First, Doug Ross has a hair-raising piece about how grossly underfunded many of the state employee pension funds are thanks to ridiculous arrangements cut between unions like the SEIU and goofy politicians. Not surprisingly, Ross notes, some of the worst offenders are in states predominately governed by Democrats in recent decades – California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois, for example. All of those states are on a completely unsustainable path.
Ross offers a radical solution; namely, that public employee unions be banned and collective bargaining be done away with. He’s correct in his reasoning; politicians are in a poor position to engage in arm’s-length labor negotiations since it’s not their money being discussed like it is in the classic labor-management negotiation construct. Most of the states Ross discusses will probably have to declare bankruptcy in order to dissolve these unrealistic pension agreements; what also wouldn’t be a bad idea would be to offer the employees involved the chance to opt out of their pensions in lieu of a lump sum payment for the amount currently funded out of the purported balance that they can then roll into a 401K or IRA plan. Individual accounts are good enough for private-sector employees; there is little reason why they don’t suffice for the public variety.
Meanwhile, over at The American Thinker, Andrew Walden has an informative story about wind energy and its staying power as a viable technology.
The verdict isn’t so hot. In Hawaii and California, where there are some of the world’s best wind fields, federal subsidies from years ago led to the development of wind farms which died away when government swag dried up, and in Europe wind energy has become a colossal bust.
At the end of the day, the long and short of the energy story is that there are four viable alternatives: coal, oil, gas and nuclear. All four have proven themselves to be cheap, plentiful, productive and profitable without government subsidies. Anything which stands in the way of domestic development of those four sources is tantamount to sabotage of the American economy – but the Left is hard at work doing just that. In the case of hydraulic fracturing, which together with horizontal drilling has the potential to unlock a revolution of domestic natural gas from shale formations, we’re seeing the beginning of a media assault aimed at killing the practice before it can gain purchase. Some of the latest examples can be found here, here, here and here, with the first one being the most entertaining – apparently the Russians, who have a wealth of natural gas which can be produced without fracking and a great interest in keeping America’s vast gas reserves off the market so as to support Russian gas prices, are alleging that fracking isn’t safe.
Watch this “controversy” closely, as it is going to be one of the hottest issues in American politics by the fall. The Left will fight the development of shale gas tooth and nail, because it is the single best hope for a resurgence in this country’s private economy on the immediate horizon.
And finally, of course, we have the link of the day – namely that East Anglia CRU head Phil Jones, the man at the center of the Climategate scandal, has admitted that there has been no appreciable global warming since 1995. Jones essentially admits that the entire anthropogenic global warming advocacy movement is a fraud, which is a gargantuan story you’d think would be pasted on the cover of every newspaper in America today. And yet a Google search on the topic yields nothing from any major American wire service, newspaper or other “mainstream” media source.
Should you be surprised at that? Probably not. It is a story of large-scale significance, however, and it’s another issue the Republican Party should put on its 2010 election agenda – namely, that a Republican-controlled Congress will hold hearings into the global warming advocacy movement and how far the fraud and deception practiced by Jones and his pals at East Anglia has permeated government-funded climate science here on this side of the pond.