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Friday, June 26, 2009

So, What's Going To Replace The Democratic Party?

I watched some of the debate on the Waxman-Malarkey bill today before Gaia got mad and started throwing huge thunderbolts, causing me to unplug everything and seek cover.

While I was un-carbon-producing (except for my breathing), it was passed. See David's Chicago-Boyz post.

I don't think the average person realizes that much of our current power plant dates from decades ago, that nuclear plants are going to going off line in about a decade due to age, and that we are apparently signing on to something that will raise the basic cost of living in a very substantial way, without actually having any alternatives.

We are at the point when this will come home quite quickly. The current bill has a ridiculous goal of cutting US per capita carbon dioxide emissions back to the 1700s. Needless to say, that will never come to pass. And most of the current bill's provisions are backloaded to later dates, but even the renewable energy mandates will raise fuel costs significantly within 5-6 years.

At some point, the peasants will revolt. It is almost as if this bill was a conspiracy of California Democrats who feel the need to bankrupt the rest of this country so that California will have an equal chance at funding, or something like that.

Volokh's Jim Lindgren has written several very good posts on this bill - this one, from months ago, reviews the ridiculous goal of the bill. This post from today reviews the central problem related to trade.

It's the inane nature of this bill that astounds me. We just cannot do it. Growing the food necessary to feed even our own population would emit more carbon than the final goals in the bill, even if every household in the USA was burning candles for light and had returned to the lifestyle that Paul Ehrlich used to recommend.

Okay, so in pursuit of a goal that's nonsensical, for a problem that is international and that will not be addressed internationally (India and China, for example, are refusing to starve their people to death), we adopt legislation that either sets up an iron wall of tariffs or drives half the nation into poverty in about 15 years. This is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Let's hope it can be stopped in the Senate. Even if it is, our nation has lost something here, and that something is the principal legislative body's grasp on reality. It is as if the House of Representatives suddenly passed a vote to reduce gravity by 10 percent in order to lessen the costs of obesity to putatively cut Medicare costs in the future. Truly amazing.

I strongly recommend reviewing the figures in this old WSJ piece on the goal and then at least look at the abstract on crop emissions. The full article will cost you ten bucks.

I haven't, btw, reviewed the revised version. But some earlier work I did during the election suggested that anything expensive enough to reduce US carbon emissions by 10% would also cut GDP by about 12% (rolling time frame 3 years after initiative introduction).

I'm completely stunned.

And Momma,all this sturm & drang is just in time to witness a long pronounced global cooling period.

I feel sorry for ordinary Americans. The Democrats, in pursuit of their belief that humans are terrible earth destroying Gaia haters who need to be punished, will inflict untold hardship on Americans.

Just watch California in the next year to see what every state will soon be experiencing.
I'm sure Goldman, Sachs is behind this.
I keep hoping this is just kabuki--a put-on to satisfy the far left, as in "hey, we tried but those darn moderates wouldn't go along".

But it's not. They fully intend to install a system of bureaucratic mandarins to control the very details of our lives.

I'm also not so optimistic that we can easily rid ourselves of this, once it's done. Once government gets this kind of administrative power to reward and punish on a micro-level, they will be extremely difficult to get rid of.
CF - Oh, I think we'll leave SW to diagnose the situation. Insanity is his province.

A 300 page amendment to the main bill was posted in the wee hours of this morning, so the suckers did not even know the details of the bill on which they were voting.

It is hubris on a grand scale.
Fred - it probably will get cooler.

I assume the ash from the wood stoves people will use to heat their homes will worsen air quality, too.

God help us all.
"some point, the peasants will revolt"...but will they revolt against the right people?...or will they be directed against scapegoats, as has happened many times in the past?

Thanks for the link.
MoM,as a californian I do not see that either party has any connection with reality.there are a few individual exceptions,but our political process selects for photogenic sociopaths.The system is broken beyond recovery,keep your powder dry because when things shake out and change actually becomes possible we will need sensible and good hearted people desperately.
Tom - you are not really calling Waxman photogenic, are you?

My impression is that most politicians aren't paying attention to the basics.
The cynic in me keeps postulating that what is important for the political class is granting themselves total authority over energy. Once authority is codified through legislation, they do not actually need to deploy all their powers at once. Favors can be played like trump cards in any situation that disadvantages the wealth or power of the wealthy and powerful. Waivers can be granted and exceptions made for exceptional circumstances. A hungry population filled with frustration between brownouts is not desirable and resources will be authorized as needed to stave off rebellion. One thing I have observed in corporate America is that rules will be ignored when it is advantageous to ignore them.
$12 - that's just a complete fantasy. The federal government desperately needs money, and the money it gets from standard taxation is declining.

65 + 45 = 110. In 2010, the Medicare demographic impact hits. By 2013-14, US finances will be a total disaster.

They are relying upon massive energy taxation to balance the books. In Europe, this has produced very low growth rates outside bubble territory.

Due to demographics, our baseline growth rate is probably around 1.9%.

Add energy taxes - that goes to less than the rate of population growth - under 1%.

GDP growth under the rate of population growth in a welfare economy = recession.
What really gets me about this is that I know some people locally who are highly supportive of this initiative. If you tell them it'll wreck the economy, they first deny it, but when pressed they'll tell you we shouldn't have so much growth anyway. They aren't dumb--they understand that it's going to wreck the economy. It's just that they think the deprivation is going to be all Victory Gardens and neighborhood canning plants. No, really.

They understand it's going to cause another Depression. But they've got a romantic ideal of what the Great Depression was all about (jumbled up with WWII rationing), imparted by way of Steinbeck novels and Howard Zinn histories. They really couldn't care less whether it actually helps the environment or not. This is reactionary romanticism at its worst, placed in service of power-mad politicians.

This is going to require some serious pain before it burns itself out.
You ask what's going to replace the political parties?

Ave. Ave Imperator, fillintheblank.

That's the end state of failing republics.
Incidentally MOM, do you suppose an increase in the price of energy could create enough aggregate increase in velocity of money to cause severe inflation, given current conditions?

You are quite perceptive in pointing out the effect Cap'n Trade would have on investment in new generating capacity. We need lots of new generating capacity in the next 5 years or so, even with the recession. Even if the actual taxes don't kick in for years, the price increases will begin very quickly due to the low productivity of new "alternative" generating infrastructure.
MoM,Waxman looks a lot worse in person.And i wish I did not agree with WSJ about the end game of republics...
I'm astounded, too. There's speculation that the Senate would never pass it, but I worry that they'll just water it down to the point that it doesn't decrease carbon emissions but still costs several trillion to implement.

The only bright side I can discern is that a cap-and-trade scheme could be cancelled much more easily than, say, national health care. New Zealand elected a conservative government last year and its first act was to repeal the recently-passed cap-and-trade legislation.

If some version of national health care gets passed, though, watch out. It'll go away when the public schools are abolished.
"It is as if the House of Representatives suddenly passed a vote to reduce gravity by 10 percent in order to lessen the costs of obesity to putatively cut Medicare costs in the future."

You have a way with words!

I'm trying desperately to believe in the American way.
David - that's why my mind turned immediately to an alternative.

This nation can't afford to be a one-party state. I am certain that in the future when the impact of various things becomes clearer the reaction of a bunch of current politicians will be to turn anger toward outside entities.

We must have parties that are trying to craft workable policies, rather than alibis.
Craig -

It'll go away when the public schools are abolished.

I wonder how long we actually have to wait for that? I think that anyone (including myself) with the desire to reform the public school system has basically given up by now. Schools are rapidly turning into an indefensible failure. Most of the stuff that's being churned out now by Congress is on the short-list for failure as well, and probably more quickly than we expect given self-reinforcing dynamic effects. What is it, five years? Ten years? Two years?

The Northeastern elite that has run the country since the Civil War is melting down before our eyes. Folks are going to get in a mood to just burn down the house and be done with it. The question, as "Who Struck John" alludes to, is what we'll rebuild in its place.
Okay, so in pursuit of a goal that's nonsensical, for a problem that is international

Except that it probably doesn't even exist.

EPA May Have Suppressed Report Skeptical Of Global Warming.
I will be adding a stove adjunct to my central air system this fall. And I'll try to burn the dirtiest coal and nastiest softwood in it I can find.

Fuck you Nancy!
Bob - I read that report. But realistically, what did anyone expect?

Although I have not waded through the entire current edition of the bill just passed in the house, I read enough of it to realize that it is a money tree if you are a Congress Critter.

I therefore expect similar legislation to be passed in the Senate and for something along these lines to be signed into law by President Obama.

Facts have as little to do with this legislation as they have to do with Isakson's proposal to pay people 15K to buy a house.
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