Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

25 July 2009

Sen. Ben Cardin's Reply to My Protest Against the Waxman-Markey Carbon Cap and Trade Bill

Last Friday I sent an e-mail note protesting the Waxman-Markey Carbon Cap and Trade bill passed by the House of Representatives to my Senators in the so-call Free State of Maryland. Sen. Ben Cardin replied as follows, with my comments added in "Investments in clean energy will generate approximately 3 times as many jobs as the equivalent amount spent on carbon-based fuel."[comment] form.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about a clean energy and climate bill. I understand and share your concerns about the impact such legislation will have on Americans. Legislation addressing this issue must be mindful of costs to consumers. At the same time, I believe that global warming is real and needs to be addressed. The good news is that a well designed climate and energy bill can be a cost effective way to address this threat and help us develop a clean and sustainable economy.

[The bad news is that an effort and a cost is affordable only if something is accomplished that is worthwhile. Since global warming has not been caused by man, is currently not even happening, and since the natural forces of long-term climate cannot be controlled by man, all of the expense and effort of the carbon cap and trade is a waste. There is no point in applying any level of hardship on anyone for such a purpose and it is not the function of Congress to do such tyrannical and evil deeds. Furthermore, CO2 is a benefit for plant growth and therefore for man. Issues of cleanliness have already been well-addressed for most of the country and adding restrictions on energy use is a poor way to address any remaining issues. As for sustainability, the economics of supply and demand does a very good job of addressing such issues, while political power does a very poor job. Finally, there is no enumerated power in the Constitution giving Congress the power to regulate energy use.]

The House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) on June 26, 2009. In addition to addressing greenhouse gases and energy use, legislators worked hard to address many of the concerns that you raised, including costs to consumers. The bill includes provisions to provide reimbursements to households, particularly low-income ones, for possible higher energy costs. As a result of these efforts, recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation will cost each household less than 50 cents per day in 2020. I am now working with my colleagues Senator Baucus (D-MO) and Senator Merkley (D-OR) in a special group to contain costs in climate legislation as it moves through the Senate. I look forward to passing legislation that curbs global warming and protects consumers.

[We should be immensely grateful that you are concerned to protect consumers by merely confiscating $0.50 of our hard-earned income a day, but for the fact that you are taking that money only for the purpose of giving it to special interests and some of us will be taxed far more than $0.50 per day. In fact, the CBO has a habit of greatly underestimating the cost of government bills, often by factors of 3 and 4. In this case the way they estimated the costs of this particular bill left out many costs, because no one yet knows what they will be. Of course, it is hard to estimate costs for any bill that affects so much of our complex society in many ways. This bill is a huge experiment which lacks any valid purpose. What is more, the restrictions on energy use are ramped up dramatically after 2020, so the costs after that time will be much worse. Meanwhile, another complicating factor will be added to our already absurdly complicated tax code. Already the Treasury Secretary cannot figure out how to do his taxes, but Congress in its infinite wisdom wants to add more complexity in the name of income redistribution through the carbon tax and trade bill. Incidentally, perhaps your response should also address all the energy using industries given temporary dispensation, while the politically naive and powerless are forced to carry the added burden the expenses of this bill.]

I believe that if this bill is done right, it will help America rebuild its economy by providing incentives for businesses to invest, create new, good paying jobs, and save Americans billions of dollars in the long run. Investments in clean energy will generate approximately 3 times as many jobs as the equivalent amount spent on carbon-based fuel. A recent report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that if emissions are reduced by 56 percent by 2030, the resulting savings on energy bills from reductions in electricity and fuel would produce net annual savings for households, vehicle owners, businesses, and industries of $255 billion. New incentives will lead to fruitful innovations, and help the United States become a world leader in a new manufacturing sector, allowing us to export our expertise, intellectual property, and products worldwide. The Political Economy Research Institute estimates that the passage of a climate and energy bill would produce 1.7 million new jobs - 26,605 in Maryland alone. These jobs will be permanent, good paying, and will help rebuild our manufacturing sector.

[After all the bad-mouthing of American businessmen during the Presidential campaign and from the start of this administration caused so much uncertainty for business planning, followed by the bailout bill debt hanging over us all with its threat of more taxes and inflation, followed by the dismemberment of the American system of bondholder security, the looting of GM and Chrysler by labor unions, the proposed takeover of the health care industry, and the energy restrictions and costs of the carbon tax and trade bill, there is no way rational thinkers can be convinced that any bill passed by Congress will produce more net jobs. Yes, Congress can create jobs, but only at the cost of killing other jobs and always at a poor ratio of jobs created to jobs killed. The free market forces of supply and demand will always create more jobs than will Congressional fiat. "Investments in clean energy will generate approximately 3 times as many jobs as the equivalent amount spent on carbon-based fuel." I am particularly fond of this statement. Yes, so-called clean energy is very expensive and not at all cost competitive. It is not surprising that it takes three times as many people to create energy in that sector as in the carbon-based fuel sector. This is why we are better off using carbon-based fuels for quite a while into the future. What you are proposing doing is the same as the Luddite idea that if we eliminate tractors, we can create many more farm jobs with people using hand shovels and hoes. Then there is the claim that if we use 56% less energy by 2030, we will spend $255 billion less on energy. Partly, this just means that as energy becomes more and more limited in supply and more expensive, people will not be able to do many of the things they would have chosen to do. Of course we may have to tear down many a building and replace it with one with better insulation, so we may spend much more on housing and insulation. This may not be a bad thing to do in some cases, but I prefer to allow the market forces of supply and demand determine when this makes sense, rather than to leave that decision to Ben Cardin, who is not all-knowing or even very intelligent, as this response letter documents. As for the 1.7 million new jobs created by this bill, the stimulus bill did not create the jobs claimed for it, which was no surprise to anyone but the most gullible. And, there is no mention of the many jobs to be lost at coal-fired power plants, in transporting coal and oil, refining oil, cleaning coal and smokestack emissions, among trucking companies who use large amounts of diesel and gasoline, in oil exploration and oil field development, in coal mining, in high energy use industries, in the travel and resort business, and the increased energy bills for every small business in America. Did you count the added traffic deaths as people are forced into smaller and lighter vehicles? Some of the jobs to be lost are in Maryland, Senator Cardin. Did you count how many of them? Perhaps you should send letters to each person to lose his job and explain that it is because you believe in anthropogenic global warming and that energy use anyway is a bad thing.]

Many of America's leading companies, including major manufacturers and utilities support a new approach to energy and regulation. The United States Climate Action Partnership is an alliance of major businesses that have come together to call on the Federal Government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. They believe this step is necessary for our future economic prosperity even in our current economic circumstances. This partnership includes major companies such as General Electric, Ford Motor Company, Shell, John Deere, DuPont, and PepsiCo.

[So, basically you hold a gun to man's head and say "your money or your life" and when he hands you his money, you claim that you did not rob him, because he gave you the money. I understand. Many of these companies opposed the AGW agenda, extreme environmental restrictions on energy exploration and development, and restrictions on energy use until the Federal Government fell into the hands of the so-called Progressive (the Luddite Socialist) wing of the Democrat Party. They then had to pretend to go along. Of course, in doing so, some or all of these big companies are also seeking to minimize competition from smaller companies with less political pull. Many are stalling for time, knowing that the AGW theory is falling apart and the people will soon understand that the Democrat Party pulled the wool over their eyes. I will also point out that the fascists and Nazis of Italy and Germany were also very good at beating up industry and forcing them to go along with their programs. This does not make these regimes seem any more moral to us now, though maybe it fooled some Italians and Germans at the time.]

If left unchecked, the impacts of global warming - increased hurricane damage, real estate losses, energy and water expenses - could cost our economy an estimated $1.9 trillion annually by the end of the century. The stakes are particularly high for Maryland. Scientists predict that warming will cause sea level in Maryland to rise by as much as three feet before the century's end. Warmer seas will produce more severe tropical storms and hurricanes-causing damage to towns along the Chesapeake Bay and more floods throughout the state. The short and long term threats global warming poses to our economy and standard of living must be taken very seriously.
[There are nothing but false claims made here. The number and severity of hurricanes goes through cycles, but there has been no long-term increase in either. The real-estate losses are known to be due to more building along the seacoasts. The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful place to have a home and it is great to have a dock and a boat. So the affluent have built homes all along it and, yes, damage is high in bad storms. The 3 foot sea-level rising prediction by the end of the century even exceeds the wild-eyed 2007 UN IPCC governmental union prediction that it will rise by 18 to 59 cm. Oh, sorry, I had better do the conversion for you. That is 7 to 23 inches. The upper end number is less than 2 feet. Mid-range is a mere 15 inches and each UN IPCC prediction has been less than the previous one. Each has been recognized as an exaggeration. Of course, land masses will rise in some areas and sink in others and the total amount of liquid water may increase or decrease somewhat, as they always have due to natural causes beyond your control.]

A central element of H.R. 2454 is a cap and trade program to control harmful carbon dioxide emissions and lower costs of the overall bill. Unlike a carbon tax, the cap and trade model provides businesses and corporations with the most flexibility, enabling market-driven forces to minimize overall costs and achieve maximum efficiency in reducing emissions. This model has been successful in curbing other pollutants in the past. The Acid Rain Program, established under Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, utilized a cap-and-trade program and dramatically reduced sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at a cost far less than estimated. The Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush estimated the benefit-to-cost ratio of the sulfur dioxide cap-and-trade program at 40-1. Praised by businesses and environmental groups alike, cap-and-trade programs offer a pragmatic approach that meets both our economic and environmental goals.

[It makes sense to reduce real pollutants that cause health problems, enhanced corrosion, and visibility problems. Those programs bear no resemblance to the issue of CO2 emissions, which is not a pollutant, is emitted by all of us as we breathe, and is plant food which provides us with more food and more oxygen.]

Frankly, I am appalled by the ignorance of the counter argument offered up by Senator Ben Cardin. This man is simply not up to the task of being a Senator in a Congress whose powers are highly limited by the Constitution, where he might focus his attention on a much smaller number of issues and actually have a chance to learn something about them. As a member of a Congress which ignores all of the limits to its power placed upon it by the Constitution he has placed a much, much greater burden of understanding upon himself than he is up to. This man has abrogated the powers of a God unto himself and his oligarchical partners in power, but he is not even a man of remarkable wisdom and knowledge. This is a tragic situation for the sovereign people of these United States of America.

The Framers of the Constitution, being much better men than Ben Cardin, had a wise understanding of their limits and the limits that could be expected of our federal legislature and, for that matter, the presidency in the future. They would not give themselves anywhere near the amount of power that Ben Cardin and his like have taken upon themselves. They knew that Ben Cardin was a problem and they did their best to give us a Constitution which would prevent his rise to power. Americans have failed those wise men who gave us this great gift by refusing to understand this relatively easily understood document and by refusing to live by its principles of good government. A democracy of ignorant, unprincipled people will always fall into a state of tyranny, ruled by the likes of Ben Cardin and then later by the likes of even worse men.

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