Conspiracy Brews 1.31.15

Conspiracy Brews @ SW Secondary Learning Center 9:00 AM – 10:15 PM on 31 Jan 145
Robby Robertson who regularly attended our meeting passed away. His service will be at 11:00 AM at the Masonic Lodge on Osuna. His obituary is at the end of this notice. Our meeting today will shut down at 10:15 sharp.
If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews
“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
January 31, 2015
9:00 AM to 10:15 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***
“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Indira Gandhi

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Suggested Topics

– What is the perception of Albuquerque & APD? How is the mayor handling it?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/son-deceased

http://www.koat.com/news/berry-reacts-to-new-yorker-article-defends-actions-against-brandenburg/30952442

– The President ordered his Iran negotiators to finalize a deal in Iran…any comments?

(Light Quotes of the week)

“O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.”

Saint Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)

“If a thing isn’t worth saying, you sing it.”

Pierre Beaumarchais (1732 -1799 )

All is in the hands of man. Therefore wash them often.”

Stanislaw J. Lec

——-

James Douglass “Robby” Robertson
11-27-1925 – 1-26-2015

Mr. James Douglass Robertson of Albuquerque, NM, died Monday, January 26, 2015. He was
89 years of age.

“Robby”, as he was known to his friends, was born in Groton, CT, on November 27, 1925, and is
survived by four children, Margaret Robertson, Groton, CT; Elizabeth Weil, Groton; CT, Ted
Robertson, Colorado Springs, CO; and Carl Robertson, Cromwell, CT; two grandchildren and two
great grandchildren, all residing in southeastern, CT.

Mr. Robertson was a member of the United States Navy for 8 years followed by 20 years in the
Army. He served with the Navy in the Pacific Theater during WWII and in Korea and Viet Nam
with the Army, retiring in 1969 as a Major and moved his family to Groton, CT, in 1970.

Mr. Robertson settled in Albuquerque, NM, in the mid-1980s. He was an active amateur radio
operator, a photographer, square dancer and loved to travel the country during the summer
months. He was the family genealogist which led him to Europe as part of the project. He filled
his spare time supporting community organizations and events. He was also a member of the
Masonic order, the second most current in a line of Masons dating to the 1700s. His home
lodge was Temple 6 in Albuquerque, NM.

He was an accomplished writer, publishing his book, “Robby”, in 2012, which chronicles his life
and experiences as a teenager during WWII.

Mr. Robertson’s storied life will be commemorated during memorial services at the Masonic
lodge in Albuquerque on Saturday, January 27, at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception for
attendees. The address is: 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Robertson’s family is requesting donations be made in is name to
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 63, at 202 Harvard Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87102, or, to the
Masonic Lodge in care of Temple #6, 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM 87109.

How much taxpayer money will fund this — Is it worth it

Sig Silber was kind enough to send this along.  Is the devil in the details or is this an angelic gift?
——————————————————————————–

SUNZIA_RELEASE%20IMG_V2

On January 24, 2015, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and senior Bureau of Land Management officials to announce the approval of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line in New Mexico. The $2 billion infrastructure project will connect and deliver renewable power generated in New Mexico and Arizona to population centers across the southwest. The announcement was made at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories.

January 28, 2015

Dear Fellow New Mexican,

Our state can and should be America’s epicenter of the clean energy economy. New Mexico has the technology, ingenuity, and abundant wind and solar resources to unleash the full potential of our homegrown energy to create good, quality jobs.

That’s exactly what a major infrastructure project that was approved on Saturday represents.

The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project will unlock New Mexico’s stranded wind and solar resources and move that energy to market. The project has the potential to enable the addition of 3,000 megawatts of electric capacity, which would provide sustainable power for more than a million homes.

SunZia will also have tremendous impact on our state’s economy. An economic study estimates that in New Mexico this project would generate $275 million in wages and salaries and $65 million in state and local taxes during construction.

Providing renewable power to the desert Southwest region, SunZia is expected to create 6,200 jobs during a four-year construction period to build the transmission lines and substations, and more than 36,700 jobs during a two-year construction period for renewable generation projects. An additional 600 permanent jobs are estimated to be created from transmission and generation operations.

I commend the tremendous work that all of the agencies involved in the review of SunZia have done to responsibly site this line and reach common ground along the way. I have followed this project closely and it has been deliberate, transparent, and comprehensive.

But this isn’t just about SunZia. This is about New Mexico diversifying its economy and building a prosperous clean energy future.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me on this and other issues that matter most to you and your family.

Be well, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter:

 

 

Marita: Republicans advocating gas taxes

Editor:

Count on the republicans to keep not keep their word on taxes in general and gasoline taxes in particular.  At this point in time, it should not surprise us that politicians sitting at the federal level make promises to raise money, with little intent to serve the people voting for them.

There are other ways of financing our transportation infrastructure and Marita finds them with little effort. READ

Greetings!

I generally beat up on President Obama and his Democrat allies—because they are such easy targets when it comes to bad energy policy. However, when Republicans do stupid things, I am quick to point it out. In this week’s column, Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea (attached and pasted-in-below), I took that opportunity. Really, what is the GOP thinking? Breitbart.com has posted a shortened version and I am offering you the full-length version. It is a complicated issue and my conversations with regular folks who don’t follow this stuff told me that a full explanation was needed—hence I suggest the longer version.

Whichever version suits your needs, I hope you will post it, pass it on, and/or personally enjoy it!

BTW, with the storms coming into the Northeast today, may I remind you of a column I wrote at the first cold snap in November? Give this another look: Dear Northeast: How’s that solar working out for ya?

Stay warm!

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea

What are the Republicans thinking? Coming right out of the gate, at the start of the new GOP-controlled Congress, they began talking about the crazy idea of increasing the gasoline tax. It has little chance of passing, yet can easily taint the party with a tax-raising reputation.

Just two days after the swearing in of the new Congress, the January 8 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headline reads: “Senate Republicans: Higher Gas Taxes are on the Table.” It states: “Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who just took the reins of the panel, said he is open to considering raising the gas tax as a way to help pay for the dwindling Highway Trust Fund that keeps up the nation’s roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Many of Inhofe’s Senate colleagues are clear about gas tax increase’s future. According to the Associated Press (AP), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said: “I don’t know of any support for a gas tax increase in Congress.” The WSJ cites Senator John Barasso (R-WY), “who said he doesn’t support an increase and doesn’t think there is a political appetite for doing so on Capitol Hill.”

The House isn’t any more optimistic. According to the AP, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn’t think there “are enough votes in the House for a gas tax increase.” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, said: “I don’t think there’s a will in Congress and the American People don’t want it.”

Even the New York Times touts: “Gasoline-tax increase finds little support.”

However, Inhofe’s apparent willingness to consider an increase in the gas tax, along with Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD), has given fodder to those who long for a carbon tax. A San Francisco Chronicle article titled: “Odds of gas-tax hike grow with quiet support of GOP Senators,” opens: “With Washington’s most famous climate-change skeptic expressing interest in raising the federal gasoline tax, Bay area Rep. Jared Huffman sees an opening to grab the brass ring of the environmental movement: a tax on carbon.” Huffman sees that “it’s a good time to make the tax a little more sophisticated so it reflects the carbon content of all fuels.”

The gas tax creates headlines because the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which finances the interstate highway system, faces insolvency due to spending more than it takes in. Had Congress not come up with a solution to the $16 billion shortfall by August 1, 2014, federal highway projects would have ground to a halt and as many as 700,000 people would have received lay-off notices. An agreed upon “patch” put the crisis off until after the elections. That fix ends in May and the new Congress must now come up with another way to fund America’s roads and bridges. A gas-tax increase is the obvious solution as the concept means those who use the roads most, pay for them—supposedly making it more of a “user fee” than a tax.

The tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel—more than double the oil companies’ profit on that same gallon of gas. (Note: the gas tax is a flat figure, not a percent. With lower prices, people are driving more so revenues should be up.) With gasoline prices at historic lows, many think now is the time to raise the tax, as it will hardly be noticed.

But there are other options that don’t require raising taxes—or instituting a new carbon tax.

The fact that modern cars are more efficient than they were when the gas-tax was first instituted in 1956 at 3 cents a gallon is a major problem with HTF funding. Because drivers now go farther on less fuel, the roadways receive wear and tear without enough taxes collected to cover the use. As more electric cars fill our roads, the problem is exacerbated. Electric cars use the roadways for free while everyone else pays for them. Therefore many have proposed a mileage fee rather than a gas tax—or in addition to it. With a voluntary program passed in 2013, Oregon has been at the forefront of what is called mileage-based user fees (MBUF). The pilot program, which takes advantage of smart technology, has been hailed as a great success.

However, MBUFs should concern everyone concerned about more government involvement in our lives. At the Detroit auto show, BMW sounded an alarm about the “fine line between performance and privacy.” While the Financial Times (FT) report focuses on the pressure carmakers receive from technology companies and advertisers who want data collected by “connected cars,” one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to imagine the data collection morphing into a big-brother-like intrusion. According to the FT: “About two-thirds of today’s new cars have sensors and communications systems that send and receive data.” At last year’s consumer electronics show, Jim Farley, then Ford’s head of marketing, said: “We know everyone breaks the law. We know exactly when you do it because we have a GPS sensor in your car.” Imagine Environmental Protection Agency officers showing up on your doorstep because you have driven more than the allowed amount. Or, more likely, your gas supply getting cut off because you used up this month’s allotment early.

MBUFs may serve as a good option for electric vehicles, but implementation should not be universal—and therefore do not create the full answer to the HTFs funding woes.

The answer requires an understanding of the problem.

Gas taxes used to be more of a user fee—which made it fairer. “But since the 1990s the Highway Trust Fund has come to fund much more than new roads and bridges and highway maintenance,” claims a WSJ editorial. Heritage Foundation transportation and infrastructure analyst Emily Goff believes the problem is: “Spending priorities are determined more by politicians appeasing special interests than local needs or consumer choices. And the federal regulatory burden delays projects and smothers state and private-sector innovation.” She points out: “Washington diverts more than 25% of that money to subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping, at the expense of road and bridge projects.” Users of these HTF projects utilize the infrastructure but don’t contribute to it. Cutting non-highway spending would go a long way to closing the funding gap. As the WSJ puts it: “Simply using the taxes that are supposed to pay for highways to, well, pay for highways makes the HTF 98% solvent for the next decade, no tax increase necessary.”

Another part of the solution, would redirect highway projects to the states. Chris Chocola, president of The Club for Growth, explains: “All 50 states have Departments of Transportation. More than 70% of all transportation spending in this country is already financed and spent at the state and local level. Each state has very specific infrastructure needs, and those needs are most effectively addressed at the local level, where those making the decisions are held most accountable by the taxpayers.”

States can more easily innovate and have already solved some highway issues with toll-concession private-public partnerships (PPP). Douglas Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, sees creating more PPPs as an alternative to an increase in the gasoline tax.

A Reason Foundation FAQ on Toll Concession PPPs explains them this way: “A toll concession is a DBFOM (design-build-finance-operate-maintain) highway contract in which the principal funding source is tolls charged to users of the highway project. The projected toll revenue stream is used to support long-term revenue bonds, in addition to covering operation and maintenance costs of the project. In a toll concession, the consortium that wins the right to do the project takes on the risks of (a) construction cost overruns, (b) late completion, and (c) inadequate traffic and revenue. Those risks would otherwise be borne by the government (and hence, the taxpayers).”

I’ve outlined just four possible options to fund our roadways without raising the gas tax—which will still exist when gas prices go up and impacts the price of almost everything:

MBUFs for electric cars;
Limit spending to actual highway projects—not mass transit or nature trails;
Redirect some projects to the states; and
Toll concession PPPS.

Surely, the great minds in Washington could come up with more ideas.

With several options available to support the nation’s highways, the GOP needs to create, innovate, and unify in fixing problems—like the HTF—and show America that they can do it without raising taxes.

(A version of this content was originally published on Breitbart.com.)

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

Is Marita Saying: An Illusion and a Delusion

Marita writes about Cape Wind and all of the missing parts and elements which might complete it as something real.  Alas, too many missing components to make it real. Components such as investors and funds to continue what seems to amount to another subsidy boondoggle.

Here’s what she has said:

Greetings!

With all of the news focus on the terror attacks in Paris, this important story has been almost totally overlooked—but it has huge implications. While Wind energy’s bluster peters out (attached and pasted-in-below) focuses on the latest in the long-running Cape Wind Saga, I’ve included three additional recent tidbits regarding the current status of wind energy—making this a national story.

I’ve written on Cape Wind and the Production Tax Credit many times before. Wind energy’s bluster peters out brings both up to date. Please help me spread the word by posting it, passing it on, and/or personally enjoying Wind energy’s bluster peters out.

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: January 12, 2015.

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Wind energy’s bluster peters out

Touted as “America’s first offshore wind project,” Cape Wind became one of America’s most high-profile and most controversial wind-energy projects. Fourteen years in the making, estimated at $2.6 billion for 130 turbines, covering 25 square miles in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts, the Cape Wind project has yet to install one turbine—let alone produce any electricity. Now, it may be “dead in the water.”

On January 6, the two power companies, National Grid and Northeast Utilities, that had agreed to purchase most of the electricity Cape Wind was to generate, terminated their contracts with the developers due to missed milestones. Under the terms of the contracts, Cape Wind had to secure financing and give notices to proceed to its suppliers to start work by December 31, 2014. Neither happened and both companies filed to cancel power purchase agreements. “The project is in cardiac arrest,” according to Amy Grace, a wind-industry analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Cape Wind has faced stiff opposition since it was first proposed in 2001. Senator Edward Kennedy’s efforts, and those of his wealthy friends, to fight Cape Wind have been the most publicized, but Native Americans, fishermen, and local communities have also battled the industrialization of Nantucket Sound. The town of Barnstable has been particularly active in the fight. The Cape Cod Times reports that Charles McLaughlin, Barnstable’s assistant town attorney, said: “The town’s concerns include the possibility that a collision between a boat and the large electric service platform the project requires could spill thousands of gallons of oil into the sound.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) positioned Cape Wind as the centerpiece of his renewable energy goals and invested significant political capital backing the proposal—including tying the NStar power purchase agreement to approval of the NStar and Northeast Utilities merger (given the unfavorable terms of the agreements, the companies may have been looking for any exit ramp). Yet, Ian Bowles, Patrick’s first energy and environment chief who, according to the Boston Globe, “helped shepherd the offshore project,” acknowledges that the loss of the power purchase agreements “may have spelled the end for Cape Wind.”

The announcement came two days before Patrick left office. While he claims: “We’ve done everything as a state government to get them over the regulatory lines,” Patrick concedes it is now “up to the market.” According to the Cape Cod Times, the former governor doesn’t know “if the project could survive without the contracts in place.”

Even the Department of Energy (DOE), which seems to indiscriminately throw money at any politically favored green-energy project, was tepid in its support for Cape Wind. DOE’s loan guarantees generally average about 60 percent of the project’s costs, but the $150 million offered to Cape Wind made up a mere 6 percent—and that, only after the project received commitments for about half of its financing. In most cases, the government guarantee comes before the private financing and signals a go-ahead for investors.

While both supporters and detractors believe the project is in jeopardy, environmentalists and Cape Wind Associates LLC have not yet waved the white flag. According to Kit Kennedy, director of the energy and transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Cape Wind may be down, but it is not out.” The Boston Globe reports that Cape Wind’s president, James Gordon, believes the perpetual litigation “triggered a clause in the contracts that allows for more latitude in Cape Wind’s ability to meet the deadlines.” However, after the company already spent $50 to $70 million on the project, the fact that Gordon opted not to pay the utilities the mere $2 million needed for a six-month extension signals that he doesn’t have confidence that they can continue.

Additionally, the political winds have shifted. While Governor Patrick championed Cape Wind, Massachusetts’ new governor, Charlie Baker (R) is on record as being staunchly opposed to it—even calling it Patrick’s “personal pet project.” While campaigning, Baker “dropped his opposition to Cape Wind” because he believed it was a “done deal.” Now that the deal may well be undone, Baker says he “will not try to influence the outcome of the legal process surrounding the Cape Wind project.”

The cancellation of the contracts is “a near fatal blow” to Cape Wind according to Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a Cape Cod based group which has led the fight against cape wind.

Wind energy’s future faces problems beyond Massachusetts.

While Massachusetts’ utility companies filed to cancel power purchase agreements, two Minnesota wind farms, operating as Minwind Companies, were filed for bankruptcy because the eleven turbines needed extensive repairs and the 360 farmers and landowners who invested in the projects can’t afford the maintenance. Minwind CEO Mark Willers explained: “Minwind Companies have enjoyed relative prosperity in recent years, but the April ice storm last year took a toll on equipment—and on the budget.” At a December 17 meeting, he told shareholders: “We were 200 to 300 percent over budget to make those repairs.”

Minwind’s nine separate limited-liability companies allowed investors to take advantage of federal wind-energy credits, USDA grants, and the now-discontinued state assistance program for small wind projects. The Star Tribune reports: “The owners stand to lose their investment, and the wind farms eventually may have to shut down.”

On the national level, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has continued to lobby for a retroactive extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy that expired at the end of 2013. Disappointing AWEA, the lame-duck Congress did approve a ninth extension—but just through the end of 2014. AWEA’s CEO Tim Kiernan groused: “Unfortunately, the extension to the end of 2014 will only allow minimal new wind development and it will have expired again by the time the new Congress convenes.” In response to the “bare-minimum extension,” Luke Lewandowsi, Make Consulting research manager, said it “casts doubt on the willingness or ability of Congress to revisit the PTC in 2015.”

Adding insult to industrial wind’s injury, wind turbine installation placed number three in the list of 10 dying U.S. industries—following only computer and recordable media manufacturing.

All of this news doesn’t bode well for the wind energy business, but for ratepayers and those who believe in the free market and who believe that government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, current wind conditions are a breath of fresh air. Governments, both state and federal, have given wind energy every advantage, to quote Governor Patrick: “It’s now up to the market”—and even Warren Buffet admits the tax credits are the only reason to build wind farms.

(A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com)

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

 

Conspiracy Brews 1.24.15

ConspiracyBrews

If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
January 24, 2015
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

André Gide

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

J. K. Rowling

Suggested Topics

— What do you think of the President’s State of the Union speech…what were the high points and what were the low points?

— Boko Haram…Does anyone give a hoot?

–Why can’t NM become an Entrepreneur Hub?

— What do you think of the Ferguson riots now?

(Light Quotes of the week)

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Stories)

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt)

——-

Silber on Stiglitz

Sigmund “Sig” Silber is a New Mexico writer and economist who makes it a habit to report on economics, water, water law and government.  He is recognized as an expert on New Mexico water issues and he has a great sense of humor … sometimes with a dark cutting edge.

He has given me permission to publish his “stuff,” on my blogs.

Sigmund Silber <sigmundsilber@q.com> wrote:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/politics-of-economic-stupidity-by-joseph-e–stiglitz#AL36G2Abwt15dk7V.99

He has won a Nobel Prize. But I have to disagree with him to some extent.

Yes for sure austerity policies are stupid. They are based on some false assumptions about debt especially when money can be created out of thin air. But even without that, one person’s debt is some other person’s asset so debt is overrated……until you get to the point where you can’t pay the interest. If you have a central bank that is never a problem. As an aside, Europe has its own particular issues which are addressed quite well in this article econintersect.com/a/blogs/blog1.php/stratfor-the-european-union-nationalism

But I certainly am not disturbed that we have fewer public-sector employees. In fact I am elated. In New Mexico we may have insufficient state and local employees. That is because we are a very large state with generally a low population density. But there are far too many Federal Workers. This data may be out of date or wrong but if correct it indicates that in 2009 the average Federal Employee earned $81,258 with $41,791 of benefits. Thus the Federal Bureaucracy is a tremendous drain on the economy. econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog2.php/2015/01/19/killing-the-american-dream And the Federal Government does not attract the best and brightest that is fairly obvious. Fail anywhere in society private or state and local government and off you go to the Feds for a nice sinecure.

The recommendation that we build roads to nowhere also does not impress me. Based on my research, which I suspect is as good as Stiglitz’s research or better, in developed nations infrastructure investments are not very effective at improving the economy. The n th road does not produce the same benefit as the first road. I wonder how you can not know that and still win a Nobel Prize. Infrastructure is usually based on major inventions. Has Stiglitz read Schumpeter? It might be a good investment of his time. Major paradigm shift innovations do not occur on a regular schedule. Chances are there will be some soon. Chances are the public sector employees that Stiglitz loves so much will slow their deployment or prevent their deployment entirely. Why do we not have automated highways or vehicles that drive themselves? It is not a deficiency of engineering expertise; it was public sector employees. Why does it take twenty years to get a new drug approved? Public Sector employees.

I think our problems are more complicated than Stiglitz thinks. But he has the Nobel Prize. And it is tax free. I suspect the reason for this article was shopping around for political clients. I am just speculating on that but that is how it struck me.

But for sure you do not improve an economy by extracting purchasing power from the citizens in the economy. So there I totally agree with Stiglitz. On the other hand, redistribution is a strange concept based on the probably correct assumption that some are more likely to spend than others but countered to some extent at least by the equally correct assumption that spenders are less likely to invest. In the olden days, investment was considered more effective than consumption at improving an economy. Does redistribution encourage innovation and investment? Is Europe doing better than the U.S.? How about Russia? To me it seems that a disrespect for private property is a negative for an economy growing. But Stiglitz may not be thinking about redistribution but simply helicopter drops. In fact neither is discussed in the above linked article but I am speculating that this is on his mind.

I agree with Stiglitz that it is not wise to deflate economies as the World has been doing. But I do not agree with his Marxist/Sayian/Reaganist/IBM Supply Side strategies. To have demand you have to produce things that people want badly enough to exchange labor for those things whether they be products or services. It is very difficult to mandate demand other than by draconian policies. One could mandate that every house have an outside outhouse. That will stimulate demand. Would the World be a better place? GDP would be higher.

Perhaps we have sufficient toys.

Yes with a helicopter drop of currency, sales of toys would increase. Is that progress?

Would more bridges improve things? Keeping bridges from falling down is certainly a good idea. One can call that investment and account for it as investment but it really is maintenance. There is no impact on the economy other than the spending associated with doing the maintenance. Those receiving the payment for their services are better off but the overall wealth of the nation does not change.

I think it is an old fashioned concept as applied to a developed nation. That is not to say that there are no infrastructure opportunities. There certainly are. But I think Stiglitz has made an incorrect diagnosis in that area but a correct one re austerity policies.

Sometimes one just has to wait for demand to materialize especially in developed nations. In less developed nations we need to avoid garroting their economies. I think that Stiglitz and I probably see monetary policy in the same light in this regard. But again time can solve a lot of problems. And in some cases growth is generational.

Santa Fe County Deputy Jeremy Martin Fundraiser

Some of you are aware that Deputy Martin left a wife and three children with another child due very soon.  The following narrative is self-explanatory and comes from an Edgewood officer who worked with Deputy Martin.  I hope you will read the narrative and peruse the flier and allow them it to move you toward a generous donation.  Please know, any donation is a generous donation.

From Edgewood Police Officer David Lovato:

Jeremy MartinLaw