China Syndrome: The Democrats' Intellectual Meltdown

So Senate Democrats failed again to pass a measure to halt “offshoring” of jobs, meaning employing people overseas either directly or indirectly. They oppose that but, looking at the elements of the (fortunately) languishing “Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act“, offshoring includes investing overseas in any number of circumstances. What should trouble responsible policymakers is that which prompts companies to actually “offshore” jobs when, all other things being equal, the U.S. was as rational a location for the investment as other options.


This of course is the ever-expanding regulatory state, which makes other places more attractive options for growth or even continuing investments here and which, oddly enough, the Dems embrace. Like grim death.

Even more absurd is the Democrats’ simultaneous obsession with the latest excuses for massively expanding the state, thereby offshoring jobs. These include President Obama’s ‘green economy’. The job-killing nature of this enterprise escapes Democrats. They speak as if they actually believe that mandating you use all sorts of politically divined things, like windmills and solar panels, means that surely they’ll be made here, too. Except that they will be made in those places that don’t lard on such mandates. China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are a few countries that come to mind as places that have so far ended up manufacturing the green gadgets forced on us by our political class vapidly boasting of the jobs that such mandates will create.

That these jobs will be created elsewhere — followed by many others, incidentally, for the same reason: such mandates result in much manufacturing becoming uneconomic — is the most foreseeable outcome in the world, even if it’s always reported in terms, when it occurs, of somehow being an unforeseen consequence.

Compounding the dissonance, the fashionable, typically inane greenie talking point is “China’s doing it!” The import, according to a related talking point, is that China is “eating our lunch” in the great windmill race. Why, if we don’t pass cap-and-trade legislation, we’ll fall behind, the saying went.

Of course, China’s “doing it” without cap-and-trade, so there’s inanity number one. But these talking points have persisted beyond the (assumed) death of cap-n-trade this year, in favor of a stand-alone ‘renewable energy standard’, or windmill-quota. For newbies, “renewables” means the stuff that rarely works, like windmills and solar panels, so you need conventional, ahem, ‘backup’ to be available at all times. Majority Leader Harry Reid now says the lame-duck Congress needs to at least take that up in December — now, as I have previously noted, with the shameful encouragement of former conservative Sen. Sam Brownback.

And here comes inanity number two: as we’ve recently had clarified for us, China is installing more of everything than the US when it comes to energy, so the talking point is meaningless.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry. It’s worse than meaningless. It’s a farce. China is installing more everything than us, except windmills.

Recent Institute for Energy Research testimony to Congress established, among other things:

“Energy Information Administration data for 2008 (the most recent year available) indicates that China added more than 5 times the total generating capacity that the United States did (79 gigawatts of total capacity for China, versus 15 gigawatts of capacity for the United States). While that statistic is in itself interesting, the split between fuel types is even more interesting. Embedded in this is China’s 26 gigawatts of hydroelectric capacity, while the U.S. added none. China also added 47 gigawatts of thermal capacity (primarily coal), while the U.S. added 6 gigawatts (primarily natural gas). That’s almost 8 times more thermal capacity and on a carbon dioxide‐emitting basis, over 15 times more. With respect to wind, China added 6 gigawatts, while the United States 8 gigawatts.”

So the latest figures show we were installing 33% more windmills than China while they were supposedly “doing it” contrary to us and “eating our lunch”.

In the ‘good timing’ department, along comes to an interview with Greenpeace International’s chief Kumi Naidoo in The Nation in which he says:

It’s very contradictory though, what’s happening in China. Every three weeks a coal-fired power plant is coming on stream–on the other hand, every hour a wind turbine is coming on stream.

As amusing as that is, it is actually rather hyperbolic, not only because it rhetorically conflates a windmill with a coal-fired power plant producing the electricity of about a thousand windmills: it inflates China’s rate of windmill installation by more than four times. He also does not mention that those windmills that China is installing are being installed because Europe is paying them to (under Kyoto’s “Clean Development Mechanism”, which allows credit for covered parties for installing such things in non-covered countries because it’s just so darned economy-killing to actually reduce emissions. We think. Because no one actually did so under Kyoto. Pre-recession that is, in which yet another lesson also lies).

So, yeah, China’s doing it works for me, so long as we, you know, don’t have to actually pay for the very expensive, intermittent, inefficient electricity. Say, maybe, just leave them unconnected from any grid. Oh, what do you know, Naidoo helpfully elaborated:

“Small detail: many of the wind turbines are not connected to any grids.”

Heh. Turns out it’s actually about a third of the bird-killers that are left unplugged. Meaning China is installing less than two windmills per day that they’ve bothered to connect to a grid, not twenty four as he states. But such a bargain! The Chinese get the influx of temporary installation gigs (which are in practice Obama-style ‘green jobs’), without getting stuck paying for all of that expensive windmill electricity. Like I said, China’s doing it is good enough for me. Greens, do you still want to cling to that talking poi…hey, where’d you go?

It’s time for adults to get involved in energy policy.

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