Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Global Warming Idiocy and the Weak Economy

I've been working on this post for several days because I believe it is extremely important. So, it will stay at the top of the blog through Friday Thursday.
FEMA, part of the hapless Department of Homeland Security (now putting underwear manufacturers out of business!), is demanding each state prepare a plan to deal with how the weather is going to change in the next five years. Their instructions for the plans are below:
Forget climate skeptics, no reputable climatologist would even attempt to guess how weather is going to change in each state over the next five years! Period. There is no science that can do this. Yet, not only does each state have to spend time and money to generate a "plan," they are required to:

coordinating and integrating the mitigation planning process with the whole community, including agencies and stakeholders with mitigation capabilities that are responsible for economic development; land use and development; housing; infrastructure; natural and cultural resource management; and health and human services. Engaging agencies and stakeholders with data and authority early in the planning process facilitates both successful plan development and implementation. 

Translation: construction, land management, mining, energy, medicine, etc., etc., in other words the whole economy must "adopt" this nonsense or lose FEMA funding (which, of course, the citizens of each state pay for).

You might think, "Why am I making a big deal about this?" 

Planning for the weather five years from now is an exercise in futility plus it has a real cost to every American. 

To illustrate, I call upon my favorite economic writer, Rich Karlgaard. Earlier this week, he published an amazing piece, America's Missing Wealth. I can't overstress how important it is to read the whole thing (3-4 minutes, tops). Economists estimate that regulation costs the U.S. economy 1-2% per year. Like me, Rich does not believe that all regulation is bad:

Mandatory seat belts have helped cut traffic fatalities by 51% on a population-adjusted basis since 1949. Far fewer people are now killed or maimed in industrial accidents. The air in downtown Los Angeles is breathable again. Would this have happened without federal regulation? Yes, but likely not as fast.

But, as with the FEMA planning order, things have gone way too far. The one or two percent per year, compounded, has huge, huge costs. 

If the U.S. economy had grown an extra 2% per year since 1949, 2014′s GDP would be about $58 trillion, not $17 trillion. So says a study called “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth,” published in 2013 by the Journal of Economic Growth. More than taxes, it’s been runaway federal regulation that’s crimped U.S. growth by the year and utterly smashed it over two generations.

Allowing that some regulation might have a net positive benefit, Rich goes on to write:

So let’s, for the sake of argument, posit that some regulation has been good for us, while many other regs have only hurt economic growth. Let’s also argue that sensible regulation, combined with the retirement of outdated regulation, could have brought about the same improvements to health and safety–but at a cost of 1% potential growth per year, not 2%. Where would the U.S. economy be today?
–The 2014 GDP would be $32 trillion, not $17 trillion.
–Per capita income would be $101,000, not $54,000.
–Per capita wealth would be $480,000, not $260,000. It would probably be higher than that, since savings rates might be higher.
–The U.S. would have no federal, state or municipal debts or deficits.
–Pensions would be solid. So would Social Security.
Overregulation and counterproductive tax policies are killing the American dream and are -- in large part -- responsible for the perceived and real maladies in U.S. family income and related issues. 

The proposed FEMA regulation is the poster child for costly, nonsensical regulation and should be immediately killed. It won't be, because Big Climate is largely comprised of "true believers" who don't allow the fact something is scientifically impossible deter them. Especially, since compliance will mean more costly studies and consulting contracts…good for people and businesses "inside the Beltway" but bad for everyone else.  

Folks, it is election season. Let the candidates and your elected representatives know where you stand. Otherwise, the Washington insiders will have won again…at the expense of the rest of us. 

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