“Negotiators from nearly 200 countries are meeting this week in Bonn, Germany, in the biggest climate change talks of the year,” The New York Times reports. But a persuasive article in the Climate Contrarian shows that climate hysterics don’t believe their own bull.
And they have good reason not to.
Steven Koonin, who was undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term and is now director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, writes that:
“The world’s response to climate changing under natural and human influences is best founded upon a complete portrayal of the science. The U.S. government’s Climate Science Special Report, to be released Friday, does not provide that foundation. Instead, it reinforces alarm with incomplete information and highlights the need for more-rigorous review of climate assessments.”
In language less restrained, The Deplorable Climate Science Blog claims that “100% Of US Warming Is Due To NOAA Data Tampering.”
Pope Francis, unfortunately, has enlisted himself in the ranks of the gullible.
Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, complains that scientists should not stoop to battle rivals, even non-scientist rivals, by hauling them into courts of law:
“Consider Michael E. Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center. In 2012 he sued a fellow scientist and several journalists…
“The Washington Post and two dozen other news organizations oppose Mr. Mann’s lawsuit, explaining: ‘While Mann essentially claims that he can silence critics because he is “right,” the judicial system should not be the arbiter of either scientific truth or correct public policy.’ The lawsuit, they argue, will ‘chill the expression of opinion on a wide range of important scientific and public policy issues.’
“But Mr. Mann’s departure from scientific norms has met with no sanctions from his peers. To the contrary, since he filed his lawsuits, he has earned more than 20 professional ‘honors and awards.’ He is celebrated as a champion in climate scientists’ war against ‘deniers.’…
“It is time for leading voices and institutions to look beyond the politics of climate and articulate a full-throated defense of the longstanding professional norms that make science the single best approach to securing knowledge useful for navigating an uncertain future.”
Senate tax reform bill triggers complaints
Some senators, and most notably Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, are criticizing the Senate draft tax reform bill. It unfairly benefits corporations (20% tax rate) over other types of businesses, such as pass-throughs (30% tax rate in the Senate bill), Johnson argues.
The reason for the lower corporate rate, however, is that it seeks to compensate for the fact that corporations and their investors are hit with double taxation. Not only is corporate income taxed but also dividends and capital gains when corporate income is distributed to investors. Pass-through incomes avoid this double taxation by just taxing at the individual level and rate.
Senator Jeff Flake doesn’t like the federal deficits built into the Senate bill, a complaint that has also been echoed by Senator Bob Corker.
Another complaint is that the Senate bill sunsets individual tax benefits in the year 2026, whereas the corporate credits are permanent. This would have the effect that middle-class individuals enjoying immediate tax cuts might later suffer tax increases.
Every one of the complaints above — the deficit, the differential treatment of corporate and pass-throughs in both rates and benefits, double taxation, etc. — all these would have been avoided if the Republican leaders in Congress and/or the President had had the brains and courage to go with the Hall-Rabushka flat tax. That once even had support from Democrats, including Jerry Brown and The New York Times.
One suspects that cowardice was the driving motivator — fear that the flat tax would be easy prey to Democratic class-war charges that it was a giveaway to the rich. But the Democrats will make that their central issue no matter what Republicans propose, and the flat tax is indeed progressive. The more the rich earn, the more taxes they pay. As for the poor, they wouldn’t pay any taxes at all. The flat tax is only assessed above a minimum income level. And there is no deficit if the flat tax is set at an appropriate rate. The rate can be lowered or raised in subsequent years depending on the size of government spending. Since corporate, pass-through, and individual tax rates are all the same in a given tax year, there is no motivation to try to game which rate one pays.