Idle, baby, idle!

Obama seeks a new era of energy exploration in US

So proclaims the AP headline detailing President Obama’s Earth Day visit and comments to the assembled proles in Newton, Iowa today. Before you start mindlessly chanting “Drill, Baby, Drill” and spanking the monkey, read that sentence closely. He was in Iowa. Ethanol Central. Ethanol – consumer of massive subsidies, driver of higher food prices, and of no environmental benefit. The mother of all sustainable energy boondoggles. Quickly consulting the (unfortunately not family-friendly) Barack Obama to Honest English Dictionary, “New era of energy exploration” translates to “a shitload of new spending on windmills, solar panels, and cars nobody will buy at the expense of America’s unalterable current need for fossil fuels and safe, proven technologies like nuclear power.”

Obama sure as hell wasn’t trekking to heart of boondoggle country without his Johnny Appleseed bag of green jobs. Some folks are probably gullible enough to think Obama actually believes his green job nonsense. Instead of the oily pol using it as a vehicle to ram-rod through a gunnysack of liberal pipe dream and folly. Obama can repeat it as many times as he likes, but green jobs are a sucker’s game.

“The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy — it’s a choice between prosperity and decline,” Obama said in his first post-election trip to Iowa, the state that launched him toward the White House. “The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.”

Pure, unadulterated bullshit. The nation that leads the world in cheap, reliable energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. Newton, IA used to be the headquarters for Maytag, the Maytag offices and manufacturing plant employed ~4,000 of the 16,000 residents. Whirlpool bought Maytag and closed the plant. Something about $7/hr less for non-union wages.

But Obama’s promise of preserving natural resources and jump-starting the economy ran smack into the reality of this economically struggling town about 30 miles east of Des Moines. The wind energy plant where he spoke, and received a tour beforehand, is a shadow of what it replaced — a Maytag Corp. appliances plant that built washers, dryers and refrigerators.

It employed some 4,000 in a town of 16,000 residents in jobs that paid about $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

Trinity Structural Towers has roughly 90 people working at the old Maytag site, a number that is expected to grow to about 140. Mark Stiles, a senior vice president at Trinity, which builds the towers that support wind turbines, said workers at his factory make about $17 an hour, plus benefits.There we have 140 of Obama’s green jobs. Making roughly the same average wage as the former Maytag workers. The metaphoric trickle of water that will soon be a flood of new green workers not only taking home a good wage but literally saving the planet. It’s such a great idea it’s got to work. Only someone forgot to tell Spain.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power – – which are charged to consumers in their bills — translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

Spain’s Acerinox SA, the nation’s largest stainless-steel producer, blamed domestic energy costs for deciding to expand in South Africa and the U.S., according to the study.

“Microsoft and Google moved their servers up to the Canadian border because they benefited from cheaper energy there,” said the professor of applied environmental economics.Now we’ll see just how wedded the new administration is to science over belief. Green jobs are a myth and massive subsidies for green energy merely drain the economy and redistribute money to politicians’ pet projects. Why is Obama ignoring the data from Spain? It’s almost like he’s clinging to some deeply held, irrational belief despite factual and contrary evidence.

One clean energy source Obama never mentions is nuclear power. Being such a supposedly brilliant, pragmatic, and inquisitive man, it can be no mistake that Obama doesn’t include nuclear power into his renewable energy equation. The man is a dogmatic radical left wing ideologue who would rather see a nuclear plant plant picketed than constructed. To hell with green jobs, give us nuclear jobs. We need the electricity (and fresh water from co-located desalinization plants) new reactors would provide. We need the jobs:

  • Operation of a U.S. nuclear plant generates 400 to 700 permanent jobs. These jobs pay 36 percent more than average salaries in the local area.
  • Building a new nuclear plant would result in the creation of 1,400 to 1,800 jobs during construction, on average (with peak employment as high as 2,400 jobs at certain times).
  • The average nuclear plant generates total state and local tax revenue of almost $20 million each year.
  • The average nuclear plant generates federal tax payments of roughly $75 million each year.
  • Nuclear power is the lowest cost producer of baseload electricity. Average nuclear production costs have declined more than 30 percent in the last 10 years, to an average of 1.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. This includes the costs of operating and maintaining the plant, purchasing nuclear fuel, and paying for the management of used fuel.
  • Cheap energy that actually nets tax dollars? Meaning on one hand we could follow the folly of Spain pursuing an energy strategy that requires billions in government subsidies while driving up energy costs and driving out energy intensive manufacturing jobs. Call it a nuanced energy policy. Or we could go the knuckle-dragger route and build a couple of hundred time-tested nuclear reactors to safely and cheaply satisfy our growing need for additional energy.

    Think of it this way – would Californians be better off today if they’d allowed a couple of dozen nuclear power/desalinization plants to be built along their coastline instead of giving tax breaks so the smug and wealthy can slap some solar panels on their roofs? Would Spain be better off if they’d spent on nuclear instead of unreliable and expensive green energy? There is no rational argument against a five-fold expansion of America’s nuclear power generation capacity. France gets 70% of their electricity from nuclear, why can’t we?

    Does Obama think the French are better than us? Of course. But I don’t. Let’s show those filthy, pretentious snobs and go 75% nuclear. Nuclear power and desalinization – if there’s one thing we’ll need in a warming world it’s more electricity for air conditioning; while we pump the desalinated water from rising seas inland for irrigation.

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