Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tumbling An EPA Potempkin Village

Legend has it that Russian minister Grigory Potempkin erected fake villages along the route Empress Catharine was taking to the Crimea in 1787 to convince her highness that the area was actually developed. Since then, critics of government have used the term Potempkin villages to refer to government orders to create imaginary utopias.

potemkin-village

One element of Barack Obama’s socialist “clean energy economy” program that I describe in my book Never Allow A Crisis To Go To Waste was the Environmental Protection Agency’s decree that gasoline refiners must use “cellulosic biofuels” made out of materials like grass under pain of paying hefty fines.

One not so small problem with the EPA order – cellulosic biofuels do not exist in commercial quantities nor are they likely to in the near future. This did not prevent EPA from levying the fines for failure to follow its decree, however.

This was too much even for the normally regulation friendly D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, the court held that EPA cannot punish gasoline refiners for failing to buy government ordered products which are unavailable for purchase. Unfortunately, the court had no problem with EPA ordering refiners to sell exotic biofuels made from sugar cane and the like without any actual science that these fuels benefit air quality.

One step forward toward freedom, one step back.


Who Said It?

Obama

As the echoes of Barack Obama’s second inaugural speech and celebration of collectivist government fade away, the indispensable Zero Hedge blog asks if you can tell the difference between the rhetoric of French socialist President Francois Hollande and American socialist president Barack Obama.

Hollande


Misadventures In Socialism – Bending The Health Insurance Cost Curve Upward

The New York Times cannot fathom why health insurance rates for small businesses and individuals are soaring when Obamacare promised to “bend the cost curve down” and save the average household $2,500 a year:

Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.

Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.

In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013…

In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month…

Under the health care law, regulators are now required to review any request for a rate increase of 10 percent or more; the requests are posted on a federal Web site, healthcare.gov, along with regulators’ evaluations….According to the federal analysis, 36 percent of the requests to raise rates by 10 percent or more were found to be reasonable. Insurers withdrew 12 percent of those requests, 26 percent were modified and another 26 percent were found to be unreasonable.

It never occurs to the Times that Obamacare mandates are in large part driving the health insurance cost curve upward.

obamacare

This is only the beginning.

Over a half trillion dollars in Obamacare taxes started hitting consumers on January 1. When the taxes the Democrat Congress imposed are not enough, the Obamacare bureaucracy unconstitutionally imposes new taxes and calls them “fees.”

Next year, Obamacare mandates that businesses and individuals either buy government designed health insurance or pay hefty fines.

The best laid plans of mice and socialists…


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