Sunday, December 27, 2009


When a friend ended her holiday greeting with "and a prosperous new year--I hope," I was about to respond with an economic opinion. Opinions, however, abound so I thought the President and his numbers can speak for themselves. Here they are:

"I won't stand here and pretend that any of this will be easy - especially now. The cost of this economic crisis, and the cost of the war in Iraq, means that Washington will have to tighten its belt and put off spending on things we can afford to do without. . . . Barack Obama in Canton, Ohio, October 2008.

“As President, I will go through the federal budget, line-by-line, ending programs that we don’t need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.” Nov. 2, 2008, election eve.

Presidential achievements and positions since taking office:

-- $787 billion stimulus

--$33 billion expansion of the child health program known as S-chip

--$410 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill

--$80 billion auto company bailout.

--$821 billion cap-and-trade bill through the House

--$1 trillion health-care bill.

--$400 billion Christmas eve package of emergency aid to failed government housing corporations. Fannie and Freddie will be on taxpayer support for at least 3 more years.

President Obama: “. . . it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms-firms that are struggling-pay themselves huge bonuses, even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat."

--$42 million in bonuses for top 12 executives of failed govt. housing corporations Fannie and Freddie

--budget plan for the next decade projected that revenues about 18% of GDP; spending up at 24% of GDP

--Annual deficits of about 6% of GDP for foreseeable future

In Jan. 2009 deficit for the year $422 billion.

Nov. 1, 2009, deficit for the year $1.42 trillion

Jan 2009, national debt $6.3 trillion

Nov. 1, 2009 national debt $7.5 trillion

Have a happy and prosperous new year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama On Scientific Integrity

What was President Obama’s response to the revelation that many climate scientists whose reports shape world climate policy have been cooking their information, trying to suppress contrary opinion and data and embracing censorship of critics?

Read the President’s words:


SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public.

Sorry, that was what he said on March 9, 2009. He hasn’t said anything yet about the data and scientists who will have the biggest influence on talks in Denmark that could reshape climate policy and cost the economies of developed countries hundreds of billions of dollars.

To understand how an open minded scientist looks at evidence, please watch this video on the nature of climate change and some of the forces (including human) that act on it.

(Yes, this is on an investing site. Forget the surrounding text. Watch the video.)

(For the record, as the co-author of a book on America's beaches and as a science writer, I understand that we have lots of field data that result from warmer temperatures. Tundra, polar ice coverage, widespread glacial shrinkage, etc. These are the results of past warming. The direction, rate, and scale of future climate change and its causes is open to debate. Past events are not proof that humans are the critical element in climate change. And if we are the critical element, no one yet has proposed any measure that will significantly reduce projected temperature changes in the next 100 years or beyond.

As one of the scientists promoting global warming as a fact said in his e mail about variations on a time frame greater than 100 years, "We know with certainty that we know f***-all."

Given the other urgent needs of humankind and the natural environment, should any committed environmentalist be signing onto Kyoto, Copenhagen, and such schemes or cap and trade without proof that the results are worth the enormous costs?)