What Problem Exactly Does “Cap-and-Trade” Solve?
Who owns our temperature? It seems incredible that people actually believe that humans can control the weather, but here we are – with our lawmakers making laws to control the sun, the clouds, the rain. If we could control Mother Earth’s hot flashes, then shouldn’t we debate who should decide the ideal temperature? Might not England vote for the warm decades of yore that allowed its citizens vineyards? Might not Minnesota prefer a longer spring and a shorter winter? Siberians might have an opinion about the best annual snowfall. Perhaps Floridians like hot days (they moved there, didn’t they) and would vote against cooling things down. Bakersfield , CA wouldn’t mind if the sea levels rose. Voila – the return of Goose Lake and instant ocean-front property.
So we beggar the nation with Cap-and-Trade, and politicians shred another page of the Constitution by choosing which businesses get deals and which get screwed. In exchange we somehow magically have within our hands the ability to choose the climate. Silly, no? But if it were true, who should decide the “proper” climate? And for whom? In the past wars have been fought over much less.
And you thought the previous world wars were bad.
More than $11,400 per newly insured person
A few paragraphs from Keith Hennessey who is doing a masterful job of analyzing the proposed Health Care Bill. Please go here
for more of his careful work. [We put some of his words in bold.]
The Congressional Budget Office
has released a preliminary estimate
("score") of the draft Kennedy-Dodd health care bill
. Some in the press are reporting that this is a "$1 trillion bill." This poorly explains the true budgetary impact of the bill for several reasons. The bill would increase spending
by more than $1.3 trillion (that’s "thirteen hundred billion
dollars") over ten years, and even that understates the impact because the bill phases in over the first five years. ...
There are at least six other major components of the bill that have not yet been scored by CBO. Part of this is due to the time crunch, but most of it is because the Kennedy-Dodd staff have not yet given CBO specific enough legislative language for CBO to do their thing.
- The budgetary effects of neither the individual mandate nor the employer mandate are included in this score. I think CBO will find these provisions would raise revenues for the government and reduce the deficit. While the leaked draft of Kennedy-Dodd was specific about the employer mandate, the official version has just the placeholder language, "Policy under discussion." Both mandates leave wide discretion for the Secretaries of Treasury and HHS to create a level and structure of taxation "to accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage." It is extremely difficult for CBO and their tax counterparts, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) staff, to estimate something like this.
- The estimate does not include the budgetary cost of expanding Medicaid to childless adults with income below 150% of the poverty line. I expect that this will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the cost over the next decade.
- It [CBO estimate] does not include the requirement that health plans define "children" as dependents up to age 27. I expect this will raise costs.
- It does not include the effects of the Medical Advisory Council’s ability to define benefits, or the requirements that plans rebate premiums to the insured. I think this too will raise costs.
- It does not include the budget effect of having a "public plan option."
- There are a bunch of other programs in the bill, including a new disability program and lots of new public health programs.
Keith Hennessey also notes that --
22 million people who will otherwise have health insurance will take those subsidies. Three million are a shift from one taxpayer-financed program (Medicaid or SCHIP) to another (the new exchanges). But CBO estimates that 19 million people who are now using their own resources will take advantage of the new subsidies and get health insurance through the exchanges.
This is the problem with creating a new subsidy for something that people are already doing. Analysts say that the new taxpayer subsidies "crowd out" private spending. These people are better off, in that they now have funds available to spend on other things. But if the goal is to reduce the number of uninsured, it is inefficient because half the people benefiting from the new spending are substituting public dollars for private ones.
This makes the cost per newly insured numbers look bad. If you look at just the effects on spending, it’s more than $11,400 per newly insured person. Even if you take into account the higher tax revenues that result from the movement out of employer-based health insurance, the net cost to the taxpayer is still more than $9,100 per newly insured person.
Tuesday May 26
The Oregon Petition
“We urge the United States government to reject the global warning agreement that was written in Kyoto , Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the hearth and welfare of mankind.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that humans release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
-- from http://www.petitionproject.org/index.php
Friday May 22
With Obama Weapons Cuts Come Risks to U.S.
by Rowan Scarborough http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31916
"President Obama's first defense budget increases risks in future wars by scaling back weapon systems designed to dominate the battlefield and protect the homeland, say military experts. ..."
From the article:
-- [We will have] fewer ways to stop an attack by Iran as that country pursues both nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them as far Israel, Europe and the United States.
-- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to threaten Israel's existence and brags about the country's strides in producing enriched uranium, the fissile material needed to make a weapon
-- [There is] a new U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran is ignoring Western pressure
-- North Korean has refused ... to give up its nuclear weapons program. Intelligence agencies say it entered the decade with one or two nuclear warheads and probably has several more by now.
Is the risk to our national defense worth the money we take from defense and instead give to social programs?
Wednesday May 20
See the USA in Obama’s Chevrolet
"We sit on 3% of the world's oil reserves. We consume 25% of its oil. Our dependence on foreign oil is a national security problem, an environmental security problem and an economic security problem." -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
He didn’t mention the U.S. Geological Survey that estimates a total of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil in place in 17 oil-shale zones in northwestern Colorado .
As Barron’s reports [ http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123940740006410093.html ]
How "significant" is 1.5 trillion barrels?
"Let's see if I can put it in perspective," gibes McKenna [president of MWR Strategies in Virginia ] in an e-mail. "Since oil was discovered in Titusville in 1857, we have used about one trillion barrels." He is talking about the entire planet, not just the U.S.
Not all of that shale oil can be extracted using current technology. Experts tell me that today's drillers might be able to get at 500 billion to 700 billion barrels. Still, when you consider that Saudi Arabia 's known reserves are an estimated 250 billion barrels, that is a lot of black gold.
Promises To Keep Before He Sleeps
President Obama releases his new tax proposals. Remember his promise about the $250,000 magic cut-off for increased taxes? Our Alzheimer's President does it again: he proposes to raise marginal tax rates for single people who earn more than $190,000 and married couples making more than $231,000.
Want to see what else Obama has planned? TigerHawk has a good rundown.
In America ,” Obama says, “we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations.”
- Barack Obama,
Interview with the Chicago Reader, 1995
A group doesn't earn a living, an individual does. A community doesn't get a paycheck, an individual does. A race or tribe doesn't pay taxes, individuals do. A village doesn't give birth to (or raise) a child.
Unlike the tribal or caste systems in other countries, America 's strength is individual initiative. If you want to succeed wildly, go for it. If you want to just earn enough to pay the bills, that's fine. If you want to live on welfare, you might get away with that too. The pursuit of happiness (not the guarantee thereof) is part of the American bargain.
Let’s say I choose to work 12-hour days for years and postpone income in the pursuit of future wealth from my new company. Let’s say my neighbor works 8-hour days at a low-paying job because he prefers getting home early and not worrying about making payroll. When my hard work and sacrifices pay off, why should government take a big chunk of my income and turn it over to my neighbor? We both made choices. Choices have consequences.
Many of our political leaders, clearly including President Obama, push legislation for what is sometimes called "collectivism," which subordinates the individual's rights to group rights (affirmative action, gay rights, reparations, hate-crime legislation, etc). We are now supposed to be responsible for everyone’s happiness, no matter the amount of individual pursuit that any particular “everyone” put into his or her own happiness. We are browbeat to sacrifice for the group (“We must build collective institutions and organizations” -- Obama) and maligned if we object. Joe the Plumber was tarred and feathered for politely objecting to the government taking productive people's earnings and giving them to those who hadn't earned them. AIG workers who gave up job opportunities -- in exchange for bonuses -- to stay at AIG and help save the company, were hounded by Congress and the media (leading even to death threats) when they received those earned bonuses.
Margaret Thatcher warned against collectivist delusions in a 1980's speech:
"-- the illusion that government can be a universal provider, and yet society still stay free and prosperous
-- the illusion that every loss can be covered by a subsidy
-- the illusion that we can break the link between reward and effort, and still get the effort."
Why is the Obama Administration demanding Americans fall for those illusions -- again?