wind development company PPM Energy, as well as Community Energy of Pennsylvania, and more recently US wind farm companies Greenlight Energy and Orion Energy.

But get this, Fox News titles their article: Denmark Points Way in Alternative Energy Sources
Fancy that. Fox News says we can learn from the foreigners.

…most of the Western world was subjected to an Arab-led oil embargo. The crisis forced Denmark, which was 99-percent dependent on foreign oil at the time, to develop an alternative-energy policy.
In the 30 years since, Denmark has worked tirelessly to develop new technology and new policies.
Twenty percent of Denmark’s energy needs are now met by electricity generated by wind turbines, and the proportion is steadily increasing. Thanks to advances in technology and turbine design, the cost ofwind power has been reduced by 75 percent since 1970, when the programs began.
The Danish attitude toward energy conservation means “people don’t have as many appliances, or gizmos,” said Griswold, a frequent visitor to Denmark. “Also, there are stringent requirements for insulation when building new homes. Every individual mandate like that means the nation uses less energy.”
A major part of that success is the Danish commitment to and attitude toward its energy policies, Griswold said.

“After the [1973-74 oil] embargo, Denmark had the attitude that they were going to become less dependent on the outside world and more self-sufficient,” he said. “And upon making this commitment, they’ve gained benefits, including lower national debt, cleaner air and less dependency on other countries.”

Let me repeat the important part of that last sentence: “And upon making this commitment, they’ve gained benefits, including lower national debt, cleaner air and less dependency on other countries.”

One final point Fox News wants us to learn: “Danes would say, ‘Thank goodness we have a government that plans so well that we are only minimally impacted.'” he said. “The average Dane isn’t terribly conscious of being in an energy-saving environment because it’s so natural to [him or her].”

Now there is a message I would have never expected Fox News to promote.

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