It's a clear double victory for the White House and its oil/auto allies. Perhaps their biggest win since U.S. soldiers occupied the Iraqi oil fields.
In the morning the President signs a new energy law giving the auto industry another twelve years to catch up with China. Then in the afternoon the same regime tells California, New York and some lesser states they don't have the authority to regulate air pollution from cars sold to their citizens.
This is blatant political "carruption," loosely defined as doing what's best for automakers and Big Oil.
Now lawsuits will fly as states try fight for their anti-pollution laws. But that can easily be dragged out for the remaining thirteen months of the current regime. We definitely need to re-name the EPA. "Environmental Pollution Association."
Meanwhile, the Congress and White House have given the waiting nation a new energy law.
After more than three decades of stagnant mileage requirements, they're asking the auto industry to give us more efficient cars. By 2020 American cars and light trucks must average 30 MPG, right where China requires their cars to be now. And within 5 MPG of Japan and the European Union's current target of 40 MPG. So that puts the U.S. only 12 to 20 years behind the other dominant economies. Our leaders think we stupid American drivers care more about our comfort than cutting air pollution or curtailing our addiction to Saudi oil. We need our big gas hogs to feel safe on the road. It couldn't possibly be that American pols are carrupted by auto lobbyists. Here's one columnist's take on the "carruption" of the Michiganders in Congress:
What is it about Michigan that seems to encourage assisted suicide?
That is all I can think watching Michigan congressmen and senators, led by Rep. John Dingell, doing their best imitations of Jack Kevorkian and once again trying to water down efforts by Congress to legislate improved mileage standards for Detroit in the latest draft energy bill.
It's not just Congress who thinks Americans are spoiled and unrealistic. Mercedes has been selling Smart Cars in Europe and Canada for years. These tiny two-passenger cars are perfect for the lone commuter. Surely every city in America has a handful of those. You must've seen those lone drivers passing your packed carpool mini-van in the morning, right?
The Smart Car finally goes on sale in the U.S. next month. They already have more orders than they can fill in 2008. This'll be the hottest cool little car during the '08 election. Which candidates will be seen driving around in a Smart Car?
This upping of mileage per vehicle will be good for business. Lower individuals' need for gasoline so they can buy more food or clothes. Theory is this will reduce our imports from Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Mideast. What it really means: huge capital investment by auto makers. Billions more dollars in circulation, some of it from Japanese corporations. Also this could mean a big boon for those working on hybrid vehicles, new battery types and the long-hoped-for electric car explosion. BTW: today's copy of the energy bill was driven from Capital Hill to the White House in a hybrid Prius. Limo makers, beware!
The new energy law is ripe with the concupiscence of obscene cornography. Cornography—right there for all to see. The consenting adults involved in this cornographic act are Congress, White House and the Midwest. You might even fear the Midwest will become the New Mideast. The Ethanol Kingdom. American taxpayers strapped to their chairs by a corn belt. Low population corn states like Iowa and Kansas using their two Senators each to tie-up the future, the tax dollars and the environmental health of an entire nation? The corn folk are using your generous subsidies to destroy the Gulf of Mexico just south of what used to be New Orleans.
Far beyond the usual farm subsides, the energy bill throws even more money at the corn/ethanol industry. Investors should be watching the profit margins for big ethanol producers like Archer-Daniels and Pacific Ethanol.
What the new energy law does NOT do: give support or money for solar, wind and geothermal. Those are renewable energies. Maybe desert states like Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico need to get their two Senators to start a campaign to crack down on cornography. Sounds like a fine family value to me.