McClaughry: The Trump ‘economic catastrophe’; Climate Justice Alliance rejects carbon tax

By John McClaughry

Steve Moore and Jonathan Decker write in Investors Business Daily that the liberal predictions of a year ago about Trump’s likely catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy are looking ridiculous. After quoting half a dozen oh-so-smug-and-certain left-wing observers, the authors offer the most ridiculous of all. It’s from an October 2016 Washington Post editorial: “A President Trump Could Destroy the World Economy.”

“Just for the record,” the authors say, “the world economy is as strong today as it has been in at least a decade, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported. Now the left has to engage in logical contortions to explain how the red hot American economy is really a result of Obama policies — every which one Trump has systematically been at work dismantling.”

They add:

As I’ve acknowledged many times, the roaring stock market and the surging rate of growth of the economy (which is now estimated at 3.5%, up from 1.6% in Obama’s last year in office), could turn against Trump in the months and years to come. It’s quite possible that the market exuberance over Trump’s deregulation and tax cut policies have run too far ahead, though I’m predicting 3% to 4% growth for 2018 with the Trump tax cut kicking in. But what is certain at this point so far in Trump’s presidency is that anyone who sold stock on the basis of predictions by liberal ‘experts’ like Larry Summers or Paul Krugman or Steve Rattner missed out on a 30%-plus surge in their financial wealth.

If one can overlook Trump’s often stomach-churning narcissism, at the moment his presidency seems to have produced a big adrenaline shot for a relatively stagnant U.S. economy. Let’s hope it continues strong, while Trump and Congress start shrinking government spending to fit within revenues.

Climate Justice Alliance rejects carbon tax

Here’s an unexpected contribution to the carbon tax debate from the Climate Justice Alliance, which describes itself as ”a collaborative of over 50 community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, and socio-economically just transition away from an extractive economy towards local living economies to address the root causes of climate change.” Their 32 page report published online is a well-informed piece of work, although I don’t agree with their final position.

This report, say its authors, “provides in-depth context to why carbon market systems will not mitigate climate change, will not advance adaptation strategies, will not serve the most vulnerable communities facing climate change impacts and only protect the fossil fuel industry and corporations from taking real climate action.”

Further, “Carbon taxes will always be low, be evaded, do not cut pollution to the degree needed, and are greenwash. Under the rubric of carbon pricing, these cap-and-trade, carbon offsets, carbon tax systems are false solutions that do not cut emissions at source, create toxic hot spots, and result in land grabs and violations of human rights and rights of Indigenous peoples in the forest regions of developing countries.”

Their one sentence remedy is: simply keep fossil fuels in the ground. Then we’re supposed to find other ways to heat our homes and businesses and transport ourselves to work and school and church. I have my doubts about that.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

6 thoughts on “McClaughry: The Trump ‘economic catastrophe’; Climate Justice Alliance rejects carbon tax

  1. Regarding carbon taxes and cost shifting, Senator Bray does not get it yet.
    He keeps on proposing SHIFTING taxes from a few electric vehicle buyers to many other taxpayers.
    He announced he wants to eliminate the sales tax on the first $30,000 cost of buying an EV. That means the upscale people benefit.
    This amounts to an $1800 saving for the upscale buyers, the state having less revenues, having bigger CHRONIC deficits, and other taxpayers paying more. There is no free lunch, except in LaLaLand.
    People like him have been giving away the store to please RE folks for at least a decade.
    Did Vermont’s CO2 go down these last 10 years? No!!!
    All the hyping about reducing CO2 was just hot air to fool the long-suffering, bamboozled people.
    Vermonters have no idea how much you, et al., have given away over the years.
    No rational central accounting exists. The numbers are all spread over the place on purpose.
    Nothing it properly vetted and exposed to the public.
    The state auditor, who loves RE, likely knows about it, but apparently ignores it.
    The shenanigan magnitude of this is much bigger than the $200 million EB-5 fraud, or $200 million healthcare website fiascos.
    When recurring revenue gaps occur, legislators and bureaucrats pretend to have not a clue as to how that came about.
    A carbon tax, $300 to $500 million PER YEAR, would raise social discord.
    A carbon tax would raise the foolish spending ante by about a factor of 5.
    On a lifecycle basis, which is the only basis that counts, the COL2 emissions of EVs are on par with high-efficiency hybrids.
    Dirt roads, with snow and ice, going uphill, and during a cold day, would make an EV about as sluggish as molasses.

    • Lifecycle Greenhouse Gases of Vehicles:

      A lifecycle assessment should cover four distinct phases of a vehicle’s life, and be based on driving, say 150,000 km (93,750 miles) during the 15 years of a vehicle’s life, using 10% ethanol/90% gasoline blend (E10), and a grid CO2 intensity of say 500 g CO2/kWh, or 1.10 lb CO2/kWh.

      1) Vehicle production – to assess embedded CO2
      2) In-use phase – to assess CO2 incurred during the driving
      3) Disposal at end-of-life
      4) Fuel production and delivery processes of electricity generation and gasoline production, depending on vehicle type.

      The embedded greenhouse gases of average vehicles, as a percent of the lifecycle total emissions, in metric ton, are shown in below table. CO2 estimates of the Toyota Prius, Toyota plug-in Prius and Tesla Model S were inserted for comparison purposes. See URL and click on press release.

      Vehicle Embedded Driving, etc Replace Battery Lifecycle
      CO2, Mt CO2, Mt CO2, Mt CO2, Mt
      Average E10 vehicle 5.6 (23%) 18.4 0 24.0
      Average hybrid 6.5 (31%) 14.5 0 21.0
      Hybrid, Prius 6.5 (31%) 12.0 0 18.5
      Average plug-in hybrid 6.7 (35%) 12.3 0 19.0
      Plug-in hybrid, Prius 6.7 (35%) 10.0 0 16.7
      EV, medium-size battery 8.8 (46%) 10.2 3.8 22.8
      EV, Tesla 11.5 (60%) 10.4 5.0 26.9

    • Not only that, you would have to freeze while driving, since heat would draw the bat tree down quickly!

  2. We already have an equivalent “tax” or cost pushed by regulation with the auto manufacturers in their requirement to sell cars across their fleet with an average fuel economy goal. Here’s how that tax works: People want larger cars not the small cars so the auto makers have to raise the price of the larger cars and give away the smaller cars. I can only imagine the work around if a similarly themed carbon tax is introduced. These laws may sound great at inception, but how they work is oftentimes different than intended. These laws usually do succeed, however, in making people feel good and vote differently.

    • You hit the nail on the head. No one is seriously trying to ‘solve’ global warming. Politicians are working overtime to capitalize on the hysteria.

  3. The Climate Justice Alliance has to know that passage of a carbon tax would spell the end for liberal control of Montpelier. Nothing like kicking people when they are down to really invigorate voters.

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