The Inequity of it All

Today is my Birthday.

What I want for my birthday is for Liberals to stop thinking with their emotions and be rational, logical adults who aren’t narcissistic, greedy, power mad, 2 years old at heart.

Not going to Happen.

Neither is getting Establishment Republicans and RINOs to stop being narcissists and thinking only of their own agenda and thinking about The American People for a change.

I might as well wish for World Peace at the same time, it’s just as likely.

Strike up a conversation with any taxi cab driver or any fry cook at a roadside diner and the word “inequality” is unlikely to ever come up. That’s not on the list of top concerns for middle class America. It’s also not on the list of concerns for the world’s poor. Millions of people are willing to risk life and limb just to come here and start out at the bottom of the income ladder.

(Don’t the immigrants realize how unequal things are? Yes, they want to live in a country where a poor immigrant can become a billionaire.)

So why is anyone claiming that inequality is our most important problem? Because the chattering class has decided that stoking envy is the only way to energize the Democratic Party. Think about the problems we really do have: runaway entitlement spending, poor public schools, welfare dependency, an overly burdensome tax system and anemic economic growth. In every case the solutions we are debating come from the right: Privatization, school vouchers, tough love, a flat tax and lower taxes on capital.

The left has no solutions, or at least none that anyone takes seriously. So, over the years of the Obama presidency the topic of inequality has emerged front and center. Democratic candidates could rail against the super rich and imply that their high incomes are the cause of everyone else’s stagnating income, without ever saying what exactly they would do about it.

Until Bernie Sanders came along. Sanders actually has a few concrete proposals – including the idea that we should become like Denmark, a high tax welfare state. Once the discussion turns from pure demagoguery to serious conversation, inevitably we are forced to look at what economists have to say. (Warning: it’s not good for Democrats.)

In other words, you can’t solve the problem by taxing the rich. If taxation is your only tool, you have to break again one of Barack Obama’s frequently broken promises and raise taxes on the middle class.

In a Brookings Institution study, Peter Orszag (former chief economist for President Obama) and his colleagues discovered that if you raised the top tax rate from 40 percent to 50 percent and redistributed that money to people at the bottom, the top 1 percent’s share of income would only decline from 16.4 to 15.6 percent. The Gini coefficient (the numerical measure of inequality) would change so little you would have to squint to see it.

Then there is the question of why we have increasing inequality in the first place. Another study by Orszag and current Obama chief economist Jason Furman found that a primary source of inequality among people is inequality among firms. Take a look at the chart below. If you happened to be working for one of the top 10 percent of most successful companies over the past two decades your salary, bonuses and other compensation probably soared. If you have been working for the median firm, your income has probably risen modestly. If your employer is in the bottom half of the distribution, your income has probably been stagnant.

So what can be done about that? The idea of arresting the growth of highly successful companies is silly. But that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for the left. The problem for Democrats is that Silicon Valley is heavily Democratic. It’s one of the places Democrats go to get mega gifts. My bet is that you won’t hear a peep about inequality among firms in the coming election.

orszag chart

 

SOURCE: KOLLER ET AL. (2015); MCKINSEY & COMPANY

That leaves Denmark. People on the left are fond of citing the Nordic states — Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland — as examples of countries with higher taxes and less inequality. It’s easy to see why. As Matt Yglesias writes

Danish mothers enjoy 18 weeks of guaranteed maternity leave at 100 percent of their ordinary pay. Danish students leave college free of debt. Everyone is covered by a national health insurance system and can take advantage of subsidized child care; plus, thanks to a generous welfare system, Denmark’s child poverty rate is about a quarter of America’s.

So how do the Danes afford all that? With high taxes. As Yglesias makes clear, it’s not just taxes on the rich. The top tax rate in Denmark is 57 percent, about the same as it is in California. If California wanted to become like Denmark, it would basically leave the rich alone. But it would have to sock it to the middle class with effective tax rates averaging from 35 to 48 percent. Then the state would need to pile on with 25 percent value added tax — which is basically a form of sales tax and every bit as regressive. Car addicted Californians would also experience a huge spike in the price of gasoline and a 180 percent tax on the price of a new car!

So how does Denmark keep from looking like Greece? Answer: They believe in privatization, deregulation and free enterprise. Denmark is rated as one of the best places in the world to do business. It scores higher on the Heritage Economic Freedom ranking than the United States does. Unlike the US, public sector unions in Denmark don’t control public services and push up costs with job protecting regulations. For example, a private, for-profit company is currently in charge of 65 percent of municipal fire departments and 85 percent of ambulance services in the country. According to Yglesias:

In Copenhagen … the metro is driverless, the suburban rail network features one-man train crews, and many urban bus lines are run by private companies. These are all kinds of measures that US labor unions would normally oppose….

Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö was constructed at a drastically lower price than the United States is prepared to spend to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York even though the Nordic bridge is substantially longer and includes a major train component along with the roadway.

The Danish model is awfully hard to emulate if public sector unions are the backbone of your party.

Finally, there is Yale law professor Stephen Carter’s observation that the word “inequality” was used eight times by the candidates and once by the moderator in the Democratic debate the other night. In every instance the focus was on taxing the rich, not on helping the poor. In fact, the word “poverty” was used hardly at all. Apparently, envy sells better than charity when communicating with Democratic voters.

Yet Carter, himself a bona fide liberal, notes that we don’t really have an inequality problem. We have a poverty problem.

That Democrats ignore it is hardly surprising. When is the last time you heard a Democratic candidate for president talk about the poor in any respect? The last one I can remember was John Edwards and that was eons ago. (Townhall)

And look what happened to him… 🙂

Oh, the inequity of it all.

 

The Conference of Doom Begins Today

Many of you are too young to remember, but in 1975 our government pushed “the coming ice age.”

Random House dutifully printed “THE WEATHER CONSPIRACY … coming of the New Ice Age.” This may be the only book ever written by 18 authors. All 18 lived just a short sled ride from Washington, D.C. Newsweek fell in line and did a cover issue warning us of global cooling on April 28, 1975. And The New York Times, Aug. 14, 1976, reported “many signs that Earth may be headed for another ice age.”

In 1974, the National Science Board announced: “During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age.”

Science’s prediction of “A full-blown, 10,000 year ice age,” came from its March 1, 1975 issue. The Christian Science Monitor observed that armadillos were retreating south from Nebraska to escape the “global cooling” in its Aug. 27, 1974 issue.

Now we have Polar Bear on “diminishing” ice flows in the Artic.

Ahhh….

Does this all look vaguely like, well it global warming has dropped but in the future it will be an apocalypse! 🙂

UK Telegraph 4/30/2008:  Global warming will stop until at least 2015 because of natural variations in the climate, scientists have said.

Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel, Germany, said: “The IPCC would predict a 0.3°C warming over the next decade. Our prediction is that there will be no warming until 2015 but it will pick up after that.”

And as all Global warming Religionist know the IPCC is never EVER wrong.

So as it snows on Houston, the earliest on record, just remember Global Warming is going to Kill us all!

The Conference of Doom starts today in Copenhagen.

Will this day also, live in infamy! 🙂

There is truly something rotten in Denmark. 🙂

UK Telegraph: Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand,” she says. “We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden.”

And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? “Five,” says Ms Jorgensen. “The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it’s very Danish.”

The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.

The top hotels – all fully booked at £650 a night – are readying their Climate Convention menus of (no doubt sustainable) scallops, foie gras and sculpted caviar wedges.

According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants’ travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of “carbon dioxide equivalent”, equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough.

But nothing but the best for those concerned with the Doom of all mankind and want to shut down the Industrial Revolution as really bad for the planet! 🙂

I suppose Al Gore’s “Carbon credits” business will be busy with guilty Doomsayers for the next 11 days.

NY Post: Some 40,000 tons of carbon will be spewed getting this crowd together and keeping them in comfort.That is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by more than 60 of the world’s smaller countries in an entire year — combined.

Instead of swift and modest reductions in carbon – say, two per cent a year, starting next year – for which they could possibly be held accountable, the politicians will bandy around grandiose targets of 80-per-cent-plus by 2050, by which time few of the leaders at Copenhagen will even be alive, let alone still in office.

But damn! It will sound good! It’ll sound like they care.

Can some on pass me the Wagyu beef with white truffles, darling… 🙂

“If we fail, one reason could be our overconfidence,” said Simron Jit Singh, of the Institute of Social Ecology. “Because we are here, talking in a group of people who probably agree with each other, we can be blinded to the challenges of the other side. We feel that we are the good guys, the selfless saviours, and they are the bad guys.

Bingo! That wins the man a Booby prize, which in Copenhagen is probably just a few doors down.:)

As Mr Singh suggests, the interesting question is perhaps not whether the climate changers have got the science right – they probably have – but whether they have got the pitch right. Some campaigners’ apocalyptic predictions and religious righteousness – funeral ceremonies for economic growth and the like – can be alienating, and may help explain why the wider public does not seem to share the urgency felt by those in Copenhagen this week.

Anyone seen Lord Doom?  He canceled? Really. A chance to be a media whore in front of adoring fans and hock is new Doomsday Book??  Coming to a Theatre near you 🙂

And the Great Savior of Mankind, Barack Obama is not jetting in until is nearly over. Something about a Peace Prize (just after he escalated Obama’s War in Afghanistan).

In a rather perceptive recent comment, Mr Miliband (who called those who disagree with him and his ilk saboteurs just days ago) said it was vital to give people a positive vision of a low-carbon future. “If Martin Luther King had come along and said ‘I have a nightmare,’ people would not have followed him,” he said.

Let’s all have a PR pitty party form the Doomsayers.

But do you think they’ve really learned anything.

No.

That would be a break with their faith.

So they have 11 days to work on a new spin.

That’s all.

And the Danes are happy to participate.

NY Post: That’s because the last great world climate treaty, Kyoto, does not make them include their nasty shipping business in the calculation. No wonder the Danes liked that so much.

AP: “I think a lot of people are skeptical about this issue in any case,” Yvo de Boer (The U.N.’s top climate official) said. “And then when they have the feeling … that scientists are manipulating information in a certain direction then of course it causes concern in a number of people to say ‘you see I told you so, this is not a real issue.'”

Ya Think? 🙂

Because there’s a “consensus” that says debate is over. So how can anyone possibly be skeptical? 🙂

“This correspondence looks very bad,” de Boer said. “But I think both the university is looking into this (and) I believe there is a police investigation going on whether the e-mails were leaked or stolen.

Not whether they are true or not or what they actually say, mind you.

U.S. climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing (Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change) called the science on global warming “very robust, very substantial.” He told the AP that the controversy surrounding the leaked e-mails came at an “unfortunate” time, just before the long-awaited U.N. talks, “but has no fundamental bearing on the outcome.

His faith in Man-Made Doom is Strong, young Barack!

UK Telepgraph 4/30/2008: Writing in Nature, the scientists said: “Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic [manmade] warming.”

The study shows a more pronounced weakening effect than the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which last year predicted that global warming would slow until 2009 and pick up after that, with half the years after 2009 being warmer than the warmest year on record, 1998.

Commenting on the new study, Richard Wood of the Hadley Centre said the model suggested the weakening of the MOC would have a cooling effect around the North Atlantic.

“Such a cooling could temporarily offset the longer-term warming trend from increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“That emphasizes once again the need to consider climate variability and climate change together when making predictions over timescales of decades.”

But that would question the faith.

Our Friend Ed Millibrand, UK Environment  Secretary on the BBC less than 24 hours ago:

“The people who believe that this is happening, that climate change is happening and man-made, have nothing to fear from transparency.”

Obama: “Information will not be withheld just because I say so; it will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well-grounded in the Constitution. Let me say it as simply as I can: transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,

So how’s that working out? 🙂

Global Cooling. (1975)

Global Warming. (also coined in 1975) 🙂

Global Climate Change? (created because it kept  embarrassingly snowing on Global Warming Conferences) 🙂

Anthropogenic climate change (2000)

What Orwellian term will the Conference of Doom come up with?

Stay Tuned.