Thursday, March 1, 2012

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

Feeling frustration and pain when you go to fill up your car? We all are, as gasoline prices have soared to a national average of $3.78 per gallon for regular gasoline. Logically, one would think that the administration would work to bring down the price of gasoline to help families financially and the economy. Think again.  Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the House Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittee this past week in a hearing about high energy prices that the DOE isn't working to lower gasoline prices directly, but instead, working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric cars. When asked directly by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) if the goal of the DOE was to get the price of gasoline down to provide relief for families and the economy, Chu replied,

"No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy. We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and diversifying our supply, and we will help the American economy and the American consumer."

What? Our government is working directly against the consumer and the economy by promoting higher gasoline prices in order to steer consumers into buying electric vehicles which the market has resoundingly rejected and into using inefficient and costly alternative fuels. Everyone that uses their car to get to their job or to attend family functions is being penalized by this administration's inept and asinine energy policies. You should remember this the next time you fill up your car. More importantly, remember it when you vote in November,

When I came home, my wife said I should slip into something comfortable. Like a coma.

The housing market in this country continues to struggle to recover. Although there are pockets of recovery in the housing market, housing prices nationwide are still soft and there are over 600,000 homes currently in foreclosure. This indicates that prices for homes could continue to fall, as much as 20% by some estimates, before they stabilize. The roots of this problem are in the federal government's mandate that everyone should own a home and their facilitation of this goal by guarantees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Housing Administration) that guaranteed mortgage loans even for borrowers that would not have normally qualified for a mortgage loan. These misguided policies resulted in the U.S. Treasury taking over those entities in 2008 and the taxpayer having to fund their loses to the tune of $145 billion through the end of 2011. It is estimated that losses at these agencies could top $400 billion, which you and I will pay. What is the federal government's solution to this problem? More of the same, as the Federal Reserve, led by Ben Bernanke, has proposed buying more mortgages and buying and renting foreclosed properties. Oh yes, they also want to make loans to unemployed buyers and provide taxpayer paid principal reductions for home buyers that are underwater on their loans. These proposals are beyond ludicrous, but they are generated by academics and policy makers that have no real world experience and view your earnings and the taxes they can collect on them as their checkbook to pursue their failed policy initiatives.

The secret to my happy marriage? Twice a week, my wife and I go to dinner at a nice restaurant. She goes on Tuesday. I go on Friday.

Continue to pay attention to this administration's promotion of alternative energy companies. Specifically, pay attention to the amount of taxpayer dollars that have been used to guarantee loans to companies that have either failed or are in bankruptcy. The latest is SunPower, a manufacturer of solar panels. SunPower received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy for a manufacturing facility in Richmond, CA. The company is $820 million in debt, is the subject of numerous shareholder lawsuits, and will not build their product in the U.S., but rather in Mexico. The problems with SunPower follow closely on the heels of the bankruptcy of Solyndra, another alternative energy company that received sizeable government guarantees. These government guarantees are your tax dollars and mine that have been used to funnel money to specious business ventures that had little hope of success. Oh yes, SunPower's chief lobbyist, George Miller V is the son of California Democratic Congressman George Miller III.. Think there was cronyism at work here? Always follow the money. After all, it is yours that is being used in this wasteful and shameful way.

Now that I have finally gotten my head together, my body is falling apart.

And that, my friends, is my view.


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