Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inconvenient Data

An excellent blog, bookwormroom.com, managed by a conservative woman living in the decidedly non-conservative SF bay area, displays a dictum at the top of its website that asserts "conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts." Wise words that can be illustrated by examining the disparate issues of climate science and taxation.

Global warming enthusiasts have a near religious conviction of a positive correlation between human produced carbon dioxide and "climate change". Mark Steyn recently observed that Michael Mann, originator of the discredited "hockey stick" model of global warming, used a Twitter hashtag designation of #AntiScience for Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, simply because she disputes Mann's view. Dr. Mann's refusal to debate disputers of global warming dogma is the true "anti science" position.

And there is much to dispute. One example - Above is a graph depicting the expected rise in global temperature due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions over time, based on models developed by environmental scientists. The graph clearly shows that the models have failed to accurately predict the increase in global temperature since 1983 with the observed temperature rise being far smaller than the average of the models.

So why does the left conclude that "global warming" must be fought by penalizing carbon production? Profit and power. In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens writes of "the obscure intersection of public policy, private profits and the climate science that joins the two."

If George W. Bush had left office and immediately joined the boards of defense contractors building MRAPs for Iraq, hard questions would be raised. When Maurice Strong, Al Gore and other climate profiteers seek to enrich themselves from policies they put into place while in office, it scarcely raises an eyebrow.
It should. The carbon-trading schemes enacted with such fanfare just a few years ago have effectively ceased to operate amid collapsing prices. The sustainable-energy craze produced the expensive bankruptcies of solar-panel maker Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and battery maker A123 Systems, to name a few. Germany, which has taken its climate-change fetish further than any other major economy, is now coming to grips with a comprehensive fiasco of higher energy prices and higher carbon emissions. Who would have thought that when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow, people might still want to switch on the lights?
It is now the dogma of the left that any hint of doubt when it comes to predictions of climate doom is evidence of greed, stupidity, moral turpitude or psychological derangement. "Climate denial" is intended to be the equivalent of Holocaust denial. And yet the only people who've predicted anything right so far are those who foresaw that the Kyoto Protocol would fail, that renewable energies didn't really work, and that climate bureaucrats accountable to nobody but their own sense of virtue and taste for profit were a danger to everyone.


On to the issue of taxation vs. revenue. A particularly irritating characteristic of leftist demagoguery is the manner in which tax increases are discussed. Someone like Chuck Schumer, for example, when addressing the problem of debt and deficit reduction, doesn't speak of raising taxes. Since "tax increase" is a political 3rd rail, he substitutes the euphemism "revenue". (e.g.- "Both presidents (G. H. W. Bush and Clinton) combined discretionary spending reductions with revenue raisers and mandatory spending cuts.”) Leftists consider the two terms "revenue" and "taxes" to be synonymous. Data show that they are not. The most recent demonstration of this is the effect of the 2003 Bush tax cuts, which, contrary to expectations, helped achieve record levels of federal revenue.

The video linked below explains the Laffer Curve, which disproves the fallacy that higher taxes invariably produce higher revenues. (The video was featured on the Bookworm site).


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