Thursday, July 10, 2008

McCain's economic advisor to Americans:


In an interview today with the Washington Times, one of McCain's top economic advisors, Phil Gramm (of Enron loophole and mortgage meltdown fame), said that Americans facing hardships due to the (near?) recession we are facing are "nation of whiners." The article goes on, "'We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today,' he said. 'We have benefited greatly' from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years."

For some sectors, that may be true. Unfortunately, a larger portion of our workers are in sectors that have not grown and more often shrunk. You have only to look at Michigan (although the car companies themselves are more to blame than globalization), Pennsylvania and Ohio. You have only to look at our now non-existent textile manufacturing industry, or most other manufacturing industries for that matter.

Gramm's pay as a UBS vice-chairman may have only gone up over the past six years as he got more and more borrower safeguards removed, but the average American's wages have barely kept up with inflation - in many cases they have lagged behind. For the first time in at least 35 years (google finance didn't go back any further) the S&P is on target to be lower at the end of a president's term than it was at the beginning (even during the recessions of the Carter and Reagan administrations it closed higher).

This is the type of person John "I still need to be educated [on economics]" McCain is choosing to do that educating. This is why McCain's solution to the mortgage crisis is "get over it." Advisors like Phil "Enron" Gramm are the reason McCain thinks an eighteen cent tax holiday for a couple months won't just go right into gas company pocketbooks.

When Americans say that the fact they aren't being paid enough to buy the gas necessary to get to work, they deserve more than "You're just whining," or "Get over it," or even "Go buy some more marshmallows." They need someone who will keep not only their needs in mind when negotiating foreign trade agreements, but also the rights of foreign workers and the safety of the environment. They need someone who will fight for FAIR trade agreements, not blind "free" trade agreements.


FranIAm said...

Gramm's a f*cktard. It makes me furious.

Even with Obama's flaws, how anyone could vote for McCain over Obama is a mystery to me.

John J. said...

Fran, I agree. Everyone has flaws, but when it comes to choosing a vote for president, and you have the choice between someone who's flaws will set this country back 4+ years over the next four (as if the current president didn't do enough over the last eight years...) or someone who's flaws will only let us move forward 3 years over that time, it's pretty clear who to vote for.

no_slappz said...

Obama opposes an expansion of oil drilling in the US, and he opposes the re-start and expansion of the nuclear power program.

His views reflect existing law and policy in the US. Thus, if elected, he will preside over gasoline rising to $10 a gallon as daily global consumption continues to rise and he allows roadblocks to restrict the growth of supplies.

His approach to energy is based on a restriction of oil supplies. His approach GUARANTEES higher gasoline prices in the US and higher prices for every product to which there is an oil component -- which includes food.

That's your guy. The clown who wants to punish every American with higher energy prices. What a guy.

John J. said...

Slappz, there is NO way, at all, that we can grow supplies faster than demand. The ONLY way to bring prices back down is to reduce consumption. The country best capable of reducing consumption is the one with 5% of the population but >25% of the energy consumption. There is only one president that has, throughout his career, pushed for comprehensive reforms that would reduce consumption and expand alternative energy programs - Barack Obama.

Under McCain's plan, he wants to increase consumption (by reducing the gas tax), and do nothing else for the next 10-15 years. By the time drilling can begin in ANWR or offshore, we will be facing a global shortfall of 12+ million barrels per day, while these areas are expected, under best case scenarios, to only produce 1.5 - 2 million barrels. It is a waste of time and money (drilling in these areas isn't cheap) to try and drill for more oil when other alternatives are available, if properly funded.

I know you make money hand over fist speculating on oil. Stop spewing your BS here; we aren't buying.

no_slappz said...

john j, why don't you look into the numbers for this project and get a sense of the TRUE cost of wind power?

First US Town Powered Solely by Wind

By Andrea Thompson,
Posted: 2008-07-16 08:11:51
Filed Under: Nation News

(July 15) - Rock Port, Mo., has an unusual crop: wind turbines.

The four turbines that supply electricity to the small town of 1,300 residents make it the first community in the United States to operate solely on wind power.

Missouri's turbines will provide electric service for at least 20 years, the expected lifetime of the wind-to-power devices.

"That's something to be very proud of, especially in a rural area like this — that we're doing our part for the environment," said Jim Crawford, a natural resource engineer at the University of Missouri Extension in Columbia.

A map published by the U.S. Department of Energy indicates that northwest Missouri has the state's highest concentrations of wind resources and contains a number of locations that are potentially suitable for utility-scale wind development. The four turbines that power Rock Port are part of a larger set of 75 turbines across three counties that are used to harvest the power of wind.

"We're farming the wind, which is something that we have up here," Crawford said. "The payback on a per-acre basis is generally quite good when compared to a lot of other crops, and it's as simple as getting a cup of coffee and watching the blades spin."

And the turbines have another benefit besides produces clean energy: MU Extension specialists said that the Missouri wind farms will bring in more than $1.1 million annually in county real estate taxes, to be paid by Wind Capital Group, a wind energy developer based in St. Louis.

"This is a unique situation because in rural areas it is quite uncommon to have this increase in taxation revenues," said Jerry Baker, and MU Extension community development specialist.

Landowners can also benefit by leasing part of their property for wind turbines.

The turbines will also provide savings to rural electric companies and will provide electric service for at least 20 years, the anticipated lifetime of the turbines.

"Anybody who is currently using Rock Port utilities can expect no increase in rates for the next 15 to 20 years," Crawford said.

Baker added that the turbines could also attract tourists to the area.

John J. said...

Where do I sign up? Four turbines are powering 1300 people; utility rates will remain flat for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, I was just notified that my natural gas rates are going up almost 40% and gasoline prices have jumped 30% over the past year.

You are against this why?

no_slappz said...

john j, you are back in your usual mode of jumping to erroneous conclusions.

I never said a word about opposing the wind project. I suggested that you look into the TRUE costs and see for yourself WHY alternatives like wind will never make much difference in the energy picture.

Meanwhile, it's laughable about the claim that rates won't rise.

IF -- IF no new homes are built in the area and the population remains constant, the deal might hold. Maybe. But, as in all areas of energy supply, costs rise. Thus, even if no new homes are built and the population remains steady at 1,300, it's a long shot.

But whatever happens will happen without oil supplying a small amount of local power. That's how it will remain. Towns with tiny population might be able to limit their oil-based power consumption with wind. In a small way. Look into it.

no_slappz said...

john j, the experience of Continental Airlines will be repeated by every industry that relies on oil. Job losses, service reductions and higher prices. Obama promises more of the same -- immediately.

Continental slides to 2Q loss on fuel costs
Thursday July 17, 9:55 am ET
By David Koenig, AP Business Writer

Continental swings to 2nd-quarter loss from year-ago profit on hefty fuel costs

DALLAS (AP) -- Continental Airlines Inc. said Thursday it swung to a second-quarter loss, hurt by record high fuel prices and weakening economic conditions.

For the quarter ended June 30, Houston-based Continental said it lost $3 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a profit of $228 million, or $2.03 per share, a year ago.

Excluding $22 million in one-time gains, the carrier lost $25 million, or 25 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $4.04 billion, helped by increased fuel surcharges and international growth. That matched the average forecast of analysts.

Airlines are burning through cash as they struggle with high prices for fuel, which has eclipsed labor as their biggest cost. Continental said it spent $1.36 billion on fuel during the second quarter, an increase of 66 percent over the same period last year.

Like other airlines, Continental is hedging, making financial transactions to lock in lower prices for fuel. The company said those deals saved $112 million during the second quarter, and it has hedged 63 percent of its fuel needs for the second half of the year.

Still, it paid an average of $3.46 per gallon for fuel, up 66 percent from a year ago.

To cope with higher fuel costs and a weakening economy, the airline is cutting 3,000 jobs -- nearly 7 percent of its work force -- grounding 67 planes and reducing flying in the United States this fall by about 10 percent.

Continental is also raising ticket prices and some fees, including a $25 charge for checking a second piece of luggage.

Revenue per passenger is rising across the board, the company said, a reflection of higher fares, and the airline said third-quarter occupancy on its planes would be flat with a year ago.

Continental shares jumped 38 percent on Wednesday to $9.19, as oil prices fell, a possible sign of easing jet fuel prices.

Still, the stock has fallen more than 80 percent since peaking above $50 early last year.

John J. said...

Wow, more of the same? Immediately?! Amazing how the world can't change immediately. However, under Obama's plan we will have a much better future with lower consumption worldwide because renewable energy sources will have been properly funded for eight years. You would rather have McCain in office who: thinks the recession is all in our head (he said it himself a couple months ago), thinks 1 million barrels a day maximum in 10 years will bring energy prices down now, and doesn't even know what the word cap mean in "cap and trade."

no_slappz said...

john j, here's a few words on wind power. Maybe you will begin to see why it will SUPPLEMENT our oil energy, but not replace it. The article does not mention the cost of the wind turbines or the cost of maintenance and repair. But even though the wind itself is free, the cost of converting wind energy into useful electricity is expensive. In fact, the article mentions nothing about storage batteries that are needed to store electricity for the times when the wind does not blow. As the article states, the new transmission wires to carry the power will cost $5 billion.

Texas approves major new wind power project

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas, headquarters of America's oil industry, is about to stake a fortune on wind power.

In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 BILLION plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines.

no_slappz said...

P.S., now matter how much you dream and no matter how intense your desire, the world's growing population will use more and more oil until the oil is gone.

As I've said, it is AGGREAGATE consumption that will rise. Even though higher energy prices will make us all more efficient users of oil, the growing number of users will increase AGGREGATE consumption -- for the next hundred years.