From my friends at Power Line Blog:
The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Iowa Caucuses and the role that ethanol plays in them. In theory ethanol is a great idea. In practice it has not had the positive impact on the environment that was hoped for.
The article reports:
The summer before the Iowa caucuses is when politicians abandon whatever it is they believe in and instead pay homage to King Corn.
When Republicans are running, any belief in free enterprise is scuttled in favor the big government ethanol mandate.
Among Democrats, concern about smog and pollution evaporates in the heat of an Iowa summer.
The politicians who pledge to take on the special interests instead bow obediently before the ethanol lobby.
Al Gore, who admits federal support for ethanol was a mistake, explains his own advocacy of such policies thus: “I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”
It’s a dispiriting sight, but it’s as much a part of the Iowa caucus tradition as butter cows and fried Oreos.
The article explains some of the problems with ethanol:
Also, federally mandated use of ethanol wreaks havoc on the environment.
“Making corn into ethanol threatens surface and sub-surface waters in several ways,” the Freshwater Society states.
For starters, there are the spills, which occur every two days on average. Ethanol can’t be transported by pipeline, and so it rides trains and trucks from the heartland where it’s made to the coasts, where Uncle Sam forces refiners to buy it.
The added use of fertilizers in the extra corn-growing creates lots of runoff, which down the line deprives rivers of oxygen. Distilling ethanol requires four times as much water as does refining real gasoline — so the ethanol mandate depletes water supplies.
Ranchers pay the price as corn is shifted from feed to fuel. Drivers pay the price as they have to refuel more (ethanol has less energy per gallon than gasoline does). Bikers and boaters suffer more, as ethanol gunks up those smaller engines. Ethanol is also destroying your lawnmower this summer.
The article concludes:
Refiners, corn growers, and ethanol distillers all suffer from uncertainty and inconsistency. So, we’ve got a proposal for any 2020 Democrat who cares about taking on the special interests, protecting the air and the water, and moving beyond the inconstancy of the Trump administration.
Abolish the ethanol mandate altogether.
Maybe Cory Booker or Joe Biden can pick up the bill Ted Cruz pushed in 2015, which would wind the mandate down to zero gallons in five years. Cruz even won Iowa, in part because enough voters liked a man who stood on principle.
Do the Democrats have a man or a woman like that?
The Washington Times is reporting today that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will be cancelling be the incentives offered in a deal with Nike in response to the athletic company scrapping plans for a Betsy Ross-inspired sneaker. Just as Nike is free to scrap its plans for the sneaker, Governor Ducey is free to withdraw his offer of incentives to the company.
The article reports:
The sneakers, featuring a U.S. flag with 13 stars on each heel, reportedly was canned after former football player and political activist Colin Kaepernick said the design could be seen as an offensive symbol of slavery.
“Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish. Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism,” the Arizona Republican tweeted.
“It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it. Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here,” he said.
Would someone please explain to Mr. Kaepernick that history needs to be viewed in the context of its time–not the context of today. In the time of Betsy Ross, slavery was practiced all over the world. There was nothing noteworthy about it. Indentured servitude was also practiced. Mr. Kaepernick might want to take notice of the fact that there are countries today where slavery is still an acceptable practice. If he is so concerned about slavery and its ills, he might want to see what he can do to help the countries that practice slavery end the practice.
Kudos to Governor Ducey for taking a stand against misguided selective outrage.
One America News is reporting today that two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops. This is reported by a local journalist.
The article reports:
Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.
An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.
The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.
It sounds as if the Russians are attempting to duplicate what they did in Cuba many years ago, support an unpopular dictator who will be a thorn in the side of America. The Russians have another reason to want to keep Venezuela indirectly under their control.
On March 22nd The Miami Herald reported:
Cuba would have to spend nearly $2 billion a year to meet its domestic oil needs if Venezuela’s National Assembly and interim president Juan Guaidó manage to stop deliveries to the Caribbean island.
“Cuba’s demand for oil is about 130,000 barrels per day, and Cuba produces about 50,000 barrels per day, which means a deficit of about 80,000 barrels per day,” said Jorge Piñón, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Piñón estimates that Cuba has fuel reserves for about 45 days. But the end of deliveries by Venezuela’s PDVSA oil company would force the government to spend nearly $5.2 million per day at the market price of $65 per barrel for the 80,000 barrels per day it would need to import to meet demand.
By the end of one year, that would add up to nearly $2 billion for an economy that economists agree has not reached 2 percent annual growth in recent years and has probably experienced a recession.
The National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, recently ordered a suspension of crude shipments to Cuba, which started under an agreement to exchange oil for medical services negotiated by the late Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
PDVSA now ships an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day to Cuba, not quite half of what the oil company sent before it spiraled into an unprecedented crisis under the Nicolás Maduro regime.
There is also another aspect of Venezuela’s oil shipments.
In November 2013, I reported:
On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.
Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.
Like it or not, free enterprise generates more wealth for more people than socialism.
It is a safe bet that oil production is only a fraction of what it was before Maduro took over the oil industry. That adds to the financial woes of Venezuela and will also have an impact of Cuba.
This is part of an email I received from Hillsdale College:
Hillsdale College has a three-point plan to restore the principles of liberty in our once-great nation. This plan is already underway! Here are the details:
- Teach college students the principles of liberty underlying the Constitution—based on the idea that rights come from God, not government—which are necessary for the free enterprise system to flourish in America, and send wave after wave of them into influential positions in government, the economy, and our culture.
- Educate millions of Americans about the principles of limited, constitutional government so they are equipped to defend those principles, leading to a restoration of liberty. The College achieves this through Imprimis—sent to millions every year—and online courses such as “Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution.”
- Host seminars and training sessions for policy makers and opinion leaders in Washington, D.C. about the Constitution and its principles of liberty. The College achieves this through the work of its Kirby Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Hillsdale does all this while refusing even one penny of government money—even indirectly in the form of student grants and loans—because it doesn’t want bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. telling them what to teach, who to hire, or who to admit for enrollment.
We need more colleges like this in America.
Yesterday Investors.com posted an editorial reporting that Canada has surpassed the United States in household wealth.
The article reports:
According to a study by Environics Analytics Wealthscapes published by The Globe & Mail, average Canadian household net worth in 2011 was $363,202, surpassing by $40,000 the $319,970 U.S. average.
What has been going on in Canada lately that has caused this growth in individual wealth? Free enterprise spurred on by lower taxes, less government spending, and less government regulation.
The article reports:
For one thing, Canada has embraced fiscal discipline. Its federal debt is around 35% of GDP compared to the U.S. at 100%. The deficit is 2% of GDP, not 10% as here. At June’s G-20 meeting in Mexico, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told heads of state that economic growth and fiscal discipline “go hand in hand.”
There are lessons here we need to learn:
In January, its slashed its corporate income tax rate to 15%, lowest in the G-7. The U.S. rate is 39.2%, the world’s second-highest. That’s helped Canadian companies create jobs and cut unemployment to 7.2% as the U.S. remains at 8.2%. Foreign direct investment has also surged, hitting a record $26 billion in 2011, fueling even more jobs and wealth.
The article concludes:
The cumulative reality is that these policies translate into wealth for an entire country. Canadians are richer, bolder and face a brighter future because they have quietly abandoned socialism and embraced free markets and free enterprise. We obviously need to relearn the lesson our neighbors are teaching: When free markets are embraced, we all do well.
It matters how you vote in November.
Senator Marco Rubio was elected in 2010 to represent Florida in the Senate. He was born in Miami to parents who had fled the dictatorship of Fidel Castro after the Cuban revolution. Senator Rubio’s recent speech at the Reagan Library is an amazing mix of wisdom and common sense.
Power Line posted the following excerpt:
[W]e must begin by embracing certain principles that are absolutely true. Number one – the free enterprise system does not create poverty. The free enterprise system does not leave people behind. People are poor and people are left behind because they do not have access to the free enterprise system because something in their lives or in their community has denied them access to the free enterprise system. All over the world this truism is expressing itself every single day. Every nation on the Earth that embraces market economics and the free enterprise system is pulling millions of its people out of poverty. The free enterprise system creates prosperity, not denies it.
The second truism that we must understand is that poverty does not create our social problems, our social problems create our poverty. Let me give you an example. All across this country, at this very moment, there are children who are born into and are living with five strikes against them, already, through no fault of their own. They’re born into substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods, to broken families, being raised by their grandmothers because they never knew their father and their mom is either working two jobs to make ends meet or just not home. These kids are going to struggle to succeed unless something dramatic happens in their life.
These truisms are important because they lead the public policies that define the proper role of government. On the prosperity side, the number one objective of our economic policy, in fact the singular objective of our economic policy from a government perspective is simple – it’s growth. It’s not distribution of wealth, it’s not picking winners and losers. The goal of our public policy should be growth. Growth in our economy, the creation of jobs, and of opportunity, of equality of opportunity through our governmental policies.
Now often when I give these speeches, members of the media and others get frustrated because there is nothing new or novel in it. We don’t have to reinvent this. It’s worked before and it will work again and they are simple things. Like a tax code that’s fair, predictable, easy to comply with. Like a regulatory framework that doesn’t exist to justify the existence of the regulators, that doesn’t exist to accomplish through regulation and rulemaking what they couldn’t accomplish through the Congress.
And it is the proper role of government to invest in infrastructure. Yes, government should build roads and bridges, but it should do so as part of economic development as part of infrastructure. Not as a jobs program.
And government should invest in our people at the state level. Education is important, critically important. We must educate and train our children to compete and succeed in the 21st century. Our kids are not going to grow up to compete with children in Alabama or Mississippi. They’re going to grow up to compete with kids in India, and China, all over the world; children who are learning to compete and succeed in the 21st century themselves.
These are proper roles of government within the framework of creating an environment where economic security and prosperity is possible.
The concepts in the speech need to be shouted during the current debate about our budget deficits. The first is the idea that free enterprise does not create poverty–it provides a vehicle for people to escape poverty, and the second is that poverty does not create our social problems–it is the result of those problems.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan understood what the war on poverty would do to America when Lyndon Johnson began the program:
The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
It’s time to examine how we spend money to fight poverty in America. Free money is not a solution to poverty. Free money destroys self-esteem and ambition–both of which are needed to overcome poverty.