The Mackinac Center for Public Policy just released a study showing that by the time all federal and state loans, grants, subsidies, and tax credits are figured in, each Chevy Volt costs taxpayers upwards of $250,000.
James Hohman, the center’s assistant director of fiscal policy, counted a total of 18 government “deals” but didn’t include the fact that one-quarter of Volt’s manufacturer, General Motors, is owned by the federal government.
He counted not only incentives offered directly to GM or to the ultimate buyer, but also those offered to suppliers of parts and technology for the Volt. The Department of Energy, for example, awarded a $106 million grant to GM’s Brownstone plant that assembles the Volt’s batteries. The State of Michigan awarded $106 million to GM to retain jobs in its Hamtramck assembly plant. And Compact Power, the company that makes the Volt’s batteries, received $100 million in “refundable battery credits.”
Some of the subsidies and credits are extended over varying periods of time and some are dependent upon certain production “milestones” being achieved. He counted them all along with subsidies to companies vying to provide batteries for the Volt such as the support provided to A123 Systems. A123 lost the battery contract to Compact Power, but Hohman included their subsidies in his study as well.
Due to new federal air pollution regulations, more than 32 power plants across the country will be forced to close their doors, according to a recent Associated Press survey. Those plants, which are mostly coal-fired, discharge enough electricity to supply more than 22 million households, the survey notes, and their closure will lead to job layoffs, depleted tax revenues, and a considerable hike in electric bills. The areas that will be hit hardest are the Midwest and in the coal belt (Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), where dozens of plants will likely be retired.
Two regulations are in question: One aims to curb air pollution in states downwind from pollutant-heavy power plants; and the second, which was finalized last week, would enact the first standards for mercury, acid gas, and other pollutants from plant smokestacks. In total, the new regulations could eliminate more than eight percent of coal-fired generation nationwide.
AP’s survey, the first of its kind, looked at the analyses by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of plant retirements and interviewed 55 power plant operators about the effects on power supply and about their plans to deal with the new regulations.
There never seems to be a dull moment in the United States Congress, which has neared a government shutdown several times in the past two years. On Thursday night, lawmakers may have once again averted a government shutdown by reaching a tentative deal to fund a number of different government agencies through September 30.
Unfortunately for the American people, the deal includes massive spending, totaling $1 trillion.
It is expected to come up for a vote in both the Senate as well as the House of Representatives on Friday to avoid what would be a shutdown of major Washington operations this weekend, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Guardian reports, “A deal on a $1 trillion spending bill was reached after Republicans agreed to drop language that would have blocked President Obama’s liberalized rules on people who visit and send money to relatives in Cuba. But a GOP provision will stay in the bill thwarting an Obama administration rule on energy efficiency standards that critics argued would make it hard for people to purchase inexpensive incandescent light bulbs.”
Here's the latest "Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the Constitution."
Between acts of the legislative branch and regulations of branches of the executive branch, due process is being run out of town on a rail. Congress completed action on The National Defense Authorization Act last week, and the Act now awaits President Obama's signature. This law will empower the President to send the military to capture and indefinitely imprison citizens suspected of committing a “belligerent act” without access to an attorney or a trial on the merits of the charges.
Are African elephants an endangered species? Like so many questions, the answer depends on who’s giving it. Villagers in northern Uganda whose food the animals devour would likely call them an endangerment — or worse. “[After] I found the elephants eating my crops in the garden, I started banging an empty jerry can to scare them but one of the big elephants charged at me. I was lucky because I ran in between the trees and the elephant stopped. I gave up my garden of millet and rice,” said Mateo Ojok. He’s one of the “internally displaced persons (IDPs) … struggling to resettle because persistent elephant incursions into their fields are threatening their livelihoods, and sometimes, their lives.” Mr. Ojok added, “[Life in] this place is a struggle between the elephants and human beings. The elephants are giving us a hard time, they are really aggressive.”
So aggressive, in fact that “the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates … the annual cost of elephant raids to crops in Africa” at “US$60 in Uganda … per affected farmer.” That’s a sizable chunk of wealth in a country where the “gross national income per capita” for 2009 was $511.9 in “current US [dollars].”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last Thursday that 46 tribal and nonprofit organizations are being granted a combined one million dollars of taxpayer money to fund "environmental justice issues." According to the EPA, such "issues" translate as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to" the environmental decision-making process.
Government climate dignitaries and the Associated Press hailed the “landmark” deal reached Sunday at the United Nations' global-warming summit in Durban, South Africa. According to environmentalist groups, however, the agreement represented a failure of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to “save” the world from supposedly “dangerous” carbon dioxide emissions.
Meanwhile, as the official “science” continues to crumble amid colder temperatures and lower sea levels, critics of UN global-warming theories warned that the foundation was being laid for a dangerous global regime with dire consequences for everyone on Earth. And some progress toward the goal was made in Durban.
Experts said the emerging scheme — to be finalized in the coming years — aims to produce a world government and reduce living standards worldwide. The proposed regime would stifle economic activity and extract ever more wealth from populations while doing absolutely nothing at all to prevent what are essentially natural climate variations, according to critics and scientists.
After running over their scheduled time by more than 36 hours, exhausted “negotiators” representing more than 190 regimes — mostly dictatorships — agreed to work out an enforceable treaty by 2015. The global climate regime would enter into force some five years after that.
No members of Congress or President Obama’s cabinet bothered to show up at this year’s United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Attendance at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), meanwhile, was down about 70 percent from the 2009 global-warming conference. And the media said very little about the gathering.
The synergetic bond between former House Speakers Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi extends well beyond the 2008 climate-change commercial that has stirred heated criticism among conservatives, as the GOP presidential hopeful has cosponsored 418 bills in Congress with Pelosi. Such a revelation, particularly when coupled with Gingrich’s Freddie Mac connections, liberal-leaning views on illegal immigration, and support for an individual healthcare mandate, underscore Gingrich's waning support for true conservative principles.