California, Here We Come…NOOOOOOO!

From The Examiner, taken aback (as were we) by the President’s recent remarks holding up California as a model of energy conservation and economic leadership. From today’s editorial, “California here we come“:

While promoting his new cap-and-trade energy tax bill, which passed the U.S. House last week, President Obama revealed in a White House address on Monday his model for the nation’s economy – California. “In the late 1970s, the state of California enacted tougher energy-efficiency policies,” Obama said, noting that the state and its residents use less energy today per capita than the national average. “Think about that,” he said, “California producing jobs, their economy keeping pace with the rest of the country and yet they’ve been able to maintain their energy usage in a much lower level than the rest of the country.”

Obama might want to rethink his choice of a model state because it is easy to understand how California has curbed its energy use. Between 2000 and 2007, before the current recession, the state shed nearly 21 percent of its manufacturing jobs, driving down its industrial electrical consumption by 21 percent. California’s industrial users pay electric rates twice as high as their Midwestern counterparts – which helps explain why so much heavy industry has fled the state. In addition to alienating its industry, California has also curbed energy use through exorbitant residential electric rates (50 percent higher than the national average) and massive net out-migration. Between 2005 and 2007, 2.14 million Californians moved to other states, while only 1.44 million people from elsewhere moved to the Golden State, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

California’s state leaders failed to get a budget in place for the start of the new fiscal year, and state employees may soon be paid in IOUs.

There’s a news peg for the White House press corps to ask a question of Mr. Gibbs today: “Earlier this week President Obama held California up as a model of energy and economic leadership. California is some $20 billion in the red, failed to get a budget in place for the new fiscal year, and is going to issue IOUs instead of paychecks. In what way does the President regard California as leader?”

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