Author Archives: petervburrows

New Mexico: Stuck on Stupid

New Mexico: Stuck on Stupid by Peter Burrows 4/25/19 elburropete@gmail.com  – silvercityburro.com

The economist Walter Williams once wrote that minimum wage laws were “breathtakingly stupid.” Welcome to New Mexico, where the minimum wage will jump 20 percent on the first of January to $9 an hour, on its way to $12 in a few years.

It could have been worse. Rep. Patricia Roybal Cabellero, D-Albuquerque, proposed $15 an hour starting next year, which would have made New Mexico’s minimum wage the highest in the nation, breathtakingly stupidest, so to speak.  I wonder what Rep. Cabellero pays HER employees? It’s so easy to be compassionate with somebody else’s payroll.

Would Rep Cabellero, who is doubtlessly a very nice person, think it acceptable if the police were to walk into her home and take something in order to give it to someone earning less than whatever she thinks is an appropriate wage?   That’s what she wanted to do to New Mexico’s employers with her $15 proposal.

You’re thinking, “Whoa, Burro! Outright theft is not the same thing as a minimum wage law.”

That’s only because minimum wage laws are a LEGAL form of theft. The biggest difference is that the intended victim, the employer, has the option to either go along with the robbery or thwart the crime by going out of business.  In either event, the employer is the bad guy, not the badge-wearing thief.

And that illustrates the most obvious stupidity of minimum wage laws: the assumption that poverty is caused by evil employers because they don’t pay “enough.”  This in turn rests on the false assumption that employers are the source of the workers’ wages. They are not.  The customer pays all the bills, folks, including the payroll.

That means that when Robin Hood Government robs the employer to pay the employee, it is the customer who gets the arrow, not the employer.  And if the customer ducks, i.e. refuses to pay the higher prices necessitated by a higher minimum, the business closes and the worker who loses his job is the one who takes the arrow.

Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe already have minimum wage laws greater than $9. Those three cities comprise over 35% of New Mexico’s population and are solidly Democrat.  Seen in that light, we are fortunate that $15 wasn’t enacted into law.

Even at $9, I’m afraid our corner of New Mexico is going to have a lot of arrows coming our way in the upcoming year.  Grant, Hidalgo and Catron Counties have a combined population of 35,000, less than five percent of the three cities mentioned above and less than two percent of New Mexico’s population. Furthermore, since 2010, the three counties have suffered almost a seven percent DECREASE in population since 2010.

The area’s three largest employers, the mine, the university and the hospital, will probably be able to withstand $9.  Walmart will hire fewer people, but at least they’ll keep the doors open, something questionable at $15.  The many small businesses will try to pass on the wage increase and some will not be able to. We shall see.

In the meantime, attracting new businesses will be a tough sell with a $9 minimum going to $12.  The message sent is loud and clear: “Hey employers!  Nine dollars now and twelve coming! Take that, you evil-dirty-exploiting bastards!”

Breathtakingly stupid.

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Reparations? No Thanks

By Peter Burrows 4/8/19 elburropete@gmail.com

Years ago, the billionaire Warren Buffett was asked about the secret to his success and he said something like, “Well, first, I was born in America. I won that lottery.”

Indeed, to be born in America is a Heaven-sent blessing and is not something any of us can take credit for, which is one reason why I refuse to take any money from my black brothers and sisters, who are understandably grateful to be living here and not in Africa.

Furthermore, my ancestors came to America from Ireland in the 1840s and had no connection to the slave trade, which means I can’t point to any black and say, “You here because of me, so pony up!”

My Scotch-Irish ancestors settled in Chicago and while they were probably abolitionists, I can’t prove it. Also, I’m pretty certain none of them joined the Union Army during the Civil War which means I’m not entitled to any reparations for that, either.

Bottom line: blacks don’t owe me anything for either bringing them to America as slaves, or for then shedding blood to free them. Since reparations are supported by most of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates, I can’t in good conscience vote for any of them.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t keep any reparations money that comes my way. After all, I’m an old white dude who’s entitled to receive a little gratitude from all those pro basketball players, hip-hop artists, and other millionaire blacks.

Plus, Roberta Flack has not answered any of the letters I’ve sent her over the years which has hurt my feelings no end. That’s a little personal, but it’ll make reparations from blacks easier to take, though not as easy as reparations from Italians would be.

You’re thinking, “Italians? What are you talking about, Burro?” Let me explain.

Cicero, the Roman statesman and philosopher who died in 51 BC, once advised his fellow Romans not to buy slaves from the British Isles because he found them “difficult to train,” i.e. stupid. This proves that Italians owned slaves who were my ancestors, ergo Italians owe me reparations.

Rubbing salt in the wound, Cicero showed contempt for my relatives by insulting their intelligence. He disrespected them. He dissed them, in fact, he be dissin’ me, the Dago Wop bastard! The next time I get a pizza from Papa John’s, I AIN’T PAYIN!!!

Why, the more I think about reparations, the more sense it makes. I must be a Democrat.

Judge Jeanine and Left-handed Muslims

Judge Jeanine Pirro and Left-handed Muslims by Peter Burrows 3/22/19 elburropete@gmail.com and silvercityburro.com. 

Fox News has apparently canceled “Justice with Judge Jeanine” because she raised a question concerning Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: 

“Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Koran 33:39, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?” 

As Catholics and Mormons can attest, questioning how a politician’s religion may influence that politician’s politics is hardly new.  JFK and Mitt Romney come to mind, and neither had to explain why their religion’s adherents were murdering people around the world, as Muslims are doing today. (See religionofpeace.com.) 

Furthermore, since such carnage is being done in adherence to Islamic theology, Judge Jeanine’s question is entirely appropriate. The fact that Fox management “strongly condemned” her comment is appalling, and illustrates something I‘ve advocated for quite some time: When criticizing Islam or Muslims, always quote the Koran. 

How can you be an Islamophobe or a racist if you are merely quoting the Koran?   

Quoting the Koran also educates, or at least it SHOULD educate, those who are defending Islam because they accept the politically correct, and wrong, notion that “Islam is peace.” Furthermore, nothing condemns the Koran, and Islam, more than the Koran itself does.  It is a great weapon against Islam.  

Judge Jeanine could have added:  

“Muslims must obey the Koran, Allah’s eternal guidance, and in Verse 5:38, Allah commands: As for the thief, male or female, cut off the hands of both. This is an exemplary punishment from Allah.  

“Exemplary punishment from God, folks. Let me add that the consensus among Muslim jurists is that it is the right hand should be cut off first. Representative Omar, you believe you must wear a hijab.  Do you also believe a thief should have his or her right hand cut off?”    

As a smart-ass aside, I would have added, “Representative Omar, is calling somebody ‘lefty’ an insult in Islam?  

Open letter number two to Mariel Nanasi

Open Letter Number Two to Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy (NEE), Santa Fe, NM, by Peter Burrows, 2/28/19 

Dear Ms. Nanasi 

I received an email today from NEE which contained the following statement:  

“NOW is the time for a new model of energy production and procurement. We can have locally produced solar, wind and storage, and efficiency at lower cost than gas produced energy 300 miles away.” 

I would like to know if there is any place in the world where “locally produced wind, solar and storage” is cheaper than electricity produced by gas-fired turbines.  Outside of a few research stations in the Antarctic, there is no such place. Neither is there any place where wind, solar and storage are cheaper than coal-fired or nuclear generated electricity.  

I believe you have relied on misleading government statistics when you assert that renewable energy is more cost effective than the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy.   

The Department of Energy, on their Energy Information Administration (EIA) website, analyzes something they call The Levelized Cost of Electricity, LCOE, for different forms of electricity under a myriad of different assumptions. If you read the text carefully, you will find that they caution against comparing LCOEs between different forms of energy as that can be “misleading,” yet in table after table, comparing such LCOEs is precisely what the EIA does.  

Whether deliberate or not, the EIA virtually ignores the costs of intermittency that are inherent in wind and solar power.  Ignoring these costs means that LCOE comparisons with fossil or nuclear energy are meaningless. It’s not a matter of comparing apples to oranges. It’s more like comparing apples to basketballs.  

Perhaps the worst thing about the LCOE numbers is that they give economic legitimacy to renewable energy when in fact renewable energy is virtually worthless. It is only produced because of government mandates and subsidies. 

Just ask yourself, if renewables are in fact the cheapest form of electricity, why are coal-fired generating plants still being built? In India, for example, hundreds of new coal-powered generating plants are under construction, many of which will burn coal from one of 80 new coal mines opened since 2009.   

India’s coal production in the six months April to November, 2018, was 434 million metric tons, an increase of 39 million tons over the previous year. Annualized at 78 million tons, India’s incremental annual production is over six times all the coal produced in New Mexico last year (~12.6 million metric tons.) Sub-Saharan Africa is also forecast to be greatly increasing the use of coal-generated electricity in coming years.   

Ms. Nanasi, you are trying to avert a global climate catastrophe by shutting down New Mexico’s use of fossil fuels, yet much of the rest of the world is pursuing policies that totally overwhelm anything we can do here in New Mexico.  Furthermore, your policies will be hugely expensive, something relatively poor New Mexico doesn’t need.  

Wouldn’t we be better off heeding the advice of Bill Gates, who in 2015 said that the cost of 100 percent renewable electricity would be “beyond astronomical,” and simply eliminate new Mexico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard entirely?  I’m with Bill on this one. For an update on his views, please see:  

https://energy.stanford.edu/news/cheap-renewables-won-t-stop-global-warming-says-bill-gates 

Ms. Nanasi, if the Department of Energy’s LCOE numbers are not the basis for your contention that solar and wind are cheaper than fossil and nuclear, please tell me what is the basis for your belief. 

Sincerely, Peter Burrows – elburropete@gmail.com  

Open Letter to Mariel Nanasi

An Open Letter to Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy, Santa Fe. New Mexico by Peter Burrows 2/18/19 elburropete@gmail.com

Dear Ms. Nanasi,

Senate Bill 489 would require New Mexico’s investor owned electric utilities to be 100 percent carbon free by 2045, a goal to be achieved with renewable sources of electricity, especially wind and solar. As I understand it, one hundred percent carbon free has long been NEE’s goal, both for environmental reasons and, to quote from your recent emailing, “because renewables are the most cost-effective option.” With that in mind, I have some questions for you.

1) Our new secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Sarah Probst, was quoted in a January 11 article in New Mexico In Depth saying that going to an 80 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard would require a careful approach so that, “we don’t do anything that jeopardizes reliability or increases costs too quickly.“

Why would she say INCREASES COSTS if renewables are cheaper?

2) Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and life-long environmentalist, said in a 2015 interview with The Financial Times that the cost of going 100 percent renewable would be “beyond astronomical.”

Was Gates wrong? Have there been advances in energy technologies that enable us today to have renewable energy that is affordable, not “beyond astronomical” in cost?

3) Is there any place in the world where adding renewables to the power mix has lowered the average electricity bill? An article by The Institute for Energy Research dated 2/8/19, claims that electricity rates increase as renewables are added to the mix, In Germany, Denmark, the U.S., anywhere.

California, for example, in 2017 generated 23% of its electricity from wind and solar and its residential electricity rates were 18.24 cents per kilowatt-hour, “at least 40 percent higher than any other western state,” and 22 percent higher than I paid last month using my cost of14.98 cents after taxes, fees etc. Using the before fees/taxes cost of 12.65 cents, California was 44 percent higher.

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/the-100-percent-renewable-energy-myth/ or Google: The 100 Percent Renewable Energy Myth BY IER (Inst for Energy Research) 2/8/19

(I went to the Dept. Of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) site and was unable to verify IER’s numbers. The EIA site is difficult to navigate, to say the least.)

4) I see that my electricity bills are increased by a “Renewable Energy Rider,” not decreased by a “Renewable Energy Credit.” Why are renewables increasing my bill if renewables are so cost effective?

5) If renewables are the least cost option, why are so many new coal-fueled electricity generating plants being built outside of the U.S.?

From coalswarm.org, 2/16/19: “Since 2007 planning and construction of new coal-fired power plants in India has accelerated, and hundreds of new plants are in currently in the pipeline, as shown in CoalSwarm’s India coal plant tracker.”

HUNDREDS of new coal-fired plants? How can that be if renewables are so much cheaper than coal?

6) Totally eliminating the use of fossil fuels in New Mexico would eventually mean the elimination of natural gas to heat our homes.  Is this a long-term goal of NEE? Would this mean using electric heat, and would that increase Bill Gates’s estimate from “beyond astronomical” to “beyond astronomical squared?”

7) Are you using the Energy Information Administration’s Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) calculations when you compare the costs of different sources of electricity, e.g. solar vs. coal? You have to read the EIA’s accompanying notes carefully to learn that they caution that comparing LCOEs between power sources can be “misleading.”

“Misleading,” indeed.  Intermittent sources of electricity such as solar and wind are not comparable to constant sources, such as coal or nuclear.  Intermittent sources need to be buffered, i.e. smoothed for clouds and lulls, and stored for when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

The cost of storage is the driver behind Gates’s “beyond astronomical” estimate, and here is where NEE can get some answers from Public Service of New Mexico (PNM). PNM has been operating an electric storage facility since 2012. The PNM Prosperity Energy Storage was heralded as “the nation’s first solar storage facility fully integrated into a utility’s power grid.” (Renewable Energy World, 3/2/15)

By now, PNM should have a good handle on how much the storage costs would be at various RPS requirements, at least with the technology they are using. When PNM held a meeting in Silver City in May of 2017, I cited Prosperity Storage and said: “I assume you have lots of cost data from that project and can provide us with an estimate of what our utility bills would be if PNM was 100 percent renewables-with-storage.”

Six months later, I made the same request in a column for The Grant County Beat. Still no answer and I don’t expect to ever get one. However, I’m confident that New Energy Economy could get an answer. YOU they fear. Me, I’m just a nobody home owner/rate payer.

In conclusion, I share your desire for cheap, reliable, renewable energy. I’m just not convinced that “cheap” and “reliable” are possible with today’s technology.

If you are ever in Silver City, I know a great place to get a cup of coffee, my treat.

Sincerely,

Peter V. Burrows                                                                                                                                elburropete@gmail.com

 

More on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

More on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez by Peter Burrows, elburropete@gmail.com. 1/27/19 

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC, has taken America by storm. The new 29-year-old Congress- woman from New York City is on magazine covers, is featured in TV interviews, has been invited to appear everywhere and is talked about constantly by news pundits.  

If I was 50 years younger, I’d throw myself at her lovely feet. However, in my grandfatherly old age I look at this benighted young lady and feel sorry for her. Wikipedia tells us that she graduated cum laude from Boston University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics. My dictionary says cum laude means “With honor. Used on diplomas as a mark of high standing.”  

Why then, was she tending bar and waiting tables before her election? Probably because her college degree is worthless, cum laude or magna cum laude, something a lot of college grads are finding out these days. In AOC’s case, proof she got a college indoctrination and not a college education is to be found in her economic ideas.  

How can anybody take economics in college and come away with the conviction that economic prosperity can be achieved with huge government programs paid for by “the rich” and/or by the Federal Reserve writing checks?   

How can that person think that the government can provide guaranteed jobs at “living wages” for everybody and anybody? Where has this ever worked? How can this be afforded? Throw in Medicare for all, too. 

And, of course, she wants to increase the minimum wage to $15, proving she doesn’t know the first, or the second, thing about economics. (See my article, “God and the Minimum Wage” in Libertarian Leanings.) No wonder college degrees, outside of science and technology, don’t mean much anymore.  

Another AOC fact that bodes ill for America is that she is a Catholic, a Latino Catholic, like Pope Francis, who has similarly stupid economic ideas. Nowhere in the world, with the possible exception of France, has rule by Catholics been hospitable to democracy or free enterprise economics. Certainly, nowhere south of the Rio Grande. 

Catholicism is an authoritarian religion that, like many religions, sees the accumulation of personal wealth as somehow immoral. With that in mind, it’s not inconceivable AOC could run for president on a platform inspired by NYC’s mayor Bill Deblasio, who recently said that NYC has plenty of money to do all the good things Deblasio wants to do, it’s just that the money is in the WRONG hands. 

“Right” and “wrong” are words that inherently incorporate a moral judgement. By golly, if money is in the “wrong” hands, it’s government’s duty to take it and put it in the “right” hands. Lots of people think that is a proper role for government.  

Politically, this works, especially if the electorate both poor and ignorant. It worked for Hugo Chavez, who enjoyed the unique status of being an elected and reelected dictator. All that oil money down there in Venezuela was in the wrong hands, you see, and Hugo was just the guy to right that wrong. If a few billion ended up in his kids’ bank accounts, that was OK because their hands were the right hands.    

Charles Lane, who writes for the Washington Post and is an occasional commentator on Fox News, recently said something to the effect that AOC would be really dangerous if she knew what she was talking about.  

No, Chuck, she wouldn’t be dangerous if she knew what she was talking about, she’s dangerous because she DOESN’T know what she’s talking about.  

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: The Future of America

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: The Future of America by Peter Burrows 1/25/19 elburropete@gmail.com 

I have to confess: I’m smitten with New York’s new Congresswoman, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC. She’s gorgeous, charismatic, articulate and vivacious.    

She’s also, at the very least, profoundly ignorant and probably just plain stupid, but that won’t hurt her politically. Just the opposite. There are tons of ignorant and stupid voters in America, enough to make AOC, when she’s 35 and old enough to run for president, America’s first Latina Lady President, maybe even President for Life.    

You’re thinking, “Come on Burro. What’s with the ‘president for life’ crap? The Constitution’s 22nd Amendment limits presidents to two terms.” 

That’s true TODAY, but the demographic changes underway in America that would make an AOC president also make it inevitable that the Constitution will be scrapped.  AOC’s election was the canary in the mine, folks.  

To see what I’m talking about, let’s look at her Bronx Congressional District, which had been represented by an Anglo male for 20 years. This incumbent Congressman outspent AOC in the primary by over 10-1 and yet she kicked his butt by 15 points.  

Why?  Because she reflected the changing demographics of the district: 50% Hispanic, 46% foreign born and 68 % who don’t speak English in the home. You’re thinking, “Well, that doesn’t look much like America, Burro, so how can AOC be America’s future?” 

True, her district doesn’t look like America YET. Another 50 years and it will, but the Democrats aren’t going to wait that long. They realize that the stupid Republicans have finally awakened to their plan to gain permanent electoral majorities with the trifecta of open borders, welfare benefits and easy citizenship.  

While that strategy may still succeed, the Democrats have launched Plan B: Do away with the Electoral College. That way, all of America won’t have to look like AOC’s congressional District, just a few populous states with enough voters to swing the national majority to the Democrat candidate.   

Take a look at California, in which the last election was instructive. Republicans across the state lost elections thanks to a 94% increase in Hispanic turnout, helped in no small part by a California innovation known as “ballot harvesting.” This allows campaign workers to go to a voter’s home and help the voter fill out a ballot, which is then delivered to a polling place BY THE CAMPAIGN WORKER.  

It goes without saying that this system, approved by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016, is open to abuse, especially since in California the DMV automatically registers people to vote if they say they are eligible to vote. The DMV told the Sacramento Bee that “it is not responsible for verification of voter eligibility.” 

California is a sanctuary state controlled from top to bottom by Democrats who are sympathetic to open border immigration and allowing illegals to vote.  California’s population is currently 40 million. Throw in a few more big states that are rapidly tuning blue thanks to illegals from Latin America, and it’s coronation time for an AOC if there is no Electoral College. 

New York state, population 20 million, will probably become a sanctuary state this year, following New York City, which is already a sanctuary city.  Illinois, population 13 million, and New Jersey, population 9 million, are also sanctuary states.  

Here in New Mexico, also a sanctuary state, we can expect the state legislature to pass a bill that directs New Mexico’s five electoral votes to go to whomever wins the Presidential popular vote nationally, regardless of how New Mexico voted.  Governor Martinez refused to sign a similar bill in 2017, but Michelle Lujan Grisham sure as Hell will.      

I doubt this is Constitutional, but as we all know, the Constitution is an out-of-date document created by Anglo-Saxon, white supremacist, male chauvinist Christians, and after they get rid of the Electoral College, “Progressives” will get rid of the Constitution, too. 

Adios, America.