Money


Mr. Spangler has created quite the stir amongst my social circle about alternative energy.  This caused one of my friends to insult Leo, which made me incredibly angry.  He gets a bad rap for ‘Titanic’.  I’m telling you, he will go down in history as the best actor of our generation, and certainly the best actor to ever appear on ‘Growing Pains’.  Sorry, Kirk Cameron.

I’m not sure why people are so opposed to looking for alternative ways to create energy.  When you talk about it in the political sense, I guess I would assume that this issue is something that would bridge the partisan gap.  It creates revenue for the alternative energy companies and the people who are invested in them, which is good.  It saves the companies and communities that invest in alternative energy millions of dollars, which is also a good thing.  And while it happens to be creating jobs and be more cost effective, it’s also good for the environment (while I do not believe that there is enough evidence to support man-made global warming, I do believe that it doesn’t take a scientist to watch a sunset from Dodger Stadium in LA and realize that it’s probably not good to breathe in that air).

When I talk to people about this, the issue that they seem to not understand about alternative energy is that it can actually be incredibly cheaper than traditional fuel. Now, that being said, I don’t expect every house to have its own source of independent energy in its backyard.  When you’re talking about spending federal dollars, that’d be absolutely ridiculous.  No one was expected to own a computer when they first made their way onto the scene in the 40’s either (unless you were a millionaire and happened to own an entire city block).  I’m not saying we should all live like the Dutch.  Although that would be pretty sweet, it’s just not practical on a micro-level yet.

However, if businesses and communities invest in alternative energy projects like biomass technology or community digesters, it is significantly more cost effective than traditional fuel based energy (and simultaneously good for the environment).  Companies like Wilson Engineering provide clean, renewable, and significantly cheaper energy technology.

http://www.wilsonengineeringservices.com/index.html

When you can actually show the fiscal sense that projects that companies like this provide, I’m unsure as to why you wouldn’t want to invest in that technology.

While I certainly don’t believe that human beings are the cause of global warming, I do believe it’s fiscally and socially irresponsible to not look for alternative energy sources when the technology is readily available.

And while Leo may not be an authority on energy policy, I think he’s more knowledgeable than this ass-clown:

Jesus.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

I’m not sure, but we’re going to be finding out next election.  Apparently Political Action Committees weren’t enough for the money-grubbing politicians, so now America is going to get what they’ve been wanting for decades: the best president corporate America’s money can buy.

In a landmark ruling on Thursday, January 21st, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that limiting campaign contributions was a First Amendment violation.  This opens up the wallets of major corporations to spend limitless amounts of dollars on advertising for candidates in national, state, and local elections.  So how much air-time a company would like to purchase in support of a candidate is now directly proportional to the depths of their pocketbook.  There are still protections in place that prohibit corporations from donating dollars directly to candidates.  However, that point really seems to be moot at this juncture.

Fortunately, (if there is any silver lining to this) I’ve been saving since my first paper route 15 years ago for just such an occasion.  I’m finally ready to throw my hat into the political arena and spring my add in support of my candidate in 2012.  I don’t want to give too much away, but think Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation meets Vince from ShamWow! It’s artistic and inspired.

I hope that information about how much these companies spend on political advertising is available to the public so that we-the-people can see how much President Wal-Mart costs next election.

Sources: 1,2,3,4

Main Entry: lob·by·ing
Function: verb
Date: 1837
intransitive verb
1: to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation
transitive verb
1: to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials
2: to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action

lobbying

It would be difficult to forget that time around a year ago when we taxpayers shelled out over $700 billion dollars to the automotive industry, insurance companies, and banks, saving them from bankruptcy and extensive layoffs in what is commonly referred to as the “bailout” (although technically, it was not bailouts given to GM and Chrysler, but bridge loans). It was controversial at the time and remains so today, and thanks to some research by The Huffington Post, the pot is about to be stirred again.

Twenty-five top recipients of government bailout funds spent more than $71 million on lobbying in the year since they were rescued, an extensive review of federal lobbying records by the Huffington Post reveals. … In all, during the last quarter of 2008 and the first three quarters of 2009, those 25 institutions spent $71,199,000 on lobbying. The list includes General Motors ($11.95 million), Citigroup ($8.915 million), Bank of America ($6.427 million), J.P. Morgan Chase ($7.735 million), Goldman Sachs ($4.38 million) and AIG ($3.47 million). Some of these companies have paid federal money back. Not all of the top bailout recipients, meanwhile, spent money on lobbying.

The amount that was spent, however, is nearly identical to the lobbying expenditures these same companies made during the year preceding the federal bailout. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, bailout recipients paid approximately $76.7 million for the services of lobbyists in 2008. All of which has sparked angry pushback from good government groups and lawmakers on the Hill, who ask whether the expenditures are appropriate after these institutions took the nation’s economy to the brink of collapse.

What leaves a unpleasantly salty taste in the mouths of many (besides lobbying in general, which is often a corrupt and unethical practice in America) is that this is taxpayer money these companies are using – and they are using it to lobby for legislation that taxpayers would not support, such as a bill that would put more restrictions on how these companies spend taxpayer money. Amusing. At least they aren’t lobbying to make Billy Graham the Supreme Chancellor of the United States of God, but they are lobbying for legislation that benefits them and potentially hurts the taxpayers whose very money they are using. I understand that it is no simple task, but these companies need to be held accountable for every penny that is spent.

The question here is this: should these companies be permitted to use bailout money for lobbying purposes in the first place?

Fun and Depressing Fact of the Moment: If the bank deposited .01% of that bailout into your bank account, you’d have 70 million extra bucks at your disposal.