JACK SPENCER: They’ll keep shoveling it out until voters say ‘Stop’
Step right up folks. You’ll be amazed. Here’s a cure you can’t buy in a store. It’s Captain Mugwort’s pulverized, homogenized pomegranate seed pills. Actual clinical tests show they prevent measles, seven types of cancer, hiccups and 65 percent of the maladies that plague our society and leave so many people grumpy and out of sorts.
In addition, these marvelous little medical miracles will make your kitchen floor shine and your dishes sparkle – or the other way around. But hurry. There’s a limited supply.
Just send a self-addressed stamped-envelope with $$$$$ to, etc, etc.
Most people would laugh at such an advertisement. Most people realize that all that’s needed for a clinical test is an advertising agency renting a pole barn and putting a sign on the door that says “clinic.”
What’s astounding is that in politics this kind of out and out make-believe still stands a chance of being successful.
Repeated claims that have absolutely no basis in reality abound. Some of the worst are the job creation claims politicians and various interest groups peddle. Tens of thousands of voters might be skeptics, but not nearly enough are.
It continues to frustrate and confound. By now not just some voters, not just most voters, but virtually all voters should know better. All that’s required is a glance at the track record. Yet we continue to hear the whoppers being spun — not just during elections but in between election seasons as well. It won’t stop until voters make it clear that they won’t buy these tall tales any longer.
By now, voters — especially Michigan voters - should have developed an immunity to alternative energy fairy tales. For eight years, former Gov. Jeniffer Granholm made job creation claims, particularly in the area of alternative energy, that (if they had been real) would have led to a robust economy.
Repeatedly, government-subsidized projects not only fall short of their glowing job creation predictions but fail miserably, flushing millions in precious taxpayer dollars down the drain. The jobs created are always just on paper — as predictions go — we’d get as much accuracy by studying the dried bones of a long dead goat.
There’s nothing wrong with believing a prediction, if the track record for those making the prediction justifies it. But politicians and government entities have been wrong again, again and again, on these job creation claims. That’s because the motives behind the claims are self-serving and dishonest. One would think the voters would wise up.
Over the past month, two of the big alternative energy projects in Michigan were unmasked. In late September, it was discovered that L.G. Chem, an advanced battery company in Grand Rapids, which opened two and a half years ago, has not produced a single battery. L. G. Chem received at least $155 million from the U.S. government and other backing from the State of Michigan. Last week, another advanced battery company, A123 Systems declared bankruptcy.
A year ago, aided by $249 million in taxpayer dollars, A123 Systems was the one advanced battery company some insiders thought might actually have a chance of succeeding. Now this — arguably the best of the alternative energy gambles — has gone belly-up.
Meanwhile, amid all of these government subsidized alternative energy failures, Michigan voters are considering Proposal 3, which would require 25 percent of the state’s energy to be produced from alternative energy sources by 2025 — just 12 years from now. What’s the top selling point for Proposal 3? Supposedly it would create tens of thousands of jobs.
Of course this comes from a so-called independent study conducted by supporters of Proposal 3. It’s considered independent because, technically, the supporters aren’t part of the campaign. Such studies generally lack integrity, whether they involve election issues or legislation. They are done for political purposes and use methodology that is transparently bogus.
Forget the studies that make predictions – just look at the track record.
If voters think it’s a good idea to constitutionally mandate which sources have to be used to provide energy, regardless of unknown market changes in the future; so be it. But if they believe the Proposal 3 job creation claims, they just haven’t been paying attention.
Not that Proposal 3 is doing well. In fact, polling shows that it is likely to be defeated. However, past polling of ballot proposals has been dicey. Yes, even when considering the credibility of such polls we should look at the track record.
Phony baloney claims aren’t limited to job creation projections. An often used phrase in the news media is “a credible source.” But the same news media that determines some sources aren’t credible will turn around and report all kinds of predictions from sources with abysmal track records.
Have predictions made by the environmental movement ever come true? Maybe, but it would be hard to find examples in which they have. In the late 1970s, so-called environmental experts claimed we would run out of oil by the year 2000. They claimed the Alaska pipeline would drive the caribou to near extinction. On the contrary, caribou love the pipeline. Snow cover tends to melt more easily near the pipeline, allowing them to more easily find vegetation to eat in the winter.
Environmental experts claimed the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest would go extinct because loggers were cutting away old-growth forests. Spotted owls were dependent on a delicate balance, they said. Without old growth forests, they wouldn’t nest.
Then it turned out that the real culprit was the barred owl, which had moved into the region and was indulging in cross-species mating with female spotted owls. Barred owls have dominant genes and the offspring produced when they mate with spotted owls are barred owls.
In the meantime, there have been photographs of spotted owls nesting in sites other than old growth forests — such as an abandoned Kmart sign. Could the next issue promoted by the environmental movement be a demand to protect abandoned chain store signs?
Still, at some point, we need to stop blaming government, politicians and the news media. As long as a possible majority of voters might be willing to swallow claims that have no basis in reality, the ongoing stream of such claims will continue.