Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Things I Learned Last Week

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U.S. businesses need to hire 120,000 new Computer Science graduates this year. U.S. colleges and Universities will produce 40,000 Computer Science graduates.

The State Department still flies DC-3s!

Minnesota is the only state to make free online education illegal. A fix is in the works.

The Big Three auto makers need 40 labor hours to build a car. Toyota and Honda need 30.

Two thirds of community college students never finish.

Thomas Edison, light bulb inventor, was afraid of the dark.

During your lifetime, you’ll eat about 60,000 pounds of food. That’s the weight of about 6 elephants.

One in every 4 Americans has appeared on television.

The average American will eat about 11.9 pounds of cereal per year.

Over 1,000 birds a year die from smashing into windows. I’ve taken out three this year!

Gouged by the Wind

Fenton Wind Farm near Chandler, Minnesota

Fenton Wind Farm near Chandler, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not every day that Minnesota makes the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, but today is such a day.

The editorial questions the wisdom of Minnesota’s renewable energy mandate. The author notes (correctly) that the mandate increases the cost of electricity and that the burden of the cost increase falls mainly on the poor and middle class. They also claim that the environmental benefits are almost zero. Whatever the benefits, they certainly have direct costs to households.

The Journal fails to mention the indirect costs. The high cost of electricity in Minnesota makes it less appealing to businesses, especially those that are heavy users of electricity. This used to mean big manufacturing operations or aluminum smelters, but it increasingly includes outfits with big server farms such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Discouraging both traditional and high tech industries from locating here seems like a dubious economic development strategy.

This strikes me as another attempt to make things better that actually make things worse.

You might think it would be a “no brainer” to reverse course, but I doubt it. There is such a thing as institutional inertia and every bad idea has a core of supporters. For some, environmental concerns trump everything else and they won’t retreat from victories, no matter how small the benefit or how great the cost.

Minnesotans will continue to be gouged by the wind.

Minnesota Train Wreck

Train wreck at Montparnasse Station, at Place ...

Image via Wikipedia

Here in Minnesota, the political powers are happy because they think they’ve negotiated a way to end the government shutdown. The stalemate between the DFL and the GOP was this: the DFL wanted to lavishly increase government spending and raise taxes to fund it; the GOP wanted to hold back government growth and cut taxes. The compromise solution: go ahead with the lavish spending but borrow the money to fund it.

You’d have to be quite a lunkhead to not recognize this “solution” as part of a slow motion train wreck. I guess it’s better than a high speed train wreck – at least it gives people some time to get out of the way, if they have the wit.