February 6, 2013

Memo to John Kasich: America May Not Need Ohio’s Oil …

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:19 am

… and oil companies won’t come here if there’s enough to be had elsewhere.

This brings me to California, of all places, in a development noted in an Investor’s Business Daily editorial last night:

The former Golden State is floating in debt, even as it sits on two-thirds of America’s shale oil reserves locked in a formation four times the size of the one that sparked North Dakota’s economic boom.

North Dakota is now the largest oil producer in the country after Texas with a monthly oil output of about 20 million barrels. North Dakota’s oil boom accounts for 11% of U.S. oil production, and it is the impetus behind the state’s $3.8 billion surplus and an unemployment rate of just 3.2%, the lowest in the nation.

California is not running a surplus, but it is sitting on a lot more oil than is contained in the Bakken shale formation North Dakota straddles. Covering 1,750 square miles from southern to central California, the Monterey shale formation has untapped deposits estimated at 15.4 billion barrels, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

Until recently, the complex geology of the formation has made exploration and extraction prohibitively expensive.

But as with oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and natural gas extracted from the Marcellus formation in the Northeast, technological advances have unleashed a bounty of riches, pushing proven reserves upward and smashing the myth of peak oil.

Whether the formerly Golden State led by Democrat Jerry “Governor Moonbeam” Brown is sane enough to take advantage of its newly available bounty is of course an open question. But I expect there will be similar discoveries in less-hostile political climates during the next several years. If so, oil companies will be able to get very selective about where they choose to do business.

They won’t do business in a state with a newly-enacted punitive severance tax combined with an already-existing Commercial Activities Tax on gross revenues when many other states don’t have either.

Drop the severance tax from your budget proposal, Governor Kasich. Ohio’s economic future depends on it.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020613)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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The answer is obviously “Yes”:

Payback for a Downgrade?
The feds sue S&P but not Moody’s for pre-crisis credit ratings.

Readers here know that the real deceivers in the subprime mortgage mess were at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

… from the time Fannie and Freddie began buying risky loans as early as 1993, they routinely misrepresented the mortgages they were acquiring, reporting them as prime when they had characteristics that made them clearly subprime or Alt-A.

As seen in the update at the link, the dollar value of the securities involved went to 13 figures, i.e., somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion to $5 trillion.

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It’s long past time to drop the illusion that Karl Rove has any interest beyond defending the GOP establishment politicians against those who believe the Constitution means what it says — people Rove describes as “far right.”

Positivity: State legislation to block abortion insurance coverage grows

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Feb 5, 2013 / 05:16 pm

A recent report indicates that numerous states are passing restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion under the health care reform law.

Mary Harned, staff counsel at Americans United for Life, said that state-level pro-life laws passed in recent legislative sessions have “been a great victory for the unborn and women across the country.”

“The fact that these types of laws are successful,” Harned told CNA on Feb. 5, “shows that many Americans do not want public funds paying for abortions, and they also do not want their own insurance premiums paying for abortion.”

Harned responded to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization committed to “reproductive health” and formerly connected to Planned Parenthood.

The report analyzes state laws as the date approaches for the Affordable Care Act to go into effect. The law, which provides for state health care exchanges in which individuals and small businesses can find insurance plans, also gives states express authority to limit abortion coverage.

According to Guttmacher, 20 states have passed legislation to restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans offered through the health care exchanges.

Some states require abortion coverage to be purchased separately so as to avoid using taxpayer money to fund abortions. Others prohibit abortion coverage in the exchange health plans except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Eight states have laws “restricting insurance coverage of abortion” altogether in private plans, including those in the exchanges.

In addition, 18 states limit “abortion coverage in insurance plans for public employees,” and 13 states have more than one kind of restriction.

Harned said that the institute’s assessment of insurance coverage laws is “pretty accurate” and matches the study carried out by Americans United for Life.

“Polls show that the vast majority of Americans oppose the public funding for abortion,” she noted.

Public discussion of the Affordable Care Act “drew a lot of people’s attention to the fact that many insurance plans do cover abortions,” she added, and many states are now “very interested” in modifying such insurance coverage.

Harned said “an increase in interest” among the general American population has also been a driving force behind measures to restrict both public and private insurance funding of abortion procedures.

Citizens have come to the conclusion that they “do not want their tax dollars paying for their public employees to have abortions,” she explained, and in many states “they don’t want their premiums covering abortions for other people” either.

Americans United for Life has worked to provide legal counsel and model legislation for states wishing to enact pro-life laws. …

Go here for the rest of the story.