Another Example

…of the failure of government intervention in “green” energy.  And of the lack of understanding of the problem by the participants.  This four minute video via Deutsche Welle tells the tale.

A group of Spanish farmers, in order to “improve their pensions and to do something for the environment,” banded together to build a solar farm, Spain’s biggest cooperative solar park, an operation of solar cell collectors at roughly €90,000 per module.

The central takeaway:

[T]he modern facility is currently losing money because the conservative government has drastically cut the subsidies for solar power.

It’s About Time, Ollie

In a move met by applause from at least one congressman, the Energy Department announced a pilot program for research into domestic mining of rare earth elements.

Rare earths are minerals critical to computing technologies and to various military and civilian sensor technologies.  China currently dominates the production and market for these elements, with about 85% of the world’s production from its domestic mines.

Another major source for rare earths, not yet exploited, is the South China Sea floor.  Part of the purpose of the PRC’s seizure of the South China Sea and of its island-building and militarization of those constructs is to control access to those rare earths and to reserve them for itself.

Saudi Oil Embargo Against the US?

Saudi Arabia is cutting its oil exports to the US for the express purpose of directing our use of our own oil to Saudi purposes—to make us use up our existing “excess” supplies.

Saudi Arabia is slashing its US oil exports to a near three-decade low for this time of the year, intensifying its efforts to reduce a global supply glut that has been pummeling crude prices.

Not just the global gut—our supply in particular.  Saudi Arabian Oil Co is cutting its exports to the US to the lowest level since the late ’80s.  Saudi Aramco is cutting its exports to us to the lowest level since 2009, the end-game of the Panic of 2008.

The Fed and the Markets

The Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increases aren’t having the desired effect of cooling off Wall Street’s hot streak.

Well, NSS.  There’s a hint there.

The Fed needs to stop trying to manipulate the market and go back to doing its job, maintaining stable price levels (controlling inflation to low levels) and achieving full employment (whatever that means.  And, the latter is wholly dependent on the former and so need not be an independent goal, but that’s a different story).

Currency Valuations and Economic Growth

There’s an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal that looks at the economic theory that suggests that a nation’s devaluing currency, by making its exports cheaper, would spur domestic production and so economic growth.  As the article says, Great Britain is offering a real-time experiment that tests that theory.

In that experiment, the pound has lost value in the exchange markets to a significant degree, but exports—and the British economy—have not expanded as much as was expected by some under the theory.  This “failure” of the theory is being blamed on globalization.  For example,

A Couple of Disparate Thoughts

Thoughts triggered by a piece by Richard Fernandez on the dislocation of the Left…triggered…by The Brits voting to leave the EU, Donald Trump’s election as President, Emmanuel Macron’s election as French President, the resounding defeat of Theresa May and her Conservative party’s defeat in Britain’s snap elections, and Macron’s La République En Marche! party’s in-progress accession to strong power in the French National Assembly.

One thought is this.  Van Jones, ex ex-President Barack Obama’s advisor, complained about the selfishness of Democrats’ spending in the last Presidential campaign season while speaking to a crowd at the People’s Summit in Chicago’s McCormack Place.

Wages or Benefits

Every month, the Labor Department’s jobs report helps shine a light on the growth of overall wages, which has been slow in recent years. But what gets far less attention are the other components of compensation—health insurance, paid leave, retirement benefits—that in recent years have generally outpaced wage growth, as shown in new Labor Department data released Friday.

And isn’t that a travesty?  Used to be, in the ’50s and early ’60s, these benefits—including the pensions that were those retirement benefits were perks an employer used to induce top performers to work for him and not someone else.  Remember when “full dental” was such a big deal?

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Losing Health Coverage

The CBO and Progressive-Democrats in Congress loudly claim that millions will lose their health coverage plans under Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

What the Progressive-Democrats are carefully ignoring (the CBO not so much; they weren’t tasked with comparing the Republican plans and Obamacare) are the real millions that already are losing or are about to lose their health coverage plans because Obamacare is collapsing now.

The nation’s second largest health insurance company, Anthem, will extract itself from the majority of the ObamaCare market in the state of Ohio by 2018, the company announced Tuesday, raising questions about the future of its exchange participation.

The Rich Are Out Of Money?

They are in Connecticut, anyway, or at least out of trust in the State’s government regarding their money.  Or the State is out of rich.  Aetna, Inc, one of the giants of health and dental coverage that’s headquartered in Connecticut is looking hard at joining the exodus from the State, having grown tired of being the State’s tax piggy bank.

Governor Dannel Malloy (D) says he’ll match other states’ financial incentives—not exceed—if only Aetna will stay, but as The Wall Street Journal put it, “taxpayer money can’t buy fiscal certainty and a less destructive business climate.”