While getting my news from NPR this morning, I heard a discussion about getting rid of tax breaks for "fossil fuel" companies. First of all I have to disclaim that an outsized percentage of the family's retirement account is invested in "fossil fuel" and other energy companies. There are many reasons for this. I also feel that it is slightly hypocritical of me, as I rant against them and call them evil, but they've got the whole world over a barrel (get it? I'm on fire in the early AM) and they'll get their pound of flesh. I'm over it. At least we hold no Goldman. In fact we don't hold any financials. Probably should. Don't.
Anyhoo, Jay Rockefeller, he of the greatest piece of real estate in DC and king of the coal state, was somewhat sanguine about the loss of this break. A Rep from some other "old energy" state was less so, saying that "we" (yes, he actually used the word "we") will just have to pass that added cost onto the consumer, so that it would act as a hidden tax. Breaking news: removal of ill-performing subsidies does not equal hidden taxes. It equals an opportunity for the market to work. If oil, or coal, or wind or any other thing loses subsidies and reverts to its real cost, then it will be at its natural competitive position and the market will adjust. Yes, in the short term our in-built reliance on fossil fuels (created through some really quirky series of events - the whole mechanism by which we came to be in the state we are in, and the American empire was created by no force more prominent than oil. It would take a book to explain. That book is "The Prize," which you should read) will cause consumer and producer prices to rise. Then (hopefully) we will adapt. And the money that isn't spent on oil subsidies on our behalf will be directed to some area of greater universal benefit. We are just absolutely killing ourselves with our dependence on fossil fuels.
Here is my stupid question of the day. If oil is indeed produced by fossils, just how many freaking fossils were there? I mean we pull a billion barrels of the stuff out of the ground every thirty minutes or so and have done for the better part of a century (this is a literary technique called "hyperbole") - just what kind of a Casanova was old Dino? There must be more oil underneath the ocean than there is water IN the ocean.
Topic change #1:
From today's NYT:
Mr. Obama will announce the so-called ‘’innovation fund’’ at a town hall style meeting here, the officials said. The money will be redirected from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, and made available to state housing agencies, who will be expected to design programs to help homeowners having difficulty meeting their mortgage payments, either because they are unemployed, are burdened by second mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth.
So I guess capital gains on home sales are going to go up then, right? Right? Every single one of these homeowners would have felt great about pocketing the gains if they suddenly owed a hell of a lot less than they their homes were worth. Probably would have taken out home equity loans because, hey, free money. Hence the "burdensome" second mortgages. Do that enough times and you all of a sudden implode the economy. Hence the "unemployed." GOD DAMN IT we are stupid. Idiot proofing the world is creating better idiots.
Topic change #2. Team Sky kind of took a beating the other day. File under "inevitable." The freaking hubris on those guys is just astounding. Holy schize. They'll be good, they have far too much talent on their team not to be, but it was comforting to see the peloton (and Cervelo in particular, who have to be my favorite team even though Gerrans is now on Sky) teach them a bit of a lesson in manners. Too bad my boy Boss Hog was the ultimate recipient of the smackdown, but hey it had to happen.
Speaking of smackdown and throwdowns, get ready for round 2. News later.
Speaking of throwdowns and Sky and new teams and hubris, we are rapidly approaching the debut of my new team, an event which I hope is not popularly anticipated with the same thoughts I had viz Sky. The team has been accused of stealing riders from other teams, which is patently laughable, but on balance I think we've paid it forward acceptably and will continue to do so. We arranged the first competitive event which many people will do this year, and will do more of these. The third or fourth race on the calendar is ours, as is a season long series which many will be aiming for. And before the season is over you'll have a chance to do more races that we're hosting. So without being smug or holier than thou or anything even remotely flavored with those spices, I feel pretty good about our citizenship to date. Hopefully I can feel as good about my legs in the coming months.