Selling Global Warming Mythology and Carbon Taxes As ‘The Reagan Way’

AP Photo/Romas Dabrukas
AP Photo/Romas Dabrukas

In February, the nascent Jeb Bush presidential campaign announced a team of 21 veteran foreign policy advisers, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz. Let’s hope Bush isn’t looking to Shultz for economic or science policy advice. But unless he says otherwise, there’s no reason to believe Bush isn’t on board with Shutltz’s call for jacked-up carbon taxes in the name name of Ronald Reagan, issued at the Washington Post this weekend.

Most of Schultz’s article is a canned recitation of fashionable “climate change” mythology surrounding the enormous problem of polar ice refusing to do what the cult predicted it would. To get around this, the cult created some new arbitrary divisions between types of polar ice, so it could pretend that while the total ice coverage is increasing – the opposite of what all their models predicted – the “good” ice is actually melting, so we’re still doomed. This is the sort of thinking that led to the drop-dead hilarious spectacle of a ship full of global warming believers getting stuck in a mass of ice that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Having pronounced himself satisfied that climate change is still a huge problem, even though it isn’t happening and nobody can explain why not, Shultz waves all that pesky fact-and-data stuff away to deliver a slightly more prim version of the latest in cutting-edge climate hysteria: even if the facts are supporting the “deniers” right now, we can’t take any chances on the apocalypse happening anyway!  “We all know there are those who have doubts about the problems presented by climate change,” Shultz writes. “But if these doubters are wrong, the evidence is clear that the consequences, while varied, will be mostly bad, some catastrophic. So why don’t we follow Reagan’s example and take out an insurance policy?”

Well, for one thing, Mr. Shutlz, with all due respect, it’s not 1985 any more. We’ve got three decades of global-warming failure to look at. Theories that seemed plausible in the Eighties – especially with all those strategically bent hockey-stick graphs and highly selective cherry-picked historical data – are no longer operable.

The cost of what the climate cult wants soars far beyond the piddly “rounding error” in the federal budget Shutlz describes. Billions have been plowed into ludicrously inefficient “green energy” programs, including flat-out scams such as Solyndra. The American people correctly rate “climate change” very, very low on their list of priorities; it’s a Ruling Class political obsession, a rock upon which crony relationships between politicians and their green business partners are built, but the public is not interested in paying huge new taxes to take out “insurance policies” against a doom that isn’t coming. The climate cult is going to have to a lot better than saying, “hey, all our old models were wrong, but we’ve got some new ones that are kinda scary, so why not pay up just in case?”

The very last thing this weak, jobs-poor economy needs is a new tax, especially since we’ve also had another thirty years of experience since Reagan’s day in how promises of fiscal restraint in exchange for new tax revenue are never met.

“A carbon tax, starting small and escalating to a significant level on a legislated schedule, would do the trick. I would make it revenue-neutral, returning all net funds generated to the taxpayers so that no fiscal drag results and the revenue would not be available for politicians to spend on pet projects,” suggests Shultz. “These two policies could be put in place in conjunction with eliminating burdensome existing laws and regulations and using the marketplace rather than edicts by the government to do this or not do that. Put a price out there, and let the marketplace adapt. You would be surprised at its creativity.”

Sorry, sir, no dice.

We’ve been suckered by Washington hucksters too often to fall for that scam again. We know the carbon tax wouldn’t stay small very long, and its funding would be raided by the berserk Vikings of the Beltway before the ink was dry on the legislation. We don’t need to watch the rapidly diminishing “free” market find surprisingly creative ways to adapt to another pile of taxes and regulations from central planners. We need to set that market more free than it already is, not tie capitalism into yet another regulatory straitjacket and toss it into a water-torture booth to see if it can pull off another dazzling Houdini escape.

It’s almost surreal to hear these Big Green plans described as tiny little “insurance policies” with almost negligible cost, after watching those immense piles of green dollars shoveled into well-connected pockets during the Obama era. The emissions targets bandied about by the climate cult would push American energy generation back to levels not seen since the early decades of the last century – they’re not talking about bargain-priced insurance coverage.

The American people want science funding reallocated back into actual, useful science, but instead we get the Beltway establishment and its media auxiliaries collapsing onto their fainting couches when someone like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has the gall to suggest the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should focus on aeronautics and space. Our over-funded – yes, I said over-funded – government has delivered one embarrassing debacle after another over the past few years, because Uncle Sam is drunk on cash. We don’t need to pop any new bottles of tax revenue open for him.

A leaner, tighter government that actually has to make tough decisions and set fiscal priorities through the archaic practice known as “budgeting” would deliver better results than a bloated shopaholic bureaucracy that runs up its credit cards to indulge its every whim, then socks hard-working Americans with tax increases when they start complaining about the deficit.

If “climate change” is such a big deal to the establishment, let’s see the list of other programs it’s willing to cut, in order to free up money for the programs Shultz desires. Taxes are a form of control, as are madcap unfunded mandates that force private-sector businesses to shoulder cost burdens off the government’s books. This economy is sick with government control. I suspect Ronald Reagan would have a few things to say about that, long before he called for any fresh taxes on an economy that’s already expected to carry over three and a half trillion dollars’ worth of government on its back.


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