Monday, February 05, 2007

Hillary: She'll Reap the Socialist Whirlwind

PJ Media has a strong essay introducing us to Hillary Clinton’s energy plan.

PJM provides this caveat:

According to this anonymous writer who has worked for a decade on energy and environment policy on a national and international level, Senator Clinton’s plan for energy independence means that you will “have less, make less, and do less.” Here’s how it came to be and who’s behind it.

Given that, Anonymous nonetheless has some worrying things to say about H. Rodham C. Especially since some of her purported proposals are outrageously unconstitutional: [my emphases below]

Last week ExxonMobil posted record-breaking profits. This news provoked an immediate reaction from Senator Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Committee in Baltimore on Friday. “I want to take those profits,” Clinton said, “and put them into an alternative energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy alternatives that will actually begin to move us toward the direction of independence.”

Get that? Senator Clinton wants to break into a private corporation and steal their money. Her socialist gall is breath-taking.

But Anon has more -- a little history, and a bit of an economics warning:

Clinton’s remarks are the first time that a nationally known Democrat has openly called for the government seizure of an industry since President Harry Truman tried to nationalize the steel industry in 1952. The U.S. Supreme Court slapped back Truman’s takeover in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et al. v. Sawyer. (Like Senator Clinton, Truman also championed a national health-care scheme.)

While other politicians have suggested establishing an alternative energy fund, Clinton is the first to advocate funding it by taking the earnings of a publicly held American company. ExxonMobil has some eight-hundred thousand shareholders, many of whom depend on these earnings to fund their retirements.

Mrs. Clinton, of course, has a lock on her retirement scheme. There won’t be any imperial fingers dipping into her pension plan or her investments.

This woman has just proved what we already knew: she is sand-poundingly ignorant about economics and about Constitutional Law. Someone in her electoral campaign would do well to put a sock in her mouth before she becomes any clearer about her intentions.

Meanwhile, here’s a website that wants to expand the energy market into new areas without breaking the law or bringing down the stock market or rifling your pension plan:

Terra Rossa: Where Conservatives Consider a New Energy Future

Here’s an example of what they’re about:

Hats off to the CEOs of GE, DuPont, BP America, and Alcoa! Yesterday, these heavy hitters, among others, came out in favor of a market-based system to cap carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. In his post below, Tucker Eskew calls this a tipping point in the climate change debate. This is no doubt true. But it’s also a tipping point in our country’s move towards a new energy future.

New technologies created by these companies will lead to cleaner energy right away, and will also speed up the development of renewable, clean, efficient, and cost-effective sources of energy in this country. And cost is the crucial variable. As I’ve said before, the U.S. simply will not see widespread use of alternative energy sources until they are as cheap as (or at least competitive with) fossil fuels. A market-based carbon cap that is embraced by our largest companies will help move these new energy technologies forward, thus bringing ever-closer the day in which they are affordable.
- - - - - - - - - -
The world is not going to stop using fossil fuels anytime soon, nor should it. The affordable energy that oil, coal, and natural gas provide fueled the growth of the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, and will do the same in the developing world. But here in the U.S., we’re ready to take the next step. It’s up to first-world nations to develop the next generation of alternative energy, and we’re wealthy enough to afford to do it (not to mention smart enough to figure it out). This carbon cap is just the type of catalyst we need to get moving.

It’s an interesting, vital website. They are asking for your ideas and input. Be sure to visit.

Meanwhile, back at PJM, Anonymous is not done disseciting the agenda of Dictator Clinton:

Hillary Clinton, the obstructer-in-chief....and her underwriters, have contributed greatly to the abdication of a basic function of government: the obligation to manage natural resources in a way beneficial to its citizens and in concert with national security.

Since the 9-11 attacks, Clinton and a sizable faction of Congress have halted every effort at energy independence through new energy production.

The environmental movement serves as the enforcer. Congressmen are targeted on local energy issues within their congressional districts. Congressmen in Massachusetts are pressured to vote against public works projects in Alaska, Congressmen in California are lobbied to vote against energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico, and so on. The process repeats itself cycle after cycle, bill after bill. The environmental movement does not lay out a cohesive national strategy or make any attempt to balance competing goods such as environmental protection and energy independence. As a reward for participating in this disjointed pandering process, Congressmen are hailed as “environmental champions.”

The Sierra Club’s support for Clinton has never wavered. [and indeed, why would it? She’s a done deal -D]The Sierra Club has lobbied against every bill aimed at increasing the amount of energy available to Americans. They are against the construction of new refineries, have consistently blocked the construction of LNG terminals, adamantly fight the development of natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, oppose the construction of nuclear power plants, and don’t want ANWR explored.

We have bountiful resources which the environmentally unhinged have successfully blocked us from using. Even 9/11 has not been enough to wake us up to take these hard-core Greens in hand. They don’t care if the economy falls in the toilet (an environmentally friendly toilet, of course) as long as the earth is not disturbed.

Hillary Clinton’s energy fantasies are a national threat. And so are her friends and their unfounded, unscientific, and fundamentally hostile ideas. If she and her ilk have their way, Hillary’s hand will be in your wallet and your pension fund in 2008. Of course, it’s for your own good. Just ask her. While you’re at it, see if you can touch her up for a loan to tide you over the recession she is determined to create.

What is it with Democrats? Why do they need to create crises? Is it in order to have something to fix? And why do they insist on applying tired, tried-but-failed poultices as "solutions" to their messes. They remind me of witch doctors, incantations and all.

Obviously, when God was handing out Chaos, the Dems weren’t paying attention and thought he said “Creative Solutions.” Being Democrats, they immediately took more than their share. While they reached into the bucket with both hands, they lectured the rest of us on greed.

Vote for Hillary and reap the whirlwind. Or is that world whine? With Hill, they’re about the same.


Gordon Pasha said...

When I first read that Ms Rodham had stated that she 'would take those profits', I nearly went through the roof. The mask has indeed fallen, and the visage is a hideous, frightening one.

lugh lampfhota said...

HRC appealing to the Marxist wing of her party should frighten anyone interested in preserving the Republic. Would she call for confiscation of private property or sign a bill authorizing the same? Only HRC knows. But She has revealed, once again, that she would say or do anything to get elected. This woman is mad for power and it should frighten normal people.

The coming election will define the future of America. If HRC is the choice of voters then it is the beginning of the end of the Republic as it was founded. America will slip into European socialism and multiculturalism, then tribalism and finally anarchy and chaos.

Were I a betting man, I'd wager the New Dark Age is coming in this 21st century of our Lord.

Always On Watch said...

Senator Clinton wants to break into a private corporation and steal their money.

But people are actually falling for her line. They aren't considering Constitutional issues (even if they know anything about the Constitution); rather they are thinking "These big companies can afford to shell out."

Over the past several decades, we've seen more and more erosion of our system of free enterprise. If Hillary is elected, that erosion will accelerate, perhaps beyond the point of return.

X said...

Part of the problem is because they don't see the logical conclusion of "taking" the profits or large organisations. Apart from the immediate fallout, with thousands losing their pension plans and the like, there's the problem of what happens when those big companies inevitably collapse or fle the country. No more money? No problem, lets just go to the next level of companies! Before you know it the government is telling you that your abilities require you give so much, and your need requires so much less in return.

People don't see it. So tell them what happens when the big mine is played out.

M. Simon said...

Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion

Reactor Scaling

Wally Ballou said...

econ-scott - why are you assuming that the Bill of rights needs to be abolished by constitutional means in order to be destroyed? there is not ONE of the original 10 amendments that has not been routinely violated or severely limited by the State without the nicety of amendment, through the magic power of interpretation. The most egregious recent example, of course, is the serious weakening of property rights guaranteed under the fifth amendment by the infamous Kelo decision.

James Higham said...

This says everything about the Lizard Queen. No idea of policy nor historical precedent - just eyes on the main chance.

livfreerdie said...

Econ-scott, I think 3/4ths of the states have to ratify an amendment. However, a referendum to call a constitutional convention requires only 2/3rds of the states. It is the only way for the "people" to propose an amendment, bypassing the bought and paid for Congress.

Clovis Sangrail said...

The way it is done in the UK is to declare a `windfall tax'. So it's a one-off tax on profits. Of course you can do it every year...

unaha-closp said...

Normally (for any other product) I'd agree with you, but this is crude oil. Also there is a right wing litany of Hillary, Evil, Hillary, Evil...that runs through this part of the blogosphere, but this is a good idea.

Because Oil industry = Saudi + Iran = Terrorism.

The world is not going to stop using fossil fuels anytime soon, nor should it. The affordable energy that oil, coal, and natural gas provide fueled the growth of the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, and will do the same in the developing world.

Thus any concurrent growth in militant Islam is dismissed as a non-issue, because who doesn't like growth. Please acknowledge that rise in oil profits = rise in Islamists fortunes.

Alternatives to oil need to be found, but this requires the pressure of scarcity to encourage investment and unfortunately there is no scarcity of oil. Artificial scarcity conditions need to be enforced to encourage alternatives - taxation upon the oil industry and subsidy of the alternatives - in the way Hillary suggests. And yes, this will cause financial hardship.

However there is sufficient oil for another 30 - 40 years, how many cities will be lost to Islamist bombs in that time?

Flanders Fields said...

Ignorance is not a word for Comrade Hillary. Doctrinaire, dedicated and decadant dictator are more correct. She has the full allegiance of the leftist masses(despite appearances that Soros and Co. are abandoning her). The media is waiting for the signal to spring into appropriate action mode and the revolutionary vanguard are working on all strategy and tactics.

rickl said...

Hillary and Hugo sitting in a tree,

Ironmistress said...

Time again for some military thoughts and the situational estimate.

One of the best things on military training is that it strips you off any surplus idealism and ideologies and makes you to rely on reality checks. One of the things taughts in officer school was always to make a situational estimate. Situations are never as bad as they look like and never as good, but the truth is always somewhere in-between. I don't see Ms. Clinton pressing a Marxist agenda, but rather her making strategic federal decisions on pain of private interests.

The quick situational estimate and analysis is that:

1) Ms. Clinton desires to get US economy independent of fossil fuels.

2) To do so, she has to interfere on private property and freedom of enterprise.

The questions arising from this situation is:

a) Is it plausible to get US economy independent of fossil fuels, or should we consume the oil just as ever (and aprés nous le deluge ?)

b) Which is more important, the interest of the community (state) or the interest of the individuals if they contradict?

c) Which is more important, the long-term interest of everyone or short-term interest of some if they contradict?

d) Is there a plausible way to solve the problem with minimal damage to either parties?

First, fossil fuels, as convenient as they are, are a bad idea. They pollute the environment, they emit CO2 when burnt, they will run out sooner or later, they are far more valuable as materials for chemical industry than just burnt for their enthalpy and most of all, they come from the Islamic countries. On purely strategic view, ethanol and biomass converted into hydrocarbons by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, is a far better idea. Likewise, uranium is a better idea than coal - less risky and contains more energy per weight unit and does not emit greenhouse gases.

Second, the private and public interests do not always meet. The public interest is to become self-sufficient on energy sources and use domestic sources of energy. The private interest is to make as big short-term profits as possible (maximizing the profit). The public planspan is 5 to 20 years. Private planspan is 3 to 6 months. It is also known big business act like psychopaths - at worst, "free enterprise" can mean precisely the same as "mafia". It cannot be relied that big business will voluntarily do anything which will reduce their cash flow or invest into anything new voluntarily. The "chimney" corporations, like Exxon, are extremely reluctant to any change.

Third, reducing the Free World dependency on oil means cutting the cash flow of the Islamists. It is a public secret all the money which the Free World pays for the oil goes on funding the very same terrorism which is targeted against the Free World. The more we are dependent on oil, the more intense any terrorist strikes will also be. The less we rely on oil, the less there will be surplus dollars or euros to fund the Extreme Islamists and terror. It is no secret that Saudi-Arabia - which is the biggest oil producer - is also the biggest funder of Islamic extremism.

The ideal situation would be, of course, that the Arabs had to learn to drink their oil - the Free World will switch to domestic ethanol, Fischer-Tropsch fuels and uranium. But how plausible is such situation, and can it be achieved without overtly interfering on free enterprise?

What is certain is that oil will run out sooner or later. We simply have to find a replacement for oil sooner or later - be it ethanol, methanol or Fischer-Tropsch fuel - and the sooner we do it, the less painful the switchover will be. The sooner the Arabs have to learn to drink their oil, the better for the Free World.

X said...

I agree with the idea that the west needs to get off oil; I disagree with the methods. The big oil companies are, paradoxically, the people most likely to try and bring new technologies to the market in order to preerve their cash flow. They pay for all sorts of research in to new fuel technologies because they know that the oil isn't going to last forever. Some are already researching alternatives and diversifying in to new technology fields.

Like any animal, a corporation's primary motivation is survival. Survival means making a profit, and profit only comes from two sources: monopoly or diversification. Monopoly can tend to be bad, which is why we have antitrust laws and the like. Diversification is inherently good, as long as it isn't used to fuel a monopoly in one market but, again, antitrust laws deal with this. In theory at least. Free enterprise i the expression of free agents working within a free market economy, competing and cooperating in order to survive.

I disagree with the methods that Clinton is advocating. Given that these companies are investing their profit in alternative fuels, what effect will taking those profits away have on all that investment? It'll stop it in its tracks, that's what. Suddenly we'll go from an economy that is starting to diversify in to new fuel tech to one that is trapped in the current paradigm because of a lack of money.

And no, I don't believe that she'll actually use it to create alternative fuel technologies or anything like that. There'll be a sop to research, and a bureaucracy, and a lot of paperwork and press releases, but there won't be any actual results. The majority of the money will be soaked up in jobsworth schemes, paper-pushing and other government-inspired crap. Far from increasing our independence from oil, Clinton will actually be cementing it for the duration of her term and quite probably much, much longer.

Until now no free market economy has adopted the idea that diversification = bad. Clinton is essentially adopting this idea, by preventing profitable companies from diversifying, by snatching the profits they would use to do so. The knock-on is that these companies will then try and prevent other potential competitors from entering these same markets, as the markets that woudl previously have been a source of income are now a threat to their remaining income streams.

Marian - CZ said...

Hi all.

I think we all agree that dependency on Middle Eastern oil is strategically a bad thing, and that the flow of cash into the hands of the fundamentalist rulers there should be reduced as much as possible.

But I think this cannot be achieved by forcing American entities to switch to other fuels by governmental coercion.

The USA is not the only country in the world which imports oil. Europe, Australia, Japan, China, India - these countries and regions are in need of oil too. And they will pay hard cash for it; and if Americans were forced to use alternative fuels by the government, their share of consumption would be redirected to other places of the planet, which do not have to obey American tax laws. And the Saudi banks would be threatened, but far from being starved to death. There would be a dent in their income, but temporary and probably not fatal, because remaining billions of people in not-too-poor countries would still buy their oil. Even worse; the "dent" could definitely smite down the Saudi family, replacing it with overtly jihadist regime. Well, I am not sure that this would be "worse" - at least they would show their true colours to the whole world. But America would be at the same time struggling with economical and political problems created by additional fuel taxation, therefore having the potential for military action worldwide reduced. Which does not sound as a good combination.

What we need is economically viable alternative to oil. A source of energy so cheap that its production is cheaper than drilling for oil in desert environment, therefore rendering the whole Middle Eastern industry bankrupt forever.

Can it be bionatural ethanol? I do not know...

Ironmistress said...

Marian, currently petrol has energy return of investment some 80% (of each five litres of petrol consumed in the process you gain four out), while the energy return of investment of bioethanol varies from 180% (beetroot) to 480% (a plant whose name escapes my mind). Any fermentable carbohydrates (read: food, paper and wood leftovers) can be used for ethanol producition.

Ethanol can be also produced by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, as can also hydrocarbons. This involves first burning the biomass into synthesis gas (mixture of CO, CH4 and H2 and other ingredients) and then catalythically growing the carbon chain. Germany produced most of her petrol in WWII by Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis. The capital investments for FT are big, but the technology is existing and process scalable.

South Africa produces majority of its fuel by FT process.

unaha-closp said...


It is not "given" that oil companies are to be our saviors.

The oil companies have made considerable investment in assets (fields/refineries/distribution) entirely for oil production. They run marketing campaigns (motorsport sponsorship, lifestyle) designed solely to sell oil. The oil they have direct access to will last them for the next quarter of a century or in corporate speak "for the next 100 quarters" they have gauranteed profitability if no such competition arises. Profit is served by maximising oil production and oil consumption. Diversification only becomes potentially profitable if there is a scarcity of oil and there most definitely is not.

There'll be a sop to research, and a bureaucracy, and a lot of paperwork and press releases, but there won't be any actual results. The majority of the money will be soaked up in jobsworth schemes, paper-pushing and other government-inspired crap.

Exactly like happens in the oil industry right now. The manufactured marketing/PR campaigns of oil companies do not differ from the jobsworth skills of governments. Both efforts are meaningless flim flam that will not be productive.

The success or failure of this policy is its ability to restrict supply (increase price through taxation) for everybody who consumes oil. This creates apparent scarcity (where none exists) in the oil market and motivates those reliant upon oil based fuels for their profitability to seek alternatives. Everybody - from power generators to you and me when we fill up - would benefit from a lower priced alternative and therefore will seek profit from finding it.

X said...

That may be, but the current state of affairs would be more likely to produce a result than anything run or enforced by a government. As I said, those big companies would be much more likely to attack alternative techs if they were faced with an artificial scarcity on their own turf than if they were swimming with money. And, as I also said, they are developing alternatives. Largely it is a sop, to be sure, but the fact that they're doing it at all without any coercion should count for something, shouldn't it?

I neve said it was a given that they would be our "saviours", as you put it. I simply pointed out that we are much more likely to see results from a market driven incentive than from a situatiion of artificial scarcity created by taxation. I know this, because I live in that exact situation right now. Petrol costs a fortune here in the UK, but people still drive their cars. "Green" taxes are being levied to "encourage" people out of their cars - really just to squeeze mroe money out of them for Gordon Brown to pocket - but people still drive. Artificial scarcity doesn't create an incentive or a demand for alternatives, it simply pisses people off, and puts the use of private transport out of teh hands of the people most likely to need it, and the people that the socialists levying these taxes claim to support.

So, apart from the whole market thing, Clinton will be punishing the very people she claims to stand for, without having any appreciable effect on the state of technology. On top of that, the increased costs will disincentivise those who might otherwise try to develop alternatives. Increased fuel costs don't merely affect drivers. They ripple through the entire economy, putting up the price of food and necessities, and in fact just about everything that gets transported around. Increased costs might well discourage someone from investing in the necessary materials to create an alternative fuel, and in exchange for that we'd get a guaranteed government bureaucracy and no alternative fuel, as opposed to a merely probable private bureaucracy and a much higher likelihood of alternatives being developed.

Artificialy induced scarcity has no benefit except for those enforcing it.

Mr POOMA said...

The US gets 80% of its oil from its own sources, Mexico and Canada. The fact that it uses its influence to stabilise oil prices where it can actually helps Europe more than itself.

The US is also 'the Saudi Arabia' of coal. It has bucket loads of the stuff. If all of the coal were converted to oil then US oil reserves would be more than double Saudi Arabia's. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the US will wean itself off of oil any time in the next couple of hundred years or so.

X said...

Your estimates don't even count known and potential sources in the gulf of mexico and off the coast of florida. If they were tapped properly - and ti looks like they might be soon - the US could be entirely self-sufficient in oil for the next 50 years or more, at the very minimum.

I don't hold with environmental arguments against the use of oil simply because they aren't based on sound science. Better arguments are based on the funding for terrorists, which should encourage the US to tap its own reserves rather than try and give up its "addiction" to the stuff. Oil is the life-blood of a modern industrial economy. We're addicted to it in the same way we're addicted to air.

Ironmistress said...

Archonix, wouldn't it be a better idea getting rid of the oil dependency - and go for uranium, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel and Fischer-Tropsch fuels?

The environmental arguments are based on just as sound science as the economical as well. The oil dependency is a noose which strangles the whole Western civilization.

And the earlier we cut off that noose which strangles our necks, the less painful it also will be.