Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Killing Jobs in the Name of Saving the Planet

During the State of the Union address to Congress this year, President Joe Biden delivered an astoundingly Orwellian endorsement of socialism, clothed as its anti-matter counterpart.

“I’m a capitalist, but capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism,” the president declared. “It’s exploitation, and it drives up prices. When corporations don’t have to compete, their profits go up, your prices go up, and small businesses and family farmers and ranchers go under.”

Besides dubiously blaming today’s 40-year-high inflation on corporate greed (greed that, presumably, was inexplicably dormant during decades of inflation that was a fraction of today’s), Biden’s remarks shamelessly suggest that his administration’s heavy imposition of new and revived regulations fosters competition when the real mission is to level unprecedented burdens and governmental control upon businesses of all sizes.

“I’m a capitalist” belongs alongside “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

Promising to reduce average global temperatures by a degree or two is the most fashionable excuse in America today for the state battering companies, even though Russia and China have no intention of joining in the climate crusade at the expense of their expansionist objectives, and India and other developing nations aren’t going to abandon the ongoing industrialization their people yearn for in exchange for being congratulated by international bodies for going green.

Socialists who aren’t hiding their true identity propose basically a quick and merciful death for the private sector, like now-ousted British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arguing that wasteful “fragmentation” warrants re-nationalizing privatized railroads. Or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders proposing a 95 percent tax on companies that are more successful than he likes. But while Biden suggests he’s enabling enhanced competition, his Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, Gary Gensler, finds new forms of slow torture for this country’s employers. Gensler was heavily involved in writing one of the most onerous pieces of regulatory legislation ever—2002’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which costs Fortune 500 firms millions of dollars each annually on average, and has been a powerful disincentive to firms setting themselves up as publicly traded or retaining that status.

The SEC’s most prominent policy under Gensler is requiring issuers of stocks and bonds to assess and report the risks climate change poses to their investors. As Heritage Foundation senior fellow David Burton pointed out in a letter to Gensler, “Requiring all public companies to develop climate modeling expertise, the ability to make macroeconomic projections based on these models and then make firm-specific economic assessments based on these climate and economic models will be expensive, imposing costs that will amount to billions of dollars on issuers. These expenses would harm investors by reducing shareholder returns.”

Burton also points to the irony that discouraging companies from being or going public gives fat cats more wealth and the average Joe less because it “would deny to ordinary (unaccredited) investors the opportunity to invest in dynamic, high-growth, profitable companies until most of the money has already been made by affluent accredited investors” and “would further impede entrepreneurial access to public capital markets.”

According to former SEC chief economist James Overdahl, the “massive scope and prescriptive particularity” of the regulations, “centering around the inherent complexity in collecting required data and completing the calculations and analysis necessary to make the proposed disclosures” make it “difficult to recall any other instance in which the SEC has mandated disclosures where there are so many significant uncertainties, data limitations and practical difficulties in developing the required information.”

Obviously, lawsuits would become legion, as publicly traded firms are endlessly accused of failing to report climate impact to the full satisfaction of environmentalists. But companies not to be found on the stock exchange, who think themselves safe in their private status, will actually also be subject to heavy new costs, because public companies’ private partners and contractors will be required by the SEC to report their emissions, outside firms having to be turned to for certification.

In a media conference call on Thursday, U.S. Chamber Executive VP Tom Quaadman pointed out that according to the SEC itself, the climate disclosure rule in its current form “would be at least three times the implementation costs of Sarbanes-Oxley, which was the most expensive disclosure regime that we’ve gone through over the last generation,” requiring “almost 16 to 18 years to finalize all of the different Sarbanes-Oxley rules.”

Quaadman added that after “many, many meetings” with companies that are U.S. Chamber members, they told the Chamber of “implementation costs in the millions or tens of millions of dollars” for each firm—many times the SEC’s estimates.


MMT + ESG = Inflation

As Americans continue to suffer from intransigent—not transitory—inflation, many theories have been floated concerning the roots of the 8.6 percent inflationary rate that is absolutely devastating the lower- and middle-classes.

According to the Biden administration, blame for the worst rate of inflation in more than four decades lies with “Big Oil,” “Big Meat,” “Big Shipping,” and, of course, Vladimir Putin.

However, the American people are not buying Biden’s excuses for the runaway inflation they are enduring under his watch. In fact, most Americans pin the blame for out-of-control inflation on Biden and his misguided policies.

Fortunately, it seems as if the American people are quite a bit smarter than the Biden administration believes they are. Because when the rubber meets the road, there are two primary factors driving the awful inflation that is poisoning the U.S. economy.

Those factors are called modern monetary theory (MMT) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, which have both been fully embraced by the Biden administration.

In short, MMT posits that “a government can merge fiscal and monetary policy and simply print currency to pay for its expenditures indefinitely without economic costs or constraints,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

In other words, MMT advocates, which include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, believe the U.S. government can print enormous sums of money to cover profligate government spending with no consequences. Apparently, these people do not grasp the basic economic concept that when the government spends and prints huge sums of money, the value of existing dollars plummets.

As Milton Friedmann famously put it, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

In less than two years, Biden has gone all-in on MMT. From his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to his $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” plan, Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress have unleashed the federal spending spigot like never before. And, remember, Biden and Congress pleaded for another $5 trillion spending bonanza via the Build Back Better bill, which was thankfully stopped in its tracks by two brave Democratic senators.

Indeed, since taking office, the Biden administration has overseen the largest expansion in the U.S. money supply ever. In 18 months, the U.S. M2 money supply has grown by $6 trillion. To put into context, when Biden was inaugurated, the M2 money supply was $15.4 trillion. Today, it stands at $21.7 trillion.

Make no mistake, Biden’s MMT policies are promoting inflation based on the simple fact that printing trillions of dollars in a short span of time debases the currency, making each dollar less valuable.

While rampant money printing is arguably the primary force behind America’s roaring inflation, one should not overlook Biden’s war on U.S. energy production via his administration’s support of ESG investing.

In a nutshell, ESG investing is the epitome of crony capitalism because it empowers government and large financial institutions to collude in seeking preferred political and economic outcomes.

At the heart of ESG investing is the so-called “environmental” outcomes its overlords pursue, which conveniently rewards green energy projects while punishing fossil fuel producers by restricting access to capital.

In other words, ESG investing seeks to destroy the affordable and reliable fossil fuel industry through attrition warfare while flooding money into renewable energy sources that are more expensive and less reliable.

As Will Hares, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, succinctly said, “Oil companies are finding it increasingly difficult to raise financing amid rising ESG and sustainability concerns, while banks are under pressure from their own investors to reduce or eliminate fossil-fuel financing.”

By arbitrarily reducing their access to capital, oil and gas companies are less able to engage in research and development, which means they produce less oil and gas. No wonder the United States is extracting less oil and gas than it did before the pandemic. And, no wonder the cost of energy, especially gasoline and diesel fuels, is skyrocketing at an absolutely dizzying rate.

Without a doubt, the rise in energy prices, due to ESG investing and Biden’s other anti-fossil fuel policies, is exacerbating inflationary measures and reducing Americans’ standard of living.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Because our present bout of inflation is mostly due to MMT and ESG, we know it can be reversed.

Yes, it will not be easy and there will be more pain to come.

But, we have been in this boat before. In the late 1970s, the U.S. economy suffered through a similar inflationary period. Although the circumstances were not the same, similar principles were at play.

By the early 1980s, the inflationary dragon had been slayed via common sense economic policies of sound money, tax cuts, and regulatory reforms that spurred a two-decade economic boom.

We did it then. We can do it again. All we have to do is renounce those who are pushing the modern-day economic snake oil known as MMT and ESG investing.


Climate Czar John Kerry: 'We Absolutely Don't' Need Increased American Fossil Fuel Production

The panderer continues his pandering. It's all he knows

Talk about out of touch. President Joe Biden’s climate czar John Kerry openly rejected calls to increase American fossil fuel production last week, calling the arguments in favor of energy independence a “false narrative.”

The failed 2004 presidential candidate said Americans don’t need increased drilling and natural gas production as prices at the pump hit record highs.

Kerry was speaking at an event at the University of Southern California’s Center of Public Diplomacy on Friday, according to Fox News.

“Energy security worry is driving a lot of the thoughts now about, ‘Oh, we need more drilling. … We need to go back to coal.’

“No, we don’t. We absolutely don’t. And we have to prevent a false narrative from entering into this or, again, pun intended, we are cooked,” he said.

A lack of domestic energy production is the single largest factor in the exorbitant gas prices American commuters are paying under Biden.

Kerry’s claims contrast with the latest rhetoric from Biden himself. The president blasted energy companies for not refining enough crude oil in a Wednesday letter.

While Kerry wants to stop the flow of affordable energy to middle-class Americans, he’s not willing to rule out using such fuel himself.

In fact, Kerry’s energy usage is enough to dwarf anything that the average American could imagine.

As Biden’s special envoy for climate, Kerry flew in a private jet at least 16 times in 2021 alone. Some of his private jet trips included getaways to the luxury vacation venue of Martha’s Vineyard.

The former secretary of state has claimed that flying in a personal aircraft is the “only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”

Evidently, Kerry’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard was his version of Gettysburg in the war against climate change.

As always with the limousine liberals of Silicon Valley and the Hamptons, it’s the “other people” who are creating pollution and need to change their standard of living.

Somebody needs to “transition” this guy out of his private jet and onto a crowded and uncomfortable city bus.


How Australia's biggest state is spending $633MILLION on electric cars when fewer than one per cent of Aussies own one

Australia's most populated state is spending more than $630million on its electric car strategy even though just 0.6 per cent of Aussies own one, NSW budget figures reveal.

State Treasurer Matt Kean - known for climate change campaigning - announced on Tuesday that his government will spend an extra $38million on its electric car strategy, taking total investment to more than half a billion dollars.

The cash will be spent on rolling out more charging points in streets, apartment buildings and designated charging stations.

Australia lags the rest of the world when it comes to the take-up of electric vehicles, which account for less than one per cent of the million new cars sold every year. Across Australia, fully electric vehicles have a minuscule 0.6 per cent market share.

The NSW government wants to drive that figure to more than 50 per cent by 2030-31 under its Electric Vehicle Strategy.

Critics say the policies only help the rich because electric cars - which start at $44,000 - are too expensive for average income earners.

But supporters insist investment needs to be made now in preparation for when electric cars are cheaper and more popular.

Software billionaire and clean energy investor Mike Cannon-Brookes is among those who support electric car take-up.

Earlier this month he shared his surprise that the Moss Services Club in the southern highlands had a charging point.

'Kudos to the Moss Vale Services Club for having an @NRMA double EV charger in the car park,' he wrote.

'Charging my car while getting a schnitzel at the RSL with the kids felt like a new future for Australia… one that was nicely connected with our past.'

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said rolling out more charges will 'allow more EV drivers to benefit from their cheaper running costs and a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable road network.'

He added: 'You'll never be far from a charger on our major highways, in regional destinations, apartment buildings and on kerbsides in metropolitan areas with limited off-street parking.'

The NSW government's strategy involves offering stamp duty exemptions for new and used electric vehicles worth up to $78,000.

Buyers are also spared paying up to $3,000 in charges that buyers of petrol and diesel cars still have to pay.

With a stamp duty exemption of $2,537.50 and that $3,000 rebate, they are getting back up to $5,540 from the taxpayers.

One Nation's NSW leader Mark Latham noted there was a a larger uptake for the subsidy in wealthier areas of Sydney's north shore and north-west.

'This shows how delusional NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has become in thinking he can save the planet with schemes like this,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Even from these early numbers, the inequity of the scheme is clear.

'This was always going to be a cross-subsidy from the poorer parts of NSW to the wealthier suburbs.'

As more people use electric cars, less fuel will be bought and governments will lose fuel duty revenue.

To make up for this the NSW government will introduce a road user charge of 2.5 cents per km (indexed to CPI) to electric cars from 1 July 2027 or when EVs make up 30 per cent of all new vehicle sales, whichever comes first.




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