Friday, December 05, 2008

Back to the 70s: Alternatives to Taxation and Other Concerns

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) foreshadows new regulations of unprecedented scope, magnitude, and detail. This notice is not just bureaucratic rumination, but could very well become the law of the land. Jason Grumet, a senior environmental advisor to Barack Obama, has promised that a President Obama would "initiate those rulings." These rulings offer the possibility of regulating everything from lawn-mower efficiency to the cruising speed of supertankers. Regardless of the chosen regulatory mechanisms, the overall eco­nomic impact of enforced cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as outlined in the ANPR will be equivalent to an energy tax....CO2-Emission Cuts: The Economic Costs of EPA's ANPR Regulations, David Kreutzer, Ph.D., and Karen Campbell, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation, 10/28/08

While the Office of the President-elect has reported on several occasions that some of the larger, tax-funded programs planned for your hard-earned money are likely to be put on hold with the ongoing and increasingly horrendous recession, don't discount the Left's discount for finding ways to loot your wallet. The EPA, the Office of the President-elect advises, will be encouraged to put a stranglehold on the U.S. economy with its new carbon regulations. (Carbon, and carbon dioxide, it should be noted, are fundamental to all life on earth; describing them as pollutants is a deep ecologist's* wet dream.)

Because the economic effect of the pro­posed regulations will resemble the economic effect of an energy tax, the increase in costs creates a cor­respondingly large loss of national income....(CO2-Emission Cuts...EPA (cont'd))

The estimates by the Heritage Foundation are that the annual cost of these regulations could run at about $600 billion per year, with annual job losses of 800,000 a year for a number of years. And these regulations cross over into the ridiculous, to wit:

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution..."This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the proposal...It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog...The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He said he has talked to a number of livestock owners about the proposals, and "all have said if the fees were carried out, it would bankrupt them."Proposed fee on smelly cows, hogs angers farmers, Bob Johnson, Yahoo News, 12/5/08

If you've followed EPA actions and statements, as well as those by environmentalists, for the past twenty years, you know what their response is likely to be already: "who cares if hog farmers and cattle ranchers go broke?" Or "who cares if any manufacturer goes broke?" And you know why: they care more about the global warming than they do about your well-being. Global warming, as we have written and noted for years, is an increasingly discredited, ideological construct that declares not only the open falsehood that earth's atmosphere is rapidly warming, but that nobody has the right to disagree with this "consensus" of politically driven "scientists." (See the late Michael Crichton's State of Fear, 2005, a brilliant demolition of the politics of hysteria that so dominates the American Left.

For those who don't remember the 1970s, thankfully a diminishing group, the watchwords were Superstition, Surrender, Cynicism, and Socialism. In the 1970's, a leading Superstition was Global Cooling. Pick your own 1970's surrender; there were a lot of them. Cynicism was filled in with the sociopolitical pathologies of racial preferences and the witch hunts under the banner of satanic child abuse. Socialism, of course, was no different then than it is now, a system where the government would totally dominate all economic activity. The result was a decade of recession, a radical decline in American prospects, unending inflation and its accompanying devaluation of every American's savings and investments, and the humiliation of America by a band of 8th century thugs in Iran.

Back to the 70s, for anyone who was there, is not a subject of nostalgia but of fear.


* Deep ecologist: one who proposes it would be a better world without human beings, or at least at a technological level of, say, five centuries ago.

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