Grassroot Perspective: Gambling with Green, the Fed’s Guessing Game, and More

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Scanning the week’s national news, views and clues with you and yours in mind

Photo: Emily Metcalf

By Malia Hill


“Everybody wants to save the world but nobody wants to help mom with the dishes.”—P.J. O’Rourke

Each week, we’ll be monitoring the web to find the most interesting, challenging, or important items for those who are concerned about liberty, accountability, and big government.  Here are some of the highlights from the past week:

Is Green Tech in it for the Greenbacks?

In his State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the need for us to “double down” on the clean energy industry.  An interesting metaphor to use.  Especially when the money that the President plans to gamble in this particular game belongs to the taxpayers.  And as any Blackjack player can tell you, if you’re going to double down, you’d best be sure the odds are in your favor first.  And here is where the dedication to throwing government dollars at green technologies hits a snag.  As the National Legal and Policy Center points out, investment money is there for profitable green energy initiatives.  If these businesses cannot survive on that investment and their own profits, it is foolish to think that there is some magic quality to taxpayer dollars that will make the difference.  Instead, it raises the question of how many of these businesses are formed for the purpose of grabbing those government giveaways while they can.

Will Work for Inflation

Want to be simultaneously depressed and confused about our monetary policy?  Neither do I.  But ignoring the doings of Federal Reserve Open Market Committee doesn’t keep them from doing their thing and ensuring that the value of your money continues to shrink.  As Charles Kadlec explains in Forbes, the FROMC latest plan to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years is just the latest in a history of monetary manipulation—the result of which, it is important to note, is not necessarily what they’re aiming for.  Ostensibly, this latest plan is supposed to help unemployment rates, but the history of Fed manipulation makes one long for a more stable monetary policy.

The Paradox of Term Limits

It is the sad irony to term limits (and an unfortunate truth for voters) that the politicians that most respect the reasons for term limits are not the ones who end up in a position to vote them down year after year.  Either they leave office, true to principle, or suddenly discover that they would much rather stay in office, thank you very much.  As Paul Jacob points out, widespread public support for term limits makes no impression on the Senate, which just voted down a proposed amendment that would have expressed a “sense of the Senate” on a constitutional limit on Congressional tenure.  It seems that the principle of continual reelection is the one dearest to their hearts.

It’s All Greek Financial Crisis to Me

What do the financial problems a small country half a world away mean to us in Hawaii?  Fortunately, the people of Hawaii aren’t naïve.  Our own difficult experiences during the Asian financial crisis have made us aware—probably even more than those on the mainland—of the ripple effect of an international economic crisis.  Bill Wilson at Net Right Daily explains the domino effect of Greek default, but does at least give us a silver lining: the possibility that this could be a wake-up call for other countries to get their own financial house in order.

Will Your Conscience Survive Government Mandates?

It stems, in part, from the misuse of the term “insurance” to describe health care under Obama’s new law—which in pedantic truth is closer to pre-payment of health coverage expenses.  But that’s the kind of side argument that delights policy types while regular folks sidle off to refill drinks and watch the game.  What no one can ignore is the implicit threat in the showdown between the Obama Administrations birth control edict on health coverage and those institutions that refuse to cover based on ethics/moral/religious belief.  As Doug Bandow explains, one shouldn’t be distracted by the particulars of this situation or how they feel about birth control, abortion, etc.  What’s truly at stake here is the Obama Administration’s use of federal power to bully those of different beliefs—and whether the rest of America will fight it or just hope that they never end up on the wrong side of the government in a matter of conscience.

Views expressed in this column are intended to promote creative thought, educate, and, we hope, prompt comment. Accordingly, thoughts expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii or the author.

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