Costly Support

A bunch of Republican Congressmen object to the increasing cost of the US’ support for Ukraine’s fight against the Russian barbarian, and barbaric, invasion.

From the WSJ‘s front page teaser to the article:

Some lawmakers and a growing share of the American public are skeptical about how much US taxpayers should continue to fund Ukraine’s defense.

It’s a valid concern, but those Republicans are missing the larger problem. The cost has been, to a very large extent, artificially inflated by the Biden administration’s conscious decision to slow-walk, and on too many occasions to outright bar, delivery of the weapons Ukraine needs at the time the Armed Forces of Ukraine needs them and in the amounts the AFU needs them so they could defeat the Russian invasion and drive the barbarian back out much more promptly.

Oil Buyback

Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden now plans to buy 2.7 million barrels of oil to put back into our oil strategic reserve.

Couple things about that.

We had 630 million barrels of oil in our strategic reserve before Biden took office and started selling it to the People’s Republic of China while claiming he was doing it to slow the gasoline price inflation his spending was causing. As recently as 24 November last, our reserve was down to 351 million barrels. According to my second grade arithmetic, that means Biden had reduced our reserve by 279 million barrels in just those two years and 10 months. My third grade arithmetic tells me that those 27 million barrels he’s buying for the reserve is just 1% of what he’s taken out of it. Which makes buying that oil an insulting effort to distract us with his pretense of refilling our reserve after his dangerous reduction.

Heat Pump Efficacy

I’ve mentioned earlier the level of energy efficacy of heat pumps. Here is an example of the level of fiscal efficacy of heat pumps. The fronted lede:

A two-year project to convert a public housing building to an electrically powered heat pump system is nearing completion on the Upper West Side. The 58-year-old 20-story tower at 830 Amsterdam Avenue (100th Street), part of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Frederick Douglass Houses development, is being retrofitted to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for residents—and to serve as a possible template for converting more of the 2,410 buildings NYCHA maintains citywide.

I Have a Thought

(Yeah, yeah)

The Energy Department’s Office of the Inspector General says that the Department

faces major management challenges ranging from hacking vulnerabilities to foreign espionage and could create “massive new risks to the taxpayer” as it spends tens of billions of dollars in new spending from President Joe Biden’s signature infrastructure initiative[.]

The OIG goes on to say that the fraud risk is similar to the realized fraud from the Federal government’s Wuhan Virus Situation (my term, not OIG’s) spending, where taxpayers now lost an estimated $200 billion government wide.

The OIG also noted that

Disregard and Pass Their Own

DoD has submitted a budget request that includes $114 million for diversity, equity, and inclusion claptrap [emphasis added].

The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2024 budget request shows the federal agency’s emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, including “ensuring accountable leadership with continued emphasis and investments in sexual assault and harassment prevention, suicide prevention, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA), and Insider Threat Programs.”
The DOD document shows that DEI is at the forefront of DOD policy.
[The request said] The Department will lead with our values—building diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do[.]

And this:

So It Should Be with General Infrastructure

The subheadline outlines part of the problem:

Companies often need to show progress to get government cash but struggle without it

In the body of the Wall Street Journal article at the link is this:

Some of the companies are in Catch-22 situations. Washington won’t issue them loans until they raise outside money and move ahead with projects.

It’s true enough that big, established companies are better able to game the situation. It’s also true that high interest rates—especially after an extended period of no- to low rates—and inflation have hurt, but these only emphasize my point in this post.

Federalism and State Taxes

A Wall Street Journal editorial opens with this:

One great benefit of America’s federalist Constitution is policy competition among the states. Voters in Florida don’t have to live under New York’s laws, and Americans and businesses can vote with their feet by moving across state lines.

The editors proceeded to a description of State-level tax laws and the mobility of us Americans and our businesses in leaving States with high taxes in favor of States with, often markedly, lower taxes. But that lede overstates the case.

Energy Subsidies

This table shows the size of the subsidy for the indicated energy source along with the size of the subsidy per trillion BTU produced by that energy source.

Million$/ TrillionBTU Million $ Trillion BTU
Solar 4.153 7,522 1,811
Geothermal 1.665 353 212
Wind 0.947 3,592 3,791
Coal 0.072 873 12,033
Biomass 0.06 312 5,171
Nuclear 0.048 390 8,065
Oil & Nat Gas 0.033 2,304 68,804

The table is constructed from data in the EIA report, Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Years 2016–2022.

Federal Government Shutdowns

I’ve written a few times (the latest here) about the results of Federal government shutdowns. Progressive-Democratic Party politicians always and everywhere are in full-throated panic-mongering about the disaster that is a shutdown. Far too many Republican Party politicians timidly accept the Leftist Party’s claims and seek to do anything, even on bended knee, to avoid a shutdown.

I have a challenge for them, and for all you out there in reader land.

Here are two graphs, the first from Macrotrends showing our GDP growth rate from year to year from 1961 through 2022, and the second from stastica showing GDP levels over the more focused period of 1990-2022.

Furloughs and Redundancy

If the government is partially shut down by Progressive-Democratic Party Congressional politician obstructionism, millions of federal employees could face furloughs, some federal offices may close or work shortened hours.

Those furloughs and closures would give us some interesting data on the usefulness/criticality of those furloughees and offices. Here’s what Slate found regarding these items during the Obama “shutdown” some 10 years ago:

Notice a couple of things here regarding Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden’s threat to stop paying our military members and Party politicians’ threats regarding the VA (right click on the graph and select Open Image in New Tab to get a bigger image). One is the Veterans Affairs level of furloughing: all of 4%. That’s not importantly different from the ordinary absentee rate due to illness, vacation, and so on.