Hurricane Alley… by J. D. Longstreet

Taxes By The Mile in North Carolina?

Taxes By The Mile?

By J. D. Longstreet

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Here in North Carolina, something called the 21st Century Transportation Committee is recommending the state adopt a “taxes by the mile” plan.  As I understand the proposal, the state would carefully record the miles each Tar Heel Driver drives, over the preceding twelve months, and the vehicle owner would be charged the appropriate amount in taxes for each mile the driven. As North Carolinians take their cars in each year for the mandated annual state inspection (which by itself is a gigantic tax scheme!)  the mileage on the odometer is recorded. This will be the source of the mileage figures used to tax NC drivers. Transportation experts say that later the state could switch to GPS tracking of NC Drivers.

 

You can read the piece by Steve Harrison at the Charlotte Observer’s site by

clicking here.

 

So.  Why the taxes by the mile?  Well, you see, it’s like this:  Tar Heel drivers, being the frugal people that we are, understood, when gasoline prices went sky high, that if we reduced our driving, we would spend less on gasoline.  Makes sense, what?  Of course, it does.  But, you see, NC has one of the highest state taxes on gasoline in the United States and the state has been losing it’s proverbial behind ever since Tar Heel drivers parked their cars and trucks.

 

So what to do?  Hot dang! Raise taxes! But the state needed a new scheme to do it, because NC drivers learned, while those cars and trucks were parked, that they really didn’t NEED to drive as much. Now that gas prices are substantially lower, we still have the family jalopy parked.  My truck is driven a couple of times a week.  The family sedan now gets the yeoman’s job the truck used to perform because it gets better gas mileage.   And the sedan is not on the road nearly as much as before the rise in gas prices. Hey, just because we speak slowly in NC, doesn’t mean we think slowly.

 

Enter the proposed “Road Use Tax.”

 

Now, as if the Road Use Tax isn’t insult enough, the 21st Century Transportation Committee proposes charging NC drivers a quarter cent a mile for every mile driven each year… with the first 2000 miles a year free.  How generous, don’t you think? 

 

As I noted above NC has one of the highest motor fuel taxes in the nation at 29.9 cents per gallon. But, the state expects to lose 580 million dollars in tax revenue over three years because Tar Heel drivers are buying less gasoline. As a result the state of North Carolina is desperate for tax money.

 

Now, we are not blessed with a legislature noted for it’s deep thinking. We are not even noted for a state legislature noted for frugality.  Every time we get a surplus, they manage to spend the money.  Then they poormouth to the NC taxpayers about how the state is going broke and then they roll out the old threat to cut back on essential services because of the monetary short fall.  It happens time and time again.  So being short on money in the state treasury of North Carolina is nothing new.

 

Has it not occurred to the boys and girls in the NC General Assembly that maybe we ought to consider tightening our state belt, cut back on state spending, you know, get choosy about where and when and how they spend the state’s money?  If so, I haven’t heard about it.

 

North Carolina is a great state.  I’ve called it home for nigh on to 45 years now.  I have seen this sort of thing come and go many times over that near half century I have lived in this state and I’m sure it will continue as long as there is a Tar Heel state. But our state legislature has got to learn that just as their taxpayers parked their vehicles when the price of gasoline became just too darned high, the state is going to have to learn to park some of it’s money soaking programs until state coffers become much more robust.

 

As democrats control NC, I fully expect the state legislature to not only consider this proposal; I expect them to pass some form of it into law within the next two to three years. I am convinced they’d do it now, if they thought they could get away with it. But with the recession, and all, the gang with the pitchforks and torches would be running toward the state capital building by dawn!  Oh, yes, yours truly would be amongst them replete with a pitchfork and a torch!

 

J. D. Longstreet

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“How Obama and the Democrats will Destroy the U.S. Economy” by Alan Caruba

Please see:

How Obama and the Democrats will Destroy the U.S. Economy” by Alan Caruba at:

http://www.stormwarning.bllogdrive.com/

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Turning Boom into Bust … by Alan Caruba

Turning Boom into Bust

By Alan Caruba

 

Energy is called “the master resource” because every other aspect of life operates off of it. Nations that are rich in energy resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal, grow wealthy.

 

There is also something called “the curse of oil” because, if the price per barrel drops, the fate of some nations goes with it. This is the case, for example, of the former Soviet Russia whose government collapsed when it could no longer secure hard currency when oil and gas prices fell. Venezuela is an economic basket case these days, having nationalized oil and most of its financial and business sectors.

 

The history of nationalized oil and gas-rich nations is that they tend not to invest in their energy industries. They do not engage in sufficient exploration. They do not expand their capacity to extract their natural resources or to refine it. We have seen otherwise oil-rich nations like Mexico encounter financial tremors as in the 1990s when the Clinton administration had to loan Mexico billions to keep it functioning.

 

America has adopted anti-energy policies because of incessant environmental propaganda about “dirty” coal, out of the fear of nuclear power, and the refusal to permit exploration of 85% of the continental shelf and, of course, Alaska’s ANWR area, a tiny fraction of that State’s landmass.

 

If Congress imposes a windfall profits tax on the American oil industry, it will quite simply wreck the economy. As my friend, Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a longtime oil industry attorney as well as a petroleum engineer, points out, “”President Jimmy Carter started the ethanol subsidy on November 9, 1978 and signed the oil windfall profits tax on April 2, 1980.”

 

In effect, Carter put in motion an anti-oil policy that has existed for over three decades. Why is that a bad thing? The ethanol policy has severely disrupted the price of food worldwide as corn is diverted into fuel. The justification for this is “energy independence” from the purchase of foreign oil, but U.S.-produced oil has always been cheaper than imported oil.

 

If, however, the government creates conditions under which it is simply too risky, too expensive or prohibited to explore for more oil reserves, obviously oil production declines. There has been a 59% decline in U.S. oil production since 1980, the year the windfall profits tax was imposed. It was later repealed, but U.S. oil companies have a responsibility to their investors to act prudently and that has driven them to explore for oil outside of the U.S. or, to put it another way, to find foreign oil.

 

When you add in the idiotic ethanol mandates, you compound the problem. Graham points out that, “After thirty years, U.S. ethanol production was only able to produce less than 3% of our oil demand last year.” Moreover, “ethanol cost taxpayers $3.3 billion in subsidies in 2007.” Environmental claims that ethanol is cleaner than oil are false. Not only do you get less energy and poor mileage when ethanol is blended with gasoline, it actually emits more carbon dioxide per mile. “It is absolutely impossible for ethanol to replace foreign oil,” says Graham.

 

The justification for a windfall profits tax on oil companies ignores, for example, that ExxonMobil, just one of the few remaining oil companies operating in the U.S., pays more than $100 billion in taxes on the average. 

 

Less than 11% of ExxonMobil’s profits come from marketing and refining in the United States and the company recently announced it was spinning off its retail outlets.  Yes, it made great profits in recent years, but it also had enormous, risk-filled expenses.

 

Imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies will give them cause to consider moving their corporate headquarters to other more congenial nations. The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has been engaged in a vast office building effort, perhaps anticipating the movement of corporate headquarters.

 

Americans greeted the expiration of the ban on offshore exploration and drilling with the expectation that American oil would begin to flow and thus lower their costs for this vital national asset. That will not happen if the President or a Democrat controlled Congress reinstates the ban and/or imposes a windfall profits tax.

 

The city of Houston has been enjoying a boom due to the increase in the cost of a barrel of oil. Even at $80 dollars a barrel, it is enough to have created “its strongest resurgence in more than 20 years” according to a 2007 New York Times article about Houston. “Some energy companies are expanding and putting up new buildings.” Others, like Schlumberger among the hundreds of service providers to the energy industry have established their headquarters in Houston.

 

Houston is home to the headquarters of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and foreign owned companies like Citgo, BP and Royal Dutch Shell also maintain corporate offices there.

About half of Houston’s jobs, an estimated 1.1 million positions, are tied to the energy industry. The impact of a windfall profits tax would prove devastating to Houston.

 

Destroying the oil industry in America, a process that has been in place since the Carter administration, has left the nation vulnerable to foreign sources. The U.S. already imports some 70% of its oil. There has been a significant decline in the exploration and development of national reserves.

 

Unleashing the energy industries in America could dramatically improve our present financial troubles. Congress, having turned boom into bust, has a historical opportunity to reverse that trend.

 

Editor’s Note: “Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High” by Seldon B. Graham ($10.95) is available from Amazon.com.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, November 2008

 

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We Mourn For a Lost America Today!… by J. D. Longstreet

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We mourn the loss of Freedom, Democracy, and America’s position in the world as a Leader. In place of all these, America has chosen SOCIALISM the “Destroyer of Nations”.


I am ashamed of my fellow Americans for giving up their freedom, their constitution, their liberty, everything the Founding Fathers gave us, for so cheap a price.

The disunity of America is now complete. There is nothing left of that which bound us together. The descent of America, into the ash heap of history, has officially begun. The decline will be relatively swift and excruciatingly painful.

 rip-america

May God have Mercy on America, on those who warned “the other people who live in this country”. I cannot use “fellow Americans” as that phrase no longer applies. It has been shredded by the Obama Machine and by the Democratic Party.

 

It is now time to prepare for the descent into anarchy. Providence, it seems, has decided punishment is required for those who have defaced and destroyed this land, formerly under His protection, and done so from within.

 

Please consider the following from the Bible… Revelation 6: 1 – 8

(Rev 6:1-8 NIV) I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” {2} I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

{3} When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” {4} Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

{5} When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. {6} Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

{7} When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” {8} I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Today we mourn the passing of America. Today America is the democrat Socialist States of America. Today the “pale horse” is loosed on the land.

…. by J. D. Longstreet

democrat-socialist-republic-of-america

 

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San Francisco: the Epicenter of Stupid Ideas … by Alan Caruba

San Francisco: the Epicenter of Stupid Ideas

By Alan Caruba

 

In the 1980s I found myself traveling all over the United States in the employ of a corporation’s quarterly newsletter. I visited many cities and places, discovering the unfailing courtesy and good will of Americans everywhere I went. One of my favorite places was San Francisco. It is picturesque, sits beside a bay spanned by a marvel of engineering, and has great restaurants, hotels, and other attributes.

 

San Francisco is now the epicenter of spectacularly stupid and just plain bad ideas. Being stupid isn’t a crime, but enacting stupid ideas into law comes close to being a definition of criminal stupidity.

 

This is a city that has been at the forefront of gay marriage. Why anyone other than a homosexual would think there was any sense in two people of the same sex constituting a “marriage” defies the laws of nature. Webster’s dictionary defines marriage as “The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.” But not in San Francisco. The rest of the citizens of California have made it abundantly clear they oppose same-sex marriage.

 

On November 4, in addition to voting for the president and other legislators, the citizens of San Francisco will be asked to vote on Proposition H, otherwise known as the “San Francisco Clean Energy Act.”

 

It would amend the city and county charter “to require the city to transition from fossil fuels to clean, non-nuclear, sustainable energy production at affordable rates.”  With this vote, if successful, the city will abandon the use of any energy afforded by coal, natural gas, and, as noted, nuclear power.

 

Electricity is measured in kilowatts-hours.  America’s 104 commercial nuclear power reactors now provide about 20% of its electricity. More than 50% is produced primarily by 400-plus coal-fired “fossil fuel” producers of electricity, providing more than 2,000 billion kilowatt-hours of reliable energy. Hydroelectric and gas-powered plants constitute the rest of the mix.

 

Solar and wind power constitute about 1% of the electrical energy produced from these two inefficient, impractical, and spectacularly idiotic sources of power.

 

What the citizens of San Francisco and, for that matter, the rest of the nation, don’t understand is that even in the best locations, wind turbines produce power only about one third of the time. When they cease to produce sufficient electrical power, a back-up coal-fired or nuclear plant has to be in place to meet the immediate needs of energy consumers. Comparably, solar power depends on the sun shining. Occasionally clouds obscure the sun. At night, it is shining somewhere else on Earth.

 

Proposition H states that, “Nuclear (power) is prohibited from being included in the definition of clean energy.” Moreover, solar and wind power will be mandated to produce “at least 107 megawatts” by 2012, and 75% of San Francisco’s electrical power by 2030.

 

Who supports Proposition H? They include the Sierra Club, the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, and the San Francisco Democrat Party. I hope they get used to working by candle light if the measure passes. For all those other things that require reliable electrical power, they should plan on finding some means to keep them going other than the electrical socket in the wall.

 

The advocates of this supreme act of madness had the audacity of promoting it by asking, “If you and five friends could save the world, would you do it? If San Francisco voters pass Prop H for a 100% clean energy future, we could save the world.” The justification for this is, of course, “global warming”; something that is not happening.

 

If Proposition H passes, one assumes that views of the city will be obscured by miles and miles of wind turbines and that the drive into the city will include miles and miles of solar panels lining the highways. I don’t plan on visiting in the future.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, October 2008

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Environmentalism vs. Socialism (Updated … slightly)

Environmentalism vs. Socialism (Updated … slightly)

By J. D. Longstreet

 

Nearly every sentient individual in the United States is arriving at the conclusion that Global Warming is a crock. (Some sooner than others.) Millions of Americans have reached this conclusion, already, and it just irks the living daylights out of the Socialist Left.

 

When you place environmentalism along side Socialism, and consider them, they are so much alike it is frightening. Both want to control society, especially a capitalist society. Socialism, it would seem, has a new home… the environmental movement.

 

REAL scientist will tell you the climate is warming, slightly, simply because the sun is warming.  Whoops, there goes the global warming hoax.

 

The Kyoto Treaty would have creamed the economy of the US. Why, even Bill Clinton knew that. The Congress had the good sense to turn it down, flat…even while Clinton was still in the oval office.

 

Now, if you know anything, at all, about running a business, you know the cost of doing business is passed on to the consumers of the products that business produces.

 

So, when the “Greenies” scream that Big Business will not pay the price to upgrade their equipment to meet the extremely high standards for clean air they endorse, just know that that claim is a crock, too. If you know business, you know business will not bear that cost. The consumers will. When the consumer refuses to pay that increased cost, production is cut back.  When production is cut back, jobs are cut back.  It is a vicious cycle and, Dear Reader; it is a cycle that would take us back to the Great Depression in just a few short years.

 

In the past few weeks we have seen evidence of just how fragile the economy really is. If the “Greenies” had the sense God gave a gnat, they’d know their demands would crash the US economy… unless, of course, that is exactly what they want.

 

So, look again at the environmentalist movement and compare it with the Socialists.  Then decide for yourself if you really want to support a movement bent on the destruction of he US. 

 

It would be near impossible to decide which is the more dangerous to the US… Environmentalism, or Islamofacism.  Both, it would seem, want our destruction. 

 

J. D. Longstreet

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Let’s Go Nuclear … by Alan Caruba

Posted in America, Conservative, environment, Ethanol, Freedom, Global Warming Hoax, Nuclear Power, Oil, Political by J. D. Longstreet on October 22, 2008

Let’s Go Nuclear

By Alan Caruba

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How do you know when a Green—hardcore environmentalist—is lying to you? When his lips are moving. Okay, it’s a cliché used in other cases as well, but it is especially true when the latest absurd claim comes flying at you courtesy of the mainstream media.

 Take nuclear energy as an example. A new survey by Bisconti Research, taken since one conducted in April, revealed “a record-high 74% of Americans favor nuclear energy, with only 24% opposed.” That’s a big change in just five months and no doubt has a lot to do with the growing public realization that America will have an energy crisis on its hands if it does not permit new plants to be built.

 

“The unprecedented levels of support for nuclear energy found in this survey,” said Ann Bisconti, “can be attributed to growing concerns about energy and focus on energy alternatives.” There are few real alternatives. At present, coal-fired plants generate just over 50% of electricity and nuclear represents about 20%. The rest is made up by hydroelectric, and some natural gas. The much touted “clean” energy sources, solar and wind, only 1%.

 

The Greens have a long history of being opposed to nuclear energy, claiming it is too dangerous and there’s no place to put the spent rods. However, they have also been shouting about the need for “clean” energy that does not emit “greenhouse gases.” Nuclear does not do that. It emits water vapor in the form of steam and water vapor is a key element of the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

Moreover, there hasn’t been an accident since the problem encountered by Three Mile Island in 1979. Even then, no one was harmed. The technology since then has ensured that the nuclear energy industry is astonishingly safe.

 

There’s a billion dollar facility, Yucca Mountain, waiting to receive nuclear waste, but the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, (D-NV) refuses to allow it to begin operation. The facility recently received clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting a stringent radiation protection standard. You would get more radiation from a CAT scan than Yucca Mountain.

 

So, while Greens tout wind and solar, two of the least effective and reliable ways to provide for the nation’s energy needs, they continue to bad mouth nuclear as a viable alternative. Its popularity is such that developing nations all over the world are seeking to build their own nuclear plants. India, for example, is embarked on an ambitious program.

 

Greens also are actively opposing nuclear energy. Friends of the Earth, a leading environment organization, is engaged in program to denigrate nuclear energy, calling Yucca Mountain “a false solution that would run trains full of toxic nuclear waste through neighborhoods like yours.” This ignores the fact that all manner of toxic materials move around the nation every day for manufacturing and other purposes. And they do it safely.

 

So what do the Greens want? It’s more like what they don’t want. They don’t want more electricity for Americans no matter what generates it.

 

They are opposed to all expansion and development even as the population continues to grow. That’s why you will find Greens trying to stop any form of development, whether it’s more land use for housing or more energy for electricity to light and heat it. That’s why they are against any exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas and against coal.

 

They are against the timber industry, too, and the production and consumption of meat, claiming that raising livestock contributes to global warming.

 

There is no global warming. The Earth is in a new cooling cycle, but that doesn’t slow the deluge of lies.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, October 2008

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The Ethanol Election Issue by Alan Caruba

The Ethanol Election Issue

By Alan Caruba

 

The issue of the nation’s financial and economic security is likely to dominate the November 4 election. Earlier in the campaign cycle we might have assumed that foreign affairs and energy would be uppermost on the minds of voters, but we’re told that, ultimately, voters vote their pocketbooks.

 

One place they most notice a major problem, however, is at the gas pump where prices continue to remain over $3.50 a gallon. It is doubtful anyone really thinks about the part of that cost that can be attributed to the government mandate that each gallon include ethanol. Other costs include the government mandated different blends of gasoline required in different regions or sections of the nation. The refinery costs of that are built into the price as well. Then, of course, there are the federal and state gasoline taxes that add considerably to the cost.

 

The consumer is constantly being told that the cost is determined by the global marketplace for oil and, to an extent this is true. However, left largely unsaid is the role the government plays in its refusal to permit exploration and extraction of oil reserves that are either known or which potentially exist on the mainland and off the continental shelf of the nation.

 

The mere mention of offshore drilling by Sen. John McCain was sufficient to drive down the global price per barrel for a while. It lifted his campaign prospects. Largely unexamined, however, have been Sen. Barack Obama’s long-held positions on ethanol production.

 

Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and Director of Global Food Issues, recently took note of the disparities between the candidate’s positions on ethanol. “Obama wants more ethanol, while McCain thinks we should probably have less,” noting that “both say man-made global warming is a serious threat, and both say they want the best for the nation’s farmers.”

 

Both candidates are wrong on many counts, not the least is their belief that global warming is either man-made or actually happening. It is not. Ironically, the wailing about man-made greenhouse gas emissions completely ignores the fact that ethanol actually contributes more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere while, at the same time, decreasing the mileage per gallon of gasoline.

 

Avery says that “global food and feed demand will double over the next 40 years” and that is leading to the clearing of forests to grow more corn, both as a gasoline additive and as food. Forests absorb carbon dioxide. They are often called “carbon sinks.” In addition, the more ethanol plants there are, the higher the price of corn rises due to demand.

 

Robert Bryce, the author of “Gusher of Lies”, one of the best books on global energy issues you will ever read, is also a co-editor of Energy Tribune, a leading monthly. In the October edition, he takes aim at ethanol calling it a scam and “pure, unadulterated lunacy.”

 

Bryce writes, “Barack Obama doesn’t want to talk about corn ethanol. And it’s no wonder. In early August, his campaign Web site purged several sections of his energy plan that talked about corn ethanol.

 

Before the purge, Obama was touting corn ethanol as a pivotal element in his push for ‘energy independence.’ His site declared that Obama ‘will require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be included in the fuel supply by 2022 and will increase that to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030.”

 

By August, however, Obama had come up with a new set of talking points on energy and “All mentions of corn ethanol were removed,” wrote Bryce. “The word ‘ethanol’ only appears once.”

 

Do not be fooled. Obama is a major proponent of ethanol. Bryce reports that, “In January 2007, Obama and two other senators, Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa and Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana, introduced legislation called the ‘American Fuels Act of 2007.’ It aimed at promoting the use of ethanol and provided mandates for the use of more biodiesel.”

 

Obama’s national campaign co-chair is Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader and longtime ethanol booster. Daschle serves on the boards of three key ethanol companies. Obama represents Illinois, a state that trails only Iowa and Nebraska in ethanol production capacity.

 

If you have any hope of seeing the price of gasoline reduced or the cost of food decrease, that will not happen if Obama is elected. At the very least, McCain has signaled that he is no fan of ethanol.

 

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, October 2008

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