Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Please read Sarah Palin's excellent editorial on the wrongness of Obama's so-called, "Cap and Trade" tax apocalypse, published in The Washington Post.


BJS said...

This is disappointing.

Her op-ed displays a high level either willful ignorance or ideological blindness over the central issues of this debate. Yes, this is a contentious bill. Yes, there is good reasoned debate to be had.

But notice something, her op-ed doesn't even use the word "pollution" one time. Not once. She never discusses the very *purpose* of the bill, which is to reduce harmful carbon emissions. One would think that a careful critique of the costs and benefits of a proposed piece of legislation would discuss (or at least mention) the purpose of the bill.

Also, she is simply factual inaccurate. I am surprised the WaPo published it given that some of her claims are so clearly false. (They normally do not publish op-eds with clear factual errors -- perhaps they made an exception for Palin.)

See here:
For the estimated costs of the C&T.

This also provides some good insights

As does this:

For a decent response to her op-ed from Conor Clark (writing at the Daily Dish), see here:

Look, I'm sure that the main audience of this blog is quite fond of Ms. Palin. I also think that there is important debate to be had over this and other critical issues. The conservative voice has important arguments that need to be voiced. But, certainly, there can be found a better spokeperson than this. Ms. Palin does more to hurt the conservative voice than help it.

The conservative "movement" is in desperate need of an intelligent and articulate presentation. Turning to the likes of Palin is only a move backward.
This is all summed up perfectly by someone I usually fiercely disagree with: Peggy Noonan. But she gets this one absolutely right. See here for the best op-ed written about the problems of the GOP in a long time.


My prayer is that the political Right listens to Noonan's advice. As Noonan writes, "We are going to need the best." And Palin is certainly not it.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for your viewpoint.

Palin emphasized the bad economic outcomes of this bill. The left tries to ignore this or justify it with fear over global warming.

Yes, a more comprehensive article would refute the global warming scare, but one only has a few words in an editorial. Read Tom Bethel's assessment of it in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. I am skeptical of global warming on these fronts:

1. That it is occurring in any significant way. Thirty years ago, scientists feared "a new ice age."

2. If it is occurring, that it is bad overall.

3. If it is happening, that it is caused mostly by humans and not by sunspot activity, huge earth cycles beyond our control, etc.

4. That if is happening, we can do anything about it.

5. That if we can do anything about it, it is worth the cost. There would be gigantic trade-offs to consider.

I never said Palin was the answer to the problem of conservative leadership. I simply thought her economic insights were important.

By the way, Mother Jones is a socialist publication, and, as such, is generally not trustworthy.

BJS said...

Dr. G,
Granted: If one shares your skepticism regarding climate change, then it makes a lot more sense to be against this bill (because then in your view you'd have the costs but virtually no gain.) [Note: I still think, however, even setting aside climate change debates entirely, that this bill would have the secondary (but important) effect of helping fight pollution. So even someone with your climate change doubts should still recognize the positive benefits.]

On points 1-5, my two cents:
On # 2 I strongly disagree. If it is occurring the way most scientists think, this is almost certainly bad. (Of course, I hope you are right.)
On # 4, sadly you may be right. But I hope not, but if we can impact it, we should try.
On # 5, this all depends on your opinion of # 2. Clearly if you don't think that the costs of it are high (or even bad at all), then you won't think it is worth the cost to fight it.

As far as Palin's economic insights go, I’m unsure why you’d find her views important or helpful. She's no economist and has little economic policy experience.

You may be right that the left uses fear-mongering to scare people about climate change. But it seems Palin is doing the same thing from the other side about C&T. She says such action would "destroy America's economy."
Destroy the economy?
The studies we have show the impact (while there) would certainly not "destroy America's economy." She also claims it will hurt the poorest families. The most comprehensive study we have of C&T's impact shows this is false.

Sounds like Palin is doing fear-mongering of her own. (As is your use of the term "apocalypse"... no?)

In the least, she is not engaging in reasoned debate of this important bill. This is the first time in US history that we are going to try to significantly reduce overall US emissions. I'd think that's something everyone could see some value in. Crying wolf about it destroying the economy seems to be playing partisan politics, not actually weighing costs vs. benefits on a difficult case.

This C&T debate reminds me of fights over imposing standards on automakers to reduce emissions and be more fuel efficient. Everytime legislation was introduced, the powerful auto lobby screamed and argues that it will "destroy the economy" and that the costs will be passed onto the consumer, hence arguing (as the Right is on C&T) that it is a tax on all. Yet everytime we've actually passed such legislation the lobbyists and industry “expert" estimates of the costs always proved to be way off, costs did not go up for the consumer, and it actually helped us and the environment (same thing) in the long run. The automakers always were (miraculously) able to find ways to lower emissions and make better cars.
This debate is very similar. Of COURSE the energy lobby is upset about the impact. They have every reason to be Chicken Little here -- this is the first time they are actually going to be mandated to reduce emissions in any significant way. When you look at numbers coming from NON-energy funded studies, the long-term economic impact of C&T looks rather small, while the long-term environmental impact looks very positive.

BJS said...

Also, just to explain my points on Palin and her role as a leading voice in the conservative movement (and why that is bad -- see Noonan cited above). I brought it up because this woman still polls incredibly high amongst GOP voters (even after her resignation -- her numbers actually went up!) and she seems like a leading GOP figure for 2012. It amazes me that mere days after she resigns as governor, she is then writing op-eds for the WaPo, and you’re cheering for her again. Can’t we do better?

Finally, Dr. G, calling a source a name rather than engaging what it presents is simply poisoning the well. I was not endorsing or denouncing the website, but pointing to the evidence presented therein. The article at MJ simply reviews the studies done on C&T's economic impact. (And it did not deny the impact, but tries to weigh them reasonably.) You can either engage the views there presented or not; but waiving them off via ad hominem is not rational engagement.

Mike Florio said...

I completely agree that pollution should be the focal point. If we can concentrate on that, global warming is really beside the point (ie: it will do what it will, whether we are the cause of it or not, understand it or not). Let's concentrate on what we do know how to do (keep the air, water, earth clean), and not what we don't know how to do (lower the planetary temperature). Nature will compensate, like it always has, with a natural change of balance in ecosystems - for better or worse from an anthropic perspective (hey, if we are on the way out, let's at least be living up to our end of the deal).

Also, regarding pollution, I would like to see penalties enforced for negligent corporate recycling (where the real recycling problem lies - not at all with private households). It seems the propagandists haven't figured out a way to bring garbage under the umbrella of the global warming debate. Maybe they should.

Remember, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. So, who is going to fund the investment in developing alternative energies? The inept (and now broke) U.S. federal government? Some third-world nation? The impotent socialist Europeans? The oil-hungry Chinese? The Russians (yeah, like they would really share it with us)? The financially unstable Japanese? The Arab nations who hold the world hostage with their oil fields?

It takes capital to develop alternative energies. Those who have the capital reserves (before our government takes it from them, I guess) to invest might want to think about the importance of taking care of God’s creation, and tending to his green earth. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t care whether global warming is man-made or not. It makes no difference. But if the propaganda can convince some of these guys (and future to-be capitalists with a conscience) to take the plunge, then perhaps it’s a useful bit of propaganda. Shameful, yes. But possibly necessary.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I cannot respond to all of this. I am trying to finish a book! But I do not trust socialist sources any more than I trust phrenologist sources. If the philosophy if bad in principle--as is socialism--that corrupts the information contained therein.