New Year Challenge

Thanks to all of you who read this and have a Happy New Year. By the way, not wishing a Merry Christmas to ya’ll was only a matter of timing. I wished it plenty of times while begging for the Salvation Army at Fareway. Another by the way; everyone should try the bell ringing thing. It really is a lot of fun seeing friends and strangers this time of year. Doing the surveys of shopping cart contents is particularly enlightening. Connecting the stereotype to perceived generosity is fun, yet too unscientific to be of much use.

It is amazing to me that the Salvation Army has to pay bell ringers. Is it a sign of the times where our little devices preclude social interaction? Is the welfare state assumed to be so efficient that there is no need to help people we don’t know? The multitudes who dropped donations in the bucket didn’t seem to think so. I don’t think the word is out how enjoyable an experience ringing the bell can be.


New Year Challenge

As we start a new calendar it is tradition to make a New Year’s resolution. With just a single goal, the task is less daunting and easier to focus on; thus achievable. Usually we procrastinate for a long time in order to enjoy the luxury of our vice as long as possible but still feel good about ourselves as we finally give up smoking, get more exercise, or call our moms more often.

Whatever it is, the new year presents us with a golden opportunity. My hope is that all you people out there with great ideas resolve to share it in the public sphere through a letter to the editor. The letters are the most read section of every paper. It doesn’t take special training or exceptional skill to utter an opinion that can eventually have an effect on the world. Press releases from organizations or government dominate the media while ordinary people sit back and take it. What if the Jews and their friends in 1930’s Germany had spoken up right from the start of their oppression?

If you have already achieved perfection in every other area, make a resolution to write a letter to the editor when you have something useful to share.

Below is a letter I sent to Iowa Farmer Today last week.

Dear Editor,

The signs of the season photo feature in the December 19 IFT was a nice departure from everyday news features. Thanks. But I’d like to add a caption to the picture of the eagles on the soybean field. Let’s call it: “Survivors.”

The eagles stand with wind turbines in the background. Wind turbines kill 573,000 birds (including 83,000 raptors such as eagles) and 888,000 bats per year in the United States.

Promoters of wind energy boast of about 25% of our electricity coming from wind. With 40% being forecast in 2020 that means 40% of our electrical energy will be overpriced for Iowans in less than four years.

You don’t think it is over priced? Take these quotes and think for yourself:

“I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” – Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway’s 2014 annual meeting. Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy has $5.6 billion invested in windmills.

Harold Prior, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association in 2013 said if Congress kills the wind-tax credit, “they’re getting into the business of picking winners and losers, which is what they say they don’t want to do.” See the irony?

I’ve called and left messages to these people asking them what petroleum subsidies they speak of that justify wind power subsidies. Repeated tries brought no response, so I looked into it myself. One obvious oil subsidy is military protection. The cost of this intrusion in the market has been horrific, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost and trillions of taxpayer dollars squandered. With such devastating consequences from these policies, why wouldn’t alternative energy advocates lobby to stop the carnage instead of piling on more handouts?

The unseen cost of petroleum subsidies is the delay of alternate source development because of taxpayer protection of a business that should have had that cost reflected in consumer prices. Shifting costs of petroleum products from the market to taxpayers keeps oil artificially low, reducing incentive to seek new energy sources.

A friend reminded me of the other subsidy, the Oil Depletion Allowance. This long term scam saddles taxpayers with the cost of oil as a dwindling resource. The oil industry brought out the tired old national security and energy independence story to put this over on us; just like alternative energy scammers do today.

Every time we turn around these windmills are deified, even at super extravagant, overpriced rest areas. It is a shame Iowans are so easily conned. It is just one more chapter in a long running story of trade associations lining their member’s pockets at the expense of (I hate the term, but) working families.



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