Monday, October 30, 2023

Higher Taxes: Is There Anything They Can't Do?!

It is just amazing to me that some people -- regardless of government's frequent and overwhelming failures -- think the solution to everything is higher taxes. 

The Washington Post's story is ludicrous. Take this passage, for example:
Livestock farming is a dynamo of greenhouse-gas emissions, contributing roughly 18% of the global total, in the form of carbon dioxide, methane from cow burps and nitrous oxide from fertilizer. This is not to mention the associated deforestation, pollution and biodiversity loss, all of which also warp the climate. 

There are two types of cattle: those use for dairy and those used for meat. In the United States, the cattle used for beef (Kansas is the #1 beef producing state) graze in grasslands like the Flint Hills and Gyp Hills. 
This area isn't, and never was, a forest. The area is known as the "Tallgrass Prairie," because it is the last area of natural tallsgrass left in North America. It is the #1 area for cattle grazing in the world. The rest of the article is about as well researched. 

I hate to break the news to the author, Mark Gongloff (graduated college with a degree in journalism, rather than science, per his bio at LinkedIn), but all mammals, not just cows, emit methane when they, err, fart. I don't know what he means by "biodiversity loss in this case. Cows, prairie chickens and other species share the grazing region in reasonable balance. 

Why do I think that Mr. Gongloff is a vegetarian or vegan? People have to eat. Meat is a great source of nutrition, especially protein. If people wish to eat insects or go without meat, I'm all for it. 
The worst way to tackle global warming is with taxes. The tax code is already far too complicated and the government will find a way to waste the additional money (see above). The idea higher taxes---> lower CO2 is one of the already too numerous examples of magical thinking in the field of global warming. For example, the subsidies for wind energy have been hugely counterproductive. The last thing the US needs right now is more tinkering with the tax code. 

I'm 100% in favor of decarbonizing electricity production and taking other reasonable precautions with regard to climate change. But Mr. Gongloff's case for taxing meat and thinning cattle herds in the USA is extremely weak.

Ribeye, anyone?

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