Green Is The New Black
by Dr. Charles Battig
Much has been written by those searching for economic lessons learned or not learned from the 1930s depression years. I look at those years and see a political and historical template for the crafting of energy policies as proposed by the Obama administration, its supporters, and business beneficiaries.
Those depression years saw the collaboration of industry and government. The place was Europe. The color was not green, but black…black shirted totalitarianism. This form of government demanded and imposed+ total state control over selected elements of society and+ means of production. This+ tide of fascism+ in Italy spilled over from the 1920s until halted by WWII. In his 1936 book ,”Fascism and Big Business,” Daniel Guerin details the mechanisms used by government and big business to profit by mutually beneficial schemes imposed upon the populace by government edict.
Another form of a government/ business/military alliance concerned President Eisenhower in 1961 when he warned of the “military-industrial complex.”
A+ business entity ( especially if it is “too big to fail”) , can influence (lobby) the government to pass legislation favorable to it and unfavorable to its competitors. In turn, the government receives financial support from the favored businesses and is enabled to advance its own social agendas. Too late does business realize that it has become an instrument of government policy foisted upon them and the public under the cover of a proclaimed urgent crisis.
The current TARP and automobile manufacturers’ bailout programs bear the heavy hand of governmental dictates.+ Some banks, now eager to return to the government these TARP monies, are finding out+ that this is not a simple process. They must first be granted permission by the Treasury to return the borrowed monies.+ Some banks and financial institutions have complained about governmental favoritism in the awarding of these bail outs. All+ are told to toe the government line.
The Obama administration is proposing the rationing of energy by making it more expensive to the tax payer. Whether in the form of a direct carbon tax, a tax-and-charade (cap-and-trade) scheme, or energy deprivation , the net effect is to increase the costs of production and consumption. Such increased energy costs will fall disproportionately on the economically disadvantaged. A predictable federal solution will be to raise taxes to pay subsidies to the poor, to correct the federally mandated more expensive energy. The administration is already treating climate change legislation as creating a new revenue stream. Any hypothetical influence on the climate is treated as a moot point.
The Obama administration and the EPA have set in motion a good cop vs. bad cop scenario. The EPA (bad cop)+ has ruled that carbon dioxide, a trace gas essential to plant and human life, is a pollutant. Onerous regulations are threatened that would impact on all industry, agriculture, business, and individual life styles and freedom of choice.+ The Obama administration (good cop) will then offer cap-and-trade or a carbon tax as a much more appealing “choice.”
Business is being offered taxpayer monies as a source of subsidized rewards to become “green.” The government, guided by business and other lobbyists, sets the definition of “green,” and then enacts laws or imposes regulations forcing consumers to purchase these sanctioned products, bringing profits to the chosen businesses. This creates a profitable positive feedback mechanism for all involved, except the hapless consumer who loses the freedom of unbiased choice.
Enron was early to realize the profit potential from alternate energy. Now manufacturers of all sizes, and institutions of all sorts, are eager to color themselves green to capture a bit of green government subsidy.
Green is the new black.
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