• Hello arlewill

    I read where the EPA has threatened dozens of Texas refiners and chemical and plastic makers with penalties if they don't begin taking steps to bring their air pollution permits into compliance with federal law by late December.

    Last week, the agency sent letters to 74 companies, giving them until Dec. 22 to explain how they intend to obtain federally approved permits. If they miss the deadline, then the EPA will penalize them, the agency's Dallas-based regional administrator, Al Armendariz, wrote in the letter.

    The permits at issue require refineries, chemical plants and other facilities to meet an overall emissions cap but allows them to choose how to do so. Federal rules, however, require plants to limit emissions of certain pollutants from each source within a facility

    I've said many times that I don't agree with profits over safety and clean air...They just need to get in compliance.

    It was just this summer that we just had the greatest environmental disaster in our history ,where we found out that our Federal agency that oversees deep shore drilling needs to be overhauled and after watching a Frontline special on the actions of BP prior and during the disaster; I'm surprised that we let them resume drilling. Some people forget the loss of jobs and livelihoods that BP caused, not to mention the wildlife impact.

    I understand the politics of blaming the president for an economy in free fall before he ever took office in order to cover up the previous administrations economic disasters... I saw were Fox News ran news clips on continuous loops saying, that the president came back from South Korea empty handed... When a good trade deal was made with South Korea last week; the silence was deafening from Fox News and the republicans.

    BTW The Texas Air Quality Control Board is one of the worst in the nation but even they can't overlook BP actions in Texas City.

    TEXAS CITY — The attorney general’s office is investigating a 40-day chemical release at BP’s Texas City refinery that sent more than 500,000 pounds of pollutants — including high levels of benzene — and other material into the air after a unit failure in April, state officials said.

    The refinery ultracracker’s hydrogen compressor went offline April 6 and was not repaired or restarted until May 16, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
    The company also did not inform city officials of the release until just before it filed its final report with the TCEQ, Homeland Security Director Bruce Clawson said.

    December 9, 2010 at 10:28 a.m.

  • Mike
    This President is confusing me. In the last week, I heard him say he wants to create jobs and improve the economy and I read in the newspapers where his Administration is threatening to close 74 refineries and chemical plants in Texas, stopped future offshore drilling off all our coast except TX + LA. No offshore permits issued and new enviornmental studies required.
    This Administration is destroying jobs and the economy faster than it can rebuild.

    December 9, 2010 at 7 a.m.

  • I'll throw several things out there - do what you want with them.

    A rebuttal to the study produced by Mr. Alesina and Ms. Ardagna written by Mike Konczal:

    About Mike Konczal:

    "Mike Konczal, a Fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, works on financial reform, structural unemployment, consumer access to financial services, and inequality. He blogs for New Deal 2.0 and the Rortybomb, and his work has appeared at The Atlantic Monthly's Business Channel, NPR's Planet Money, the Baseline Scenario, Huffington Post, and The Nation. He was formerly a financial engineer and mathematical analyst. Konczal holds a MS in Finance and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

    Initial study "The Boom Not The Slump: The Right Time For Austerity" here:

    And a more recent rebuttal here, again by Mike Konczal which sources an IMF report that took A&A's study to task and specifically over their definition of what constituted a "fiscal adjustment":

    Mike Konczal's blog post:

    Original IMF report here:

    To be "fair and balanced" here's Mr Alesina's response to The Economist regarding their suggestion that A&A's paper was "seriously flawed":

    Good night!

    December 8, 2010 at 10:35 p.m.

  • And one last point, the study by Mr. Alesina and Ms. Ardagna covered the last 40 years, not World War II. However they reached the same conclusion as Mr. Barro - that is stimulus spending causes a puff of economic activity that is not sustained. In fact over the long term it is harmful to an economy.

    December 8, 2010 at 10:15 p.m.

  • Continued: so people can make their own mind.

    In early 1999, Krugman served on an advisory panel (including Larry Lindsey and Robert Zoellick) that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues. He resigned from the panel in the fall of 1999 to comply with New York Times rules regarding conflicts of interest, when he accepted the Times's offer to become an op-ed columnist.[110] Krugman later stated that he was paid $37,500 (not $50,000 as often reported - his early resignation cost him part of his fee), and that, for consulting that required him to spend four days in Houston, the fee was "rather low compared with my usual rates", which were around $20,000 for a one-hour speech.[110] He also stated that the advisory panel "had no function that I was aware of", and that he later interpreted his role as being "just another brick in the wall" Enron used to build an image.[111]

    When the story of Enron's corporate scandals broke two years later, Krugman was accused of unethical journalism, specifically of having a conflict of interest.[112][113][114] Some of his critics claimed that "The Ascent of E-man," an article Krugman wrote for Fortune Magazine[115] about the rise of the market as illustrated by Enron's energy trading, was biased by Krugman's earlier consulting work for them.[110] Krugman later argued that "The Ascent of E-Man" was in character, writing "I have always been a free-market Keynesian: I like free markets, but I want some government supervision to correct market failures and ensure stability."[110] Krugman noted his previous relationship with Enron in that article and in other articles he wrote on the company.[110][116] Krugman was one of the first to argue that deregulation of the California energy market had led to market manipulation by energy companies

    So far all those that have responded have been right wingers ,that think that their views are the only ones that matter......

    That was not the intention of the blog.....I firmly believe that every coin has two sides and every pro has a con but it's hard to take that position when some think they have the only" truth certain."

    December 8, 2010 at 4:21 p.m.

  • I knew I had read about the multiplier about a year ago, so was no surprise to me that there was a counterpoint but Paul Krugman of New York Times..... You shouldn't surprise anyone that the right leaning Wall Street Journal would publish conservative articles and the New York Times exactly the opposite.

    Anyway, on October 9 , 2009 Paul Krugman said "Mark already provides links to my various commentaries on Barro. But let me repeat the gist. Barro makes a great deal of the fact that private spending fell during World War II, rather than rising the way it should in a classical Keynesian (oxymoron?) story.
    What I and others immediately pointed out was that this tells us very little about what would happen under current conditions: during World War II there, um, was a war on: consumption goods were rationed, construction required special permits, and so on. The government was, in other words, deliberately suppressing private spending, through direct controls. So WWII is not a useful data point for determining what the multiplier is under other conditions.

    Barro’s response to this, as far as I can tell, was … nothing. I don’t think he even acknowledged the nature of the complaint.
    On a happier note, this piece by Ilzetzki et al is interesting, and offers a wide range of multipliers depending on a country’s situation. The question for the United States is which estimate is most relevant.

    So we're right back to square one..... Believe the conservative version or the liberal one.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.

  • Yeah, you're right one economist I sure would want on my team is that ex-ENRON adviser, Paul Krudman :)

    December 8, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.

  • During the normal course of any administration; economists will have their differences and some will stay; some will leave. There's nothing unusual about that because as I continue to say " put 10 economists in a single room and you will likely get at least eight different answers.".. One working model for one country might not work for another country because of the different variables. ....It's my opinion that it's gonna take some tax increases and some spending cuts, to get this country moving again.....I understand that taxes are holy grail for some; as spending is for others.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:38 p.m.

  • Christine Romer wasn't she on Obama's economic team? Oh, that's right she quit.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.

  • and I can find a counterpoint to that argument and the "Music goes round and Round" and it becomes a battle of the cut & paste.

    That sounds like a dull afternoon to me...You have your ideology and I have mine, others have theirs, and the the title of the blog becomes a reality.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:26 p.m.

  • More on Keynesian Multipliers - this is from the Dec. 1, 2010 WSJ:

    "Using powerful statistical methods to separate these effects in U.S. data, Andrew Mountford of the University of London and Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago conclude that the small initial spending multiplier turns negative by the start of the second year. In a new cross-national time series study, Ethan Ilzetzki of the London School of Economics and Enrique Mendoza and Carlos Vegh of the University of Maryland conclude that in open economies with flexible exchange rates, "a fiscal expansion leads to no significant output gains."

    Former Obama adviser Christina Romer and David Romer of the University of California, Berkeley, estimate a tax-cut multiplier of 3.0, meaning $1 of lower taxes raises short-run output by $3. Messrs. Mountford and Uhlig show that substantial tax cuts had a far larger impact on output and employment than spending increases, with a multiplier up to 5.0.

    Conversely, a tax increase is very damaging. Mr. Barro and Bain Capital's Charles Redlick estimate large negative effects of increased marginal tax rates on GDP. The best stimulus now is to stop the impending tax hikes. Mr. Alesina and Ms. Ardagna also conclude that spending cuts are more likely to reduce deficits and debt-to-GDP ratios, and less likely to cause recessions, than are tax increases."

    December 8, 2010 at 3:21 p.m.

  • RE: Hictoria

    I purposely wrote a nonpartisan blog that have comments I cut and pasted from conservative sources and a counterpoint to back up what I meant by that title of the blog" "A constant state of confusion", or more to the point ,is that we don't have a "truth certain" solution, as of yet.

    The deficit is too darn high but hopefully both parties will now roll up their sleeves to work on the recommendations President Obama's bipartisan committee recommended.

    I don't know about you but I'm sick and tired of the partisan food fights about ideology, rather than solutions.

    December 8, 2010 at 3:20 p.m.

  • RE:Hictoria

    You're kidding,right? We are in a global economy whether we like it are not; if we don't pay the countries we owe, how will they buy our goods? It's a fine line when we tinker with things such as tariffs and a strong dollar. ..... I know it doesn't mean mean much to you because you're an isolationist and a separatist. You once said you wouldn't mind if Texas seceded from the union.

    I think the president answered that answered question, yesterday ,when a reporter asked him ,what he would do if the republicans refused to raise the debt limit...the president said"I'll take John Boehner at his word that nobody, democrat or republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the united states government collapse. "... Social Security payments depend on the full faith and credit.

    We can fix this but it seems like there those that want to demonize the working poor, the unemployed, and talk about defaulting rather than overhaul our broken system; come back and vow never to get in this predicament again..... Are we that weak or greedy? Instead of making sacrifices to make things right,some choose to find scapegoats and other excuses..... Instead of thinking of "I or Me" how about WE for a change?

    December 8, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.

  • Mike - just for grins... you said,"If the republicans were the greatest thing since sliced bread and economic geniuses, they would not have left the Obama Administration with a $1.3 trillion deficit but that's water under the bridge."

    Can you tell me what it is currently? Just wondering. :)

    December 8, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.

  • I have figured out how to solve the deficit. Quite simple if you think about it. Just do not pay it. Problem solved. What would anyone do to us? We are a Super power! Problem solved.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:38 p.m.

  • Well Reeder,your numbers are off a little bit "About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

    The workers still have income taxes and Social Security deducted from their paychecks, a lot just have exemptions, deductions, and credits to offset their taxable income... Exxon and GE don't pay any income tax.... This morning,on " Morning Joe" Ted Turner, says since he gives most of his money away; he pays very little income tax.

    Unemployment is a social program?Better do some reading Unemployment insurance is indeed taxable this year for those that make enough to file an income tax return.Not only that, for every dollar in unemployment benefits, we get a $1.64 in economic stimulus... The tax cuts for the top 2% only about 30¢ on the dollar.

    If the republicans were the greatest thing since sliced bread and economic geniuses, they would not have left the Obama Administration with a $1.3 trillion deficit but that's water under the bridge. It's time to do the things necessary to get this country going again ,where consumers will have enough confidence to start spending. Entitlements and defense spending need reform.

    Partisan food fights can be fought when unemployment gets down to 7 1/2%....

    December 8, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.

  • Thanks, reeder -- truer words were never spoken. Unfortunately, you are preaching to the deaf. A truism for the ages is: If you propose to rob Peter to pay Paul, you are assured of the support of Paul.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:22 p.m.

  • Right now 53% of US households pay no taxes! What's wrong with the pain being shared all around? If you're in this class of non-taxpayers, you have no problem with raising taxes, right? After all, it doesn't impact YOU! I prefer to have a national sales tax which impacts all people the same. The more you spend, the more you get taxed. The only thing I would exempt would be food and housing.

    The big difference I see between the political parties right now is one of semantics. The Democrats say increase social programs (like extended unemployment) and raise taxes. The Republicans say cut spending (don't extend unemployment) and cut taxes. The Democrats' proposal puts money into the pockets of those not paying taxes, while the Republican proposal puts money into the pockets of those paying taxes.

    Long and short of it: I'm tired of supporting those 53%. If you don't get the picture, look at what's happening in Greece (and coming soon, Ireland).

    December 8, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.