From Volume 38, Issue 34 of EIR Online, Published September 2, 2011

U.S. Economic/Financial News

No Recovery From Hurricane Irene Without Ousting Obama

Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—The aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which has generated unprecedented flooding in areas of the Northeastern United States, and still, as of this writing, has eliminated electric power for over 2 million people, represents a new major blow to what remains of the U.S. physical economy.

So far this week, over 20 rivers and streams, from Vermont to New Jersey, have set new all-time records for volumes of run-off. The emergency finds these states in a condition where they have already drastically reduced the ranks of their first-responders through major budget cuts. The population is thus forced to rely heavily on volunteer operations, like the Red Cross, who are working to set up shelters and food kitchens across the area.

While the Obama Administration is doing its utmost to show that it is "not like Bush" in Katrina, the facade is already frayed. On Aug. 26 the heads of Homeland Security and FEMA both insisted that they had enough money to deal with whatever damage Irene did. But, as of Aug. 30, FEMA announced they were "temporarily" suspending some disaster relief payments to Joplin, Missouri, and other tornado-devastated areas of the South, to meet the needs of the hurricane damage. FEMA now admits its emergency fund will be short by $5 billion for the upcoming budget year.

The Administration has appropriately come under fire, from both sides of the aisle, for having refused to address the predictable funding needs. It's high time Congress reached the conclusion they have been avoiding: Obama is the disaster, and getting rid of him is necessary to open the door to a real recovery.

Will Obama's Green Fascists Shut Down the Electricity Grid?

Aug. 22 (EIRNS)—Texas could suffer rolling power outages from grid unreliability caused by new EPA regulations that would shut down coal plants, Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) chair, Donna Nelson, said on Aug. 19th. Last month, the rabidly anti-growth Environmental Protection [sic] Agency promulgated new rules mandating more stringent reductions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur emissions, effecting mainly coal-burning power plants, in 27 states. It would cost more than $100 billion for utilities to purchase the equipment to retrofit power plants to meet the new regulations, and the EPA is requiring compliance with the new standards in six months.

The utilities say this is impossible to do, and the PUC agrees that the schedule is impossible to meet. Nationwide, it is expected that utilities will simply shut down at least 81MW of older coal-burning generating plants—about 8% of total capacity—rather than try to bring them in to compliance. Today's Washington Post reports that the EPA has yet more new rules to reduce mercury and other emissions in the pipeline, over the next 18 months.

Last Fall, the North American Electric Reliability Council warned that both the "pace and aggressiveness of these environmental regulations should be adjusted to reflect and consider the overall risk to the bulk power system." More than two-thirds of all U.S. coal-burning plants are more than 30 years old, and only about 35% have pollution controls that comply with clean air regulations. The rest are now potential targets for shut down. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (D-Alaska), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined by others from coal states, has protested the EPA actions.

These old coal plants should have been replaced by nuclear plants decades ago. Shutting them now, for supposed "environmental" concerns puts the entire, interconnected electricity grid at great risk.

Obama Budget Cuts Mean Millions of America's Kids Will Go Hungry

Aug. 25 (EIRNS)—There are currently 17 million children in the U.S. enduring "food insecurity" —i.e., they go hungry at least part of the time—according to a new study issued on Aug. 25 by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and the largest hunger charity in the nation. That is 1 out of every 4 children. In 314 counties, one third of children go hungry. Further, 49% of all babies are born to families receiving government food aid under the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program.

Of the 17 million children enduring hunger, almost 4 million live in households that earn more than the official poverty limit, and therefore are not eligible to even receive federal food aid.

All of that is today. But it's nothing compared to the horror-show which Obama's budget cuts are going to unleash upon the nation's kids. The WIC program is one of those that will be cut substantially under the proposed Obama budget, as will the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which provides agricultural products to food banks.

Upon releasing the report, Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America (which receives financing from ConAgra and Warren Buffet), stated: "As we deal with all the financial issues facing our nation, we can't balance our budget on the backs of poor and hungry children."

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