With Politics Above All
By: Marita Noon / Townhall Columnist
Politics above science; politics above economics—together these two philosophies have created “true sustainability.”
We first saw the impact in the science world. Global warming was touted as a catastrophic threat to life on earth. Modern life was deemed to be the cause. More specifically, the blame fell to the burning of hydrocarbons—which are the source of the abundant, affordable, and available energy that has given the developed world its many advantages and luxuries. Carbon footprint guilt was heaped upon big energy-consuming countries. After all, we were ruining the planet.
Change was needed to slow the rise of the oceans.
This opened the door for a whole host of policies aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. A Renewable Portfolio Standard—which mandates a set percentage of electricity be from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar)—is law in more than half the states. Cap and trade was proposed and passed by the House.
Because it didn’t make it through the Senate, the EPA has been successfully bringing about the end goal through regulation. On a global scale, oil and coal have been demonized and natural gas is next. Untold billions have been poured into wind and solar subsidies.
The supposed “science” behind global warming—which morphed into climate change, paved the way for politics above economics.
The Obama Administration’s stimulus allocated $80-90 billion for green energy—even though the economics didn’t add up. Companies like Solyndra and A123 Systems (the first and the most recent domino to fall) received loans, grants, and, tax incentives to produce “green energy,” despite the junk-bond ratings that prevented private equity from jumping in until taxpayer dollars were committed. The majority of the recipients of the funds had favored status—they had connections to high-ranking Democrats such as President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Senator Diane Feinstein (just to name a few)—politics above economics.
Interestingly, a series of emails exposed global warming, er, climate change, and the funding of green energy to be the scams that they are. Together they are “sustainable.”
On global warming, the “climategate” emails revealed that data had been manipulated and suppressed to produce the desired results.
On green energy, emails that came to light in the hearings held by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight showed how political connections were used to push loan guarantees through and expedite permits.
Within the past week some interesting details came to light on both scams.
On October 13, The UK Daily Mail newspaper brought out some new data. The Met Office, a British government agency described on its website as “a world leader in providing weather and climate services,” released some new data on climate change that seem to conflict with the generally accepted view of catastrophic manmade global warming. Back in March, the Met Office promoted data from 1998-2010 that supported the idea that the world had warmed even more than expected in the past ten years. They sent out a press release and held briefings for journalists. However, when the full dataset—up through August 2012—was released, showing that “the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago,” the Met Office issued the new data “quietly on the internet without any fanfare.” The Daily Mail quotes Professor Phil Jones, of the climategate scandal fame, as admitting that “the climate models are imperfect,” and quotes Professor Judith Curry, head of the climate science department at Georgia Tech as agreeing that the computer models used to predict future warming were “deeply flawed.”
The new data “poses a fundamental challenge to the assumptions underlying every aspect of energy and climate change policy.”
On October 12, the Denver Post featured a guest commentary from Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Titled “Climate spin is rampant,” Pielke addresses the “willing media” “spreading misinformation.” He states: “The logic behind such tactics is apparently that a sufficiently scared public will support the political program of those doing the scaring.”
While not directly referencing the Met Office’s quiet data release, Pielke cites Andrew Revkin, “who has covered the climate issue for decades for the New York Times.” Revkin explains that “the media tend to pay outsize attention to research developments that support a ‘hot’ conclusion … and glaze over on research of equivalent quality that does not.” Surely this is what happened with the Met’s report.
Pielke concludes his commentary with these words: “There is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates. But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation—even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change—may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.”
Politics above science. But this politically driven “science” is needed to support politics above economics.
On October 15, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial discussing the special treatment Solyndra, the bankrupt solar manufacturer, received from the Department of Energy: “Solyndra’s investors could be rewarded for their failures.” The WSJ claims that “Solyndra’s only real assets are what the IRS calls ‘tax attributes.’”
The short version is that Solyndra’s investors, who finagled a deal to subordinate taxpayer repayment rights to private investors, could emerge from bankruptcy with the ability to apply the net operating losses (NOL) against the profits of a profitable company owned by the same investors. What is interesting is who the “investors” are. WSJ states that Argonaut Ventures I LLC is “Solyndra’s largest shareholder and the primary investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Mr. Kaiser is a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008.”
Emails revealed through the Solyndra bankruptcy show that Steve Mitchell, Argonaut’s managing director, wrote these words to Kaiser: “The DOE thinks politically before it thinks economically”—politics above economics. After Obama called Solyndra a “testament to American ingenuity and dynamism,” apparently the DOE wanted to “delay the Solyndra crack-up that was fast becoming inevitable.” Solyndra needed the “loan’s remaining $95 million immediately, instead of in monthly drawdowns, and to restructure its terms.”
For Kaiser, the NOLs were the “consolation prize.”
The “true sustainability?” Government funds climate change research that supports the “catastrophic” messaging. Science and media willingly cooperate. Catastrophic reports provide the foundation for “green energy” investments that go to Obama—and other high-ranking Democrats—campaign donors. Investors get special favors—like the Solyndra taxpayer subordination—and come out on top. They, then, donate to the campaigns—getting their “friends” re-elected. The perpetual motion machine keeps running at the taxpayers’ expense—all to “evade political accountability.”
We know the story with Solyndra. Last week, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy. Who knows what special deals they got? We won’t know before the election. There are 14 other stimulus-funded green-energy companies that have gone bankrupt—though the number could be higher. It will likely take years for the details of each deal to be exposed.
This is what happens when politics take precedence above all else. Obama’s economic model picks winners and losers and misallocates capital, while sticking it to the taxpayers.
Perhaps this is why Obama’s crony rich friends are willing to agree to higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires—they have their “tax attributes” in their NOLs (paid for by the average, middle-class taxpayer).