- The Budget For Dummies
- America’s Budget: The Latest Cop-Out
- House Spending Impasse Raises Risk of Shutdown
- Fandango Thursday – Does Anything Really Matter?
- Bahrain Killings Bring Mid-East Turmoil To Epicentre Of World Oil Supply
- Colorado Shale Oil Contains No Net Energy
- Recycled Shopping Bags To Save Suburbs?
- Chevron: Monster Or Victim?
The Budget For Dummies (jkibbe)
That item — the total amount the government spends every year — is by far the most important single number in the budget. The bond investors anxiously monitoring America’s fiscal health care little about which categories of spending we raise or lower. What matters to them is the total. And surprisingly, the total is scheduled to rise sharply in the future.
America’s Budget: The Latest Cop-Out (jdargis)
Imagine you have developed a serious weight problem. Things have been going badly for you, and as a result you have been piling on the pounds; in the past three years your weight has ballooned by a shocking 10% a year. Your advisers all say that this will give you a heart attack: not immediately, but in the next decade or so. What do you do? Not many doctors would recommend a diet confined to items that make up only an eighth of your consumption (and were in any case often rather good for you), while slyly sticking to a plan to increase gradually the number of cream buns and cheeseburgers you eat every day. Yet that is exactly what Barack Obama has prescribed for the bloated American government.
House Republicans are close to approving a spending bill for the balance of the fiscal year that includes the largest spending cuts in modern history — a swift, huge slash of more than $60 billion from domestic programs and foreign aid that they say would fulfill their campaign promise to shrink government outlays.
The bill, which covers spending through Sept. 30, seemed likely to be approved on Friday.
It was really the same old song and dance: “The pace of the recovery was insufficient to bring about a significant improvement in labor market conditions, and measures of underlying inflation had trended downward… the Committee reiterated its expectation that economic conditions were likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period…”
Escalating violence in the oil states of the Persian Gulf and North Africa have pushed Brent crude prices to a 30-month high of $104 a barrel, and raised widespread concerns over the stability of global oil supplies for the first time since the Mid-East turmoil began.
Since I’ve been crunching numbers recently, looking at the realism of solar powering Denver’s cars, for example, and the reality of recycling plastic bags into the oil they came from, I was intrigued by a couple of facts David mentioned in his piece, excerpted here:
Companies for more than century have been trying to figure out how to commercially unlock the oil from the rocks in the American West. It’s a costly process that involves heating up the rocks to more than 700 degree Fahrenheit and extracting the organic kerogen. The current process consumes inordinate amounts of conventional power and already scarce western water supplies.
As noted in CleanTechnica: “What most of us see as the ubiquitous blight of modern convenience consumerism, i.e., littered plastic shopping bags, Japanese inventor Akinori Ito sees as the “fuel of the future”. Like most sensible inventions, Ito’s began with the simple realization that plastic bags are made from oil. Thus, it should be possible, he theorized, to revert these same items back to their original form.”
Chevron: Monster Or Victim? (jdargis)
On February 14th a court in Ecuador walloped Chevron, an oil giant based in California, with a $9.47 billion fine. If upheld, this will be the highest-ever damages award in an environmental case, according to Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. If Chevron does not apologise within 15 days, the fine may be hiked to an incredible $17.2 billion.
Yet Chevron shows no sign of contrition. On the contrary, it is fiercely contesting the verdict and hopes to persuade courts in New York and The Hague that it is the innocent victim of an attempted shakedown based on a spectacular fraud by the plaintiffs’ lawyers and members of the Ecuadorean judiciary.
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