Skip to main content

Have you had your fill of Occupy Wall Street, (OWS) which has spilled over into dinky, surrounding, wannabe towns including one nearby with a population of a whopping 4,000?  Apparently, these in-duh-viduals are protesting rich people and the fact that the rich keep getting richer and the poor, well, are the poor.  My response: that’s life.  Life isn’t fair.  I don’t like the word “fair”.  Rather, I like “not cheating”.  “Fair” is too often used by whiners.  Some of these OWSers are self described anarchists and communists.  Oh yeah, there you go.  That’s what we need is communism.  There’s a model of equal outcomes.  How is that Venezuela model working?

I have not a covetous cell in my body.  Steve Jobs, or at least his widow, is a multi-gazillionaire having lead his company from the brink of collapse in the 1990s to the world’s most highly valued company, ahead of Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, and Microsoft.  Speaking of Microsoft, as Steve Jobs once said, Bill Gates has never developed any innovative products in his life, but yet he is a billionaire because he was good at steeling ideas within the law, I guess, and developing a monopoly.  Good for him!

The real problem and reason the OWS whiners are misguided is crony capitalism.  The DOE and administrations dish out billions of dollars to crony campaign donors who in turn send a big chunk back for reelection campaigns, before or after their ill-conceived company fails and the executives walk away with millions.  Or it’s egg before the chicken.  The cronies donate a bunch of money and get their investment in government back 10 fold once their guy gets into power.

Let’s see… in the underground economy, there is a name for this: money laundering.  So all OWSers should be marching on and petitioning Washington, the root of their grievances.  You have to understand the problem to solve it.  This is clearly a bipartisan activity and nothing new.  However, I would say the recent fanning of the flames, pitting citizens against one another is a bit unprecedented and shameless.  Watch the hand!  You guys get in a food fight while we (Washington) continue to rip you off.

While I have not a covetous cell in my body, I have billions and billions of cells of rage against crony capitalism, money laundering, cheating, dishonesty, malfeasance, and vast wastes of money and resources.

As mentioned before, Washington should, like utilities have done in recent years, get back to their core business of protecting and defending its citizens against enemies, foreign and domestic.  This is the only thing they do remarkably well, although I’m sure there are gobs of waste, but how many plots have been busted and bad guys destroyed in the past decade or so?

Washington is a horrible venture capitalist because (1) they make decisions based on politics and not favorable or acceptable risk/reward, which follows with (2) they are using other peoples’ money so they obviously do not care.  It seems there are failed green energy, green jobs companies and/or scandals in the paper each day.  Or take my favorite, ethanol.  Many are concerned about our ability to feed ourselves as the planet takes on its 7 billionth human, this month or thereabouts.  Meanwhile, over 4 billion bushels of high energy corn go to make a tiny dent in our fuel needs and negligible impact on our petroleum imports.  That’s roughly 30 pounds of corn for every human on the planet, or maybe 50,000 calories – enough to keep an offensive (as in the team with the ball) lineman going for a couple hours.  No.  Really it’s enough human fuel for 20-30 days for a mortal human being.

Similar to OWSers, there are end users of energy that whine about high energy costs and hate their utility as a result.  Isn’t it ironic that nobody seems to care about energy costs, as in the total cost of running a business, except when prices rise?  And end users should consider what is driving prices upward: I would guess the vast majority of price increases is due to emission regulation and construction of wind farms.  These things are legislated at state and federal levels.  I, unlike the prima donnas (think JFK junior, hypocrite in chief) living in population centers and telling everyone else how to live, do not mind the sight of these behemoths on the landscape.

On a side note, other hypocrites for renewable energy and lower energy cost protest construction of transmission lines from where the wind blows to where people live and wind doesn’t blow.  In addition to transporting renewable energy to population centers, it adds reliability and more supply options to the grid.  More options mean lower prices.  The solution is simple if you ask me.  See I-90 in southern Minnesota.  Just run the transmission lines down the damn ugly interstate highways where there is already immanent domain and land!  It’s flat. It’s open.  What?  Would it mess up the beauty of billboards for Wisconsin Dells, gentlemen’s clubs, and truck stops?  This is a no brainer.  What for the love of Pete is all the hassle about?  And there aren’t even any dairy cattle near the interstate to pick up the electromagnetic waves causing birth defects like four headed two legged calves.

Whining end users share a loser trait with the OWSers – they would be far better off taking control of their own well being rather than itching and moaning about something they have little control over.  And by the way, the control they do have is mainly with their corrupt finaglers in Washington.  Very few are accountable.  These people represent the very few competitive congressional districts, states, or the entire country, while most are not accountable.  The unaccountable include political appointees like Lisa Jackson running the EPA, or Bonnie Fwank and Charlie Rangel, each of whom would have to be caught live on national TV steeling an armored car and maybe running over a few pedestrians to not get reelected.  I don’t think felons can be elected from their jail cell but who knows.  Felons, dead people, pets and alternate personalities can and do all vote.

For-profit end users that howl about their energy costs are very likely to have more energy cost reduction opportunity than those who don’t.  This is Jeff Ihnen’s untested hypothesis.  Why?  Because the howlers don’t like, and in some cases, detest their energy provider and do not trust them.  Detestment (a new word) does not foster cooperation, which is extremely helpful, bordering on essential to control energy consumption and cost.

I have also yet to come across a for-profit, with a strong efficiency track record at the corporate level, howl about their evil energy providers.  Well known EE champions with track records that fit this profile include 3M, Pepsico, General Mills, and Simplot.

The message to end users of all shapes and sizes is first control what you can best control – yourself and your organization, and second, pay attention to what’s going on in state and federal governments –  each of which are big drivers of energy supply, regulation, and generation sources – the primary drivers of energy price.


I thought this was a great headline for an opinion piece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, by Holman Jenkins: “Hooray,  A Financial Firm Fails”, describing of John Corzine’s MF Global collapse.  What’s even more impressive is that Corzine, formerly of Goldman Sachs, formerly U.S. Senator, formerly New Jersey Governor, is in the admiral’s club of crony capitalists.  Failure is progress.  Eat your heart out.

Jeff Ihnen

Author Jeff Ihnen

More posts by Jeff Ihnen

Leave a Reply