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It’s a pun off of the word stagflation which was short for stagnant inflation.  Stagpression is short for stagnant depression.  It is the most accurate indicator of our economic situation today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…

We seem to be in a Depression. but we aren’t.  The Housing market is recouping, jobs are consistently growing, energy costs have dropped,  corporate profits are now at record, higher than just before the 1929 crash, and an all time record high stock market..  We should be booming. But we aren’t.  We still have too high of an unemployment both on and off the books, we still have depressed low wages, we have lost massive wealth within the middle class over this century so far, we have record high student loan debt, we have low consumer confidence,  Hence, one class of America is booming.  The other class is still in Depression mode.  Hence we are in Stagpression….

It is easy to see why.

Here is a chart showing the free cash flow of businesses……

Free Cash Flow

Record highs. See?  Record highs.  We should be growing faster than China, we have so much investment money at our fingertips. But no.

Here is our investment track record…

Fixed Reinvestment

Ironically as we gave our businesses more and more money with lower taxes, less regulation, tax funded price supports, hand-tied their unions, and made free new technology at our taxpayers expense, despite all these perks and incentives, they invested less.  So what are they doing with their money?   Pick up any financial publication and read the headlines. They all will let you know.

Rather than invest in plants and equipment, businesses are primarily using their funds to repurchase their own stocks in order to boost management earnings and ward off hostile take-overs, pay dividends to stockholders, and accumulate large cash and bond holdings.

None of which help our economy. It is as if we work hard, buy their products, and they put that money into a mattress. Soon, we are going to run out of money. Fortunately the Fed has filled the gap by printing more and giving it to banks for free. It too, filters though the system, and when it gets to the top, it goes into the mattress.

Instead of recycling money, we are letting the tap flow from our printing presses to the top echelon of our society… Now do you get it?

What is missing is a system that recycles the materials back into our economy so we have less money we need to print. If we were talking about paper, we would be saying we need to recycle paper to keep from cutting down more and more trees simply to fill up our landfills….

We need a system to return that money to the bottom so it can rise again and again and again.

Here are the options that have been tried.

  • Price and pay freezes.
  • Government set and regulated prices.
  • Lower tax rates.
  • Cash incentives from taxpayers to reinvest.
  • Pleas and entreaties from the Oval Office.
  • Higher marginal tax rates.

Only one of these has worked.  Can you guess which one?    If you guessed higher tax rates spur reinvestment you are absolutely correct.

Notice the rates of reinvestment climbing in each of these presidencies:  Eisenhower, Kennedy-Johnson,  Carter,  Clinton each time  Congress legislated higher marginal tax rates.  Also notice the drops under Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush as Republicans cut the taxes…  The Bush Tax Cuts held through Obama’s first term, and account for today’s sluggish reinvestment. More precisely, the reinvestment turned upwards under Obama  until 2010 when Republicans took over Congress, and has fallen since. I can’t wait to see 2013’s numbers, for I expect to see real investment increase there as well. However those higher tax rates on the top half percent implemented at 2013’s beginning, sent financiers scurrying and bargain empty homes were bought up by investors with lots of cash which brought up the floor of the housing market (perhaps to our future peril).  It also accounts for stocks becoming an area of liquidity to hold cash,..explaining the record highs ….

So we have an opposite relationship:  cutting taxes increases corporate profits which go elsewhere other than reinvestment back into the ecnomy.

Increasing taxes, cuts into the Free Cash Flow, and funnels some of that flow over to reinvestment projects.

Ever wonder how Delaware’s 3 banks lasted for decades and then all disappeared very close to each other?  Bank of Delaware, Delaware Trust, and Wilmington Trust. are now owned  by other entities. (Wilmington Trust had some hand in cutting off its own foot).  Commerce Bank, which was New Jersey based had the same fate.

They lasted for years because big banks never had enough free money to buy them out.  Just think.  In Delaware there are now 3 less bank presidents.  18 less bank officers,  and who knows how many clerical workers are missing because the work goes to the owners headquarters, not located here…. One still wonders if our state could be better off, had MNBA not been bought up by an outside conglomerate.

So giving more money to businesses and corporations in this case, cost us jobs… and destroyed 3 long termed Delawarean corporations…

That was one example.  Across this nation, in every city,  every county, every state are millions more….

Raising the tax rates drives re-investment.  It is the only thing we know of so far that consistently works to drive re-investment.   Everyone who insists on cuts and de-regulation, no matter how they spin it, is pursuing a policy that has been completely disproven by reality and fact and of course, recent history..

Are you better off than you were under Clinton?  Your income level will probably determine your answer…..  Because yes, some people are indeed, a lot better off.   John Carney.  Tom Carper.  Chris Coons,  Jack Markell, to name 4 off the top of my head….  Better off too, are those who these four represent… the 1%.  Much better off!

If you find someone willing to raise taxes, stick to them like glue. They are the ones who will lead us back to prosperity…..

Until then, economic stagpression will continue…. continuing through tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow….(at a) petty pace that creeps from day to day….

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Saw this headline across quite a few feeds this morning…. Can’t say it enough… I told you so….

Do you know the real reason?  It’s 3/4th of the way down.  In case you didn’t know, if you are short on time and just need to skim.  always go to the 3/4ths mark, and you can get the gist of almost anything, in seconds….

“Regarding U.S. same-store sales for the company’s fourth quarter, ending Friday, Wal*mart said it expects sales, excluding fuel, to be “slightly negative” to its earlier guidance of flat sales at Wal*mart stores “

Why are those sales negative?

Chief financial officer Charles Holley said Wal*mart saw a greater-than-expected negative impact from reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. The cuts went into effect on Nov. 1.

Then it provides some right wing political cover by also blaming storms… But as anyone will tell you, the excessive buying before a storm overcompensates for the loss of business from the storm, and that storm days are the primary money makers for those selling groceries… (No other food company is blaming storms, it should be noted.)

The economic impact of the Republican decision, and all their attempts to rebuff Democrat’s attempts to keep that SNAP option at a higher rate, is very real. If you owned 10,000 shares of Wal*mart stock, this morning in hours you lost $5,500… All because of Republicans… If your town has a million shares owned by all its citizens who invest in the stock market, your town just lost $550,000 dollars collectively, thanks to Republicans…

Republicans only called out those eating with government money; called them lazy.. and unAmerican. Those seeing the whole picture, were more concerned with how the economy would react… We predicted that some businesses would experience a 10% decline in food sales, matching the 10% decline in food stamps….

Now the recent cut agreed by the House just this week, will cut into that further…

So why is Wal*mart the most affected? The answer is because it is cheaper. If one is receiving SNAP (or Food Stamps) one is already poor and on a tight budget. It makes good sense if one has only $700 to spend a month, to try and get as many calories as possible for that amount of money. The best place to do that is Wal*mart.

Wal*mart did this to themselves. As one of the biggest funders to the Tea Party, Wal*mart is one of the few corporations responsible for putting the Tea Party Republicans in office. Ironic that the Tea Party chose to cost a few Wal*mart executives their jobs, by cutting SNAP… Wal*mart should have lobbyied their friends harder to shelve or vote against it. They and all other grocery chains now, should both advertise to the public and lobby the Senate, NOT to pass the Farm Bill with 8 billion of further cuts to that program….

The damage caused to all of society by not fully funding SNAP is severe compared to the consequences that would occur, if that money was saved by raising taxes on the wealthy….

Retail Food is a huge engine of our economy. Putting water into the gasoline that feeds that sector, will have dire consequences,of which we are beginning to now see. Wal*mart and other grocers need to get on the Hill now, lobby against any SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill, threaten to withdraw funding for all rural conservative candidates,.. or face a rather dismal, ten year slump…..

The now famous high stepping Wal*Mart video  mentions that point….

Now, the meme of bashing Wal*mart  and fast foods has gotten a little blaze and to be honest, when I first saw the flash mob at Walmart on the national sites, as a person with little time, I passed.

But on Delaware Liberal, I opened it in another tab, and was listening to it as background and all of a sudden…..  it stopped for a half second and then…

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

The answer in my head was … “no, i didn’t…”

The second answer was… “of course I did.” which made me more intrigued by my original answer.  Why on earth did I think it was bad for these people to interrupt business as usual to demonstrate for something affecting I think, one person?

As this “wow moment” started to dawn on me, I realized I’d been brainwashed’… Over time.  it had really happened.  My gut, had been  over-ruling my head….  it’s a business. They should call the police. They should fire everyone involved…   Demonstrations are really ineffective blowing off of steam…

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

How many others out there would say “no” … How many others out there really don’t know it is their right to form a union?  That anyone can form a union?  It is legally protected.

Oh, they can threaten to fire you if you join… And they can fire you….

But if they do… you can sue… and even better, under current law, you can sue them and win.  Win big!

You can make them pay you for all back wages you lost.  So finacially it is just like you were working but having the entire time off.

You can make them pay all your damages, including late fees on bills you couldn’t pay because the illegally fired you. You can make them pay interest on all loans you took out to live on, even if they came from family.  If you Dad gives you a loan at 1000% interest, they have to pay that… and to your Mom, your brothers, your sisters, your aunts, and uncles…  Your whole family and friends can get rich off them because they fired you for forming a union!

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

The business may respond to the legal judgment ,  “Screw you , we are closing”.  But if they close they will still have to pay you for all the damage they cause you because they fired you for forming a union… You still win! And win BIG!

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

How is it that our newspapers don’t remind us of this.  How is it that Unions are painted to be the bad guys, because they make a business lose money?  Why isn’t the business painted as the bad guy, for stealing potential earnings out of each and every employee working for them…

Some may think forcing a union on a business is unfair.  Racist states often use this argument.  Why should White owned businesses pay more for black people’s labor?   That is why ALEC (in Delaware associated with Patty Blevins) was invented:  to protect White Businesses’ interests.   And still unfortunately, in some states, there were enough white people still agreeing that black people as well as to  those whites who associate with them, should be paid inferior wages,so much so that with ALEC’s help, enough votes were mustered to pass state anti-union laws..

But historically there were laws that once said: slavery was legal. Despite bad law, morally it was still everyone’s right to be free….

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

It is your right to form a union.  Existing law is crystal clear.   Why was this decided?  What is the moral argument behind it?

Simple.  You have to eat.  Bottom line.  If someone says  I have to pay you $6.00 an hour because I’m not making enough money, and you can’t get money anywhere else, you work for $6.00 and hour.  If he counters that he can only pay $5.00 an hour, and you can’t make money anywhere else, you will  do his bidding for $5.00 an hour.  Why not $4 then?  Why not $3 then?  Why not $2 then?  Why not $1 then?  Why not .25 cents then?

You have to eat.

There is no bargaining chip in your favor…  Your employer if legally allowed, would pay the lowest rate possible to still have employees. When there are more employees than positions,  wages could drop very low…. because you have to eat.

America went through the Great Depression primarily because of this… Even business leaders realized from that experience that by making their employees so poor, no one was buying the products they were making…

And so they agreed: “If we make our employers have disposable income, they can buy our products and we can again make money”.  So the legal basis was almost unanimously approved  by both businesses and labor, to make the right to strike just that.  a basic human right protected by the full force of the law…   Simply because paying workers higher wages is good for increasing overall demand. and that is what drives economies forward.

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

Basically, a union is the answer to this counter argument:   “why should you, the investors, get all the money off our labor, and we get none?” Admittedly both of us should get something decent from our arrangement….

And there you go.  America did do very well… that is, until our media became influenced by investors (who now own them btw) and started painting unions as a scourage…  Missing from all press coverage, was the simple fact that one has to act scouragingly when bargaining with fellow scourages…  Sort of like not realizing that your hero prize fighter has to hurt people.  It’s necessary to stay in the ring…

So I encourage all reading this to now begin talking up unions in your workplace… Because if you get fired for any reason afterwards, you can blame it on the legal right to form a union….  it is like a wonderful vacation in which you still will get paid, probably even more than if you’d put up with the bosses crap the whole damn time….!

Now… you know!   It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

Yeah.

It really is your “right.” and it is protected by law.  Now, go get them tigers!

They cost you too…

The drop in payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2% results in a savings of about $1000 a year to every wage earner.

(If truth were widely known, that tax cut is actually a bad idea. It hemorrhages a dying social security fund, requiring the eventual death of the program or an expensive emergency last ditch surgery in the future.)

But it is hard not to give a $1000 present to every voter. Even if it only comes out as $19 dollars and change each week… But, still again, if your electric bill is $198 and you only have $189 in your account, that additional amount is, well, a lifesaver…..

But, Republicans in the House, even after Republicans in the Senate voted passage, overwhelmingly voted….. not to vote on the measure…

They didn’t vote against it… THEY VOTED NOT TO VOTE ON IT……
(speculation is that they lacked the votes to keep it from passing)..

So, how does that relate to you?

House Republicans (read Tea Party) just voted NOT TO VOTE on whether or not you will be losing an extra $20 a month out of your next paycheck.

Imagine what this is doing to payroll clerks around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to family budgets around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses who rely on consumer spending around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses heavily involved in the financial sector, around this country?

So what would normally happen?

Normally a group that can’t find agreement, acknowledges the sad fact, and long before the deadline, announces that they failed to reach agreement and that things would continue as they were on a temporary basis, to unfortunately allow for more time to solve differences.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, …. WE ARE STUCK WITH A TEA PARTY THAT FUCKS THINGS UP.

Instead, we have a vote not-to-vote, then get all sorts of very lame excuses from those who are delaying, none of which apply to the real problem that Social Security is doomed unless drastic action gets taken (higher rates, not lower), and we get nothing….

The tax cut will expire…

It is like sequestering a jury in a room, where everyone after much fact-covering argument has agreed to a judgment, except for one person who’s been bought off. And nothing, nothing, logic, emotional appeal, bullying, snuggling up to, befriending, produces any change. And you go years, every working day, to the same court house, the same jury room, they same chair at the same table, hear the same arguments, hoping against all odds, that today, he will see the light and switch. You go the next day.

That is today’s Congress. Held hostage by Tea Party Republicans who live in a dream world untouched by the reality of living under $185,000 a year. Like that bought-out juror, every day, they hold up progress with the unjustified belief that, if they wait long enough, the other 11 jurors will give up and sway over to the sole juror’s way….

Two things can happen… 1) return to the public and announce a hung jury, and do a complete retrial.. or 2) sneak up to that one juror, put a gun to his head, say nothing, pull the trigger, clean up the mess, dispose of the body, then go out to the public and announce what the 11 of you have decided…..

One is the nice way, sanctioned to due process of law. The other is the American Way.

It’s time to initiate the kavipsian policy of expression or what is otherwise known as “Show Us How You Really Feel”… Who knows? It could become the next great movement? The next time someone you know (or don’t), says anything about how millionaires should keep their tax cuts and the poor should pay, nod your head in agreement, smile a little bit, then hit them as hard as you can in their mouth, I mean as hard as you can! Put them flat on the ground holding their jaw… Then loudly say, “Don’t every talk that stupid way to me again!” Who knows, if 99% or all 303,930,000 would respond that way to our fellow congressional delegates, and the other 3.9 million of their like who advocate such madness, we might actually get the very progress we need, not because of intimidation, but because such policy is right….

For those who argue expression of violence is un-American, I’ll remind them that tonight, is John Wayne Night on AMC: view it!… I argue that such action is VERY American and perhaps it has been the lack of such spontaneous expressions of frustration from working American people, that has caused the logjam where nothing gets done because of one holdout, who thinks he can sway the world to his opinion and face no consequences… ….

Practice now, by punching brick walls.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

It was as if the whole town was getting excited about the new Wal*Mart coming in on it’s edges, and the town council votes to allow it, only if the owner of that town’s businesses, can be in charge and set Wal*Mart’s prices.

What then is the point?

That, my friends, is what Health Care Relief is, without the public option…

Don’t take my word for it: Here are the words of Republican chairman Michael Steele, in an recent ad lit piece seeking donations to the RNC….

“Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress are pushing for a government-run, health-care scheme that is inefficient, limits choices and hemorrhages taxpayer money like the Post Office,”

Great Point: It costs me, if I use Federal Express, $7.95 for them to come to my door and pick up a letter… It costs me .44 cents if I choose to use the inefficient, choice limiting, and taxpayer hemorrhaging U. S. Post Office to drop by and pick up the same letter…

If the same were true for health care, which would benefit you for the same service? The cheaper inefficient, choice limiting, and taxpayer hemorrhaging bureaucratic public option, that happened to be much cheaper, or a service that charges 1700% more for the same option, which no one can afford?

The sprawling bureaucracy is starting to look good…

It is obvious why Steele brings up this point. The Democratic reform plan modifies the current price structure and that threatens their enormous profits, generated from hospital charges like $6,000 a day for semi-private rooms, $30 for two aspirin and a single round of chemotherapy for $13,000. Of course such costs are ridiculous; but they get collected every day, because there is no other option for citizens to turn to…

Public option is the only way Health Care can be reformed… There can be no relief, no lowered costs, and by default, no hope for America, if the public option is not somewhere in the Health Care Plan that passes Congress.

Private only? Might as well not build that Wal*Mart on the town’s edge if your going to keep the same high prices Colonel Potter charges in his downtown businesses, simply because he can….

Public option is the Wal*Mart of Health Care… Without it. We’re poor.

Despite the economic downturn, Wal*Mart has done well…

It would make sense to use the same approach with health care… Of course Wal*Mart is a private corporation…. But since no private corporation is willing to jump into the fray of reforming health care, it befalls the people, through their representative government to do it for them…

Biden decribed how it works

“So, the profits might not be as high per person they cover, but there will be a much larger pool of paying customers,” he said.

That is exactly how Wal*Mart works. Each of us pays much less for each of our individual products. We see savings. However as a whole, enough of us shop there allowing Wal*Mart to do rather well, compared to most other entities…

Some say the public option will bankrupt those private ones… Examples? None. Examples of the alternative? FedEx, DHL. and UPS all compete with the U. S. Postal Service. You get what you pay for..

So all those protesting the public option who use the post office to spread their literature, are really arguing against what works best for them… Kind of hard to take them seriously, isn’t it?

A public option lowers rates for everyone… Of course some people will be hurt… Those current Health insurance executives with 7 or 8 homes, will only be able to afford 4 extra homes now. But you and me? We will be able to afford going to the doctor….

Because that……. is what we do.

Wind power for Dummies

Weed-whacking and Symbiosis

Anyone who has raised their own food in their backyard, knows a little about weeds. As often as you pull them out, they return to begin the process anew. So it is with arguments against offshore wind. Each time a new person ponders the issue and feels they have been genetically gifted with unique insight, we see two leaves sprout of an argument that has been debunked months before.

So like weeding ones garden, one must periodically revisit those areas to remove ideas that faulty genetic engineering has placed in places where they do not belong. And so:

What about buying Land based wind power which costs less than that offshore?

This may sound good if one is looking for the lowest cost. But as often as advice comes cheap, its value should be trusted only as deep as its analysis. I can tell you that overall a brand new Mercedes CLK63 sedan is cheaper then a used Dodge Neon. And you may not believe me. But only by investigating the analysis will we know if buying a CLG63 is better for us in the long run….(It’s not.)

So let us first examine the myth that land based wind is cheaper and secondly, probe the economics behind that myth that are always happy to propel that myth forward.

Of course anytime one makes generalizations as I just did, one risks the case that an exception will prove that the overall statement is not correct. It is possible for example in North Dakota, to build a simple small windmill, free on public land, close to existing transmission lines and do it cheaper than build a towering work of engineering on an offshore platform eleven miles into the ocean. That makes sense.

Therefore we need a common denominator or formula that translates all power sources to a single cost effective denominator so we can compare apples to apples as the saying goes, and not find ourselves comparing apples to paramecium, disintegrating pop stars, classic cars, or even oranges.

The best bet found so far for the simplistic comparison of power sources, is the $ per MW that many of you following this argument, have seen repeated over and over. Since at this same time last year even I had no idea what $ per MW was, I will take a moment to explain.

Most of you who pay for your own electricity have at least seen the kilowatt listed on your Delmarva or Electric Co-op bills. This is the standard method of measuring the amount of electricity coming into your home. It traces its origins to James Watt who by many is considered to be the founder of the Industrial Age by his invention of the steam engine. Watt needed a method to measure work produced, and electric companies were quick to apply it to their needs a hundred years later. A watt is a rather small measure. It takes a hundred to power a light bulb. Therefore the standard measure is considerably larger, a thousand times to be exact, and because of that precise level of expansion it is called a kilowatt, or a thousand watts. One kilowatt supplies ten 100 watt bulbs, and is roughly equal to 1.34 horsepower, which is enough to power a large Wal*Mart-bought automatic lawnmower. Therefore for household usage, a kilowatt is the preferred level of measuring electric energy. Since we humans are habitual measurers of time, the amount of energy it takes to supply a kilowatt over the time frame of one hour, is simply called a kilowatt hour. Keep in mind there is a difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt hour. One can survive a 300 kilowatt lightning strike, but would eventually succumb it it had to undergo that ordeal for a full hour. Therefore on our electric bills we pay for kilowatt hours (kWh), which is simply the amount of electricity required to burn those ten light bulbs for one hour.

A megawatt or (MW) is a thousand kilowatts ( kw), just like a Megabyte (MB) on your computer is a thousand Kilobytes (KB). So if we are measuring power to a system of homes numbering in the thousands, it would make sense to use MWh to do so….( For the geeks and trivial buffs the next levels upward are giga, tera, peta, exa.) For principals of scale, the entire US power supply is around 4 petawatts, up from 2.7 PW in 1992)

Therefore when comparing the costs of different energy applications we need to consider the cost per MWh of energy produced. Then if that source is close or far away, we need supplement that generation cost with transmission costs to get a true idea of what we pay. It is easy really. It would be similar to you comparing how much a head of lettuce would cost to grow outside your kitchen window, and how much it would cost to drive both ways to purchase it at a store.

Bluewater wind according to the latest contract that almost, almost became reality last December had members of Delaware’s Legislative Committee not interfered, was costed out at at $98.93 MWh. So for the price of filling ones gas tank at today’s prices, Bluewater Wind will provide Delmarva the yearly average electrical needs of around a 876 homes for that one hour! Wow! For you non math-wizards this gives the average household a monthly charge for the usage part of their utility bill close to $81.31. (Keep in mind we pay an additional charge for demand as well).

What about buying Land based wind power which costs less than that offshore?

First of all, despite common assumptions, does it?

Remarkably the global experts live here in Delaware. Their names may be familiar to some: Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton. Their conclusion:

The bottom line is that, with the refinements to our comparison offered by WGES, along with the final price of the Delmarva/Bluewater Power Purchase agreement (PPA), the Bluewater Wind price still appears to be lower than the price offered today by WGES. (Washington Gas & Electric Service)

WGES offers 100% onshore wind, in one and two year contracts (see
https://www.wges.com/enroll/index.php). It is offered at 13.90¢/kWh for 1 year or 14.50¢/kWh for two years. The two-year contract also bundles two years of price stability. As a first summary comparison, we previously compared WGES’ 100% offer with wind only from Bluewater Wind (by itself effectively 100%). Basing our comparison on the proposed Delaware PPA contract, the (energy and capacity) prices from the Bluewater Wind project are 10.82¢/kWh in 2008 and 11.15¢/kWh in 2009. That is, in year 1, the currently-offered WGES landbased wind is 22% more expensive than the PPA price, and for the two-year combined price, 24% over the PPA price.

So how much lower is Bluewater Wind’s offshore 25 year contract cost compared to a 2 year contract with WGES ‘s offer based on land based wind? Compare $98.03 MWh with $145.00MWh and you have your answer. This is not slanted analysis. These are the two actual choices on the table for those Delawareans who currently subscribe to Delmarva. That $46.96 dollar savings (per MW) is what Charlie Copeland, Thurman Adams, Harris McDowell, Tony Deluca and others, has just prevented you and your children from receiving irregardless or whether it is spread to all Delawareans or not! Not just for two years, but twenty-five.

But how can that be? How can offshore wind be so much better and cheaper than that produced on shore?

The three answers lie in 1) economies of Scale, 2) more available wind offshore, and 3) proximity to our market thereby reducing transmission costs.

The head of Delmarva, Gary Stockbridge, frequently misquoted we could get cheaper wind power on land from Pennsylvania. Naturally the next question that popped into everyones head was: how much wind power is available from Pennsylvania? Apparently not much. Currently there are 89 MWh of PA wind power. Proposed? As of last week, 211 MW which have yet to go through the process Bluewater Wind has already begun. Total PA potential? 300MW! And we are to expect that all of this meager total will benevolently be sent to Delaware, so we can benefit from wind power that is already more expensive than that made offshore?

It would also be wise to remember that demand for a product has as much to do with determining the price of something as does the cost required to produce it. By 2020 almost 1/6 of the Northeastern Corridor’s electrical load will be required to come from renewable sources. (Right click on image below to see the Northeastern Corridor.)

Required Amounts of Renewable Energy
That includes Delaware’s 20%. From what source is this to come? And what if there are too few sources to provide this phenomenal demand? The price goes up, and up, and up. So much for wind remaining a cheap source of electricity if we try to get it from another state besides Delaware.

The offshore wind farm was originally planned for a capacity of 600 MW. In the deal approved with Delmarva it was narrowed to a capacity of 450 MW. Towers offshore can be built higher than onshore. The rotors can be built larger, since they are transported by ships, instead of trucks switchbacking up winding mountain roads. At altitudes of 80 m (or 250 feet) the wind blows uninterrupted as opposed to ground level due to the lack of turbulence that land objects create. Anyone who has ever sailed on open ocean knows how the wind seems to blow continuously instead of in bursts as we experience here on land. Therefore those offshore turbines tend to produce more electricity than those wind mills locked down on shore. We communicate this in our discussions by saying offshore wind has a higher capacity to be busy making power, than that capacity found on shore.

Everyone knows that wind does not blow all the time. Therefore when considering where to put a wind farm, (NOAA already has all the data), one looks for a place with a higher capacity for making power. This higher potential of offshore wind, is based on solid evidence. The combination of larger turbines which are able to generate as much as 5MW of power compared to land based units making 1MW, and the greater chance that the wind will blow offshore than it does onshore, ultimately mean that despite the higher cost of construction required for a wind farm built in water, the cost per MW will be lower…It is exactly the same principal that occurs in transportation where even though a bus costs more to rent a does a car, if you want to transport 450 people to Washington DC, it is better to rent buses to do so in order to achieve a lower cost per person, instead of finding a fleet of cars to carry them.

The third reason offshore wind in Delaware is cheaper than importing outrageously expensive onshore wind from Pennsylvania, is the cost of getting it here. Remember from Chapter 2 that transmission lines lose 10% of the power they carry in form of heat. Bluewater’s power ties into the grid at the Bethany Beach sub station, and that location is where the transaction price will occur. This higher level of efficiency means the entire system saves 10% over that of another system including us and stretching over 300 miles away. 10% is a lot to waste.

So even though a bus costs more than a car, the “cheaper-to-construct” land base wind power provides its electricity per MW at a much higher price than any local offshore wind farm would for Delawareans.

Symbiosis:

Anyone who has studied “systems” knows that any system that is balanced usually maintains the fine line of survivability. In politics, one has to look only as far as our three branches of government to see stability lies in balance. Likewise any parent of a student creating a terrarium knows the very fine line of balancing all the parts to create a whole that works.

It is obvious that deregulation in its current state does not work. It is equally obvious that offshore wind on the Atlantic Coast, due to its proximity to the largest power consumer on this planet, is a definite good investment. Any capacity from any North Atlantic wind farm built, will be sucked up by the power hungry Northeast corridor with barely a blip. But if wind power is allowed to become a producer of cheap energy, and able to sell that energy at rates way below that of Carbon fuel, as will happen in the future, then the free market that was set in part by the movement to de-regulate electrical generation, will possibly be able to succeed after all. The only reason we are paying 60% more under this arrangement, is because there is no other entity to compete with Delmarva and force down its inflated prices. Well guess what, with Bluewater Wind……now there is.

And here is the kicker:

As carbon fuel continue to skyrocket and wind continues to become cheaper, the entire Eastern Seaboard will one day become one long wind farm. It will happen as did cell towers spring overnight across this country, as were fiber optics buried from one shore to the other, as were four lane highways carved out of mountains and spanned across American rivers, as were airports built outside every large American city, as was a canal carved across Panama, as did steam ships replace graceful clippers, as iron horses replaced living ones.

And to think……if a tiny band of horse-shit shoveling farmers had been as successful in their attempt to block the very first railroad from being built, simply because it would make their livery business obsolete?

How different our world would be?

Just as those who saw the railroad’s potential, and looked westward at 3000 miles of unexplored wilderness, knew of its inevitability, those of us who see the end of an era of carbon energy approaching with the speed of a summer storm, know too offshore wind spanning the length of the Atlantic Seaboard is also inevitable.

Delaware's Silicon Valley?
Courtesy of ENS (Environmental News Service)

And where will the new cottage industry of off shore wind be settled, like the Silicon Valley of chip technology? Obviously where it was first done….

There is no time to lose if that central hub of expert manufacturing on this side of the Atlantic is to be located in Delaware………We are in the race, like it or not.

Got an arm or leg to spare?

As I pulled up to the pump this morning, due to a set of bizarre circumstances, I was able to remember exactly the price of gas I paid for at the same time, at the same gas station this time last year. For those of you with long memories you also may remember at this time in 2006 we were paying around 3.29 per gallon of regular.

Of course with public outrage, we were told there was nothing that could be done about it. Refineries were off line. Crude was too high, world wide demand was forcing up the price. We grumbled and willingly paid and then found out that Big Oil scored a 35 billion profit in one quarter.

No one mentioned the real reason. That was because republicans controlled all three branches of government. There was no way the people could investigate and determine whether they were paying a fair price, or being gouged. And for some unknown reason, any attempt by a Democrat to hold a public hearing, was squashed by both Hastert and Frist.

Face reality. If there is no reason to not to raise prices, why would one forgo the extra money pouring into the corporate coffers? And because of the tremendous amounts of money funded to “W” for both his campaigns, and the tight connections between Cheney and the Big 4 oil executives, they were guaranteed no interference from any of the branches of our republican government.

But that changed in November. Due to Rove’s miscalculation and an underestimation of the number of fake votes needed to win the election, Democrats were able to gain the upper hand in both the House and Senate.

Of course the republican complicity in this was brought up at election time. And of course the republicans tried hard to dismiss it, but the voters this time, did not buy it. Perhaps more than any other reason, dissatisfaction with republican leadership over this one issue, caused massive defections over to the other side.
So where are the facts? If you take a hard look at this chart, anyone with a smattering of economic knowledge will see that for all intents and purposes, that the price of gas should be even higher this year than last, not 50 cents per gallon lower. So by default, that means that whereas gas was 3.29 a gallon, it really could have been sold fairly at say 2.79 a gallon.

The same excuses use by republicans last year to pump up the costs, are even higher this year. The only difference between the two summers is that during this summer, we have Democratic control of the Congress. For this alone, Americans need to hold republicans accountable for all the lost money that was robbed from them last year.

How much was that? At 50 cents a gallon times each 40 gallon fill-up, that would be an extra 20 dollars per fill-up. At two fill-ups per week times the twelve weeks of summer, the republican gasoline scam cost most families around 480 dollars last summer.

So ladies and gentlemen,…. the Democrats, ….just by being in control of only one branch of government, have saved every American family at least 480 dollars over this summer. I don’t know about you, but that is what I call ……real politics………………

Fake politics is deciding to drop the price the day campaign season starts in earnest on Labor Day. A summer of profit taking, …….that’s all it was.