San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, March 22, 2013

Global Warming Projections Are Wrong

Placing rulers on lines and thereby projecting the future is a very stupid business.  Stock market gurus do it all the time.  The stock market dropped by 28% from 1937 to 1941. All of the specialists in predicting the future direction of the stock market predicted that they were entering a period of time where stocks would not return more than one or two percent per year.  The market then proceeded to rise 160% before the next negative year came in 1946.
The stock market rose 175% from 1963 to 1968.  That period of time is now known as the "go-go 60s".  Everyone was investing in the stock market and stock mutual funds grew in size to the point where they became one of the most popular investment vehicles of all time.  Everyone was predicting that we had emerged into a new period of time in which the stock market would never drop again.  Then, over the next six years (1969-1974), the stock market proceeded to lose 18%.
By the end of 1974 stock market analysts were declaring the "end of equities".  Nobody believed that a decade like the 60s could ever happen again.  Enter the 90s.  For the five year period from 1995 through 1999 the stock market rose by 245%.  By the end of 1999 everybody and his grandmother had quit his regular job and become a day trader specializing in technology stocks.  We were told that we were on the cusp of a new era.  We were told that stocks would never go down again.  We were told that technology had changed everything.  Then, for the next ten years the stock market went nowhere.  The entire ten year period came to be known as the "lost decade".  Investors fled from stocks and stock mutual funds in droves.  Investment advisers told us that this was the "new normal" and that we should never expect superior returns from stocks again.  Then, something strange happened.  From March of 2009 until the time I am writing this post the stock market has risen by 128%.  And, not surprisingly, it appears as if stocks are back in favor once again.
What is the point of my protracted history of stock market performance?  You will notice that all of the examples of inaccurate predictions about the future direction of the stock market shared a common methodology.   The forecasts for future stock market performance were always created by doing nothing more than placing a ruler on the most recent short term trend and projecting it eternally into the future.  Despite the fact that this procedure never works, human beings continue to use it.  There appears to be something that is hard-wired into our psyches that forces us to behave in this fashion.  I am not interested in why we behave this way.  I accept it as a mere fact of human nature.  I am interested in how this behavior inevitably results in erroneous forecasts about the future.  And that brings me to today's post about the projections of the global warming alarmists in regards to the future temperature of the earth.
I was wandering around the web last night, reading all of my favorite ultra-right wing websites, when I stumbled across the graph below.  This graph tabulates the data taken from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC) about historic and predicted future global temperatures.  As you are no doubt aware, the UNIPCC is the authoritative source for climate change data.  In other words, this graph was not created by using data from some discredited organization that is on a crusade to disprove the theory of global warming.  This graph is an exact replication of the data presently being used by scientists who believe in global warming. These poor souls use this as proof that their predictions for the future will come true.  Take a minute to examine the graph and the text that it contains.  I think you will find it very interesting.

 (     By Mark Prigg of Daily Mail)

A more perfect example of the fallacy of putting a ruler on a short term trend and projecting it far into the future could not be given.  If I were to project the future temperatures of the world based upon the time frame from 1960 to 1975 I would be forced to predict that the earth was going into the next ice age.  In fact, if you happened to be in government schools at that time (I graduated high school in 1975) you may recall that we were all taught that global cooling was the next environmental disaster and we were all doomed to live out our adult lives under the conditions of an ice age.  We all know how that theory turned out.
On the other hand, if I decided to predict future temperatures based upon the period of time from 1975 to 1998 I would be forced to predict we were heading into a period of intense global warming.  Sound familiar?  Even more, if I were forced to predict future temperatures based upon the period of time from 1998 to the present I would have to say that global temperatures will remain stable forever.  I think you get the point.
What is most interesting to me is that the current global warming lobby is so emotionally entrenched in its viewpoint that its proponents are unwilling to admit that their projections of future temperatures are about to plunge through the bottom of their "95% degree of certainty" expectations.  Their "75% degree of certainty" predictions have already gone by the wayside.  The human characteristic of continuing to believe something despite the evidence to the contrary is called "irrational faith" and is not becoming of a group of people who call themselves "scientists" and who are very quick to call anybody who disagrees with them "ostriches".  This is one group that needs to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Denver Post Hates Corporate Owned Ski Resorts

Last week the Denver Post ran a series of articles on the ski industry in Colorado.  The focus of the series was the indisputable fact that skiing is an inherently dangerous activity.  People die as a result of skiing accidents every year.  According to, "on average, about 35-40 skiers and snowboarders die every year in the USA as a result of a traumatic accident. Excess speed and/or jump heights are usually involved in most traumatic deaths on the slopes."  In addition, "the overall injury risk combining all the snow sports is about 0.2-0.4%. In simple terms, this means that for every 1000 people skiing or snowboarding in a day, on average between 2 and 4 will require medical attention."
Although those numbers make skiing sound like a sport exclusively for those with a death wish,  it is important to keep these death and injury rates in perspective.  The US Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a list of reasons why people visit hospital emergency rooms.  That seems like a logical way to determine the relative risk associated with the various activities we humans like to engage in.  The information is a bit old (2005) but still provides a meaningful glimpse into the relative risk of various sports.  Topping the list is basketball with 512,000 emergency room visits.  I am a member of this club, having broken my leg while playing basketball as a young man.  Second on the list is bicycling with 485,000 visits.  Third on the list is everyone's favorite sport, football.  It accounted for 418,000 emergency room visits.  The number of visits drops quickly from that point with number four, soccer, only accounting for 175,000 visits.  Skiing is not found anywhere on the list, which goes down all the way through fifteen popular activities.  In fact, more people are injured playing golf (47,000) than are hurt while skiing.  If you played golf with the same people I do you would wonder why that number is not higher. I think I still have a bruise from the last time I was struck by a golf ball. 
The gross number of injuries is probably not the best way to measure relative risk.  However, even if I calculate the risk of getting injured on a percentage basis skiing once again comes off looking pretty safe.  Calculating the rate of injury as a percentage of the number of participants creates an interesting top ten most dangerous activities.  In descending order from the most risky sport they are:  football, basketball, cycling (I can attest to that, having been injured several times myself), skateboarding, baseball, softball, horseback riding, ice hockey, lacrosse, and, once again, golf.  So, to put things in perspective, skiing can be a dangerous, even deadly activity, but it is by no means one of the most risky things a person can do.  Clearly the decisions of the individual skier to go fast, jump or ski near the trees has a huge part in determining the overall risk associated with the activity.  Some skiers take more risks than others.  Sometimes those skiers get hurt or killed.
The featured article in the series was published on Saturday and ran under the headline "In Bounds of Liability".  After having spent several days illustrating the risks associated with skiing, the Post decided it was time to consider the issue from a legal perspective.  This is where things got interesting. Here is what Karen Crummy, of the Denver Post, wrote:
"Colorado ski operators, protected by state law and further insulated by season-pass waivers, have escaped liability for such incidents as an inbounds avalanche, a ski instructor running into a 9-year old, and a decaying bridge injuring a skier. In the 34 years since Colorado's Ski and Safety Act was passed to protect mom-and-pop ski areas from lawsuits and soaring insurance costs, multibillion-dollar real-estate-development companies have come to own many of the state's 25 resorts.  Yet not only do they continue to enjoy protections under the ski act, season-pass waivers release them from additional negligence claims and require the person who sues them to reimburse their attorney fees and costs....To the public, ski resorts market skiing and snowboarding as safe -- safer than cycling or swimming. But when they're sued, they shield themselves from legal claims by calling it an inherently dangerous sport."
  Ms. Crummy goes on to cite several examples of what she considers to be the egregious lack of legal liability enjoyed by the corporate ski resort owners.  In particular she quotes a woman who lost her son in an avalanche at a Colorado ski resort.  The grieving mom said, "Things have gone over the edge in terms of how much the state statute protects resorts. Colorado is going to become known as a place where you can kill skiers and not suffer any repercussions.  And skiers will be blamed, be told it was your negligence that killed you."
Now Crummy's quote of the grieving mother is an interesting one.  Mom is angry that her son died in an inbounds avalanche.  Somebody has to be blamed.  Certainly her son did not do anything wrong. However, according to the same article, her son was "caught in an inbounds avalanche at Vail last year.  The resort had roped off the entrance gate at the top part of a trail but not the entrance gate farther down the trail."  As it turns out, the kid had gone through the lower gate and hiked up the mountain, causing the avalanche in which he died.  Nevertheless, mom believes that Vail was responsible for the death of her son.  She believes that Vail killed her son.  Being the jaded individual that I am, it is hard to see how the grieving mother's comments can be anything more than promptings from her attorney in preparation for a lawsuit against Vail.  In addition, a grieving mother is not exactly the most objective person to interview when discussing the vagaries of corporate liability law. 
What caught my eye in the article was the obvious anti-corporate position taken by Crummy  She seems quite content to describe the great benefits of the Colorado Ski and Safety Act when it applies to "mom and pop" ski areas.  On the other hand, when it comes to greedy, evil corporations, the law apparently reverses its original intention and grants immoral immunity from liability to profitable corporations.  Crummy accuses the corporate owners of many of Colorado's ski resorts of hypocrisy by noting how they defend themselves by claiming that skiing is an inherently dangerous sport and yet marketing skiing as an enjoyable and safe family activity.  Crummy seems incapable of recognizing that both claims are equally true.
Crummy does not explain why the profits realized at a small family owned ski area are sacrosanct while the profits realized at a large corporate owned ski area are ill-gotten and liable to be confiscated by those who get injured while skiing there.  Why is it the mere fact that because corporate owned ski areas have greater overall profits they should therefore be held liable for the negligent actions of their patrons?  Why should a large corporate owned ski area be liable for accidents and a small family owned ski area be exempt?  Crummy does not say, so I will.
Crummy, writing for the Denver Post, hates corporations and the free market.  She hates profits and large scale profitability.  I suspect, like most folks of her kind, she is riddled with envy and despises anyone or anything that makes more money than she does.  In doing so she fails to recognize that those very corporations she despises so intensely are owned by people who can accurately be described as moms and pops.  So what should be done when a mom and a pop who happen to own both their own ski area and shares of stock in a corporate owned ski area encounter a liability claim?  Should their ski area be immune from the claim simply because they are small and private?  Should the company that they own shares in be subject to the exact same claim simply because it is large and corporate?  If so, why?  Explain the fairness of the situation to me, if you can.
In the end it all boils down to good old socialism in action.  Ms. Crummy is a socialist who believes that the coercive power of the state should be utilized to redistribute wealth.  In this case the mechanism by which the wealth should be distributed from evil corporations to the common man is the court system as it holds corporate ski areas liable for accidents that occur there while exempting non-corporate ski areas from the same rules.  Ms. Crummy is a fine and upstanding example of what it means to be a citizen in the Socialist Democracy of America.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Obama Declares Himself Auto CEO Of The Year

King Obama likes to pretend he is in the automobile business.  He repeatedly tells us how he single-handedly saved General Motors from financial ruin.  A huge part of his campaign for reelection focused upon how he had saved jobs in Michigan by preventing the bankruptcy of General Motors.  He also likes to brag about how he has single-handedly brought about a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency.  The King routinely informs his subjects that the evil people responsible for making cars are in cahoots with evil people in the oil industry to make sure that cars never become fuel efficient.  The idea is that the less fuel efficient the car, the more gasoline it will require to operate.  Evil corporations involved in both the manufacturing of cars and the production of oil are proclaimed to be greedy profit seeking monsters doing everything they can to keep new, environmentally friendly, products from the consuming public.  How did the automobile industry ever survive without him?
The Department of the Treasury of the SDA has almost completed the TARP program as it relates to shares of GM stock.  You may recall that the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was initiated by Treasury to purchase assets of companies involved in the mortgage backed securities meltdown.  Although he had no legal authority to do so, King Obama diverted about $40 billion of TARP assets to purchase shares of GM stock.  As of today Treasury has sold almost all of those shares back to the public.  How did the King do on his stock purchase?  From the time he originally bought $40 billion worth of GM (early 2009) the stock market has essentially doubled.  Best estimates are that by the time Treasury unloads the last of its shares it will have realized total proceeds of about $30 billion, thus realizing a $10 billion loss.  Of course the King will not be taking that loss on his tax return next year.  It was paid for by the taxpayers.  Unfortunately the tax law does not allow any of us to book that loss, despite the fact we paid for it.  King Obama may be the self proclaimed "Automobile Executive of the Year" but he is not very good at investing in the stock market. I doubt he will become "Investment Adviser of the Year."
Last week the King was in Illinois delivering a speech that focused upon the need for the automobile industry to once again kowtow to his wishes and the wishes of his greenie supporters.  As reported in the Denver Post, "Obama urged Congress to authorize spending $2 billion over the next decade to expand research into electric cars and biofuels to wean automobiles off gasoline."  For more information about the utter insanity of the biofuel program, read the March 18th posting to this blog entitled "Biofuel Madness".  Being the expert on cars and economics that he is, King Obama went on to say, "the United States must shift its cars and trucks entirely off oil to avoid perpetual fluctuations in gas prices....The only way to break this cycle of spiking gas prices --the only way to break that cycle for good -- is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks, off oil."  Praise the name of the King.  He has issued yet another royal edict that will undoubtedly soon come true.  In the very near future we will all be driving electric cars.
Obama ignores several very important facts about the automobile and oil industries.  It is very interesting how he simply assumes that gasoline prices have been in a perpetual process of upward price fluctuations. He could not be more wrong.  The graph below shows the real price (inflation adjusted) for a gallon of gasoline for every year since 1919.  Notice how the real price for a gallon of gas in 2011 (which is essentially the same as today's price by the way) was only thirteen cents higher than the real price of gasoline in 1980 and only twenty two cents higher than the real price of gasoline in 1919.  That hardly seems like a perpetual cycle of ever higher spiking prices.

Although the price of a gallon of gasoline, in real terms, is higher today than any other time in history, it does not follow that the reason for that increase has anything to do with oil company price manipulation, as King Obama would have you believe.  The federal gasoline tax was initiated in 1932 at the rate of 1 cent per gallon.  Today the federal gasoline tax is 18 cents per gallon.  After adding in state and local gasoline taxes the nationwide average is 49 cents per gallon.  Hence, if gasoline prices are adjusted to remove the impact of taxes, we would find ourselves currently paying less for gasoline today than many years in the past.
The abolition of gasoline will also create an unexpected consequence for the King.  Under the present system the fuel tax raises approximately $40 billion per year in revenue.  How does the King propose to replace that revenue?  Once we are all driving around in our green cars operated exclusively on electricity that is generated by the wind and the sun, how will the roads we drive on be maintained if there are no fuel taxes to pay for the repairs?  To date the King has not addressed that issue. I do not expect that he will in the future either. 
Obama considers himself to be a visionary who can lead the SDA into a time of great prosperity simply by issuing Executive Orders.  He is wrong.  He is no visionary.  He has no understanding of economics.  He has no understanding of the automobile or oil industries.  In fact, he does not even understand the basic economics related to the purchase of a gallon of gas.
Despite the fact that Obama is attempting to overrule the desires of the economy, the economy always wins.  Government decrees and disincentives hinder the market, but they can never rule the market. The market always wins and the market wants oil.  Recent technological improvements in drilling (fracking) have resulted in a oil industry renaissance that will inevitably bring about lower oil and gasoline prices.  Yes, the greenies and their career politicians will fight the inevitable, but they will eventually lose out.  Gasoline is here to stay, and, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of thousands of oil company employees, it will become less expensive through time.  These are good times to own a gas guzzler.  I think I will go buy a new truck.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

IRS Believes The State Is Superior To The Church

Today's post to this blog will be considered extremely silly by almost everyone who reads it.  The title of the post gives that fact away.  When it comes down to philosophical discussions about which institution is superior, government in all of its various forms is always going to supersede the Church in all its forms.   To even suggest that the Church should or could be functionally and ontologically more powerful than the State is so utterly ridiculous in the minds of all citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America that nobody in his right mind would ever believe so.  Well, I am not in my right mind and I will make that argument in this post.
Although most folks are historically illiterate and unaware of this truth, it is the case that world history has recorded an ongoing battle between the leaders of the civil government and the leaders of the religious institutions within those geo-political zones for as long as men have inhabited this planet.  The battle between the Church and the State was a real battle until modern times when the State so overwhelmed the Church as to effectively declare the war to be over.  In the SDA the State has won.  Nobody believes that the Church should have any influence or power in the world in which we live.  In the SDA it is a foregone conclusion that the role of the Church is to feed the poor, provide warm beds for bums, and generally act as a privately funded public service organization in support of the various governments.  Any attempt by anyone in the Church to assert any legitimate authority over the state governments in the civil/public realm is immediately countered with the tired old refrain that we have a "wall of separation" between the Church and the State in the SDA and the Church needs to respect that wall and stay out of civil/public business.  Of course, that wall has doors that only open one way.  When it comes time for the State to cross the boundary and extract income from the Church, the door easily opens and Christian employers are ordered to provide abortions and immoral health insurance plans for their pagan employees under penalty of law.  So much for the wall of separation.  But that is not the point of today's post to this blog.
For much of western world history the Church was the dominant social institution.  In fact, I believe it can be argued that the Church was the dominant social institution in colonial America.  Many, if not most, of the early immigrants to this land were people fleeing religious persecution in Europe who were intent upon establishing some sort of theocratic government in the new world.  This was certainly the case in the northern colonies.  To a man they all believed the Church should rightfully hold the position of most dominant institution in society.  The southern colonies, on the other hand, were chartered by the Crown and decidedly secular in nature.  Once again the battle ground was drawn for the war between the Church and the State.
There are many reasons why the State has emerged victorious in this war in the SDA.  It is not my intention to go into those reasons in this blog.  I believe it is sufficient to say that the State has won and the Church has been banished from the public square and forced into cultural irrelevance.  Sadly, the Church has accepted this stripping of its authority with nary a word of protest.  And that brings me to the point of this post.
I was reading a tax newsletter yesterday when an article caught my eye.  The article was entitled, "Tithing isn't  factored in when calculating how much you can pay to the IRS."  Apparently a man got behind in his tax payments to the tune of $900,000.  That sounds like a lot of money but the man is also a very high income earner.  The tax delinquent prepared his installment payment request form and listed $24,000 per month of necessary expenses.  Those expenses included a tithe to his church.  He then proposed paying the IRS at the rate of $3,000/month.  The IRS rejected, and the Tax Court upheld its decision, his proposed installment payment schedule on the grounds that the tithe cannot be factored into the calculation when deciding how much to pay the government each month.  The taxpayer objected to the IRS demands on the basis of his religious right to continue to pay his tithe and support his church but the IRS decreed that the claims of the local church are subservient to the claims of the federal government and rejected his payment plan.  The church shall receive no income until the state has been fully repaid. What does this decision tell us?
God demands that His people pay Him 10% of their income on a regular basis.  The government of the SDA, in all of its various forms, demands that its people pay it anywhere from 30-50% of their income on an annual basis.  When a dispute as to who is primary in its claim to receive that income, the State, unsurprisingly, claims that it is superior to the Church.  State claims must be paid first, the revealed will of God be damned.  Like I said, the State has won the war.  The Church is nothing more than a State lap dog.  But this will not be the end of the story.
If God is sovereign, and He is;  and if God has revealed His will about how much money He wants, and He has;  and if the Church is ontologically superior to the State, and it is; then there will be literal hell to pay on the part of those men and women who have rejected God's demands and replaced them with the demands of immoral men in the State.  The State may have won the present battle but I have read ahead to the end of the book and discovered that the Church wins the war. 

Update to March 14, 2013 post:

Some of you, no doubt, raised an eyebrow or two at my citation that 2,900 people/year are killed while watching hippos.  To tell you the truth, that citation ("Getting Real About Gun Control Laws") kind of made me wonder as well.  It was the least solid of all the citations on the list of things that kill us.  I thought that perhaps the source had erred and really meant to say a grand total of 2,900 people, rather than 2,900 people per year,  have been killed by hippos.  Then a reader sent me the picture below.  Enough said.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Biofuel Madness (or) Oil Company Oppression

While Congress and the Obama administration continue to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize "green" energy projects that would have no chance at financial viability in a free and open energy market they also continue to place onerous burdens upon the one energy industry that actually operates efficiently and gives consumers what they want at a price they are willing to pay.  That industry is oil and gas.  In a vain attempt to merge the efficiencies of the oil and gas industry with the inefficiencies of the green energy group known as biofuels, Congress and King Obama have created two bodies of regulations that are seriously hurting the oil and gas business as well as the consumers who purchase their products.
In the March 2013 issue of the AgMRC Renewable Energy & Climate Change Newsletter Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Wisner, of the Iowa State University Department of Economics, writes about the unattainable biofuel standards created by the EPA.  He writes, "The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish mandated volumes of the various types of biofuels to be blended in U.S. transportation fuels each year....The 2007 mandates represent minimum quantities required for fuel blending....The most controversial of these are the cellulosic biofuels and advanced biofuels mandates.  Emergence of commercial cellulosic ethanol and other cellulosic biofuel production has been much slower than envisioned by legislators when they passed the 2007 legislation....Another important issue is whether EPA’s total ethanol mandate (including corn-starch, sugar cane, and cellulosic ethanol) will exceed the likely total U.S. market for ethanol."
I have written on this topic in the past.  Those dunderheads in the Obama administration and Congress believe that they can simply wave their magic wands and make economic products magically appear.  They believe they can simply write standards and the market will magically comply.  They fail to realize that the real world and the imaginary world inside their diminutive heads are not the same thing.   Ever since the EPA has been mandating particular levels of biofuel production, those responsible for producing enough biofuels to attain those levels have been unable to do so, despite enormous taxpayer subsidies to aid them in their quixotic quest.  Any legitimate profit seeking corporation would have abandoned the goal of biofuel/oil and gas fuel synthesis years ago.  In the Socialist Democracy of America, where every political ruler has a drum to bang, the failure of the program only means that the idiots responsible for it will redouble their efforts, at taxpayer expense of course.
The impossible to fulfill requirement that oil companies blend biofuels into their gasoline products or face stiff fines has resulted in a totally predictable new securities market.  I am indebted to a reader of this blog for the information that follows.  The reader is actively involved in the oil refining business and knows what he is talking about.  He sent me an email describing what has happened with what is essentially a marketable investment security called a "RIN".  I had never heard of one before.  What he wrote is astounding.
He writes,  "Renewable Identification Number (RINs) is a 38-character numeric serial code number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use, trading, and blending – and is required by the United States EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). It is essentially the EPA's accounting system used to make sure refiners, marketers, and blenders (or “obligated parties”) put enough renewable fuel into gasoline/diesel. If an obligated party doesn’t physically blend enough biofuel to satisfy the requirements of RFS2, the obligated party can purchase RINs generated from someone who blended above their required amount. This exchange can be made directly from company-to-company, but most of the time it is done through a broker. This has created a market where RINs are bought/sold and their prices fluctuate on supply/demand, much like other commodities such as oil, corn, and gold."
Look at what the free market has done.  Lame brained regulators in the government who know nothing about the energy business create impossible to attain production requirements.  The market responds by creating a security that oil companies can trade back and forth with each other to reduce each others total exposure to EPA fines for non-compliance with the impossible-to-comply-with regulations.  That security is a RIN and it allows those who do not comply with the regulations to purchase the compliance of others who do.
The company that the blog reader works for is an "obligated party".  He continues, "(we are) an obligated party, and we currently are buying RINs to satisfy RFS2.  Last week, the price of RINs increased substantially.   March 8, 2013 reached a high of $1.08 with yesterday’s price being $1.01. This can be attributed to declining fuel demand and what industry insiders call hitting the 'blend wall', or the amount of ethanol refiners/blenders are putting in their E10 and E85 fuels. The RINs required by RFS2 are more than this amount, creating a shortage in RINs, so they say we have hit the blend wall."
The RINs that he is speaking of have been available on the free market for the past several years at a cost of around ten cents per unit.  As indicated in his note, the price of a RIN has jumped ten fold in the last couple of months.  This puts his company at a serious financial disadvantage.
He continues, "We have some excess RINs saved from last year, so we can partially mitigate this price increase – but there are RINs that we will have to purchase effected by the price increase. This will cost around $1.50 that will be subtracted from our net margin. Normally, you can subtract about 4 $/bbl from gross to get to net, but now you’d have to subtract $5.50/bbl."  So there you have it.   Government regulations are directly responsible for a huge reduction in the profitability of an oil company that is doing nothing more than trying to give consumers what they want for a price they are willing to pay.  Does anybody care about this gross injustice?  Not that I am aware of.  In fact, I believe just the opposite is the case.  Most folks believe profit seeking oil companies are evil.  I suspect most folks think that it is a good thing when they are unjustly persecuted by the government regulators.  Incidentally, are any of us stupid enough to believe that none of the costs associated with this regulatory burden do not somehow find their way into the final price we pay at the pump?
The more basic question about this entire process is this, why is the government involved in the production of gasoline in the first place?  Additional questions arise.  Why is government involved in the "green energy" business?  Why is the government using taxpayer dollars to subsidize money losing green energy businesses?  Why is the government fining oil companies for not complying with biofuel blending standards that are, by definition, impossible to attain?  Why is the government persecuting oil companies?  The answers to all of these questions are to be found within the system of government that exists in the Socialist Democracy of America.  In fact, all of the questions have the same answer.  Every energy program that exists in the SDA is in place in order to buy votes from the economically illiterate citizens of the SDA.  Every politician who is responsible for the creation of an energy policy has done so because he believed that enacting that policy would buy enough votes to keep him in office throughout his entire lifetime.  It has nothing to do with acting on the best interests of the country, or acting on the best interests of profit seeking corporations, or even acting on the best interests of wild-eyed environmentalists.  Everything the politicians do is done for one and one reason get reelected.  Don't you just love democracy?  Unless you happen to work for an oil company or just happen to purchase oil related products like gasoline, in which case you should recognize that democracy is not your friend.  Under democracy you get caught holding the dirty end of the stick.