No Foolin

Posted by By at 1 April, at 15 : 40 PM Print

A lifetime ago in college I wrote a column about April Fool’s Day, which, in tones far too jaded for a then 23 year old with the equivalent life experience of a newborn deer thanks to a utopian childhood in a crime-free paradise, I noted that “the impact of a day full of lies and half-truths is lost in a world where every day we are faced with lies and half-truths.” What can I say? I love my own stuff.

And that one stands the test of time. To use just one of many examples, consider that my kids awoke this morning to a world where the US Government is “borrowing” from their future tax dollars to “invest” in “green” technologies. I used the quotation marks because let’s face it –hose are half-truths at best.

Let’s start with “borrowing.” Yes, we are, in fact, borrowing from the Chinese, but what we are doing to our kids and grandkids is theft, plain and simple. If we were borrowing from them, there would be an expectation that we would repay that debt at some future point – in reality we are not only leaving the debt, but we are also soaking up their ability to fix their generation’s calamities.

The debt service on the already unfathomable debt — $14.2 Trillion and growing by the second, literally – will eventually form an axis of evil with medical assistance and social security. These unfunded liabilities – and limitless entitlements – will crowd out all non-debt and non-entitlement funding, save for the sliver we apply to the one role the Federal Government was supposed to handle, defense. “Borrowing?” April Fool’s.

Then there is the new Obama euphemism for subsidizing favored industries and client groups, “investing.” Once again, the term is designed to sound nice, soft and middle of the road for the vast majority of the independent voters out there who are sick of spending and bailouts. The term makes it appear as though we expect a return on this “investment” – one that will pay off the Chinese loan sharks from whom we borrowed the money to “invest.”

But that is poppycock (what a great word for a half-truth) – the return on this “investment” envisioned by the President is Electoral College votes, campaign contributions, and perhaps lower emissions. The truthful half is the potential – should a vast “green” technology sector develop, as the President claims to paper over the more honest motivations, would return tax dollars. Unfortunately, that actually has to happen. And once it does the industry has to become self-sustaining and supportable absent government subsidies and incentives – like solar, wind, ethanol and nuclear, right? What? Damn it! April Fool’s AGAIN!

The sad truth is all of the aforementioned energy sources would be on the shelf in terms of large-scale energy generation but for massive Government subsidies, err; I mean “investments.” And when you see the energy those subsidies – sorry, “investments” – are producing you have to ask yourself why we need a special day to be made “to look a fool” – our government, regardless of party or level, stoops daily to that level.

And that has real consequences. To paraphrase Dennis Miller, we are all about to start living life after dark in lighting that resembles “a fight scene in a bad movie set in an Eastern Bloc country,” all in the name of being “green” – never mind the mercury we will be almost certainly dumping “accidentally” into landfills the world over.

You see, not content to force every grown man to flush his toilet twice every “no. 2” (I call it a deuce for a deuce), the federal government now thinks it should tell me what kind of bulbs I can CHOOSE. In my own house. At my expense.

My God, we fought a revolution over a tax on one item, yet here I am in the proud descendant of that noble beginning and the Government is telling me, I can no longer buy a product who’s use poses no threat to anyone else, and who’s sole sin is being so effective and pleasing that no one felt the need to improve upon it materially in 100 years? The light bulb changed the world, and we are killing it because Al Gore made a movie full of half-truths. If this were R rated, there would be a ubiquitous “-ing” word between April and Fool’s this time. So put it there your self: April…Fool’s Day, y’all.

The joke at the core of “green” is the fact that the mass production of anything – ANYTHING – can be described in terms that make it sound like the second coming of the biblical plagues of Egypt. And the ugly truth – unvarnished and unafraid – is just that: there is no such thing as “clean” or “green” energy in quantities we need.

The “green” we are being sold now – hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines – all share a dirty, dirty and radioactive secret: rare-earth minerals, whose mining is a nasty process. Nuclear – another “clean and green” alternative pushed by the current folks in DC – is proving why it is a lot of things, but hardly an environmental “sure thing.”

So when you start your Prius to drive to TMI to read the budget under the pale glow of the Compact Fluorescent Bulbs remember that all the “clean and green” you just touched was as dirty in its own way as me firing up my 1965 Mustang and driving to a library with real bulbs (for 8 more months – yup, I am hording) heated by an oil furnace and power by anthracite electric. Everything has a cost – the key is in acknowledging the “whole” truth and trying to best manage the unavoidable consequences.

But “Green?” C’mon, say it with me: April Fool’s!

Why am I ranting this way? Because it’s April 1st, and each succeeding year the day serves to remind us how little we need it – after all, we all live in a society where a bill of goods is sold to us every day and where the complete truth is the exception.

Happy April First.

This post was written by:
- who has written 77 posts for Rock The Capital
Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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