Local Lefty Bashing Republicans – Again!

Russ Steele

Never finding a good thing to say about Republican our local lefty blogger has latched on to an Op-Ed by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, in the Washington Post to promote their book new It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.  It is all Republicans Fault!

Karl at writing at Hot Air nails it!  Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein are ignoring the biggest problem of all created by the Democrats –Run Away Spending

Today’s post is much shorter than yesterday’s, because if you reread Ornstein and Mann, you will find none of this real-world context in their op-ed. In order for them to condemn Republicans as “the problem,” they ignore the country’s biggest problems, save for a passing reference to our exploding public debt as, er, “fiscal pressures.” They ignore the Democrats’ gross irresponsibility and dereliction in meeting the basic duties of governance, similarly burying their heads in the sand. They ignore that the Democrats’ preferred approach to the debt — when forced to consider it — has tended to fail worldwide. They denounce the GOP as ideologically extreme, public opinion data to the contrary. No wonder they demand the media switch entirely to a propaganda machine for the Democratic Party. Their reality-based community is a Potemkin village.

Here in California we have a similar problem, uncontrolled spending. The Democrats created a fake budget and then express amazement when the tax revenues do not roll into fill their budget fantasy.  California’s economy is in the tank. Democrats are totally in charge, and California’s economic failure is the Republican fault?  Only in a Democratic Potemkin village.

The New Class Warfare

Russ Steele

Joel Kotkin the Contributing Editor at The City Journal has written an extraordinary assessment of California’s social decline of the middel-class with a very dim view of our future under the the thumb of the states super-wealthy progressive elites.

Joel’s introduction to The New Class Warfare:

California’s super-wealthy progressives seem intent on destroying middle-class jobs.

Few states have offered the class warriors of Occupy Wall Street more enthusiastic support than California has. Before they overstayed their welcome and police began dispersing their camps, the Occupiers won official endorsements from city councils and mayors in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Irvine, Santa Rosa, and Santa Ana. Such is the extent to which modern-day “progressives” control the state’s politics.

But if those progressives really wanted to find the culprits responsible for the state’s widening class divide, they should have looked in a mirror. Over the past decade, as California consolidated itself as a bastion of modern progressivism, the state’s class chasm has widened considerably. To close the gap, California needs to embrace pro-growth policies, especially in the critical energy and industrial sectors—but it’s exactly those policies that the progressives most strongly oppose.

You can read the rest of this very long article HERE. Worth your time to read, as it summarizes may of the issues that I have posted on this blog and my former blog NC Media Watch.

Joel concludes on a modestly positive note:

California doesn’t even need to abandon its progressive tradition to narrow the class divide. Homebuilding, manufacturing, and warehousing could expand if regulatory burdens other than those associated with fighting climate change were merely modified—not repealed, but relaxed sufficiently to make it possible to do business, put people to work, and make a profit. New energy production could take place under strict regulatory oversight. Future industrial and middle-class suburban development could be tied to practical energy-conservation measures, such as promoting home-based businesses and better building standards. California’s agriculture industry—currently thriving, thanks to exports—could be less burdened by the constant threat of water cutbacks and new groundwater regulations.

Even from an environmental perspective, increased industrial growth in California might be a good thing. The state’s benign climate allows it to consume fossil-fuel energy far more efficiently than most states do, to say nothing of developing countries such as China. Keeping industry and middle-class jobs here may constitute a more intelligent ecological position than the prevailing green absolutism.

More important still is that a pro-growth strategy could help reverse California’s current feudalization. The same Public Policy Institute of California study shows that during the last broad-based economic boom, between 1993 and 2001, the 10th percentile of earners enjoyed stronger income growth than earners in the higher percentiles did. The lesson, which progressives once understood, is that upward mobility is best served by a growing economy. If they fail to remember that all-important fact, the greens and their progressive allies may soon have to place the California dream on their list of endangered species.

If your are aspiring to the middle-class, and your have the resources, it would be better for your to  look beyond California for you future.  You can return after the economic collapse and help us survivors rebuild this once great state.

Troubling Numbers for California’s Future

Russ Steele

There are growing signs that California, the once Golden State, is in serious trouble. Tax revenues are in decline and the educated middle class is fleeing the state for more job friendly locals. The Governor’s solution is to double down on green energy projects which are raising energy prices,  which will push more manufacturing and other blue-collar energy users out of the state.  Here are some of the scary numbers culled from my morning reading:

From the Summary Findings of the LAO Report on 2012-2013 budget

  • Franchise Tax Board collections are a couple of billion short.
  • Employment Development Department is $250 million short.
  • Personal Income tax is over $2 billion short.
  • Corporation taxes are $150 million short or 10% below predictions.=

Joel Kotkin writing in the Daily Beast

  • California energy costs are 50 percent above the national average, and expected to rise
  • Middle-skilled jobs (those that require two years or more of post-secondary education) increased by a mere 2 percent compared to a 5.3 percent increase nationwide, and almost 15 percent in Texas over last ten years.
  • In the science-technology-engineering and mathematics field the state has lost its edge, growing just 1.7 percent over the past 10 years compared to 5.4 percent nationally and 14 percent in Texas.
  • The middle class is proportionately smaller and has shrunk more than elsewhere. Adjusted for cost of living, it stands at 47.9 percent in California compared to nearly 55 percent for the rest of the country.
  • Nearly two-in-five Californians pay no income tax, and one in four receive Medicaid.

The Governor solution to these growing problems is to increase income and sales taxes, increase energy costs at the pump by mandating low carbon fuels, mandate more unreliable high cost renewable energy for the manufacturing sector, and implement cap and trade to raise the cost doing business in the state.

It is clear that California economy is not going anywhere but down, and the fall will be accelerating with the next round of housing foreclosures already in the pipeline.

How do we get out of this economic death spiral?

Prop 23 Update: Voters Remorse over AB-32 — Discovered it Means Higher Energy Costs

Russ Steele

John Kabateck,  CA Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, writes in Fox & Hounds.

Folks at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are fond of saying that with the defeat of Prop. 23 a few years ago voters made it clear they supported the agency’s plan for implementation of AB 32, the state’s global warming law.

Under that presumption, CARB has charged full speed ahead with the development of an astonishing array of regulations designed to re-invent California’s energy platform and reduce global warming, with an equally astonishing price tag.

A new poll just released by the AB 32 Implementation Group should serve as a reality check for what is arguably the most powerful state agency in the nation, and the least inhibited by strict legislative oversight.

While a slim majority of voters surveyed indicated they support AB 32 itself, they sang quite a different tune when asked if they were willing to pay higher prices for electricity, gas, food and other essential commodities in order to fund CARB’s greenhouse gas reduction policies, such as its proposed cap and trade auction.

Two-thirds of poll respondents expressed unflinchingly intense opposition to the cap and trade auction, viewing it as a hidden energy tax costly to consumers and vulnerable to market manipulation by Wall Street bankers.

Only 39% said they were willing to pay more for a gallon of gas, and most of those were unwilling to go higher than 50 cents a gallon at most.

And they feel strongly that Californians alone in all the country should not be forced to pay higher prices for energy, goods and services while citizens elsewhere are free of this burden since their states have not adopted climate change policies remotely as ambitious as ours.

You can read the rest of the article HERE. The author concludes:

. . . that as currently planned regulations such as the cap and trade auction will cost billions of dollars, displace workers and drive productive, tax-paying businesses out of the state in search of a regulatory environment in which they actually have a chance of staying in the black.

One of the reasons that Prop 23 failed was that CARB crafted a clever campaign to portray saving AB32 as an ozone health issue. Even though there was no mention of ozone in the whole regulation.  CARB, their grant whore supporters, and going green VCs out spend the opposition 3 to 1. Millions to bamboozle Prop 23 voters into thinking that AB32 was about clean air issues, such as ozone.  Now those bamboozled voters are learning the truth. It was not about ozone, it was all about collecting cap and trade $billions for CARBs going green slush fund.  Now the Governor is trying to figure out how to get his hands on that slush fund to save his budget.

Remember When Smart Meters Were for Customer Convenience?

Russ Steele

I learned the other day that PG&E will be implementing peak day pricing. They will be jacking up the price of electricity during the peak hours for California business and agriculture.  How will PG&E know how much energy a business is using in during peak hours — SmartMeters?

The PG&E webpage has the details HERE:

California businesses are moving to a new electric rate structure called Time-Varying Pricing, part of a statewide energy plan that will be implemented by all investor-owned utilities in the state.

Time-Varying Pricing is designed to help protect the state’s electricity resources. During weekday afternoons, when demand is higher than in the morning or at night, rates are higher; at other times they will be lower. Conserving energy during peak periods, by even a small amount, can help you lower your annual bills.

As I have pointed out before, in the transition to renewable energy sources utilities have less flexibility to crank up another generator to meet the demand. They will not have the generators to crank up, as they will be unable to command the wind blows more, or the sun to shines harder.

One of the strategies is to jack up the price of electrical energy when the demand goes up on hot afternoons.  They hope that increasing the cost of energy will force business to curtail power use on those hot afternoons. Shutting off the AC, turning off lights, and shutting down the machines.

In my estimation, this will force high energy users to leave the state.  Some business cannot just run off the lights and shut down the machines because PG&E is locked into renewable energy by CARB and AB-32.

New EPA Enforcement Method: Political Crucifixion of Oil and Gas Companies

Russ Steele

This video came in over the e-mail transom:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor today to draw attention to a video of a top EPA official saying the EPA’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies – just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience.

Inhofe quoted a little-watched video from 2010 of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, admitting that EPA’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies.

The audio in this video is a bit weak, Administrator Armendariz says:

“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.

“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

“It’s a deterrent factor,” Armendariz said, explaining that the EPA is following the Romans’ philosophy for subjugating conquered villages.

Soon after Armendariz touted the EPA’s “philosophy,” the EPA began smear campaigns against natural gas producers, Inhofe’s office noted in advance of today’s Senate speech:

“Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

“In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best – and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link.”

In his Senate speech, Sen. Inhofe said the video provides Americans with “a glimpse of the Obama administration’s true agenda.”

That agenda, Inhofe said, is to “incite fear” in the public with unsubstantiated claims and “intimidate” oil and gas companies with threats of unjustified fines and penalties – then, quietly backtrack once the public’s perception has been firmly jaded against oil and natural gas.

This how the Obama administration leads, by fear and intimidation. Comply,  or be crushed. Do we need four mores of this?

First the Brits and then California?

Russ Steele

Britain was one of the global leaders in going green with huge investments in alternative energy subsidies driving up energy costs. As the climate turned colder many of the UK’s elder citizens on pensions had to decide, heat or eat.  Now we learn, that Britain’s economy is on the cusp of a financial crisis.

From CNBC this morning:

Britain’s economy slid into its second recession since the financial crisis after official data unexpectedly showed a fall in output in the first three months of 2012, piling pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron’s embattled coalition government.

The Office for National Statistics said Britain’s gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012 after contracting by 0.3 percent at the end of 2011, confounding forecasts for 0.1 percent growth.

Most economists had expected Britain’s $2.4 trillion economy to eke out modest growth in the early 2012, but these forecasts were upset by the biggest fall in construction output in three years coupled with anaemic service sector growth and a fall in industrial output.

California under the thumb of CARB and AB32 continues down the same road that the Brits took, mandating alternative energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.  The states energy prices are rising and our most productive people are leaving the state, as business leave or expand else where.  We are fortunate that our climate is not as cold as the UK, and many CA citizens will not be shivering in the cold.

However, as energy prices keep climbing and unemployment increases, the state is highly vulnerable to a double dip recession.  Are we next?