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Where’s The Green Jobs, Mr. Obama? China, Apparently


From the Washington Post (not normally considered a conservative bastion, note):

WINCHESTER, VA. – The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.

The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

Emphasis added by me.

200 more jobs gone, to join the millions of others that have been lost since Obama took office.

Why?

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

Note that. Government regulation is pushing one product completely out of the marketplace, replacing it with another product which is supposedly “greener.” I say supposedly because there are serious problems with disposal of a dead compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). From the website “greenlivingtips.com,” which presumably isn’t really hostile to living more “greenly” (is that even a word? Oh, well, I guess it is now; I’ve used it) comes these tidbits (again, emphasis added, link in original):

Throwing CFL’s in the bin isn’t a good idea. Aside from the waste of materials, there is one rather unsettling issue with compact fluorescent lamps –  they contain a small amount of mercury; approximately 3-5 milligrams. It’s a tiny amount, about the size of the very tip a ballpoint pen and far less than what is present in a watch battery. Still, a hundred million of these small amounts does become a significant issue.

[…]

Additionally, at the end of a CFL bulb’s life, little of the mercury remains in its most toxic form. Regardless, given the fragility of the bulbs; caution is necessary and mercury shouldn’t wind up in landfill at any time and at any level. Mercury is a powerful toxin that contaminates earth, air and water and accumulates in animal tissue.

Compare and contrast to what one does with a burned out incandescent bulb… something we should all be familiar with.

And then there’s this list of instructions if a CFL should break, from the same page quoted above (misspelling and smiley in original):

The Australian Department of Environment offers the following advice:

– Open windows in the room to air out fo 15 minutes before cleaning up
– Don’t use a vacuum as this will spread mercury into the air
– Wear gloves when cleaning up
– Use a disposable brush to gently sweep up fragments
– Use a moist paper towel to help pick up remaining tiny fragments
– Wrap the pieces up in layers of newspaper and place in a sturdy sealable bag or container along with anything used to clean up the mess.

The advice is then to place the container or bag in your rubbish bin, but I feel that perhaps it should be treated as hazardous chemical waste; i.e. stored safely until such time that it can be taken to a hazardous chemical disposal facility. Given all that messing around, it just pays to be extra careful when handling a CFL bulb :).

Again, compare and contrast to what happens with a broken incandescent bulb… another thing most people should be familiar with.

So, where are these wonderful “green” but potentially poisonous bulbs manufactured? I return to the WaPo article:

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.

There you have it. Our Democratic Congress (remember, they took control in 2006, and the law that caused this was passed in 2007) has just caused the elimination of American jobs and the creation of Chinese jobs… one might even say they shipped those jobs overseas, if one were given to that sort of hyperbole.

And what has our “sort of God” President done about it? You know, the guy touting the green jobs that are supposedly going to save the American economy?

I can’t find a single thing he’s done about these jobs being lost here.

If anyone can find credible evidence of something that Obama has done to keep these jobs from going overseas, please list it in the comments.

Update: J. E. Dyer over at HotAir took a look at the same WaPo article and caught something I missed… so go read it.

Obama Angers The Chinese


I thought this was interesting: Obama angers China by slapping tariff of 35% on its tires.

President Obama’s decision will have consequences. Welcome to the world of being financially obligated to China. They are the very last country we should be angering at this time. It will be interesting to see what China will do in retaliation, since they own a huge chunk of our national debt.

GM Shifting Production Overseas


Well, surprise surprise!

The U.S. government is pouring billions into General Motors in hopes of reviving the domestic economy, but when the automaker completes its restructuring plan, many of the company’s new jobs will be filled by workers overseas.

According to an outline the company has been sharing privately with Washington legislators, the number of cars that GM sells in the United States and builds in Mexico, China and South Korea will roughly double.

The proportion of GM cars sold domestically and manufactured in those low-wage countries will rise from 15 percent to 23 percent over the next five years, according to the figures contained in a 12-page presentation offered to lawmakers in response to their questions about overseas production.

Even former Clintonista Robert Reich is making more sense than the Obama Administration on this one:

“It’s an almost impossible dilemma,” said former labor secretary Robert B. Reich, now a professor at the University of California-Berkeley. “GM is a global company — so for that matter is AIG and the biggest Wall Street banks. That means that bailing them out doesn’t necessarily redound to the benefit of the U.S. or American workers.

“More significantly, it raises fundamental questions about the purpose of bailing out these big companies. If GM is going to do more of its production overseas, then why exactly are we saving GM?”

This is a big reason why I tend to turn a deaf ear to those–even those who share my own conservative philosophy, like Sean Hannity–who push the “buy American” mantra (though Hannity is in kind of a bind, GM is one of his advertisers). Quite simply, there is no such thing as an “American made car” any more. Even those assembled in Detroit are using parts from other nations, including Japan and Korea… and my own foreign-branded SUV has a number of parts that were made right here in the USA.

So, GM is just shifting production to where they can get what they need at the lowest price, and for that, they will be demonized and criticized, even though nearly all Americans do the same thing every day when they drive by a more expensive gas station to stop at one that offers essentially the same fuel for a lower price, or get their corn flakes at the grocery store that has them for a few cents less than their competitor.

Welcome to Obama’s America.

Obama’s International Corporate Tax Proposal Explained


Economic guru Keith Hennessey clearly explains the new tax proposed by President Obama:

Let’s look at three factories, each of which produces $100 of income.

  1. Your factory A is in the U.S.  Your corporation pays a 35% U.S. corporate income tax rate ($35).
  2. Your factory B is in China.  Your corporation pays a 15% Chinese corporate income tax rate ($15).  You owe the U.S. government $35 in taxes, minus a credit for the $15 you paid to China.  China gets $15, and the U.S. government gets $20.
  3. Your British competitor’s factory C is also in China.  He pays a 15% Chinese tax rate ($15), and no taxes to his home government.

Factory B shows the effect of a worldwide tax system, in which the firm pays the same total tax wherever the income is earned.  Taxes are based on the nationality of the payor, not the location at which the income is earned.

Factory C shows the effect of a territorial tax system.  Income is taxed only where it is earned.

The U.S. actually has a hybrid.  You can defer the taxes you owe from factory B until you bring that income back to the United States.  This is an advantage relative to a pure worldwide system.

And then, he explains why Obama’s proposal isn’t wise:

Yes, in a territorial system companies can open factories overseas to avoid higher taxation in the U.S.  But the more relevant comparison is whether Intel’s chip fabrication plant in China will be disadvantaged relative to the Malaysian, Brazilian, or French plant in China.  If you are worried about a tax system encouraging U.S. firms to build factories overseas, you should worry that in a worldwide system, entire U.S. firms will move to a country with a territorial system.

A worldwide system fails if most other major economies are using territorial systems, and most are.  Unless you think you can prevent increased globalization, or that you can convince other countries to change to a worldwide system, I think the international competitive pressure is inevitably toward a territorial system.  In a world of increasingly mobile capital, it it both fair and smart for the U.S. to make sure we do not give firms based in other nations an unfair advantage.  I also think that international competition to lower taxes is a good thing.

One wonders if Obama’s chief tax man, Timothy Geithner, really understands the above. Given his excuses regarding his failure to pay his own taxes properly, I have my doubts… if he can’t figure out a 1040, how can he comprehend this sort of thing?

Maybe that’s why the plan coming out of the Obama Administration makes little sense.

Mexico Retaliates For Obama’s Anti-NAFTA Stance


Surprise, President Obama! Mexico decided not to just sit back and let you ignore the requirements of NAFTA… they’re fighting back:

Exports of Northwest pears to Mexico have ground to a halt because of a new tariff.

Mexico last week imposed tariffs of 20 percent on pears, cherries, apricots, Christmas trees, frozen potatoes and other products. The tariffs are in retaliation for the U.S. ending a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to transport goods in the U.S. as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

<snip>

Dalton Hobbs, an assistant director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has asked states for an accounting of the tariff’s economic impact.

With shelled hazelnuts, strawberries, grapes and onions all included in the list, in addition to the frozen potatoes, cherries, pears and Christmas trees, Oregon is heavily impacted, Hobbs said.

So, Obama tries to help the Teamsters by basically violating NAFTA, and ends up hurting a state that voted for him–Oregon. Washington state, which also went for Obama, is hurt by these tariffs as well, since they produce many of the same products Oregon does.

Wonder if Oregonians or Washingtonians are regretting pulling the lever for Obama yet.

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