Tag Archives: Consumption

Is Barack Obama responsible for rising gas prices?

Here’s an article that takes a look at the effects of his energy policies. (H/T Ari)

Excerpt:

With gasoline currently above $3 per gallon nationwide and economists expecting that price to rise even further in 2011, America should be getting serious about producing more of its own resources. But instead of focusing on how to bring more relief to American motorists, President Obama has imposed massive new regulations, restrictions, and even threatened higher taxes on American energy, all of which negatively impact domestic production.

What follows is a list of the five most egregious actions on the part of the Obama administration that have contributed to higher gasoline prices and greater dependence on foreign dictators for our energy…

Here’s the one I thought was the most interesting:

Cancelling existing permits: Immediately after taking office in 2009, President Obama’s handpicked Secretary of the Department of Interior, Ken Salazar, canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah. The fact that this was one of the administration’s first regulatory decisions meant that American energy companies were immediately concerned about their ability to produce oil and gas in the future, injecting a level of uncertainty into the market that moves the country away from job creation and economic recovery. One year later, the administration canceled 61 more leases, this time in Montana, as part of President Obama’s war on global warming.

And here’s the conclusion:

Why has President Obama led the charge to restrict American energy? The answer is elusive, and it’s anyone’s guess what his administration will do (if anything) to fight for lower gasoline prices. But if past statements from him and his administration are any indication, the U.S. could be stuck (absent major legislative and regulatory changes) with prohibitively high gasoline prices: Then-Senator Obama said on the campaign trail in 2008 that he doesn’t object to high oil prices as long as they come about gradually, and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu once famously said he hoped the U.S. would “boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” where prices are currently about $7 per gallon.

Yes, it’s true. People on the left are willing to enact policies that cost consumers more money, reduce the number of jobs for Americans, outsource energy production to other countries, and even pay our enemies to produce energy in ways that are more damaging to the environment than our ways of producing energy. This is the Democrat way. They don’t care about you having cheaper energy prices, they don’t care about creating jobs for Americans, and they don’t care about reducing pollution. If you want to see where this is going, just look at the policies of the socialist Dalton McGuinty in Ontario, Canada.

Why do they do this? Well, people on the secular left are often stuck believing in doomsday predictions about overpopulation and resource exhaustion that were discredited years ago. Having rejected God’s sovereignty over the universe as part of their embrace of moral relativism and rejection of ultimate accountability, they look to big government to reduce the uncertainties and fears of a mindless, random universe.

If no one is in charge, then anything could happen, they think – and they are frightened. Thus, they look to government to coerce people to behave predictably, and also to reduce the total number of people (abortion, DDT bans, purges of dissenters, etc.). And of course fussing about imaginary bogeymen like global warming gives them an inflated sense of self-righteousness and justifies their nanny-state micro-managing of ignorant taxpaying businesses and workers.

These are not good people. These are not competent people.

OAS report details violence and lost freedoms in communist Venezuela

Story from the Washington Post. (H/T Red State)

Excerpt:

THE ORGANIZATION of American States has failed to respond to the steady deterioration of Latin American democracy during the past few years, even though the defense of democracy is supposed to be one of its primary missions. Now the OAS — and governments throughout the region — have been shamed by one of its own branch organizations. Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a searing and authoritative report on the destruction of Venezuela’s political institutions and the erosion of freedom under President Hugo Chávez.

[…]In meticulous detail, the 300-page report documents how Mr. Chávez’s regime has done away with judicial independence, intimidated or eliminated opposition media, stripped elected opposition leaders of their powers, and used bogus criminal charges to silence human rights groups.

[…]Particularly shocking is the commission’s account of the role that violence and murder have played in Mr. Chávez’s concentration of power. The report documents killings of journalists, opposition protesters and farmers; it says that 173 trade union leaders and members were slain between 1997 and 2009 “in the context of trade union violence, with contract killings being the most common method for attacking union leaders.” The report says that in 2008 Venezuela’s human rights ombudsman recorded 134 complaints of arbitrary killings by security forces, 87 allegations of torture and 33 cases of forced disappearance. It also asserts that radical groups allied with Mr. Chávez “are perpetrating acts of violence with the involvement or acquiescence of state agents.”

There has been no accountability for these acts.

Here’s a picture of two socialists, Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez.

Hey, Chavez! Nice job on that torture!

I wonder why Obama and the people who voted for him oppose waterboarding interrogation of mass-murdering terrorists for national security purposes, but sanction actual torture against innocent civilians by Democrat socialist regimes?

But maybe violence isn’t an essential part of the political left’s plan. Neil Simpson has a nice post up about how the socialists can take over the world without using violence. I wonder if they will take him up on that?

Relate posts

Chavez marches Venezuela down the road to serfdom at gunpoint

CNN reports that Chavez has devalued the Venezuelan bolivar.

In the wake of his decision to devalue Venezuela’s currency, President Hugo Chavez on Sunday said he would put the military on the streets to ensure that business owners don’t raise prices.

Speaking on his weekly television program, “Alo Presidente,” Chavez railed against merchants who re-price their items in reaction to Friday’s announcement that the Venezuelan bolivar currency, which had been fixed at 2.15 to the U.S. dollar since 2005, was devalued to 4.3 to the dollar. For food and medicine, Chavez announced a second fixed exchange rate for these “necessity” goods at 2.6 bolivares to the dollar.

“I want the national guard in the streets, with the people, to fight speculation,” Chavez said, calling re-pricing a form of robbery.

[…]He encouraged people to publicly denounce businesses where prices increase and threatened to expropriate businesses that do.

The government would transfer ownership of such businesses to the workers, Chavez said.

Yes, attacking and nationalizing businesses with the Venezuelan army will do a lot to create jobs and increase competition among product and service providers. Surely lower prices and increased quality will result from this consumer-friendly policy. And foreign investors will be rushing to Venezuela to invest so they can take 700 million Euro losses in a split second.

Investors Business Daily explains the result of devaluing a currency.

For starters, it’s a tax. “The government has decided to recognize the massive accumulated inflation in the country and is trying to increase the purchasing power of the (dwindling) dollars it has . .. (by selling) dollars to the private sector at a higher price,” explained Hausmann. “In the short run, this is like a tax on the sale of dollars.”

[…]”The poor have no way to protect themselves from devaluation,” said Johns Hopkins University’s Steve Hanke, who has advised previous Venezuelan leaders about currency. “Their only means are awkward and inefficient.”

Meanwhile, the “tax” on dollars “means a transfer of resources out of the private economy to the government’s coffers,” said Hausmann. “As a consequence, the rest of society will have less income.”

Teachers and doctors, already in short supply among the poor, will likely be hard hit, along with small businesses.

Worse, inflation’s likely to surge, another burden for the poor.

Inflation was already on its way to 30% before Friday’s devaluation. Food, which makes up 80% of what the poor buy, has been hit with a 20% immediate increase in price. This effectively lifts inflation for the poor to a devastating 50%.

Costs for other goods, such as car tires, will rise by 100%. A banker in Caracas tells IBD this will push average inflation to 60% — adding to accumulated inflation of 600% over the past decade, a brutal tax on poor Venezuelans.

The very complexity of the new currency scheme will be a nightmare for the poor, says Hanke.

“More regulations will lead to repression,” he said, citing the weakening freedom to spend money. More controls mean shortages.

I think that people who elect communists like Chavez need to be more careful about listening to honeyed words about the benefits of wealth redistribution. When you attack the rich, they stop hiring workers. And if you attack them enough, they leave your country. Communism causes poverty and famine. It always has, and always will. If you want to know where it ends, look at Cuba and North Korea. That’s where Venezuela is headed.

More on this story from Fausta here and here. ECM sent an article about scheduled blackouts here.

Is Obama any different from Chavez on economic policy?

Here they are shaking hands:

Is there such a thing as a secret handshake for communist dictators? Just asking. Not saying that Chavez or Obama are communist dictators. Just wondering if communist dictators have a secret handshake. A communist dictator handshake conducted by communist dictators to congratulate themselves on how well their ignorance of economics “helps” the poor to starve to death.

Here is the currency graph of the US dollar versus the Canadian dollar. A decline of about 20% in 12 months. (The current exchange rate is 1.03301)

How many Canadian dollars is 1 US dollar worth?
January     1.22664 CAD   (21 days average)
February    1.24684 CAD   (20 days average)
March       1.26275 CAD   (22 days average)
April       1.22697 CAD   (21 days average)
May         1.15311 CAD   (21 days average)
June        1.12458 CAD   (22 days average)
July        1.12350 CAD   (23 days average)
August      1.08796 CAD   (21 days average)
September   1.08182 CAD   (22 days average)
October     1.05427 CAD   (22 days average)
November    1.05978 CAD   (21 days average)
December    1.05366 CAD   (22 days average)

I wonder which one knows the least about economics. Chavez? Obama? Or my keyboard? Hmmmmn.

Here is my previous story about energy rationing in Venezuela.

Communist Venezuela introduces energy rationing in 2010

Story here from Breitbart. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Oil-rich Venezuela ushered in 2010 with new measures rationing electricity use in malls, businesses and billboards, as Hugo Chavez’s government aimed to save power amid a crippling drought.

The new regulations came into effect January 1, with businesses required to comply with reduced consumption limits and authorities warning of forced power cuts and rate hikes if the measures are not followed.

[…]The power crunch is expected to have an impact on a wide variety of businesses, including cinemas, casinos and bingo halls.

Establishments failing to comply with the measures could face outages for a period of 24 hours, and up to 72-hour suspensions “in case of recidivism,” according to the decree.

The regulation also orders businesses to institute savings plans aimed at shedding consumption by at least 20 percent, a measure that will be evaluated monthly by the newly-created ministry of electricity.

Tariff surcharges of up to 20 percent could be imposed on violators.

Rationing is also to apply to lighted advertisements.

[…]In 2009 there were four nationwide blackouts, with daily failures common in several cities.

Communism produces economic decline by encouraging entrepreneurs to flee or to stop producing, since the state views what these producers produce as something to be seized and distributed to buy votes. If no one wants to start any businesses, then there won’t be any jobs for the people. People end up depending on the state for bread, with all that that entails. The left wants equality of life outcome regardless of choices, (except for themselves).

I don’t see any difference between the intelligence and policies of Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama. Hugo is just further along the road to serfdom, in my opinion. Obama just has more capitalism and Judeo-Christian morality to undo. After Obama passes government-controlled rationing of health care, he’ll probably move on to government-controlled rationing of energy. By then, Chavez should be rationing births, housing, food and water.

MUST-READ: The Western Experience debunks the doomsday predictions of the left

I just got an e-mail this week from someone I know who voted for Obama. He was worried about the bogeyman peak oil. Where does the left get all these crazy views? I actually think that atheism causes people on the left to be afraid of the unpredictable future. They imagine insane doomsday scenarios and they become very frightened. They then try to make the world predictable by imposing totalitarianism, to control consumption of scarce resources.

It’s the secular equivalent of “Left Behind” fiction, only they actually believe it. It’s their religion.

But the thing is, it’s all false.

Take a look at this post by Jason over at The Western Experience.

Here’s the summary:

  • Who was Thomas Malthus?
  • What did he predict?
  • Why did his predictions fail?
  • Who was Paul Ehrlich?
  • What did he predict?
  • Why did his predictions fail?
  • Some more insane predictions of the left

You might want to read his short, informative post. (It’s a perfect post) And then remember, this is the worldview of the left. They believe this, right up to Obama’s mad science czar.

Previous stories about Obama’s science czar:

The fact that their predictions are always wrong doesn’t stop them from acting crazily.