Words matter, ideas rule and Kotkin fingers the new power class

Here’s an excerpt:

Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are far from “the workers of the world,” but closer to modern-day robber barons. Through their own ingenuity, access to capital and often oligopolistic hold on lucrative markets, they have enjoyed one of the greatest accumulations of wealth in recent economic history, even amidst generally declining earnings, rising poverty and inequality among their fellow Americans.

Click here to read the article

CA Renewable Energy Electricity Strategy is Crony Capitalism on Steroids–Taxpayers and poor made poorer, more dependent on Govt Aid

It’s a win-win for Big Govt and Crony Capitalists, a big loss for affordable clean energy, accountability, a healthy free market economy, free people.

This L.A. Times story tells a lot:

Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants
THE SOLAR DESERT
A new breed of prospectors — banks, insurers, utility companies — are receiving billions in subsidies while taxpayer and ratepayers are paying most of the costs. Critics say it’s a rip-off.
September 20, 2012|By Evan Halper, Ralph Vartabedian and Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times

Who are the Cronies?

“Banks, insurers and utility companies have jumped in, taking advantage of complex state and federal tax incentives to reap outsized returns. Among the solar prospectors in the Mojave are investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., General Electric, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and technology giant Google Inc.”

What are the costs and who pays no matter what the outcome?

“Stanford University economist Frank Wolak, an expert in the California electricity market, said the state’s renewable energy strategy could boost electricity rates 10% to 20%, depending on a number of factors. Potentially, consumers’ bills could go up by 50%.”

“The low-interest, government-guaranteed loans — more than $16 billion for renewable energy projects so far — pay up to 80% of a project’s construction costs.

“If this were a modern-day fairy tale — and in many respects it is — solar developers would be saying, ‘Mirror, mirror on the ground, look at all the money I found!’ ” said one county official, who did not want to be identified because of pending negotiations with a solar developer.”

“Even renewable-energy advocates, such as the Bay Area-based Climate Policy Initiative, acknowledge that the nation’s first forays into utility-scale solar plants will be expensive.

The group estimates that 43 cents of every dollar of energy produced by the Ivanpah facility will be paid for by taxpayers.”

Hey regular Joe, you think Public Utility Commission is your friend, looking out for you first?  Ha!

The state Division of Ratepayer Advocates, whose purpose is to represent consumers, concluded in a report last year that the power contracts the PUC has been approving have put consumers on the hook for $6 billion in excess costs.

“What the commission’s practice has been is not to consider the cost of renewable power but to approve every renewable project that came before them,” said Joe Como, acting director of the division. “We really spent too much money. It’s frustrating as hell.”

Read the complete piece here.

Not the Mortgage Crisis, Not the Economy, but Foolishness! Greenhut calls it, in “Bankrupt cities suffer for officials’ foolishness”

“California’s exclusively Democratic leaders not only are unwilling to rein in the costs of benefits for their patrons, the public-sector unions, they have been erecting roadblocks in the paths of localities that want to fix the problem on their own. Yet all the political hurdles in the world cannot fix the basic problem of insolvency.”

Click to read the article at OC Reg, July 22, 2012

No matter how much it hurts, how many more jobs it kills, how less competitive it makes CA businesses, clean energy now, outrageous costs be damned.

The problem is that the state’s target for renewable energy generation is far ahead of the market for such energy. In fact, private R&D funding for renewable energy is $1 billion less than it was 10 years ago, according to the state energy commission.

That’s because, for all the promise of renewable energy, the price of electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources remains higher than the price of electricity generated by natural gas and nuclear power, which, between them, continue to generate 70 percent of the Golden State’s electricity.

That’s why lawmakers have mandated an artificial share of the state’s electricity market to renewable energy. That also is why the state government continues to directly and indirectly subsidize renewable energy.

Click to read more, at  State promotes renewable energy at all costs | CalWatchDog

Robert Higgs Refutes Paul Krugman, & Primary Election Day in CA on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, June 5, on Gadfly Radio, Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review, joins Martha Montelongo, CalWatchDog‘s managing editor, John Seiler, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

To spend, tax and regulate, more, to get us out of our economic depression.  That’s what Celebrity  Economist, Paul Krugman calls for.   He ignores the growth, power and corruption of Big Govt and the effect of war economics, and the erosion of liberty, and the devastation on  the small business private sector.

A debate rages across the Atlantic, and here, in the U.S.

Greece already hit breaking point and the news today, as I write,  is people are resorting to barter, to manage in the economic crisis that resulted from the bloated, wasteful unproductive public sector and massive borrowing on public works.

Spain is in even worse shape only the breaking point has yet to hit.  The unemployment for young adults 25 and under is well over 51 percent in Spain.

England is also in severe economic crisis, the current government has recently implemented what they call severe austerity measures, but the situation has only worsened.

In the U.S., several states, with California leading, neck and neck with Illinois, are routinely compared to Greece.

Political and, I must not forget, Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Paul Krugman ( I force myself to omit the quotation marks, for Hayek, too, won a Nobel Price for Economics), has been getting a lot of press of late, in the U.S. but also, abroad, in Europe.

He is and has been promoting his book, End this Depression Now!

He calls for policy that includes much more Government spending, and a deliberate allowance of “some” inflation, to occur.

Krugman mocks those who compare a country’s debt crisis with that of a family that has spent itself into bankruptcy, and would reduce spending to get out of debt.

He dismisses those who call for a return to a gold standard as fool hardy.

And he points to Sweden and Austria, with  government work forces that make up over 50 percent of the economy,  as  models we should follow.  He asserts, these big-government nations  are better off, and are weathering  the storm well, compared to Great Britain, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the U.S.
This why I loved Ralph Benko’s recent piece,  Unemployment Reality To Paul Krugman: “I Refute It Thus.”

The title alone made me laugh.  A shared sentiment, so cleverly expressed!   I experienced wonderful delight.   But also, I loved the quote:

“After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — ‘I refute it thus.” — Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson

 

I refute what Krugman is advocating, but I would like to have Higgs, please explain, in short pithy words with brevity, and clarity.

So much hangs in the balance.

Robert Higgs is the Author of many important works, including “Crisis and Leviathan,” Depression, War, and Cold War, and new, just out in May, in both Hardcover and Paperback,  Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy

I received a hardcover copy of  Krugman’s book as a gift, by a concerned and loving friend, and then I bought it as a Kindle version, and then also, as an audio file.    I  want to see Robert Higgs’ books I mentioned above, available in digital, and  audio.

I listened to an audio of his Higgs’s  interview with Tom Woods, and Nick Gillespie and of  presentations he has made on Depression, War and Cold War and Leviathan and I want to hear and learn more.  I hope he sells many books.  His message is profound.

Click here for a collection of articles and videos on Robert Higgs, defying Paul Krugman’s ideas, and Higgs, on Big Government, TARP,   and the impact of war on the economy and small businesses.    This is a a great collection!

Higgs is compelling. He communicates with a deep compassion for and faith in humanity.  We’ll talk with him about Krugman’s assertions in End This Depression Now!

More Related Links:
Krugman: More Economic Destruction Needed To Revive Economy | The Daily Capitalist  (A Refute!)

Paul Krugman, European celebrity – Paul Krugman – Salon.com  (I think “celebrity” is not intended as ironic.)

Krugman in his own words:
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Mean Anything He’s Saying: The New York Times columnist talks about Romney, the European austerity trap, and why stimulus isn’t a dirty word
By Tierney Sneed | – US News and World Report  ( This is a  point by point case on Krugman’s  arguments for more, bigger spending and regulating to save us, in 900 words ).

 

 

Jim Manzi discusses “Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society”; Plus: American Dream Goin’ South and California’s Proposed Cigarette Tax, This Week on Gadfly Radio

Join us live Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on CRNtalk.com, CRN1, for another spirited edition of Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog.

Martha Montelongo could not stay away from the microphone for long, so she’s returning from her road trip a week early!

In the first half of the program, we’ll talk to Jim Manzi, author of the new book, Uncontrolled:  The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society. Manzi, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the founder and chairman of Applied Productive Technologies, argues ”we have much less formal knowledge about society than economists and other social scientists often claim, and that therefore we need to rely predominantly on practical expertise, federalism and trial-and-error learning to make useful progress.” It’s a fascinating book, and should make for a fascinating discussion.

Then, John Seiler, Ben Boychuk and Martha Montelongo will discuss some of the latest developments in California, including the pitch battle over Proposition 29, the “Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act.” If approved, Prop. 29 would raise the cigarette tax by $1, with the money ostensibly earmarked for cancer research.

Prop. 29′s backers are trying to portray the measure’s opponents—which do, in fact, include tobacco companies—as objectively “pro-cancer.”  L.A. Times columnist George Skelton flatly asserts that Prop. 29 will save countless lives, and that opponents of the tax increase are simply lying to protect Big Tobacco. And in a column at California Progress Report headlined “The Friends of Lung Cancer,” former Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Peter Schrag writes:

There are lots of good reasons to support Proposition 29, the tobacco tax initiative on the June 5 ballot, not least those named Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. Together, the two tobacco giants have so far kicked in about $40 million to the sleazy campaign to defeat it. If you count the nearly $700,000 that the Republican Party contributed to their cause you have yet another reason.

Incredibly, Schrag comes out in qualified opposition to Prop. 29, saying, “Anything that big tobacco is against – or big pharma or big oil – is usually good enough to be for. But let’s save it for a more worthy purpose next time around. There’s a long list of underfunded programs that can badly use the money.” Well, alrighty then!

The problem with Prop. 29—well, one of them, anyway—is that it would create yet another new agency with an unreliable revenue stream in a state beset with a multi-billion dollar deficit. Remember Prop. 71? That was a 2004 bond measure that set up a mostly unaccountable new agency responsible for spending billions on stem-cell research. The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is now in danger of running out of money.

And as CalWatchDog’s Katy Grimes noted last month, Prop. 29′s backers have plenty to gain if the measure passes: “Don Perata, a former state legislator, has been using the June ballot measure’s election fund as his own personal checkbook. Perata has paid nearly $40,000 to an Oakland City Councilman in order to win a contract for one of his lobbying clients, the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times reported.” Grimes also reports that Prop. 29 includes “a clause prohibiting any changes in the spending decision that its politically appointed commission makes, for a full 15 years.”

What’s more, the measure, “is written in a way to exempt the CEO from normal state salary requirements, and why that CEO can hire whomever he wants, at whatever salary he chooses.”

How bad is California’s economy? People are voluntarily returning to Mexico. John Seiler at CalWatchDog lays out the numbers in ”American Dream Goin’ South,” which highlights the reverse migration of Mexicans from California. John writes:

Although the official California unemployment rate is 10.9 percent, the real level — including those working part time who want to work more and those who have given up looking for work — is 25 percent, just as during the 1930s, as I have reported.

A difference this time from the 1930s is that Mexico’s economy is not also in a slump, but is a hot tamale:

“First-quarter growth was 4.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2010, prompting several analysts to upgrade 2012 growth forecasts.”

Other items of note: 

  • “California’s salary setting commission is bracing next week to consider a 5 percent pay cut for legislators and other statewide officeholders, in keeping with a similar cut proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown for state workers,” reports Jim Sanders at the Sacramento Bee.
  • Executives at California State University campuses would be prohibited from getting public pay increases during the next two years and then limited to 10% raises during the next four years under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate,” according to the Los Angeles Times. CalWatchDog’s John Hrabe has been on the cutting edge of reporting on the Cal State executive compensation scandal. Read his latest report here.
  • During last week’s episode, Ben and John discussed California’s exploding budget deficit, including the state’s high hopes for billions in new revenue from the Facebook IPO. City Journal contributing editor Joel Kotkin argues at The Daily Beast that Facebook won’t save the Golden State. Meantime, Facebook shares on Monday closed near $34 on the second day of trading—or about $4 below the stock’s initial offering price. Yikes.

Government is not the answer! How does Govt make life worse? Steven Greenhut spells it out!

Entrepreneurs take risks. They often fail, but they sometimes make great strides forward. Government employees, on the other hand, go to jobs where they cannot be fired except in the most extreme circumstances. They regulate us and provide “services” few of us want. They retire at young ages with pensions that make them the envy of their neighbors. They consume an ever-larger share of the money earned by those who take risks and create growth. Then their unions lobby for more government. And unfortunately, writes Steven Greenhut, our fellow citizens willingly vote for the politicians who perpetuate this system. Read the rest at Reason.com here

The Best Cities For Jobs – by Joel Kotkin, Forbes

By Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

Throughout the brutal recession, one metropolitan area floated serenely above the carnage: Washington, D.C. Buoyed by government spending, the local economy expanded 17% from 2007 to 2012. But for the first time in four years, the capital region has fallen out of the top 15 big cities in our annual survey of the best places for jobs, dropping to 16th place from fifth last year.

Another group of big cities that may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel are some of the metro areas hit hardest by the bursting of the housing bubble. Miami, Fla., which ranks 21st among the 65 largest metros, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (33rd), Phoenix (45th), Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (50th), and even Las Vegas (56th) began to show some signs of new life this past year.

So amidst all the good news, which big cities are still doing badly, or even relatively worse? Sadly, many of the places still declining are located in our home state of California, including Los Angeles (59th place among the biggest metro areas), Sacramento (60th), and, and just across the Bay from Silicon Valley, Oakland (63rd). Only the old, and to date still not recovering, industrial towns of Providence, R.I. (64th), and Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (dead last at No. 65), did worse. And the glad tidings in manufacturing have not touched all the Rust Belt cities: Camden, N.J. (57th), Newark, N.J. (58th), Cleveland, Ohio (61st), and Detroit (62nd) still feature prominently near the bottom.

Click here to read  The Best Cities For Jobs – Forbes