Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Good Day for Conservatives in Delaware

I awoke this morning, as I do every morning, casting an eye toward my email notifications and The Blaze and flipping on the TV to Fox News (let's face it, Fox is the most credible although now and again I do enjoy checking out Robin Meade over on HLN) to see the latest headlines.  I confess, I have long since stopped paying daily attention to the local "newspaper" The News Journal (unflattering nicknames omitted) and rely on those who can still stomach its almost constant barrage of liberalism to inform me of its contents.  I had errands to run this morning and so I was out of the house for a more extended period than normal.  My buddy Lee calls me just about every morning to discuss issues of the day or events from the previous day/evening and so his call this morning as I was shuttling the kids around to daycare, school and Doctors appointments was not unusual.  Lee is often excitable so I was not surprised to hear the tone in his voice but the words were surprising: "Did you see the Journal today!?"  I confessed, as I often do, that I had NOT seen it but I was curious about what was in it.  He informed me that NRG Bluewater Wind had suspended a plan to take the next step in creating an offshore wind farm off the Delaware coast and that Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart had submitted a waiver to exempt Delaware from the Obamacare plan.  Once I returned home from my errands I did a little digging and even more good news came in, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to pull New Jersey from the 10 state RGGI Cap and Trade plan which States from Delaware to Maine have found themselves mired in.  Of course, Founders Values had met last night on the RGGI topic and specifically on its repeal from Delaware law, so it was especially exciting to see that New Jersey had taken that step.  My research into what actually took place left me, well, even more excited and enthused because each of these stories affirmed conservative positions that the left has consistently tried to portray as radical and crazy.  I'll break down my findings on each story below.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Requests Obamacare Waiver
My initial reaction was that this had to be wrong.  Delaware, my state and the home of Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Beau, in his capacity as AG has refused to participate in the multi-state lawsuit against Obamacare (that's not the only thing he has refused either) was going to request a waiver to opt-out of Obamacare!?  WELL....not exactly.  What Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart wants is a waiver to suspend a new rule (read: regulation...see: Cass Sunstein) that mandates that insurance companies use at least 80% of premium payments for health care payouts and not for administrative costs (salaries, advertising, profit) otherwise they must refund that money to the customers.  At first blush, as someone who pays for health care through insurance premiums, this sounds like a fair idea.  That is until I look at it from the perspective a business owner.  Why is the government now coming into MY business and telling me that my business model isn't working?  Who are they to do that?  Assuming that I am not actually defrauding my customers, that is that the plan they pay for, the agreement we have on how much coverage and on what is covered is adhered to, who is the government to come in and say "No, you can't do that, you have to spend MORE on payouts."?  I discussed this with my wife and she took my initial position, that there needs to be SOME regulation to ensure that a company doesn't, for instance, fall into a position where they cannot afford to pay your claim and you are left to cover it yourself.  "But hold it", I said, "there are already laws that prevent these companies from doing these things.  The contract itself holds the insurance company liable for whatever level of coverage the parties agree upon."  So this argument holds no water....but I wondered, why would the government do this?  Is it purely for control over the private health care providers?  The answer is no, well, kinda.

The government DOES want control of the private health insurance market but that is only because the market won't go quietly.  Think about what this regulation would do to health care providers:
  1. It would force smaller, less expensive insurance companies out of business because they would no longer be able to afford to advertise and compete with larger insurance companies with bigger customer bases.
  2. It would contract company staffing levels to a point where it would actually become completely unmanageable and inefficient.  There is something to be said for a lean staff, but forcing these kinds of reductions in administrative costs, while INCREASING regulatory responsibilities thanks to even MORE government regulations being tacked on thanks to the Obamacare bill, would result in a bottleneck and major delays, resulting in Dr.'s not being paid, patients being denied and a shutdown of many companies and potentially the industry as a whole.
  3. It would result in premiums skyrocketing to cover the costs of advertising, increased regulations AND increased payouts to Dr.'s or returns to customers.  It would also make the business of health insurance an unprofitable industry and discourage new companies.
So, what does all this mean?  Why is government getting involved?  Well, remember that the left did not see Obamacare as an end result, it was just a stepping stone to a single payer system.  See John Conyers in his own words (COURTESY BREITBART.TV...he gets cranky when you don't put up a neon sign that material belongs to him...):
So, if you take people at their own words, you have to wonder, is this what their regulations are intended to do?  Drive companies out of business, drive premiums up and create outrage amongst the people, drive the industry into the doldrums?  If so, this is the way to do it, and if not, why would they do something so oppressive to the industry?  Likewise, while Karen Weldin Stewart is at least asking for relief for Delaware insurance companies, it begs the question, isn't it about time Delaware opened up and allowed more competition in the market and stopped playing games with just a handful of companies?  More competition would only decrease prices and increase coverage.  So what say you Karen?  How about a little more competition and a little less begging for table scraps?
Chris Christie Pulls Out of RGGI
Gov. Christie, who has captured much of the conservative spirit by taking on Big Education (read: New Jersey Education Association) and who has caught the ire of conservatives for his support of climate change and Cap and Trade, has recaptured some of that conservative spirit by not only changing his mind on climate change, but for acting on it and pulling New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  RGGI is a regional cap and trade scheme developed to allegedly reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change by charging CO2 emitters for their output.  Delaware is also engaged in the plan, despite best efforts by Republican legislators and individuals from across the political spectrum to end Delaware's involvement in the program.  Mr. John Nichols, a regular citizen who got involved in the RGGI repeal debate after he investigated what it would entail for him to install solar panels on his own roof.  What he found on his journey was that, simply put, without direct subsidies from the government, solar energy (and wind) is not sustainable.  In fact, he found the more he looked, that solar energy is nothing more than affluent people, who can afford a $30,000 plus solar system, taking direct subsidies from the poor and middle class to install it.  He found it to be morally wrong as does anyone who truly understands the process.  To force the poor and middle class to pay for the luxuries of the upper class is reprehensible.  Nichols sought out climatologists and government leaders for answers to his questions and has built a detailed history of the "green energy" movement and the effects on Delaware and "climate change".  Using their own words, Nichols shows the convoluted and confusing structure that is in place and squeezing the life out of the American energy market.  Now, Gov. Christie has caught on to what Nichols has been saying, that RGGI is doing nothing to affect climate change and is wasting hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars.  Gov. Christie said "This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future.  The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure."
NRG Bluewater Wind Delays Wind Farm
This one made me chuckle a bit.  NRG Bluewater's wind farm off the Delaware coast has been a problem since the day it was proposed.  Bluewater has taken every government dollar it could since it started negotiating with Delmarva and the state.  Their practice of crony capitalism to influence the state and gain favor among the legislators has earned them millions of dollars in subsidies and concessions from the state and Delmarva.  Legislators pressured Delmarva Power to purchase more and more power from Bluewater and even when Bluewaters parent company went belly up in the economic crisis and the project was purchased by NRG, legislators demanded more and more.  Even still, NRG Bluewater relied on portions of the $26 BILLION (Big Oil gets $21 Billion) in direct payment subsidies to complete their project or even to see through the next phase.  I feel the need to explain the way subsidies work here because I know there has been a lot of distortions out there.

Everyone RAILS against BIG OIL for their massive taxpayer funded subsidies right?  Big Oil's "subsidies" aren't subsidies at all, they are tax credits and deductions that are offered too ALL businesses, not just "Big Oil".  For instance, "Big Oil" receives a deduction for the depreciation of assets, the more oil they suck out of the ground, the less oil there is, the less value is left in the ground.  "Big Oil" is allowed to deduct that depreciation of value in the land which is considered an asset.  It's no different than the equipment depreciation allowance for any other business from the local pizzeria to a construction company and so on.  Big Oil doesn't get any direct subsidies (payouts) from the government.  Despite all the noise and screaming from the left, they simply are allowed to write off the same depreciation, losses and assets as other small, medium and large businesses.  The "lost revenues" from "Big Oil" are simply less money squeezed out of companies by a bloated government.

Big Wind however, receives DIRECT SUBSIDIES, meaning that the government takes dollars from the Treasury and gives them to the wind power company.  Big Wind gets $26 Billion (that's $5 Billion more than Big Oil's tax breaks) in direct payment subsidies from the federal government.  And this is for an industry that Steven Chu, White House Energy Secretary has described as "mature".  The facts bear that out as well, wind energy has been around for more than 30 years and it's nearly reached it peak zenith.  In fact, with all the money poured into "alternative energy", America gets around 10% of its power from "renewables".  For $26 Billion, we get around 2%-3% of our power needs and while Oil provides very little POWER (if you take out vehicle power)...natural gas, often found along with oil, provides more than 20% of our power
So given all of these facts, I was actually delighted to see that NRG cited the reduction of government subsidies as the reason that it had to delay progress on the Bluewater offshore wind project because it shows that wind power, for all it's sustainability in terms of ecology, has exactly ZERO sustainability economically.  It REQUIRES massive investment from the taxpayers to provide energy that is 2 and 3 times as expensive as energy from domestic sources such as coal and natural gas.  Add to this the fact that even Chris Christie, once a believer in Cap and Trade, has abandoned support for the RGGI debacle and has admitted that it simply does NOTHING to affect climate change and you see the proof that Cap and Trade is nothing more than a great big scam.

1 comment:

  1. It's a great Day and Thanks.

    Delaware Republican party which is needed to reform conservatively :)

    Delaware Independent.