Quotes and links to two related energy items of note

It seems to me these have a lot to do with each other.  This one is from The Examiner.

Obama rubs elbows with regulatory robber barons
By: Timothy P. Carney

President Obama on Monday was scheduled to give a pep talk for American manufacturing at a factory in Durham, N.C., where Cree Inc. makes LED light bulbs. Cree embodies Obama-era capitalism: profiting from government grants, political connections, revolving-door lobbyists and regulations that force people to buy your product.

Cree deals mostly in light-emitting diode technology. The company makes LED light bulbs and sells LED components to other manufacturers to put in their own bulbs, automobiles or electronics. This is by far the fastest-growing part of Cree’s business.

Company Vice President Greg Merritt spoke about the LED boom in April 2009 at a green-tech conference. “We are in a perfect storm in some respects,” he said. After talking about new manufacturing efficiencies, Merritt added, “The political environment for sustainable technologies and energy efficiency is perhaps more favorable today than it’s been for quite a while.”

Merritt should know — he and his colleagues helped shape that “political environment.” Merritt lobbied Congress on the 2007 energy bill, “Specifically, provisions related to energy-efficient lighting.” That is, Merritt and Cree’s other lobbyists supported the law that will effectively outlaw the incandescent bulb, thus creating unwilling demand for their more expensive LED bulbs.

Energy-efficient lighting has value even without regulations, but Cree conceded that government is driving demand for its product. The company’s latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission lists, among the risks the company faces, the risk that consumer choice might be restored.

“The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 in the United States imposes constraints on the sale of incandescent lights beginning in 2012,” Cree’s 10-Q states. “These constraints may be eliminated or delayed by legislative action, which could have a negative impact on demand for our products.”

President Obama doesn’t see this as the regulatory robbery it is. He sees it as stimulus. After all, the regulation has helped Cree hire new workers. See? Everyone wins!

Well, except for the hundreds of former General Electric factory workers who used to make the old incandescents in factories in Winchester, Va., Niles, Ohio, and Lexington, Ky. Those factories closed last summer thanks to the same law that is benefitting Cree. (Don’t cry for GE, though — the company’s lobbyists also supported the regulations, which will drive business to their more profitable fluorescents and LEDs.)

Another loser: the American consumer, who loses the freedom of choice. Columnist Virginia Postrel put it well last week: “The bulb ban makes sense only one of two ways: either as an expression of cultural sanctimony, with a little technophilia thrown in for added glamour, or as a roundabout way to transfer wealth from the general public to the few businesses with the know-how to produce the light bulbs consumers don’t really want to buy.”

It’s not only regulation that helps Cree, but spending, too. From its 10-Q: “Historically, government agencies have funded a significant portion of our research and development activities. In addition, government agencies have purchased products directly from us and products from our customers for which we supply components.”

Since 2001, Cree has received more than $78 million in federal grants, according to USASpending.gov, and more than $96 million in federal contracts. And overseas, the Chinese government is Cree’s biggest customer. State and local governments also subsidize the company.

When government is your profit driver, political connections are crucial. The company’s closeness to this White House is clear. Obama visited Cree’s Durham plant during the 2008 campaign, and Joe Biden visited to tout the renewable energy subsidies given to Cree. In 2009, Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda took part in a White House “Clean Energy Economy Forum.”

As with any company that plays in the world of subsidy-seeking and regulation-for-profit, Cree retains a former congressman as a lobbyist. Democrat Max Sandlin of Texas is Cree’s leading outside lobbyist. Sandlin’s wife, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, was a congresswoman until she lost re-election last November.

Cree is Obama’s type of company. Obama would explain his fondness by pointing to the company’s use of domestic manufacturing and its green products. But just as important is its cooperative attitude toward government — supporting government power, hiring former government officials and feeding gratefully at the government trough.

We see this Obama preference everywhere. Obama’s jobs czar, who will be in Durham today, is Jeff Immelt, the GE CEO who sees government as a “champion” of industry. Obama’s commerce secretary nominee comes from government-dependent companies like Boeing and Southern California Edison.

So Obama’s rule seems to be that profit is good, as long as it comes from government.

Now read this as follow up, then go take your blood pressure pills because I am pretty sure it going up. This one is from Big government

General Motors and…George Soros Set to Profit Off Obama’s Energy Policies
Posted By Seton Motley

We are in the throes of the Barack Obama Administration’s systematic, systemic assault of the free market [1].
Every facet of our nation where private endeavor has brought us to the heights of individual achievement and general populace betterment is now under regulatory attack by this President, his Administrative minions and his Congressional Democrat colleagues.

The health care industry – 1/6 of our economy?  ObamaCare [3], check.
The Internet industry – another 1/6 of our economy?  Network Neutrality [4], check.
The financial sector?  Dodd-Frank [5], check.

Which brings us to the energy industry.
Candidate Obama promised us that under his plan, “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket [6].”
On this campaign promise, President Obama has delivered [7].
He has been insouciantly observing an unofficial hiatus on all domestic oil drilling.  Issuing almost no permits – and not letting the British Petroleum (BP) Gulf spill “crisis go to waste [8].”
He has turned us into a non-producing, foreign-dependent energy wasteland.
Gasoline prices have certainly skyrocketed [9].
And what is the answer to this from General Motors (i.e. Government Motors [10], as it is still 1/3 owned by the federal Leviathan)?
A $1-a-gallon gasoline tax hike [11], of course.
Government Motors calling for – more tax money for Big Government.  Get it?
In their coercive hope of forcing Americans to then buy the unpopular and unprofitable Chevy Volt hybrids [10] Government Motors insists on producing.

(Anyone after all this still unconcerned with the government owning a car company – is unrecoverable.)

Then there’s Cap & Trade [12].
So terrible is Cap & Trade, Senate Democrats couldn’t last year muster enough of their own to vote on the mess.
Those Constitutional niceties haven’t served as an impediment for Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – they’re now implementing it [13] as if it were the law of the land.
There are now lawsuits aplenty [14] filed by many states [15] to prohibit the EPA from doing this.

It’s unconstitutional, it’s unrepublican, it’s undemocratic.  Oh – and it’s terrible policy.

So why is there now a bill in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives – with more than eighty Republican co-sponsors [16] – that contains language tacitly ceding the EPA the authority [17] to do this?

This is House Resolution (HR) 1380 – the “NAT GAS Act.”  And it is – in addition to an EPA greenhouse green light – another huge boondoggle giveaway.
It is Big Government messing with the private energy sector via massive allocations of our money to all things natural gas.
Like $64,000 – per truck – to convert them to use the stuff instead of oil.

Have these Republicans not learned anything from the Tea Party Movement?  From the 2010 election?  From Moody’s [18]?
We’re broke – and the American people are tired of Washington continuing to act as if we aren’t.
We’re woefully over regulated – and we time and again see D.C. look to tighten the straight jacket.
The federal government is now prohibiting the one form of energy that actually makes energy – and money.  And grotesquely subsidizing myriad other forms that do neither.

If natural gas trucks and such were a good idea, they’d already be in widespread use – no $64k necessary.
No one needs to subsidize ice cream.

And here’s the HR 1380 kicker.  Leftist Uber-Lord George Soros is set to make a subsidy killing.

The anti-free marketeer has since 1979 given nearly $7 billion to a who’s who of liberal moon battery.  And he’ll get a nice chunk of that back – out of our pockets – should this bill become law.
The hypocritical global anti-capitalist capitalist’s third largest ownership holding – on Planet Earth – is Westport Innovations, Inc [19].
And what do they do?
Westport Innovations Inc. is a global supplier of proprietary solutions that allow engines to operate on clean-burning fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and biofuels such as landfill gas.
So Soros makes engines – for which this bill would pay him $64,000 per.
Thusly do government handouts to Soros flow.
This is not unlike hot-air dispenser Al Gore making billions on global warming legislation [20].
So in HR 1380 we have yet another hideous waste of government money, dumped in to artificially create a non-existent market.
For George Soros.
How’s that for a great idea?

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