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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CONGRESS PASSES PAYROLL TAX EXTENSION, BUT...

As you know, last week Congress passed that soccer ball called the payroll tax cut.  Gail Collins of the New York Times had a delightful tongue-in-cheek editorial on the sudden realization of the U.S. Congress that they better grow up now to get re-elected this Fall.  Last year, the Congressional approval rating was a dismal 17%.  This month, it is at an all-time low of 10%.  Worse, the group that will determine who ends up in DC, Independents, gave Congress an 8% rating.

If you can think so far back as later December when Capitol Hill was in near total disarray, you can only wonder how those two legislative bodies could vote 293-132, then 60-36, on extending the payroll tax cut for 160 million workers through the end of this year, also including certain jobless benefits, while preserving Medicare payments to physicians.  Hint:  read previous paragraph.

Well, today, President Barack Obama held a ceremony surrounded by "middle class" citizens, but did not sign the bill because it has still not reached the White House.  He gave credit to Americans, but did not flash his bipartisan card.  A shame!  I thought that was not smart--what kind of advice is he getting, anyway?--but such  is the nature of politics in a presidential campaign year.

Worse, I should add, though, is that the conferees specifically left out any renewable energy tax credits.  While there remains the rest of the year to restore something, these incentives will expire at the end of the year, placing wind  and solar farms in financial jeopardy, for these projects need to pass through time consuming approvals, being of high relative risk anyway.

Also, too, the ethanol credits were abandoned on the first of this year, where a sum of $20 billion of your tax money was previously spent.  Today, no more 45-cent a gallon tax credit for gasoline blenders, 54-cent a gallon tariff on imports, $1.01 a gallon credit to cellulosic ethanol producers, and 10-cent a gallon small-producer tax credit for ethanol.  Frankly, this is about time--I've from day one been anti-ethanol, especially from corn--but I remain perplexed about how quickly this happened.  Is this a sign of what might happen to wind and solar investments?

How could the suffocation of the renewable energy industry and dent to our farm economy occur in a presidential election year?  Well, it's clear that clean energy doesn't have all that much political clout.  The Farm Lobby does, but farmers are actually doing well, and felt that the oil industry was gaining most of the benefits from the ethanol credits.  These are just additional signs that, globally, wind and solar power industries might well be IN DECLINE.  But in the face of the looming Peak Oil and Global Warming crises, is this minimization of sustainable resource production smart?

If our national governments are beginning to abandon green energy, is there any hope?  (I should editorialize that the above posting on the decline was the work of Tory Aardvark, a conservative Brit who has many bones to pick.)  Why did I utilize this one-sided view?  I guess partly to balance my green attitude, but more, to spark the ire of the conscientious.

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The Dow Jones Industrials touched 13,000 for the first time in 45 months, then declined to only +16, ending at 12,966.  World markets were mixed.  Gold jumped $29/toz to $1755, while the WTI Cushing is at $106/barrel and Brent Spot at $122/barrel.

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4 comments:

Payroll Solutions said...

Need more information to understand.

PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY said...

Try clicking on the links. In short, Obama will sign the payroll tax extension when he receives the final document, and the Republican-House passed it because they were looking like idiots, re-thought their strategy, and decided that getting re-elected in the Fall was their highest priority.

About the renewable energy portion, it is a bit messy...something I inserted in haste. Someday, I'll provide a more readable version.

Steve said...

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Steve said...

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