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 intelligent and rational 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

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

31 January 2011

Blackbody Radiation and the Consensus Greenhouse Gas Theory

Let us consider the nature of black body radiation and evaluate the manner in which black body radiation is invoked in the consensus theory of the greenhouse gas warming of the Earth. The essence of the greenhouse gas hypothesis of global warming is given in this schematic diagram used in the U.N. IPCC report:

In Note 4 on the diagram, it is said that the longwave infrared radiation is emitted from the surface of the Earth due to the 168 W/m^2 of radiation from the sun that the surface has absorbed.  In Note 5, it states that some of this radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules with half being emitted in the direction of space and half emitted back toward the Earth's surface.  The infrared radiation from the greenhouse gas emission toward the surface is absorbed and the surface gains more heat.  This additional heat causes more infrared radiation to be emitted, which again is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules and half again is re-emitted toward the surface heating it still more.

This is very important in the greenhouse theory because the Earth's surface is desperately cold due to direct solar heating, since the black body temperature corresponding to a thermal power of 168 W/m^2 is only 233.3 K or -39.8 C.  Fortunately, the theory claims half of the surface radiated infrared energy that is returned to the surface provides more heating of the surface, which radiates still more energy as it warms, but half of that is returned.  In fact, the claim is made that a great deal of heat energy is added to the Earth's surface in this way.  Let us examine the frequently cited Kiehl-Trenberth Energy Balance diagram to see how much.

This diagram comes in several versions and the incoming radiation from the sun absorbed by the surface differs somewhat in the various versions.  In this diagram, it is 161 W/m^2, or a bit less than the 168 W/m^2 of the IPCC diagram above.  The total energy added to the surface by greenhouse gas re-emission is said to be 333 W/m^2 here.  This means that greenhouse gases are adding slightly more than two times the energy of the sun to warm the surface.  They believe that a factor of two times the solar warming is due to the multiplier effect of greenhouse gas re-emission.  Each time a greenhouse gas molecule absorbs ground radiation energy, it sends half of it back to the surface.  The surface radiates all of that added energy and half of that half is returned to the surface by the gracious greenhouse gas molecule.  The result is a geometric series of one-half raised to a power times the initial heat energy the surface had from the sun.  It works like this:

Back Radiation = (161 W/m^2) (Sum from n=1 to infinity of terms 1/(2^n))

The greenhouse gas theory says that the sum of the geometric series is 2.  Actually, the sum is 1.  I suspect the error arose from the use of a general formula for geometric series which starts with the term for n=0 and one-half raised to power zero is one.  The greenhouse gas theorists forgot to subtract this first term of one, which was not in the series they needed to sum.  In any case, note that 2 times 161 W/m^2 is 322 W/m^2, or almost the 333 W/m^2 this diagram claims warms the surface with slightly more than twice the power of the sun itself.

There are many problems with the physics of these diagrams.  This will not be a general discussion of all of these problems.  I will note that it is interesting that the Kiehl-Trenberth diagram allows for some cooling of the surface by evaporation and by thermals or air convection currents, but these apparently become operative only after all of the direct solar warming radiation has already been doubled by the re-emission of infrared radiation back to the surface!  One should note that no radiation is emitted by the nitrogen, oxygen, and argon that make up most of our atmosphere in this model.  They are warm, as implied by the thermals, but they emit no radiation in their theory. [17 March 2013: Actually, oxygen molecules absorb and emit energy on the border of visible and infrared radiation (found in solar insolation, but not the Earth's emission spectrum) and nitrogen, oxygen, and argon all emit electromagnetic radiation in the very low energy microwave radiation spectrum.  These represent very minor amounts of energy, however.]

Another interesting implication is that the absorbing greenhouse gas molecule always re-emits 100% of the infrared radiation it absorbs.  It never transfers any energy to nitrogen, oxygen, or argon due to collisions, despite molecular collisions occurring at the rate of 6.9 billion per second at sea level.  In reality, such collisions do occur before re-emission does and the absorbed energy often is transferred to nitrogen, oxygen, and argon molecules or atoms, which remain cooler than the Earth's surface under most conditions and times of day.

As we know, heat is not transferred from cooler bodies to warmer bodies.  The flow of heat is always from the warmer to the cooler body.  This creates a problem since as one ascends in height in the lower atmosphere, called the troposphere, which extends to an altitude of about 15,000 meters, the temperature drops.  Where the average surface temperature is 288 K, the temperature at 1000 meters altitude is 281.7 K, and at 5,000 meters it is 255.7 K, or about the same temperature the Earth appears to be as seen from space and assuming it is a black body radiator.  Of course it is not a black body radiator, despite the fact that greenhouse gas theorists almost always assume it is.  The everyday objects of our lives do emit infrared radiation, but with a reduced efficiency compared to a black body radiator.  The Earth's surface is full of everyday objects and materials, none of which are black body radiators.  Greenhouse gas theory says that the greatest increase in temperature due to added CO2 occurs at an altitude of 8,000 to 12,000 meters above the equator and the lower latitudes.  At 10,000 meters, the gas temperature is 223.3 K.  A greenhouse gas molecule at any of these altitudes is colder when at equilibrium with the surrounding gas molecules than the surface of the Earth at 288K.  Even if we compare to the black body temperature corresponding to the 161 W/m^2 said to come straight from the sun, the molecules at 10,000 meters are colder than that surface would be and they could not heat it according to thermodynamics principles.  Apparently, the greenhouse theorists believe the greenhouse gas molecule absorbs the infrared radiation it is able to absorb and that raises the temperature of the molecule to a higher temperature than the surrounding molecules in the atmosphere at that elevation and before the greenhouse gas molecule has a collision and transfers energy to those surrounding molecules, it re-emits infrared energy to the ground and warms it.

Let us now discuss the properties of a black body radiator.  It is a very special cavity with a very thin skin.  The volume within the cavity has a very special property.  The energy density, or the energy per unit volume of space, is constant everywhere within it.  That energy is determined by the photons of various frequencies that are emitted from the walls of the cavity as uniquely determined by the temperature of the walls of the cavity.  One of the interesting properties of a black body cavity is that if the interior volume is doubled, then the emission of photons from the walls must also double, assuming the temperature remains the same.  Let us examine the distribution of electromagnetic frequencies found in a black body at several temperatures of interest for the greenhouse gas theory of global warming.  The diagram below shows the spectrum of frequencies or wavelengths for the sun and for some temperatures similar to that of the Earth.

The spectrum of wavelengths for the sun at 5525 K is shown at the left top of the diagram to have a peak in the visible light part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but also has a long tail in the infrared part of the spectrum.  On the right top of the diagram, three spectra of emission energies are shown for black body radiators at 310, 260, and 210 K.  These are the smooth lines of violet, blue, and black, respectively.  The Earth's surface at about 288 K is closer to the spectrum for a body at 310 K.  The blue area filled in within those black body spectra is the portion of longwave infrared radiation from the surface of the Earth which is not absorbed by the greenhouse gases.  The wavelengths at which the greenhouse gases absorb radiation is shown for each gas below, as is the sum of their absorptions.

If the Earth's surface is at a certain temperature, then it too will have a black body-like emission spectrum.  Now suppose that CO2 absorbs a particular wavelength of infrared radiation out of that spectrum and then re-emits that energy at that wavelength back to the Earth's surface.  Can that photon absorbed by the surface raise the temperature of the surface?  No.  The reason it cannot raise the temperature of the surface is because to do so, the radiative spectrum has to move to the left in the diagram above.  The shorter wavelengths on the left correspond to higher frequencies and to higher energies.  For the surface to become warmer due to the absorption of the photon from a greenhouse gas, higher energy vibrational states must become occupied in the Earth's surface materials.  A photon from a lower temperature emitter cannot warm the surface to a higher temperature because that lower energy photon cannot excite the necessary higher energy vibrational modes.  That photon can slow down the cooling of surface at night, since its emission at night will cool the surface and the returned photon will be at a higher energy than the surface is by the time the photon returns.  This is the equivalent of the process when we put hot coffee in a thermos, thereby slowing down its cooling rate.  But, the returning photons from the reflective wall in the thermos never heat the coffee to a higher temperature than it was at when it was poured into the thermos.

Whether a photon is absorbed by a material or not is dependent upon the electronic and vibrational states in the material which can be excited and the energy of the photon.  The fact that a photon is incident upon a material does not mean it will be absorbed.  The greenhouse gas theorists recognize this when the material is nitrogen or oxygen molecules, but they assume the Earth's surface can absorb whatever strikes it, at least if it is a low energy or longwave infrared photon.  But, just as visible light passes through window glass without absorption, this is not necessarily the case.  The light photon is not absorbed in glass because glass has a wide energy band gap in which there are no occupied or unoccupied electronic states.  Still higher energy ultraviolet energy may excite available unoccupied electronic states, which in turn will de-excite in time.  Until they do, they can warm the glass.  But visible light just passes through.  The same is the case with some of the low energy, longwave infrared radiation returned from greenhouse gas molecule de-excitations.  The Earth's surface will not accept them since the excitable vibrational states are already excited and vibrating assuming that its temperature has not dropped since the returned photon was emitted by the ground.  There simply is no available energy state able to accept it.  The fact that the greenhouse gas alarmists ignore this fact is a very egregious error.

For another approach to the problem of heating surfaces with black body radiation, let us return to the black body cavity.  To make this simple to picture, let us assume it consists of two identical hemispheres which we have put together to make a sphere.  We supply heat to the sphere wall to bring it to a temperature T.  The power radiating from the black body walls is known to be equal to a constant times T to the fourth power.  The interior is full of photons, which are incident upon the walls, which are also radiating photons.  Let us image one of the hemispheres is on the left and one is on the right as we look at our black body radiator.  When a photon from the right wall is incident upon the left wall, the temperature of the left wall does not go up.  It remains constant.  An incident photon did not cause a temperature rise.  Of course, one may say that the incident fluxes of photons are equal to emitted fluxes, so it is expected the temperature will not increase.  But, then if we have supposed that the greenhouse gas molecule that has absorbed a photon from the Earth's surface has not lost energy to a gas collision and has re-emitted the photon at the same energy back to the Earth's surface, then why would the Earth's surface temperature increase any more than the left hemisphere wall temperature would in our black body cavity?  The answer is that it would not.

Perhaps you would object that there is something so special about the black body radiator that the Earth's surface cannot replicate it and will act differently.  Indeed, there are differences, but it is the analogy to the black body radiator explicitly that is being used in the greenhouse gas theory.  The differences of the Earth's surface from a black body radiator are important, but I cannot see how they help to allow one to claim that photons of an energy from the surface's black body radiation spectrum are able to drive the surface to higher temperature than it had when it first emitted a photon of the same energy.

Let us try still another thought experiment.  Let us separate our two black body hemispheres ever so slightly so that we have two hemispheres facing each other and they are still at the same temperature.  In the greenhouse gas theory, these two facing spheres would heat each other up to a higher temperature!  The right sphere would emit a photon and it would be absorbed by the left sphere.  The left sphere would then emit half of such photons back to the right sphere and half out into space from the outside surface of the hemisphere.  But then half of those emitted from the inside surface would be incident upon the right hemisphere inside surface and be re-emitted toward the left hemisphere.  Of course one might say the right hemisphere emits half inward and half outward, but note that in greenhouse gas theory no photons are emitted in the direction of the Earth's interior, despite the fact that they actually are.  So assuming the right hemisphere acts like the Earth's surface and the left hemisphere acts like the greenhouse gas, we have set up the same "energy doubling" geometric series between our two hemispheres.  The temperature of the right hemisphere must climb.  Well, no, it does no such thing.  The two hemispheres will remain at the same temperature just as if they were still together as a standard black body cavity.  Well not quite.  Actually, each will be a very slightly lower and equal temperature.

Let us now take our hemispheres and widely separate them.  We will put the right one at a higher temperature than the left and then bring them into close proximity to almost make a spherical cavity.  What will happen?  The cooler left hemisphere will warm, but neither hemisphere will become warmer than the right hemisphere before they were brought together.  The photons incident upon the warmer right hemisphere from the cooler left hemisphere cannot make the initially warmer hemisphere any warmer.  Why would they when if we made the left hemisphere the same temperature as the warmer hemisphere, it could not warm that hemisphere.  Indeed, the most ideal situation for warming one hemisphere would be to put the two hemispheres back together to make the true black body cavity, but with each hemisphere at a temperature T as we put them together, we would simply wind up with a black body cavity with a temperature of T.

In short, the greenhouse gas theory errs badly about the behavior of black body radiation and radiators.  Yes, bodies above absolute zero temperature do radiate photons.  But those photons are not always absorbed and they are able to raise the temperature of the absorbing body only if they are of a high enough energy to allow vibrational states to be excited which would be excited in the black body radiator at that higher temperature.  The black body radiator requires that the energy levels of its spectrum be occupied and that they be filled to the prescribed extent given by the black body energy distribution for a given temperature.  Having many photons incident at an energy level which is already filled, will not increase the temperature of the black body radiator material.

The consensus greenhouse gas theory hugely exaggerates the effect of greenhouse gases.  This is not to say that there is no effect.  As I have pointed out in a chapter of Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory (Stairway Press, Mount Vernon, Washington, 2011), greenhouse gases cool the Earth's surface during the daylight hours and retard its cooling in many cases at night.  This is an important, though in no way catastrophic effect, and it has been observed to be happening as the CO2 concentrations have increased.  But those effects of greenhouse gases do not violate the conservation of energy and do not require cooler or equal temperature bodies to warm a warmer or equal temperature body.

As I also pointed out in that chapter, the incident radiation from the sun is actually somewhat greater than that claimed in the diagrams above.  The temperature of the Earth's surface given that higher energy flux or power density is also much higher than the equivalent black body radiator, since the Earth's surface has a much lower emissivity than does a black body.  This means that it cools itself more slowly with radiation than a black body would.  As a result, the Earth's surface is likely only about 9 C warmer than one would expect from the incident radiation from the sun.  There are many other sources of energy that can account for this much smaller energy differential.  Among these are the effects of gravity upon our atmosphere, the heat from the very hot interior of the Earth, the energy due to the tides in the ocean and land due to the moon and other bodies in our solar system, the energy from cosmic rays and dust, the energy from the solar wind, the energy from the interaction of the sun's magnetic field with that of the Earth, and the energy stored in the subsurface oceans and land.  The urban heat island effect is also substantial in some areas, though relatively minor across the globe.

24 January 2011

Rational Taxation Policy - The Fundamentals

The rational man obtains the great majority of the goods and services he needs and wants from the private sector where individuals enter into voluntary trades and contracts.  In the private sector each individual chooses his own values and is free to act in accordance with his individual values.  In contrast, in the government sector, the government uses force to supply services and sometimes goods, for which it requires compensation in the form of some combination of taxes, mandated services and expenses, and the acceptance of a devalued currency.  The individual may have some say in what services government will provide and how at the ballot box, but on many an issue he is subject to the will of a majority who will evaluate the given government action differently than he does.  Furthermore, most voters will have but a very limited understanding of the effects of government action, so their decisions are not fully informed and not rational.  Despite this, irrational government policies may be imposed on the individual who disagrees.  Even when most voters agree, we have found that our politicians and still less our bureaucrats will often not listen to the will of the majority.  In other words, government provided services are not responsive to the values and needs of individuals.

Individually, we have little ability to choose the services we will acquire from government, the cost of those services, and the manner in which they will be delivered.  We have also come to understand that government services are provided very inefficiently.  For all of these reasons, it is clear that the People are best served with having the private sector provide them with most of our goods and services.  But, it is also true that some government services are required.  Our Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution acknowledged this in the Constitution which provides for a minimal, but necessary, government with very limited powers.  They were always conscious that government was force and it was to be very carefully controlled.

Let us call the total cost of government, whether actually taxes, or effective taxes such as the devaluation of the currency and regulatory mandates of service and provisions of goods, simply by the name of taxes in the further discussion.  Whether the taxes are levied on income, on the size of trade transactions, profits, or taken as forced labor, they can effectively be said to represent some fraction of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP.  Let us note that the higher taxes are, the more they discourage people from working and the more they discourage reinvestment to increase the productivity of the economy.  But, economic or trade activities do require that violent acts such as thievery, assault, fraud, rape, and property destruction be controlled.  They are also aided essentially by the enforcement of contracts.  A region and the people living there also need to be protected from invasion or assault by other countries, if they are to prosper.  For these minimal desirable services, the government will need to have a baseline level of taxation.  That baseline taxation level I would estimate to be between 0.05 and 0.10 times the GDP.  Government requirements for spending above that level are optional, though I would argue that they are also immoral.  Spending beyond this level is clearly dependent upon one's values and upon one's willingness to use force to obtain what one wants from others.

Whatever size government attains, some of its activities ought to scale with the size of the population and some scale with the size of the GDP.  The cost of protection from personal assault and rape scales with the size of the population.  Some types of robbery and fraud do also.  The enforcement of contracts scales more nearly with the size of the GDP, as do some types of fraud and most aspects of property protection.  I suspect that the components dependent on the size of the population and on the size of the GDP would be similar for a constitutional government.  But, in any case, the effective tax rate can be expressed as a fraction of the GDP and we will call that rate t.

Over time, the GDP of a country will change.  We have a long tradition in the United States of watching it grow in many more years than not.  The GDP grows because our population is growing, though in the last decade, our population growth has been just under 1% per year.  This growth assumes that the People do not feel a reason to change their inclination to work during the period in question.  But clearly one factor affecting GDP is the size of the population.  Another is increases in productivity due to machinery, equipment, management improvements, and worker training.

Let us make a simple model of the effect of taxation on the growth of the GDP.  To be more accurate, on that part of the GDP that will be taxable, since at high tax rates, much of the GDP goes underground.  In this model, p will be a constant annual growth rate for the population.  The baseline GDP will be GDPb.  After n years from the time of the baseline GDP, the growth in population would cause the GDP growth by year n to be (n)(p)(GDPb) assuming that tax rates had no effect upon how hard people worked or how much income they reported.  A simple way to incorporate the effect of how people will react to the tax rate is to add the factor 1-t to the growth of GDP due to the growth in the population.  When the tax rate is 1, no one will work, at least they will not report that produce which they must produce to eke out the barest sustenance.  This says that people will work in proportion to how much of what they produce they get to keep.  The strict proportionality may not be completely accurate, but I suspect it is not far afield from reality.  This component of GDP growth is then (n)(p)(1-t)(GDPb) for GDPn of the nth year.

Increases in productivity also play a role in growing GDP.  If productivity is improving at a fractional rate of e per year in the economy with a very minimal government providing adequate freedom from violence and enforcement of contract that e is at its maximum value, then the GDP in the nth year after the baseline GDP would be about (1+e(1-t))^n (GDPb), since the amount of money available for investment in increasing productivity is proportional to what people have left after taxes.  This formula is akin to the principal owed on a loan at an interest rate i where e(1-t) takes the place of i.  The nth power is due to the compounding nature of the interest, or in this case to the compounding nature of productivity improvements.  To this point we have neglected the fact that no one will make such investments if the tax rate is 1.  So we will add a factor of (1-t) here also.  The net equation for the GDPn in the nth year after the baseline GDPb with a minimal government is then about:

GDPn = [(p)(n) + (1 + e(1-t)^n](1-t) (GDPb)

Admittedly, this is a simple model and it is not going to be a highly accurate replica of a real economy.  But, it will be very hard to have any understanding of a real economy if one does not develop a feel for the growth rates of a GDP predicted with some reasonable disincentive effect attributed to taxes.  Let us learn such lessons as we can from this model.

Let us use the following values to evaluate a family of GDP curves over a period of 30 years.  The tax rate t will be the variable for each curve.  p will be taken as 0.01, which is very close to the U.S. population growth rate over the last 10 years.  e will be taken as 0.08 or an 8% productivity growth rate per year with ideally minimal government.  The graph below then shows us GDPn/GDPb, the ratio of the GDP in year n to the baseline GDP, or the GDP growth factor.

Now I am not sure that the 0.05 tax rate is adequate to meet the assumption that an e of 0.08 is possible, since the government might be too weak to prevent violence and enforce contracts.  I am sure that a tax rate of 0.10 is high enough to meet that assumption, though.  The tax rate of 0.05 is the only rate shown which allows the first year with the tax imposed to actually have growth in the GDP.  The 0.10 tax rate causes the economy to shrink in the first year by 2.62%, but it has grown by 5.2% in the second year.  At a tax rate of 0.05, the GDP in 30 years is 8.84 times as large as in the base year.  At a 0.10 rate, the GDP in year 30 is 7.52 times as large.  Unfortunately, we presently have an effective tax rate of more than 0.45 and maybe 0.5 in the United States, counting taxes, devaluing of the currency, and regulatory mandates.  That GDP in 30 years at t = 0.45 is only 2.17 times the baseline GDP and at t = 0.50 it is only 1.77 times the baseline GDP.  Many socialists want the tax rates to be much higher.  Note that if the tax rate is increased to 0.60, the GDP in year 30 is only 1.15 times its original size.  This is only half the growth rate of the population alone in 30 years, which means the per capita GDP is shrinking.  Only in year 26 does the GDP at this rate become greater than that in the baseline GDP.  At t = 0.45, the economy immediately shrinks to 0.58 times the baseline GDP and it does not exceed that until year 13.

This model says there is every reason to believe that high tax rates stunt an economy.  We do not see the sudden onset of GDP reduction on the scale shown here since our taxes have long been high and they have been increased gradually.  But when we increase taxes from a fractional rate of t = 0.4 to t=0.45, there is some immediate reduction in size of the GDP or its growth rate.  Commonly, that reduction is partially hidden by a devaluation of our currency.  Note also that each reduction in tax rate by 0.05 causes an increase in the 30 year GDP which is larger than the last such reduction in tax rate caused.  The actual amount of the effect on the GDP is surely not what is produced by this model, but the fact that high tax rates greatly suppress the GDP over time is the important lesson.

When the Congressional Budget Office is asked what the effect of doubling the tax rate is, they always respond that the tax revenues will double.  When asked what the 10 year effect on taxes is, they say that the taxes collected over ten years will double.  A realistic model will agree with this one in one very important respect.  It will say that a tax increase from current levels will result in much less revenue than that proportional to the tax increase.  The GDP ten years down the road will be much smaller with a doubling of the tax rate.  This has been observed time after time.  When Coolidge decreased the tax rate in the 1920s, government revenues actually increased and the GDP grew greatly.  When Kennedy did the same in the 1960s, the same result re-occurred.  The same was true for the Reagan tax cuts and for the Bush II tax cuts. 

Let us look at the results here to compare the effects of a 0.20 and a 0.40 rate on taxes in 30 years.  At 30 years with t = 0.20, the tax revenue is (0.20)(5.38) = 1.076 GDPb, while at t = 0.40, the tax revenue is (0.40)(2.63) = 1.052 GDPb, so the tax take is actually less at the higher tax rate.  What is more important, in the lower tax case, the people are keeping 4.308 GDPb, while with the higher tax rate they keep only 1.577 times GDPb!  It has to be perfectly clear that the People are much, much better off with a tax rate of 0.20 compared to one at 0.40.  The tax revenue increase in this model is understated because it does not address the frequency of taxable transactions.  Lower taxes take less per transaction, but if the number of transactions increases because the tax take is modest or minimal, the total tax revenue sum over a longer time may bring in much more money to the government.  The record shows that this is exactly what happens.  People also have less incentive to put their money into tax-free municipal bonds where returns are modest, but there are no tax requirements.

Despite this clearly deleterious effect of high taxes, the Democrats and the Socialists are constantly trying to tell us that high tax rates are an investment in our economy.  Nothing could be more ridiculous and foolish.

22 January 2011

Decline of Labor Unions Continues

In 2010, the number of union members in the government sector outnumbered those in the private sector by 7.6 million to 7.1 million.  The union rate for the private sector employees was 6.9%, compared to the huge government sector rate of 36.2%.  Among all jobs, union members decreased from 12.3% in 2009 to 11.9% in 2010 due to a loss of 612,000 union members.  These losses should continue since union membership is highest among those workers who are 55 to 64 years old and lowest among workers who are 16 to 24 years old.  Because unions have been such a strong force for socialist programs and special interest programs in government, this decline is a very good thing.  Unfortunately, this decline has made them more desperate and as we saw in the general elections of 2008 and 2010, the unions are willing to spend huge sums to push the government in the direction of socialism and a greater play of factions.

The highest union membership was among local government employees with a rate of 42.3%.  The heavily regulated private sector industries of transportation and utilities had the highest degrees of unionization at 21.8%. and they were followed by the regulated telecommunications industry at 15.8% unionized.  Agriculture at 1.6% had the lowest rate of unionization, though financial services was also low at a 2.0% unionization rate.  Teaching had the highest degree of unionization at 37.1%.  Protective services had the second highest rate of unionization at 34.1%.

Broken down by race and ethnicity, black workers had the highest rate of unionization at 13.4%, while whites were 11.7% unionized, Asians were 10.9%, and Hispanics were 10.0% unionized.

Union membership rates rose in 17 states, but fell in 33 states and the District of Columbia.  The map below shows the distribution of unionization rates in the states:

New York has the highest unionization rate at 24.2%.  Alaska and Hawaii are next at 22.9% and 21.8%, respectively.  This is apparently because these two states have a very high ratio of government workers to private sector workers.  Washington state has a 19.4% rate, while California's rate is 17.5%, and New Jersey's rate is 17.1%.  Unionization is concentrated in the Pacific region, the Northeast, and the East North Central.  To these, Minnesota and Nevada should be added.  The high unionization rate in Nevada played a big role in the re-election of Senator Harry Reid.

It is no accident that population growth rates and state domestic product growth have generally been better in those states with low unionization rates.  The states with the fastest population growth rates from the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census are:

Nevada, 35.1%
Arizona, 24.6%
Utah, 23.8%
Idaho, 21.1%
Texas, 20.6%
North Carolina, 18.5%
Georgia, 18.3%
Florida, 17.6%
Colorado, 16.9%
South Carolina, 15.3%

Of these states only Nevada has a high unionization rate.  People generally migrate to those states which have the best job growth.  The unions are much better at destroying jobs than creating them.

18 January 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin!

17 January was Ben Franklin's birthday.  Ben was America's most important diplomat and before that worked hard to unite the colonies.  He was also a world-famous scientist and inventor.  He signed the Declaration of Independence, the Alliance with France, The Peace Treaty with Great Britain, and the Constitution.  Marsha Enright and Gen LaGreca have written a great piece commemorating him here.  I especially enjoyed this part:

Franklin’s pamphlet “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America” (1784) illustrates how his own values of self-reliance and industry also shaped the new nation. In giving advice to potential immigrants, Franklin explained that there were no lucrative public offices in America, “the usual effects of which are dependence and servility, unbecoming freemen.” Such offices lead to “faction, contention, corruption, and disorder among the people.” In Franklin’s America, government played a minimal role in life. A man seeking to live off public salary, Franklin said, “will be despised and disregarded.”
In America, “every one will enjoy securely the profits of his industry.” And “if he does not bring a fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live.” Franklin contrasted hard-working Americans with the indolent European nobility. He proudly repeated an American saying of the time, “God Almighty is himself a mechanic!” In short, “America is the land of labor, and by no means” a place “where the fowls fly about ready roasted, crying, Come eat me!”

Evaluating the Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Hypothesis

The continued barrage of claims that man's use of fossil fuels should be curtailed because it generates CO2 emissions has caused me to revise and add to an earlier posting on the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.  The EPA has declared CO2 a pollutant even though it is essential for plant growth and the present levels are less than optimal for plants.  It also has no known toxicological effects upon man unless it were to be at least 20 times more concentrated than it presently is.  Obama and many in Congress want to find ways to further reduce fossil fuel use in order to decrease CO2 emissions, or so they say.  The United Nations remains determined to bring about a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.  Meanwhile, the United States has tremendous reserves of coal and has recently found ways to extract huge amounts of natural gas from shale, yet we are to be stopped from making effective use of these resources and saddled with huge energy costs in the name of catastrophic man-made global warming based on the hypothesis we are about to discuss.

Man clearly makes a contribution to global warming because there is a strong local warming effect in urban areas.  However, the contributions of man to warming on the global scale are small and difficult to even measure.  The anthropogenic global warming catastrophe hypothesis makes the following claims:

  • Man's use of fossil fuels results in CO2 emissions in amounts significant compared to the natural sources.
  • The CO2 added by man to the atmosphere lingers there a long time, often said to be 100 years.
  • The greenhouse gas warming caused by these additions of CO2 is itself significant.
  • The warming caused by man's CO2 additions to the atmosphere causes a much stronger warming due to increased water vapor at altitude and its greenhouse effect.
  • The great increase in water vapor at 8 to 12 km altitude over the equator and the lower latitudes results in a warming hot zone in the atmosphere, which warms the entire globe by back infra-red radiation.
  • The resulting warming causes catastrophic effects, such as droughts, heavy rains, low snowfall, heavy snowfall, increased numbers and severity of hurricanes and typhoons, increased malaria, increased parasites, a greater mortality of older people, the extinction of species, and a great rise in sea level.
One of the most popularly cited versions of the greenhouse gas global warming hypothesis is based on the following thermal power diagram by Kiehl and Trenberth (several similar versions exist):

This is all so much hogwash and bunkum.  Let us consider some of the reasons why CO2 emitted by man is not causing such large and significant global warming effects:

1) The rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1850 to the level of 2008 made almost no difference in the infra-red radiation absorbed since almost all of the infra-red radiation was already being absorbed that CO2 can absorb in 1850.  The temperature increase due to the CO2 increase since 1850 is about 0.12C.  This is based upon the usual atmospheric CO2 concentration plot, but like the temperature hockey stick plot, this plot is now known to have been manipulated to make the rise of CO2 since the end of the Little Ice Age and the start of the Industrial Revolution look more dramatic than it really has been.  It has not been proven that the general rise in CO2 is not simply due to the oceans warming as their temperature increases slowly due to the end of the Little Ice Age just as often happened before the Industrial Age.

2)  The greenhouse gas models treat the Earth's surface as a black body thermal radiator.  Black body radiators are a very special idealization which the surface of the Earth does not much resemble.  Real objects are characterized by an emissivity constant of less than 1.  The black body radiator has an emissivity of 1.  The Earth's surface has an emissivity of about 0.7.  The diagram above says surface radiation is 396 W/m^2, which is the power emission for a black body with a temperature of 289.1K, close to the Earth's average surface temperature.  The real Earth's surface with an emissivity of 0.7 only emits about 277.2 W/m^2 at a temperature of 289.1K.  The Kiehl - Trenberth diagram over-estimates the outgoing surface radiation by a factor of 1.43.

3)  The models underestimate the solar radiation incident on the Earth's surface.  They claim it to be about 47% ( Kiehl and Trenberth), when measurements have commonly shown it to be between 65 and 75% of the total solar radiation incident upon the outer atmosphere (see the diagram below).  This underestimate of incident radiation, together with the much higher surface radiation claimed by treating the Earth's surface as a black body radiator, allows them to greatly increase a claimed large amount of back radiation due to infra-red absorbing gases in the atmosphere re-emitting long wavelength infra-red radiation absorbed from the ground.  This radiation is said to be half emitted into space and half emitted toward the ground.  This happens over and over, they say, creating a geometric power series of 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.125 + 0.0625 + ..... or terms of one-half raised to the nth power.  This infinite series equals one, though the greenhouse warming advocates say it equals two!  The half of the radiation emitted into space is 169 W/m^2 in the Kiehl - Trenberth diagram, but the half returned to the Earth's surface is twice (1.97 times to be precise) that amount.  This huge exaggeration of the back radiation is a complete violation of physics.  This exaggeration then causes the effects of greenhouse gases to be greatly exaggerated.  In reality, a cooler atmosphere cannot emit sufficient IR toward a warmer surface to raise the temperature of the warmer surface.  The power incident upon the surface minus the cooling claimed for thermals (air convection) and by evaporation of water is only 64 W/m^2, which creates a surface with a black body temperature of 183.3K or -89.8C if the surface were a black body radiator as claimed.  In reality, the surface temperature with an emissivity of 0.7 is 200.4K or -72.7C.  The claim is that a surface that should be at this cold temperature somehow raises its temperature to 289.1K or 16.0C by radiating much more energy than it should and most of that energy is returned to the surface thanks to a multiplier effect in the atmosphere.  This violates cause and effect, not to mention basic thermodynamics in which heat energy always flows from a higher temperature body to a lower temperature body. 

Note also that the Kiehl - Trenberth diagram claims that only 40/396 = 0.101 of the surface radiation passes through the atmosphere without absorption.  The data on the right side of the upper part of this figure makes it clear that much more than 10% of the radiation is emitted into space from the surface despite the infra-red gases called greenhouse gases.  The estimate is that it is 15 to 30% transmission.

4)  The CO2 warming models believe that increased CO2 and water vapor do little to decrease the incoming solar radiation of ultraviolet, visible, and short wavelength infra-red radiations.  This offsetting effect, important during the day, is underestimated, however.  The greenhouse gas models do not predict the observed small decrease in the range of high day to low night temperatures as a result.  The radiation absorption of CO2 and water are shown in the figure above.  The three strongest absorptions of CO2 all occur where there is complete saturation of the effect due to the combination of the effects of water and already existing CO2 already.  The fourth strongest absorption line lies in the longer wavelength tail of the incoming solar radiation however and the absorption frequency at which it lies is not already saturated.  So although this line is weak, it actually has a significant effect as CO2 is further increased, at least as compared to the outgoing radiation effect.  The effect on incoming radiation is to cool the surface by removing more incident solar energy from the spectrum reaching the surface.

5) The residence time of man's CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is about 5 years when introduced high in the atmosphere (as in nuclear blasts or some volcanic eruptions [not caused by man despite the claims of certain Iranian clerics, but useful for studies of CO2 atmospheric dwell times]), not the 50 to 200 years claimed in one part of the UN IPCC AR4 report of 2007, but in agreement with another part of the same report.  Other studies of the low altitude introduction of CO2, where man's use of fossil fuels introduces the vast majority of it, show the half life in the atmosphere to be about 1 year.

6) The portion of the CO2 in the atmosphere due to man is estimated to be about 1.2% to maybe a couple of % based on other reasonable assumptions.  The seas and plants are the dominant factors determining the atmospheric concentration of CO2.  Warming seas increase the atmospheric concentration of CO2.  Increased CO2 causes more plant growth which uses more CO2.  Ocean animals with shells also use large amounts of CO2.  Higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2 also cause land minerals to react with more CO2 and bind it up.  Thus, plants and land minerals provide some negative feedback to increased atmospheric CO2.  When man adds CO2 to the atmosphere, the increased partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere pushes the equilibrium concentration in the oceans at a given temperature upward, acting as a further negative feedback mechanism.

7)  The hot spot in the warming pattern from about 8 to 12 km altitude near the equator that should be found if CO2 is acting as strongly as a greenhouse gas and enhancing the greenhouse gas effect of water vapor as is claimed by the UN IPCC AR4 report has been searched for. The hot spot in the atmosphere is not present.  This is definitive proof that the UN IPCC computer models are wrong about the role of CO2.  This reason alone is not only an adequate reason to reject the man-made CO2 contribution to global warming being as large as that claimed by the UN IPCC report, but it requires a scientist to reject this hypothesis.  A theory cannot make so necessary a prediction and fail, and nonetheless still be claimed to be true.  This would violate the fundamental scientific method.

8)  The temperatures on other planets and moons in our solar system are also rising, which is consistent with measurements of the solar cycle.  These other atmospheres are all warmer than predicted by the intercepted solar radiation energy.  Many have hotter surfaces and atmospheres than Earth though they have little or no greenhouse gases.

9)  Much of the claimed rise in land surface temperatures is due to the urban heat island effect, which has increased the reported temperatures in recent decades due to the closing down of more accurate rural weather stations around the world.  Few station sites follow the rules for good siting.  Urban stations should be entirely excluded when recording temperatures for global warming or cooling effects or assessing the effects of greenhouse gases such as CO2.  Instead, low altitude and urban stations have been given fallaciously high weight in the ground temperature records by extrapolating data taken from such warmer stations onto areas far from them but at higher altitude or more remote locations.  Stations at higher latitudes in Canada, Russia, and China have been preferentially shut down and temperatures for those critical areas have been assigned based on readings far to the south.  The temperatures officially used for high altitudes in the Andes of Boliva are based on data from cities on the Pacific Ocean and hot jungles of the Amazon basin.  The cool Andes Mountains lie between these areas and are much cooler.  This trick has been used over and over around the world.  Cooler temperatures actually measured decades ago have been replaced by interpolated values biased to higher temperatures in recent times.  This exaggerates the apparent temperature increase.

10)  Much raw temperature data has recently been pried loose from national temperature archives, often thanks to dogged requests under Freedom of Information Acts.  The rural stations in the U.S., Russia, Northern Europe, northern Australia, New Zealand, China, and some areas of Canada, Latin America, and Africa whose data has been examined carefully show little to no late 20th Century temperature increase.  The data used in the UN IPCC AR4 report of 2007 was heavily manipulated, in ways that make no scientific sense, to enhance a rapid rise of temperatures in the late 20th Century.

11)  There is much evidence that the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warming, the Minoan Warming, and the Halocene Warmings b and a and other warmings longer ago were warmer than the present time, yet humans, animals, and plants thrived.

12) The rate of the temperature increase at the start of the Medieval Warm Period was similar to that we had in the late 20th Century using even the inflated and manipulated ground temperature data.  There was also a warming period around 1700 in which the temperature rose 2.2C in just 36 years, compared to the 0.7C temperature increase claimed for the 20th Century.  The claims of an unprecedented rise in temperatures in the late 20th Century are without justification.

13) The sea surface temperature data, the balloon data, and the satellite temperature data for the late 20th Century show much smaller temperature increases than does the manipulated land surface data used by the alarmists.  The oceans and water cover 71% of the Earth and the satellites read temperatures over the entire Earth.  The oceans store about 22 times the heat stored in the atmosphere.  The ocean temperatures of the last 6 years are unchanged or decreasing.  A better way to search for warming is to examine the heat content of the oceans using the results of the reliable Argo buoy arrays which can measure the heat content to a depth of 700 meters in the oceans. These measurements show no increase from 2003 through 2008.  The entire heat capacity of the atmosphere is the equivalent of only the top 3.2 m depth of the oceans.

14)  The atmospheric concentrations of CO2 follow temperature increases rather than preceding them, consistent with dissolved CO2 being emitted upon the warming of the oceans or dissolved when the oceans cool.  The solubility of CO2 increases greatly with lower temperature and higher pressure.  Due to high pressure and cold temperatures, the deep ocean waters hold huge amounts of CO2, but it takes a long time to warm those waters in response to solar irradiance changes due to the huge amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of water, the low amount of heat energy in the gaseous atmosphere, the huge volume of water, and the depth of most of the oceans.  Consequently, the rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will lag general warming events by long times, though there is observable response to warming El Nino events and cooling La Nina events.

15)  Despite a continued CO2 concentration increase in the atmosphere since 1998, the temperatures have not risen, which was noted as an embarrassment in the dumped CRU e-mails by Trenberth.  The much-touted computer models are baffled by this.

16)  Solar wind and solar electromagnetic fields are believed to have major effects upon the cosmic ray flux on the Earth and other planets in the solar system.  When solar sunspot activity increases, solar irradiance increases, but so also does the solar wind and the range and strength of the solar electromagnetic field.  This shields the Earth from cosmic rays and the reduced flux of cosmic rays causes less lower atmosphere (below 3.2 km) nucleation and growth of clouds.  The Earth's temperature decreases sensitively to the amount of cloud cover in the lower atmosphere, so when the sun is less active, there are more cosmic rays and they generate more lower atmosphere clouds, which has a strong cooling effect.  Contrary to the frequent claims of the global warming alarmists, solar activity has stronger effects upon the Earth's temperature than just that caused by the changes in solar irradiance.  Both the solar and Earth electromagnetic fields are presently weaker than they have been in many decades, so cosmic radiation is not being as well shielded as has long been usual.  With both fields weakened, the flow of molten material in the center of the Earth is decreased, which also should decrease the heat flow from the center of the Earth to its surface.

17)  The predicted catastrophic changes due to warming do not seem to have materialized.  The failure here is widespread and should not be a surprise given that these calamities did not happen during the earlier warm periods such as the Medieval Warm Period given in 11) above.  The historical record indicates that man generally benefited from these warmer periods.  We also know that mortality rates generally are higher due to cold weather than due to warm weather, so moderately rising temperatures are less harmful than an equivalent drop in temperatures.

So, what is the essential physics of our climate?

1)  About 70% of the incoming solar radiation is incident and absorbed by the Earth's surface.  Thus, (0.7)(341 W/m^2) = 238.7 W/m^2 warms the surface.  With an emissivity of 0.7, the temperature of the Earth's surface is 278.5K, or only about 9.5K cooler than the average temperature we observe.

2)  Most of the remaining energy is due to the action of gravity on our atmosphere and the movement of convection currents to keep the atmosphere in equilibrium.  The gravity effect operates due to the energy of the ideal gas molecule being the sum of its kinetic energy and its potential energy.  The higher altitude gas molecules have more potential energy and less kinetic energy and the decrease in kinetic energy is almost linear with increasing altitude.  The temperature of the ideal gas in equilibrium is proportional to its kinetic energy.  At sea level, the nitrogen, oxygen, and argon molecules that make up about 99.967% of the atmosphere and the remaining gas molecules are colliding about 6.9 billion times per second, so they rapidly absorb their share of energy even from the infra-red absorbing gases commonly called greenhouse gases.

3)  At lower altitudes, the transfer of energy by water molecules and their phase transitions from liquid or solid state to gas and then at somewhat higher altitudes where it is cooler, back to the liquid or solid state.  These transitions involve a large absorption of energy or cooling upon the transition to gas and a large emission of energy upon returning to the liquid state.  Water provides a great balancing effect to the climate and very effectively counteracts either great temperature increases or decreases.

4)  The average daily surface temperature is raised by the storage of large amounts of energy in water and the subsurface ground during the bright sunlight hours of the day and the return of that heat to the surface by conduction during the night.  Such an effect is observed for the moon as shown below, despite the fact that the moon stores much less energy than our Earth with water covering 71% of its surface and our vegetation holding heat better into the night.  The image below shows that effect NASA long ago calculated for the moon.  The outer surface of the blue areas is the temperature due to the solar radiation incident with no subsurface to store heat or to be warmed by conduction.  The outer surface of the orange is the observed temperature due to the subsurface heat holding effects.  Note that the daily high temperature shifts to later in the day, just as on Earth, from the noontime.  Note also the cooling effect during the day and the bigger warming effect at night.  These effects would be more subtle on Earth due to the smaller temperature extremes, but they will still exist.  In fact for a much more realistic understanding of the Earth's climate, one needs to develop the complete day to night cycle in this fashion for the more complicated Earth with its atmosphere, oceans, and plant coverage.

5)  At about 4000 meters, as much energy is transferred in the atmosphere by radiation as by air molecule collisions and convection currents.  The temperature of the Earth as viewed from space is about 255K, which is the temperature of the U.S. Standard Atmosphere at an altitude of 5000 meters.  The atmosphere at about 5000 meters is in effective thermal equilibrium with space.

6)  As one moves to lower altitudes from 5000 meters, the increasing kinetic energy of the gases as the potential energy decreases causes the temperature of the atmosphere to increase approximately linearly.

7)  Energy input from the solar wind, the interaction of the solar magnetic field with that of the Earth, the conduction of heat from the Earth's hot interior including large numbers of thermal vents in the deep oceans, and debris and particles collected from space provide additional energy inputs to the Earth.  It is not difficult to account for the 9.5K higher temperature of the Earth's surface compared to that expected for the average incidence of solar radiation upon its surface.  What is far more interesting are the explanations as to why the Earth's surface does not rise to a temperature of 393.8K or 120.7C at noon on the average day and then fall to 3K at night with no incident sunlight.

The case for the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is so poor, that it is clear that the real reason so many support this false hypothesis does not lie in the science.  There are ulterior political and unethical business motives for the constant claims that man's use of fossil fuels is going to be responsible for a global climate catastrophe.  Those who want reasons to increase the control of our use of energy, flock to this false theory.  Those who want to add further high taxes love the idea of something like cap and trade taxes.  Those who wish to subject the United States to more international control, say the United Nations, love this false theory.  Those who stand to make money from the trade of carbon credits love it.  Those who are pushing federal investment and mandates to create the smart grid love it.  Those who are working on electric cars, wind generation of electricity, solar power generation of electricity, nuclear power, thermal insulation, higher efficiency light sources, light materials for transportation, products made from recycled materials, and many others who stand to make money from throttling fossil fuel use very often support this false alarmist idea.

Disclaimer:  My laboratory works on projects for oil companies, solar power companies, wind generator companies, nuclear power plants, suppliers to the coal industry, low-weight materials for transportation companies, efficient light sources, improved thermal insulation materials, materials made from recycled materials, and energy from recycled materials.  My laboratory will prosper better with a strong private sector, a strongly growing economy, a limited government, and with widespread respect for science and what it can do for us to make our lives better.  Bad science and the disrespect for science that it will generate is bad for the future of my laboratory.

13 January 2011

The Real and Sad Unemployment Rate in December 2010

This is another of my many unemployment updates in my campaign to correct the very wrong impression given by the commonly quoted unemployment rate put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.  They also supply the facts from which a more realistic assessment can be made of the employment situation.  In this last decade, the real state of employment has broadly become worse with time.  The data we need to examine is given in the table below:

The numbers reported here in thousands or percentages are not seasonally adjusted.  The BLS keeps readjusting the seasonally adjusted numbers over a three month period after they first report them, but the unadjusted numbers are solid.  There is also less likelihood that any political games are being pulled with the raw numbers.

The BLS reported, as did the press and the news networks, that unemployment went down in December from a rate of 9.8% to 9.4%.  But in reality, the number of people actually employed fell by 256,000 people, while the population of working age people grew by 174,000 people.  The reported number of unemployed people fell by 285,000 people.  Since the number of people supposedly no longer interested in working fell by more than the reduction in the number of people who were working, the official unemployment rate fell.  This is very deceptive.  Extremely deceptive.

This kind of disastrously wrong impression is why I was compelled to find a new way to look at the unemployment statistics.  There is no way to use the standard approach to indicating the number of people who want to work except in good times when decent jobs are available to people to take.  From about 1997 to early 2000, many jobs were available.  Admittedly, this was at the height of what turned out to be the bubble.  Nonetheless, it does tell us that given the availability of good jobs, about 67.49% of the non-institutional work age population wants to work.  Using that knowledge as a criterion, we see that with our present work age population, which grows monthly, we needed 161,226,000 jobs in December.  Unfortunately, due to the huge and ever-growing interference of government over the last decade with the private sector economy, we actually had 22,067,000 fewer jobs than this.  These missing jobs increased by 373,000 jobs in December.  The real totally unemployed rate was 13.69%, not the reported 9.4% rate.  This is in no way the good news we were given by our highly trusted news media.  Even Fox News and the Wall Street Journal go along with the false news momentum in these cases.

The number of missing jobs in January 2000 was only 5,689,000 jobs, but by December 2005, this number had already increased to 10,710,000 jobs.  In December 2008, the missing jobs had increased to 15,287,000 jobs and the recession was recognized as having begun, though in reality, it had just accelerated as far as jobs go.  The worst month of the recession in terms of missing jobs was January 2010 when the missing jobs were at 14.41% and number of missing jobs was 23,029,000.  The number of missing jobs then decreased until July 2010, but has increased every month since then.

Large companies have generally reported good profits since then, but they have largely held onto their income since then and done little hiring, though expenditures on capital equipment have been somewhat better.  Small companies, which do most of the hiring in decent times, have not yet seen much improvement in incomes.  The demand for labor has continued to fall through December and more and more people have given up on finding jobs.

Drastic action to cut government spending, so that the massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to governments is greatly reduced, is absolutely necessary to decreasing the massive deficits, but also to decreasing the massive unemployment.  We need desperately to reign in the many costs of employment imposed on companies by the governments.  Huge reductions in the federal, state, and local government regulations that raise the cost of doing business are also absolutely necessary.  Regulations of businesses cost about 17.7% of U.S. national income.  Limitations of production and distorted management choices cost business another $1 trillion a year.  And the government itself spends about $61 billion a year to enforce the regulations.  This massive regulatory drag on the economy needs to be drastically reduced.

Thanks to Walter Donway for pointing out these costs of regulation figures to me.  They can be checked out here at the Center for Fiscal Accountability.

10 January 2011

The Progressive's Call for Toning Down the Rhetoric

Immediately following the awful shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona, the local sheriff called upon everyone to tone down the rhetoric, which he claimed was at a maximum in Arizona.  He implied that the shooter, who turns out to be an incoherent and truly weird leftist of some sort, performed his evil deed because the rhetoric was so angry.  Many others have joined the sheriff in calling for a reduction in the rhetoric.  This is simply a pulse in such calls ever since the agenda of the Progressive Socialist Elitists began to meet considerable resistance as the Tea Party movement grew.  Before that, for decades, the Progressive Socialist Elitists felt very much at home with such groups as the Students for a Democratic Society, the Socialist Workers Party, the Weatherman underground, the Black Panthers, socialist labor unions with numerous thugs on-board to intimidate companies and workers, and a constant propensity to support one new government program after another to force people to kowtow to one government mandate, act of thievery, or act of enslavement after another while threatening to use as much force as necessary to intimidate the people from asserting their individual rights.  It was the left who continuously made the governments more and more powerful so that special interests were induced to fight for the power over them to either protect themselves or to take advantage of that huge, unbounded power.

To some degree in 1980, the people woke up from their usual inattention and backed Ronald Reagan to rein in the growth of government.  When George H. W. Bush betrayed them with tax increases and allowed the government to grow more, they rebelled a bit again.  They put Clinton in office, who tried to thumb his nose at them with a government takeover of the medical system in his first two years.  The People became enough aroused that he backed off and soon said the era of big government was over.  After that, with a Republican Congress to hold him in check, he mostly backed policies favorable to the economy and the private sector.  For a Democrat, he was thereafter surprisingly decent on economic matters and the economy did grow, albeit with too much easy credit.  When George Bush became president, the economy was slammed both with 9/11 and with the first collapse of the bubble economy in the recession.  After his tax cuts, the economy grew, but was held back by a huge growth in the size of government at all levels and it was still plagued with too much easy credit.  Then came the oil price spike in 2007 and the precarious easy credit market collapsed.

Obama came in with his agenda to massively redistribute the income and wealth of the private sector.  He came straight from the tradition of revolutionary socialism with his links to the Weatherman Bill Ayers and many other such people.  His onslaught of government theft backed by all the force of the government soon riled up many long comatose Americans, who rediscovered the fundamental American Principle that that government which did more than protect the equal, sovereign individual rights to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own body and mind, and the pursuit of happiness, must of necessity be an illegitimate government as defined by our Declaration of Independence.  These Americans often recalled that the Constitution established a contract with the People for a highly limited government mostly dedicated to dealing with foreign nations and peoples and with very few powers internally.  When the politicians in power, mostly Democrats, but sometimes Republicans, refused even to listen to them and did everything they could to pass unread bills in the middle of the night and even bills whose content was mostly to be determined by unelected bureaucrats over the course of years so that no one would know what effects they would have for years, the People sometimes became angry.  This anger was pointed at by the Progressive Socialist Elitists as the equivalent of violence or at least as an incitement to violence.  They followed this up with accusations that the Tea Party people were racist and insisted on their gun rights for the purpose of promoting violence in our society.

It is clear that the calls for a reduction in the intensity of rhetoric are mostly designed to keep the People from asserting their new-found interest in their liberties.  This has been a clear attempt to reduce the calls of the People for a reduction in the size and scope of government.  Much of the latest rhetoric that the People must be moderate and meekly ask the politicians and special interests to return their rights to them, is an attempt to keep the power of government as it is now.  We ought not to give up in the least on our demands that government's size and scope be greatly reduced.

It was a serious breach of our trust in the Republicans when they backed off on the effort this week to repeal ObamaCare.  Removing the massive and blatant acts of force to be aimed at the People under ObamaCare is one of the most important ways we can reduce violence and the use of force in our society.  We must not be intimidated from calling for the removal of that violence to the very ownership of our bodies by our own government.  Imagine the violence in throwing someone in jail for 5 years because he claims he owns his own body.  Imagine the violence directed at anyone who would assert his right to his body by refusing to go to jail for 5 years or paying outrageous fines.  If the Progressive Socialist Elitists actually wanted no violence, they would not be backers of ObamaCare.  They are complete hypocrites.  The movement to reduce the size and scope of government, that monopoly on the use of force and violence, is that of the side actually opposed to violence.