atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1575: So I asked SDB a question...

There was a post over on Steven Den Beste's site about the largest photovoltaic power generating plant in the US. I wrote him an e-mail asking for some clarification and he sent a terse reply telling me he deleted the post, saying, "This is why I don't like writing about alternate energy."

I mean, WTF--I wasn't trying to convince him that solar power was good and I wasn't arguing his point. I know that drives him nuts; every time he writes a post on alternative energy he gets a bunch of e-mails from people who argue the point he's making.

I wasn't arguing.

His post said that the plant makes "300 million kilowatt-hours per year" but the original source he linked to said "30 million". He said that the plant makes 3.4 megawatts in a day; I wanted to know if he had run his numbers starting with "30 million" or "300 million". If he actually started with 300 instead of 30, the issue is even worse: the plant only genereates 340,000 kilowatts in a day instead of 3.4 megawatts.

I guess turning off comments means he doesn't want any questions or discussion about the issue whatsoever, even if you are just trying to learn something from him.


* * *

Do you remember how terrible it was that we were running a deficit because of the war in Iraq? Remember how it was just irresponsible and horrible of the Bush administration that the deficit was so big?

Look at the chart in this article.

The projected deficit for 2009--the most optimistic projection--says we're running an annual deficit for this one year of

$1.75 trillion


Let's see that number again in slow motion:

1,750,000,000,000 dollars

That's -$5,833 for every single living breathing person in the United States--citizens, illegals, visitors; men, women, children. Every last person here. Including you and me. The government just reached into your wallet and took $5,833 from it. (Suffice it to say that I sure can't spare that much money. Can you?)

There is only one solution to this problem: raise taxes.

All right, there is actually more than one solution. The problem is, the most sensible solution--for Washington to stop spending money it doesn't have--fails to give Democrats the correct leg tingles. And so 2009 will run the largest one-year deficit in US history and it is not going to get any better, not by a long shot.

Cutting spending--actually cutting spending, such that the government spends less this year than it did last year, in actual real dollars, such that the total ends up being an actual smaller number (say, $1.9 trillion instead of $4.8 trillion) is always, always, always a non-starter in Washington, D.C., regardless of who is in power. And so there is only one solution to this problem: raise taxes.

Never mind the fact that the average US citizen already pays 50% of his income in various taxes and fees. The problem isn't out-of-control spending; it's that the people aren't taxed enough.

Washington's solution is to raise taxes. The Democrats want to tax health insurance benefits: the currently untaxed benefit you get for working full-time for a corporation that offers health insurance. It comes to a pretty sum, something around $400 billion annually.

The other plan being floated is to add a Value-Added Tax. VAT amounts to a national sales tax, but it applies at each level of product flow and almost all of it is passed on to the consumer.

Say, for example, you want to buy a new car. The car is first bought, by the dealership, from the automaker--dealerships are customers of automakers--so the dealership would pay VAT on the car. Then, when you wanted to buy the car, you would pay VAT on the car as well. If VAT was set at 5% of the price, and the wholesale price of the car was $30,000, the dealer would pay $31,500 for the car--and if you got the car at wholesale you'd pay $33,000 for it. whatever taxes you pay to the state. Figure another $1,000 for that, more or less.

But the VAT doesn't end there. You see, the manufacturer has to pay VAT on all the components it buys from its suppliers! So if they buy piston rod bearings from Joe's Bearings they pay a 5% VAT on each and every bearing they buy. If the bearings cost $1 each in bulk--understand this is a number I removed from an unlikely orofice--then the auto manufacturer has to pay $1.05 for each bearing it buys.

The company that makes the bearings has to buy its raw materials from somewhere. Presumably Joe isn't out back mining and smelting copper and zinc for bearings, so he has to buy them from someone...and guess what? Joe has to pay VAT on the metal ingots he buys!

So the VAT ends up being levied at every possible level of the supply chain. It's great for the government because they end up with this huge pool of money--but it sucks for everyone else because every-goddamned-thing costs more.

And let us not forget that the VAT is regressive. If I am a poor person, the VAT on a can of soup costs as many dollars as it does for a rich person. It ends up hurting the poor the most.

Which, of course, will give the Democrats another way to buy votes: VAT refunds. Which will require more tax money to be collected from the rich....

* * *

"Obama has decided that the life of every American child must be at the whim of an Asian weird-haired midget-monster." Scipio always rules. His idea for how to deal with North Korea may seem a bit extreme--it does to me, on the surface--but it's also hard for me to argue with his reasoning.

Obama's desire to rid the US of the ballistic missle shield is bewildering, to say the least. Why do Democrats hate the idea of self-defense so much?

* * *

So apparently now that Obama is in office, the President now has "the right to have his nominees confirmed". Could have fooled me, because when Bush was in office "advise and consent" was the rule and Congress had to make sure the President's nominees were qualified for the position, and it was perfectly all right for the Senate to filibuster the nominees to keep them from being confirmed because it was in the Constitution!

Now that Obama is President, though, there can be no debate or "advise and consent" or anything because Obama has a right to have his nominees confirmed.


* * * it's 3 AM and I'm still not in bed and I didn't play any WoW today.

I tried to go to the new and improved cruise night--held, supposedly, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month "starting in May!"--but there was no cruise night. The GF and I walked to the center of town, walked through the park, and came home again.

At least it was a nice walk even if we didn't get to see any neat cars.

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