Tag Archive for 'cap and trade'

What President Obama doesn’t get about creating small business jobs

In the two previous posts, I reported on things I liked about President Obama’s State of the Union speech and my critique of his specific small business jobs-creation ideas.  In this post, I predict that all of the tax credits, bank loans or other policy gyrations designed to influence small businesses to create new jobs will fall woefully short of a successful result because none of these issues are the reason businesses aren’t creating jobs. The reason for sluggish jobs creation is best described by paraphrasing a recent movie title: Mr. President, we’re just not that into your policy initiatives.  Here are the two issues Obama doubled-down on in his speech that are in direct conflict with his hope of new small business jobs.

Health care reform: Most Main Street small business owners will be reluctant to hire new employees as long as Obama and his party’s leadership push a health care reform agenda that sounds confusing at best and prohibitively expensive at worst.  Mr. President, if you want more small business jobs, scrap the current health care reform bill in Congress and start over with market-based solutions that make health insurance portable by giving tax advantages to the individual rather than the 20th century model of deductions for the employer.

Climate change legislation: America’s businesses, large and small, are already the most carbon-efficient in the world when the appropriate measurement is ascribed, per dollar of GDP.  Mr. Obama should congratulate businesses for this and encourage more of the same, instead of deriding and demotivating the marketplace with his climate-change policies that cause small businesses concern over what will happen to their energy budget if the current climate-change legislation is passed. 

President Obama, your current strategy for motivating small businesses to hire more people won’t work. You need better small business advisors who can prevent you from embarrassing yourself with statements and proposals that demonstrate how out-of-touch you are with Main Street.

Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I reported in more detail on these issues. Take a few minutes to listen and, as always, let me know what you think the government can do to help small businesses hire more people. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Jim Blasingame’s 2010 crystal ball predictions

This year marks the 10th year of my Small Business Advocate Crystal Ball predictions. For the first nine years, my accuracy percentage has averaged 70%, including 13 for 16 in 2009. Take a look and see what you think about how I will do in 2010.

2010 Prediction: The fragile economic recovery will continue at a marathon pace with steady annual GDP growth of between 2% and 3%.

2010 Prediction: Surviving small businesses will have fewer competitors due to recession casualties and fewer start-ups.

2010 Prediction: Big business layoffs in 2008-09 will produce small business opportunity in two ways: less competition for customers and outsourced business from the big guys.

2010 Prediction: Reversing the 2009 trend, growing small business loan demand will signal Main Street recovery.

2010 Prediction: Improved balance sheets and TARP repayment won’t cause large banks to increase small business lending.

2010 Prediction: Community banks will continue to increase as the option-of-choice for small business growth capital.

2010 Prediction: The multifaceted challenges of the real estate triumvirate of housing, mortgages and commercial will continue to produce significant economic headwinds.

2010 Prediction: The second jobless recovery in a decade will result in unemployment above 9% at year-end.

2010 Prediction: Diminished consumer credit, combined with a new aversion to debt, will stunt economic growth.

2010 Prediction: U.S. stock markets ended 2009 flush due to earnings based on expense cuts, not revenue growth. This scenario will not repeat in 2010.

2010 Prediction: So called “health care reform” legislation will be signed into law along strict party lines.

2010 Prediction: Election-year realities will cause Democrats to forsake their leadership’s goals for pro-union and cap-and-trade legislation.

2010 Prediction: Republicans will increase seats in both houses without gaining control of either but will win a filibuster minority in the Senate.

2010 Prediction: The federal government will intervene to keep California out of bankruptcy. New York will follow.

2010 Prediction: Under pressure from within and without, a desperate Iranian government will take steps that disrupt geopolitics and global markets.

2010 Prediction: Recognizing the power of community building technologies and practices, small businesses will increasingly leverage these tools to find new competitive advantages.

2010 Prediction: With increased product information and user experiences available online, The Age of the Customer has begun. More customers will choose businesses offering online platforms that promote dialogue and deliver targeted information.

Finally, continue to expect a deliberate, marathon-like recovery.

I talked about these predictions in more detail recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen and let me know what you think about my prophecies. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Reviewing Blasingame’s 2009 Predictions and accuracy

It’s time to review my 2009 predictions from a year ago and tally my accuracy.

Prediction: In 2009, Main Street and small businesses, not Wall Street, will suffer the most. Reality: Unemployment 10.2%, Dow Jones up 55%, +1.

Prediction: The recovery will begin in the second half of ’09. Reality: Technically, the recession ended Q2, +1.

Prediction: The credit crisis will hurt business start-up opportunities. Reality: Record low new businesses, +1.

Prediction: Retailers and big-ticket sellers will suffer the most in 2009. Reality: This one was easy, +1.

Prediction: The Obama administration will produce a successful small business economic relief plan. Reality: Shouldn’t have said “successful,” -1.

Prediction: Community banks will thrive in 2009. Reality: Except in states hit hard by real estate speculation, community banks have been the bright spots in the economy, +1.

Prediction: Unprecedented government intervention will not bear economic fruit until the second half. Reality: “Cash for clunkers” in Q3, +1.

Prediction: The Obama administration will not push the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act in 2009. Reality: Bingo! Expect it in 2010, +1.

Prediction: Congress will not pass a “cap-and-trade” bill in 2009. Reality: House 1/Senate 0, +1.

Prediction: The Obama administration will not recommend any tax increases. Reality: No new taxes, but many “recommended,” -1.

Prediction: The Obama administration will push hard for healthcare reform in 2009. Reality: Economy and health care reform have been 1a and 1b, +1.

Prediction: Al Franken, will be the next Senator from Minnesota. Reality: Franken was sworn in July 8, 2009, +1.

Prediction: The Fed will begin nudging interest rates up in Q4. Reality: Didn’t happen, -1.

Prediction: Oil prices will average below $65 per barrel. Reality: 2009 average was $59.04, +1.

Prediction: The electorate will rise up against the federal government over poor leadership and anti-growth policies. Reality: Tea Parties, +1.

Prediction: Wall Street and Washington created most of our economic problems, but Main Street small businesses will lead the recovery. Reality: Any questions? +1.

After a bad ’08 (7 for 15), I went 13 for 16 in ’09, putting my 9-year average at 70%. How’d you do?

Unilateral carbon restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy

In April of this year, I posted an article here titled, “What if the climate change zealots are wrong?” where I proposed that a unilateral carbon cap-and-trade policy by the government would:

1. Unilaterally hurt every American citizen by what would be tantamount to taxing our use of carbon beyond the taxes we already pay, like gas tax, for example.
2. Unilaterally hurt U.S. businesses by making them less competitive with other nations, especially China and India, which have not interest in carbon reduction.
3. Actually harm the global environment because industrial production would move from the U.S. to China and India, where carbon efficiency is much poorer than in the U.S.

Since that post, a few things have happened:

1. The American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), a/k/a Cap and Trade and the Waxman-Markey bill, passed the House and there is a companion bill in the Senate.
2. When the G8 global leaders met recently in Italy, they did not agree on any near-term carbon reductions, only a goal set 40 years hence. What does that say about a multi-lateral commitment to carbon reduction?
3. In a Senate committee hearing recently, during questioning by Oklahoma’s Sen. James Inhofe (R), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson confirmed that unilateral carbon reduction by the U.S. would have no effect on the global climate.

As I wrote in April, carbon reduction protocols without China and India participating are useless environmentally and a competitive disadvantage for the U.S. According to Sen. Inhofe, “With China and India recently issuing statements of defiant opposition to mandatory emissions controls, acting alone through the job-killing Waxman-Markey bill would impose severe economic burdens on American consumers, businesses and families, all without any impact on climate.”

Well said, Senator. Perhaps he reads my blog.

One thing you won’t see in the mainstream media is reporting on the U.S. carbon footprint per dollar of GDP, which has been decreasing significantly for the past 20 years. Proof of this is the fact that oil price spikes in recent years have had less of an impact on the economy as in decades past.

Remember, my argument isn’t whether the earth is warming or who is causing it, but rather that the United States should address this issue without doing unilateral harm to ourselves. We have the ability to lead the world in alternative fuels for the next century if we encourage innovation instead of unilaterally punishing consumption.

Here is a link to the previous post. I look forward to your comments.

Click here for previous post “What if the climate change zealots are wrong.”

What if the climate change zealots are wrong?

So what if they’re wrong?

I’m talking about the climate change zealots pushing government policies that would tax, regulate and/or commoditize carbon emissions. These folks want any or all of these government strictures on the carbon emissions of American power producers, businesses and, ultimately consumers.

They’re not wrong about climate change. Since Genesis Chapter One, Earth’s climate has been changing. Ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, Kentucky was buried under 5,000 feet of ice. And they’re probably not wrong about whether humans are contributing to the changes.

But what if they’re wrong about how much of an impact imposing an accelerated carbon clampdown on the U.S. economy would have on global climate change? What if we take U.S. carbon emissions back to the proposed pre-1990 levels – when the U.S. economy was half of current GDP – and then discover that, because China and India did nothing to cut their emissions, we still have “climate change”?

Of course, standing here in 2009 we don’t know if they will be wrong. But there is one thing that is knowable right now: Years before the climate change zealots are proven right or wrong we will know that their policies, if enacted, will have wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy and significantly diminished our global competitiveness, especially against those two emerging economic giants, China and India.

Speaking of China, its economy is one-fifth the size of the U.S. but currently has the same level of carbon emissions. It is becoming an economic giant but is already a carbon emissions behemoth. So it’s not unreasonable to project that the majority of units of production taken from the U.S. economy by cap-and-trade., et al, will be replaced with units from China. Since 1990, U.S. businesses have, mostly unheralded, done a great job of increasing production while decreasing energy consumption per dollar of GDP. Meanwhile, China’s carbon footprint is growing per unit of GDP. So by regulating carbon only in the U.S., it can be argued that global carbon emissions will actually increase.

The United States could dominate the global economy for the remainder of the 21st century by merely unleashing its entrepreneurial and scientific minds to create alternative, greener energy – multiple sources and thousands of related applications – to export and license around the world. But the unleashing needs to be done in an atmosphere of promoting innovation, not punishing consumption. Cap and trade, carbon tax and commoditizing CO2 not only punishes the marketplace, but simultaneously puts government in charge of regulating carbon. This is the same government that was supposed to regulate Bernie Maddoff, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. ’Nuff said.

I am absolutely in favor of taking action to diminish the negative impact humans have on the environment. But let’s remember that Americans aren’t the only humans with a carbon footprint. Let’s solve this problem with market solutions that create, not by government fiat that destroys.

Recently, in celebration of Earth Day, I talked about these ideas on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. In addition to my individual thoughts, I also interviewed an environmental expert, Dennis Dimick, Senior Editor for Environment for National Geographic magazine. Dennis is an honest debater and I think you’ll enjoy our conversation. Take a few minutes to listen to our thoughts and, as always, I welcome your comments, even if – especially if – you disagree with me.

For my individual comments, click here:
For my interview with Dennis Dimick, click here:

Blasingame’s 2009 Small Business Advocate Crystal Ball Predictions

Here are my 2009 Small Business Advocate Crystal Ball Predictions, which were first published in my free weekly Small Business Advocate Newsletter over the weekend, as well as in my newspaper syndication.

Prediction: Most financial damage in 2008 accrued to Wall Street and its stakeholders. In 2009, Main Street and small businesses will take the hit, especially in the first half.

Prediction: Economic recovery on Main Street will begin in the second half of 2009.

Prediction: Small business start-ups will be down because their initial capital comes from personal credit, which is now at unprecedented low levels.

Prediction: Small businesses that will have the most difficulty in 2009 will be retailers and sellers of big-ticket items that rely heavily on consumer credit.

Prediction: The Obama administration will produce a successful small business economic relief plan of loan guarantees and hiring tax credits.

Prediction: Independent community banks will thrive for two reasons: 1) They’re the lender-of-choice for small businesses that need local consideration; 2) Depositors will see them as more attractive than continually merging large banks.

Prediction: The Obama administration will continue the unprecedented government intervention in the economy, but positive impact will not occur until the second half of 2009.

Prediction: The Obama administration will shelve plans for the Employee Free Choice Act – designed to increase union organization – until 2010, when the economy will be recovering.

Prediction: Similarly, the Obama administration will shelve plans to pass a “cap-and-trade” bill – an attempt to regulate carbon – until 2010.

Prediction: The Obama administration will not recommend any tax increases.

Prediction: The Obama administration will justify moving forward with national healthcare reform in 2009, calling it part of economic recovery.

Prediction: The Obama administration’s attempt to create infrastructure jobs will fail.

Prediction: Comedian, Al Franken, will be the next Senator from Minnesota, leaving the Democrats one Senate Republican defector away from unfettered control of the government.

Prediction: With a justified concern for “stagflation,” the Fed will begin nudging interest rates up in Q4.

Prediction: Despite OPEC’s best efforts, oil prices will average below $65 per barrel, due to demand destruction.

Prediction: With their political leverage dependent upon petroleum revenue, 2009 will not be a good year for Putin, Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

Prediction: As the marketplace pays for the financial meltdown created by greed, corruption and incompetence, greater emphasis on transparency and accountability will be demanded by all stakeholders.

Prediction: Wall Street and the federal government created most of our current economic problems, but it will be Main Street small businesses that will lead the economy to recovery.

Final Prediction: In 2009 we will continue to live the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

I talked about many of these predictions, and the reasons behind them, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen and of course, I would very much like to hear your thoughts.

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