William Hamilton " Washington Star Wars: Not just a movie
May 27, 2009
If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then former President George W. Bush should feel flattered because Obi-Wan Obama has, with one exception, rubber-stamped his defense and anti-terrorism policies. But Mr. Obama does want to close Club Gitmo, although he is apparently clueless as to where to transfer the remaining 245 detainees.
At the last minute, and without lobbying for it, Mr. Obama requested funds to close Club Gitmo. In the arcane lexicon of Washington-speak, that allowed him to say that he wants Club Gitmo closed while signaling Congress not to provide any money. Congress did not.
Recently, during the long ride from Dulles International to downtown Washington, D.C., counting the number of American cars along the way produced a shocking revelation. Out of 40 cars counted, not one was an American brand. Later, during a taxi ride from downtown to Georgetown, four Bentleys and countless large BMWs, Lexus and Mercedes were observed. No wonder Detroit is in trouble. America’s supposedly best and brightest are riding around in big foreign cars.
Obi-Wan Obama just arranged for the United Auto Workers (UAW) to control GM (Government Managed) and Chrysler. Seven years from now, Detroit must produce a fleet of Toy-Yodas averaging 39 miles per gallon. According to The Wall Street Journal, that goal cannot be achieved unless Americans switch to hybrid and/or electric cars.
Moreover, unless the price of fuel goes up to and stays at $4 per gallon or higher, Americans will resist putting families in tiny cars that offer little protection from other cars and trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Board says that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as many as 715. In six years, that would equal the number of Americans KIA in Iraq.
The environmental cost of hybrid and especially all-electric cars is enormous. Battery technology lags far behind all other car components in terms of being friendly to the environment. The negative effects that battery manufacturing, battery disposal, and even battery recycling have on the environment are enormous.
On top of that is the environmental impact of producing the electricity (over 50 percent from coal) required to charge the batteries needed to keep hybrid and all-electric cars running along.
According to former Environmental Defense Fund trustee Robert E. Grady, the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will increase the average price of a new car by $1,300. Higher costs mean consumers will hold onto their old cars longer. That is unfortunate because the older cars are the dirtiest cars and the dirtiest one-third of our cars produce more than 80-percent of the pollution.
Meanwhile, new legislation means that those who pay their credit card bills on time will incur higher costs to cover those who do not pay their credit card bills on time. People who pay their mortgages on time are paying for those who do not make their mortgage payments. Banks that were forced during the Clinton years to offer mortgages to people who could not pay their phone bills, are now setting down-payment and other collateral requirements so high that bank lending is, in many cases, still frozen.
California voters just voted against paying higher taxes to rescue their bloated state government from budgetary collapse. But California, the world’s seventh largest economy, is too big to let fail. So, when California state government collapses, Obi-Wan Obama and the Democrat Congress will bail out the over-spending Californians by spreading California’s debt among the other 49 states. Even though candidate Obama said he campaigned in 57 states, 49 would be the correct number.
Enough doom and gloom. Want an economic bright spot? Washington, D.C., is booming. Downtown D.C. is crammed with lobbyists, lawyers and community-action organizations rolling in stimulus-package dough. Bet you didn’t know that you are paying for all those Bentleys, Lexus, BMWs, Volvos and Mercedes.
” William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
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