Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

coalminer-e1328803782694If you can’t compete, you cheat.  It’s clear the EPA is trying to shaft the coal industry.  Last year the state of WV balanced their budget and had a $140 million surplus. Today 12 months later they have a $90 million deficit. The reason is lost coal tax revenues. A negative swing of $230 million in just one year!

This next year will be much worse, WV will be lucky to survive. Many experts believe the state is the next Detroit because of EPA policies.

What does the EPA do to compete with coal?  They cheat.  The Obama administration poured over a billion dollars into alternative fuel technology’s like solar, which gave us the Solyndra debacle.  We flushed $535M of taxpayer money down the toilet and we are going to blow over a billion on wind power.

Caithness Corp.’s Shepherds Flat was awarded $1.3B from the Obama administration and $30M from the State of Oregon for wind power.  This project is highly suspect.  In a Politico article, it’s stated “Its developers gorged themselves on hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers for 45 jobs, and government officials were well aware it was over-subsidized.”

In the WSJ yesterday, “In announcing the EPA’s new carbon regulations, Administrator Gina McCarthy said that new power plants “can minimize their carbon emissions by taking advantage of modern technologies.” The fact is that the coal-based industry cannot realistically follow these rules without putting itself out of business.”

So the question I have for President Obama and the EPA is, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

If foolish spending and subsidies for energy industries that cannot compete isn’t enough, the EPA will strangle the coal industry with new regulations.  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) vows to fight destructive policies that harm America’s economy.

Senator Manchin, a stout Obama supporter until 2012, slammed President Obama’s proposal to address climate change, which imposes unreasonable restrictions that will have disastrous consequences for not only the coal industry, but also American jobs and the economy.

“The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable.” Senator Manchin said, in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology.

“The fact is clear: our own Energy Department reports that our country will get 37 percent of our energy from coal until 2040. Removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our recovering economy. These policies punish American businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage with our global competitors. And those competitors burn seven-eighths of the world’s coal, and they’re not going to stop using coal any time soon.

“It is only common sense to use all our domestic resources, and that includes our coal. Let’s make sure that government works as our partner, not our adversary, to create a secure and affordable energy future, and let’s invest in technology which will have the ability to burn coal with almost zero emissions.”  

Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections so his views are much harsher since the 2012 election victory. Obama’s stance on coal in 2011 and the difference in 2012 are striking.   The 2 most recent years are the war on coal, of course we had growth from the bottom of the recession till 2011. The debate with the liberals has been, there are more jobs in the coal industry today than there were when Obama took office.  Tree huggers always use the number of jobs created from the depth of the recession and usually concentrate on job growth in 2011.Anybody who states there are more jobs in the coal industry today in spite of Obama’s EPA is truly drinking the Kool Aid.

While the Obama administration is subsidizing green energy with billions to create a few hundreds of jobs, he could help save thousands of high paying jobs in the coal industry.  Again it begs the question, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

 

Obama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

raked-over-coalThe war on coal is in full steam with the latest EPA regulations that went into effect. This Bloomberg story talks about how sneaky the Obama administration is. Here’s a little background.

Because of the carbon tax levied on power plants that burn coal and the over drilling of the Marcellus Shale, natural gas became a cheaper alternative for power plants to create electricity. In February of this year natural gas prices spiked and power plants started to burn coal again because it was cheaper. The Obama administration raised the carbon tax very quietly by 60%, making natural gas with its elevated price once again the cheapest source.

The Bloomberg article details how it was done by slipping it in with some new air conditioning regulations so they wouldn’t take any heat over it. I might remind you Bloomberg is a raging liberal, and even his publication is crying foul. Coal doesn’t have a chance with an administration that simply raises the fine for burning coal every time coal becomes a cheaper solution. It truly is a war on coal. The next war will be on natural gas after they destroy the coal industry.

The human toll is something that’s not being reported anywhere. The average pay in the coal industry is $68,000 per employee. That’s not just miners, that’s secretaries, clerks, etc…  Extremely high paying jobs that are being eliminated 300 – 500 at a time. The last mine to close in WV laid off 504 employees that averaged this pay. When you see the Obama administration tout the jobs they’re creating, those jobs have average pay around $35,000 annually.

That’s one reason our economy is stuck, you need to create two jobs for every one job Obama eliminates. And that would only keep us even. For growth you need 3 jobs at the Obama pay rate to replace one good job in the coal fields. When you live in WV you can easily see the problem with Obama’s so called jobs plan.

Obama claims, repeatedly, ad nauseum, he is trying to save the middle class, while his war on coal is proof, he is busy wiping out the middle class and increasing middle class dependency on big government.

And by the way, most of these people who were making $68,000 a year have high school educations only. Their average age is around 45. Where will they find similar jobs? There aren’t any coal mines in cities the size of Tampa. These people live in rural areas of KY and West Virginia mostly. Why don’t they move you ask? How will they sell their homes? 500 of the richest people in a coal mining community of 5000 lose their job on the same day and put their houses on the market. With that glut of homes how could they get a fair price even if the could find a buyer?

Who would hire a 50 year old with a high school education with only mining on his resume? Couldn’t they retire you ask? Many of the coal companies laid them off because they’re filing bankruptcy. Even those who were retired from a coal company had a federal judge uphold the coal company could cut their pensions by 70% and end their health care. In short, THESE PEOPLE ARE SCREWED!

A statement from the West Virginia Coal Mining Association, “The Administration’s “War on Coal” has been waged with a barrage of ill-conceived administrative actions, litigation and regulatory actions such as EPA’s Spruce mine retroactive veto, the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s totally unnecessary efforts to rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s ill-conceived and scientifically baseless regulatory changes and EPA’s regulatory “train wreck.” The “War on Coal” is not rhetoric. It is real, and it is killing us.”

And finally the irony of it all. Without exception most of these miners are Democrats and supported Obama in the 2008 election. Even after he turned on them, the UMWA labor union still supported him lock, stock and barrel in the 2012 election. Romney came to WV and held a rally and told the miners, if he were elected he’d restructure the EPA and have them back to work in 100 days. They still supported Obama. There is a saying about folks like that. If God didn’t want them shorn, he wouldn’t have made them sheep. Obama was very blunt in 2007 when he said, you can build a power plant that burns coal but we’ll bankrupt you. For once, he is a man of his word.

NOTE: Nearly 300 coal-fired power units nationwide have closed or will be retired this year. Other plants have switched to natural gas. A total of eighteen (18) coal-fired units in West Virginia have announced their plans to close.  It is estimated that each unit accounts for approximately 100 full-time positions, thus the total number of jobs impacted in West Virginia by these closures is approximately 1,800 additional jobs.  Across the Appalachian region, the damage is even worse, with approximately 10,000 direct mining jobs lost and another 40,000 indirect jobs lost.  The net effect is the removal of $719 million from West Virginia’s economy and a $2.05 billion loss from the region.  These are real dollars that have been lost, impacting every family and business in their area.

Small Businesses in Florida Are HIT by Another Tax

Who's affected?

Who’s affected?

Fellow Floridians.  Here’s some info on the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and how it will affect “taxpayers.”   When I say taxpayers, I mean middle income people, earning a decent wage, including small businesses, to boot.  

Someone has to pay for Obamacare, the future king of entitlements.  Big business and insurers aren’t going to suffer.  They’re going to pass through.  Any tax burden is going to be on to us, the consumer.  So who’s going to pay for Obamacare?  One way or another, there’s going to getcha….getcha, getcha, getcha… I feel a song coming on!

How does the impact of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) as part of the Affordable Care Act, affect small businesses and consumers?  HIT will be applied to almost all health insurance policies in Florida beginning in January 2014.

According to the NFIB, a  provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a premium tax on all health insurance policies beginning in 2014 called the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT Tax.  This tax will exceed $130 billion nationally in assessments in the first 10 years. It is collected by health insurance companies, but paid entirely by consumers in the fully insured marketplace, where nearly all small-business owners, employees and their families purchase their coverage. This will result in higher insurance costs for nearly all Floridians.

The tax rate is not yet set for 2014 – it is expected to be announced by HHS on or near October 1st. It will be adjusted annually to meet a specific revenue schedule.  Experts predict the actual tax rate will be between 2% and 2.5% of the premium. NFIB estimates that the HIT Tax will collect $114-157 million in Florida in 2014.

This HIT Tax is in addition to the tax that the state of Florida already assesses on health insurance premiums, the state premium tax, which is set at of 1.75% and has been in place in Florida for decades.

The HIT Tax will impact all health insurance policies, except large group self-insured policies.  The HIT Tax will also be levied on Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Care policies.  It is a 100% pass through from insurers to consumers.  Most group health insurance premiums in Florida are paid by both the employer and the employee.

This tax will hit both families and small businesses directly.

Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part II

Laptops are doomed

Laptops are doomed

As I stated in Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part I, when I began researching “rock my world” innovations and how it affects us and our workplace, the hardest part for me is I couldn’t stop. It’s because in the course of studying innovation, much that you read and hear about today is already old news.

I found some rock my world innovations but more often than not, I found new stuff we can live with.  Stuff here today, possibly gone tomorrow…

I’m a big fan of the future and enjoy learning all I can about new innovations.  In studying innovation in my work I quickly discovered you can erase the past and create the future as quickly as you can erase chalk from a chalkboard.

One of my favorite recitations is that as a CEO in the technology business, we as a company must constantly reinvent ourselves.  We need new technology to keep up with the existing technology and the tsunami of information we have to deal with every day.

We live in a world of plentiful accurate data, and massive storage capacity and processing power.   So anything’s possible. here is Part II.

Game changers include Tablets.  So laptops are doomed.  In the next five years, tablets will displace notebook-style computers to become the dominant personal computing platform.  And the transition from laptop to tablet has already begun. Tablets are expected to outsell laptops in 2016 as tablet shipments increase by 5x from 80+ million in 2011 to 425 million by 2017.  A third of those sales will be directly to businesses, as tablets become standard tools for executives, sales staff and other information workers.

Another driving force, China and other emerging markets will drive tablet growth because they aren’t already saturated with laptops and smartphones. Emerging markets will account for 40% of tablets sold by 2016.

Here’s a great example of how technology can supplement and even trump government run programs who receive taxpayer dollars and quite honestly many of the non-profits too, who receive charitable contributions and government funding.  More money could be invested in entrepreneurial endeavours, in promising, proven and economical technology, and less in politically motivated boondoggles, like the Solyndra scandal.

Tablets are killing laptops

Tablets are killing laptops

Here’s an account from  Jim Nuttall, East Lansing, MI on how apps on mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones can help the handicapped improve their quality of life, and become more productive.

I am legally blind and have an iPhone. This is what an iPhone does for me and how it affects our economy.

– iPhone reads books to me — no more human readers required
– Internet books for blind — no more library
– Internet radio — no more standard radio
– iTunes Music Store — no more physical music store
– App Store — no mall software store
– Kindle — no more book store-
– GPS — no more maps or dedicated GPS
– Internet news — no newspapers
– Google — no more yellow pages
– Internet weather — no TV weather man
– Cell phone — no more landline company
– Camera — no separate photo or Video camera
 

I love my Kindle app on the iPad and access to social media sites is easy and easy to provide updates.  I can’t imaging the need for a separate digital camera or GPS.  I won’t give up my Garmin Edge on my bike or my Go Pro cam on my next great adventure.

I still have a PC (laptop) and I prefer my laptop when I am sitting at my desk reviewing volumes of information which requires editing, using spreadsheets and even blogging, but there is certainly a great deal of evidence mounting that we can and will readily adapt to new technology and innovations as they present themselves.

See Part III and the next great game changer.

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