Ugly Rears Its Head In The House Of Representatives

Sometimes dumb ideas come from Republicans as well as Democrats. I am about to illustrate that fact. Yesterday Representative Ted Deutch of Florida introduced H.R. 7173 into the House of Representatives. The bills description is, “To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.” Never trust the government to create a trust fund–remember the Social Security Trust Fund–it was robbed during the 1960’s (by the government that created it).

Let’s talk about this trust fund for a moment.

The bill states:

“A carbon dividend payment is one pro-rata share for each adult and half a pro-rata share for each child under 19 years old, with a limit of 2 children per household, of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund.”

Do you really want the government commenting or being involved in any way with how many children you have in your family?

The Hill posted an article yesterday about the bill. The article included the following:

…the bill would charge companies when they produce or import fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, based on their expected greenhouse gas emissions.

But instead of using the money to pay for health or community projects, the new bill would distribute it to the public. Its backers say those “dividends” would offset the increased costs from the carbon tax, like higher utility and gasoline bills, for about 70 percent of households.

Dividend funds would be handed out by the Treasury Department under the bill, based on the number of people in a household.

“It’s transparent and easily trackable. You know where the money is going. It protects the American family so that families are not adversely impacted. Dividends would protect most families from cost increases,” Ben Pendergrass, senior director of government affairs at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told The Hill.

“The market signals should still be there to guide things like fuel efficient cars and dividends protect people who can’t make that transition immediately.”

The bill would also prohibit the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors that are taxed, unless the taxes aren’t effective after 10 years. That is an effort to attract support from Republicans, who are nearly united in opposition to Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations.

Rooney focused on the economic benefits of the bill, saying in a statement Wednesday that the revenue carbon neutral fee is good policy and a way “to support emerging alternate sources of energy.”

This bill is a really bad idea. It paves the way for more government intrusion into our private lives and takes more money from Americans. America has cut its greenhouse gas emissions without crippling our economy. We are quite capable of doing so in the future without stifling economic growth and creating even bigger bureaucracies.

 

How Cutting Taxes Creates Revenue

On November 16th, Hot Air posted an article about the impact of the Trump tax cuts on government revenue. As I am sure you remember, the Democrats called the tax cuts on individuals ‘crumbs’ and swore that the tax cuts would bankrupt the country. Well, that’s not exactly what happened.

The article reports:

Unemployment is at an historic low. Employment is at an all-time high. Wagers are growing after years of stagnation.

And now from all that increased economic activity, the federal government has just reported historic record tax revenues in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, of $252,692,000,000.

That’s more than $11.4 billion above revenue for October of last year, which was the previous record tax revenue for an October.

And it did this by collecting more than $3 billion less in personal income taxes, thanks to the tax cuts.

The new revenues were the result of increased business taxes because of increased business. Here’s how much different it was:

Corporation income tax receipts to the U.S. Treasury this year in October were a whopping $8,000,000,000. This compares to the previous October’s $3.8 billion.

Despite the record tax revenues in October, the federal government ran a deficit of $100.5 billion that month because, spending. That’s a problem that newly-elected members of Congress such as Indiana’s senator-elect Mike Braun, a businessman, said would be a major target in 2019.

The thing to remember here is that as unemployment decreases, government spending should also decrease. Unfortunately Congress did not get the message. Our problem is not the revenue–the problem is the spending. If either party were serious about curbing government spending, it would have been done by now. Obviously they are not. There are a few members of the Republican party who have been trying to put the brakes on runaway spending for years, but they are either not trying very hard or they are ineffective. At any rate, we need to elect Congressmen (regardless of party) who will pledge to bring the spending under control. It does no good to increase the revenue if the spending increases right along with it.

Good Economic News

CNS News is reporting today that not only is the economy booming, the federal government has cut 16,000 jobs during the Trump administration–1,000 in September alone. This is wonderful news when you consider that every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar taken out of the private sector. How many dollars does the lower federal payroll put back into the private sector?

Unfortunately state and local governments have not cut their employment numbers. The article reports:

Since President Donald Trump took office, federal employment has declined by 16,000.

In December 2016, the month before Trump’s inauguration, there were 2,810,000 people employed by the federal government, according to the BLS data. By August 2018, that had declined by 15,000 to 2,795,000. In September, it declined another 1,000 to 2,794,000.

At the same time, overall government employment (including those employed by state and local governments) increased 13,000 in September and has climbed by 100,000 since December 2016.

In December, 2016, there were 22,306,000 people employed in state, local and federal government combined. By August 2018, that had climbed to 22,393,000. In September, it jumped again to 22,406,000.

It’s time to cut all government employment and get people back to work in the private sector. I realize that we need a certain number of people to run all levels of government, but I am totally convinced that the number of people could be greatly decreased without harm to government services at all levels.

Eventually Justice Shows Up

Most of us remember the stand-off between ranchers and the federal government in Oregon in 2016. Robert LaVoy Finicum was killed during the protests surrounding these events. Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about W. Joseph Astarita, who was part of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team deployed out of Quantico, Va., to assist other state and federal law-enforcement officers during the standoff. Mr. Astarita is now on trial in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., on charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice related to the 2016 fatal shooting of Robert LaVoy Finicum.

The article reports:

The trial will bring to a head the tensions between Western ranchers and the government that had been at the heart of the 2016 standoffs. Mr. Bundy’s armed occupation was fueled by the federal prosecution of Oregon rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, for arson. The duo, who were sentenced to five years in prison, received a presidential pardon earlier this month.

Mr. Bundy was acquitted for his role in the occupation, along with six followers.

The death of Mr. Finicum has spurred outrage among friends and family. They have long accused the government of carrying out a deadly vendetta. While federal investigators determined the rancher was reaching in his coat for a gun when he was shot, supporters said he was surrendering.

“Someone needs to be charged with murder,” said Angie Bundy, wife of Mr. Bundy’s brother, Ryan.

Local law-enforcement authorities also have criticized the Justice Department for Mr. Astarita’s alleged actions. When the indictments of Mr. Astarita were announced last summer, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said they “damage the integrity of the entire law-enforcement profession, which makes me both disappointed and angry.”

The original disagreement between the Bundy family and the federal government had to do with federal regulation of grazing lands.

Check Your Own Closet For Skeletons Before You Criticize Anyone Else

The news media’s hair is on fire because children are being separated from their parents when they cross the U.S. border illegally. Never mind that the law is broken, it’s obviously cruel, inhuman and inexcusable. Why not simply send the entire family back together and ask them to get in line to immigrate? Not likely. But the criticism is somewhat hypocritical.

On January 29, 2016, New York Magazine reported:

The United States government placed an unknown number of Central American migrant children into the custody of human traffickers after neglecting to run the most basic checks on these so-called “caregivers,” according to a Senate report released on Thursday.

In the fall of 2013, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors traveled to the U.S. southern border, in flight from poverty and gang violence in Central America. At least six of those children were eventually resettled on an egg farm in Marion, Ohio, where their sponsors forced them to work 12 hours a day under threats of death. Local law enforcement uncovered the operation last year, prompting the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to open an inquiry into the federal government’s handling of migrants.

It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the subcommittee, told the New York Times. “But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”

This is the link to the Senate report. Assuming the detention centers for the children are clean and safe, the children are much better off there than in the hands of human traffickers. Where is this story on the news?

How Does This Make Sense?

Planned Parenthood is an organization that takes money from the federal government. They are also an organization that lobbies the federal government. They are also an organization that makes political contributions. How do we know that our taxpayer dollars that go to Planned Parenthood don’t wind up in the pockets of lobbyists or politicians? I don’t think we do.

The following is a tweet from Vice-President Pense:

Do as I say, not as I do?

I’m From The Government And I’m Here To Help

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Those words should strike fear in the hearts of every American. As Milton Friedman one stated, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Someone equally knowledgeable in the ways of government amended that statement slightly–“Yes, but if you put Congress in charge from the start, they would start a federal sand reserve to store up most of the sand from the very beginning. Then the sand shortage would start in one year, but when glassmakers needed more, they could dole out the stored sand to their political contributors and claim they did it to ‘keep prices down’.”

Obviously, either way there is a problem. Where am I going with this? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just declared war on most of the cars in America. On Tuesday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the latest move by the EPA.

The editorial explains:

The EPA’s proposal to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline is a trifecta of regulatory abuse. It will do nothing for the environment, it will do nothing for energy security, and it could wreck millions of car engines.

…The EPA’s proposal would require refineries to blend in almost 19 billion gallons of ethanol and other “biofuels” by 2017, which is 700,000 gallons more than they do now.

But there’s a problem. Americans aren’t consuming enough gasoline. In fact, consumption this year is well below the 2007 forecast, both because cars are more efficient and because people are driving less than expected.

So, if oil refiners are to pump 19 billion gallons of ethanol into their gasoline supplies, they won’t be able to keep ethanol ratio below 10%.

 Why does that matter? Because ethanol is corrosive and can degrade plastic, rubber and metal parts. And the more ethanol in gasoline, the most likely this damage will occur. So going above 10% can wreak havoc with car engines — as well as those in motorcycles, lawnmowers, power boats, you name it — that aren’t built to handle the higher ethanol levels.

The first thing to consider here is that the EPA is not legally entitled to make laws–only Congress can do that. The EPA is not elected and is therefore not accountable to the voters–therefore they do not have the right to enact laws.

The article also points out that increased use of ethanol drives up food prices, which actually hurts the poor. So why in the world isn’t Congress fighting back? If you were running for office in a farm state, would you want to tell the farmers in that state that the price of corn will be going down because ethanol has not been the wonderful thing you thought it was?

The editorial concludes:

So why is the EPA pushing ethanol? Does it help fight global warming? Does it help cities fight smog? Does it help the U.S. become more energy independent?

The answer is: None of the above.

A 2011 study by the National Research Council found that ethanol use could boost overall CO2 emissions. An earlier study published in Science also found that, when you consider the impact of converting forests and grasslands to cornfields, ethanol sharply increases carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, a 2007 study by a Stanford University environmental engineer found that increasing ethanol levels in gasoline can lead to more smog.

The idea that we need ethanol to become energy independent might have made sense in 2007. But the fracking boom since then has unleashed massive new domestic supplies of oil and natural gas, rendering this argument entirely moot.

Here’s an idea. Rather than requiring oil refiners to pump more of this dirty and expensive fuel into gasoline supplies, the federal government should abandon the ethanol requirement altogether.

Big Corn might not like it, but millions of car owners will be grateful.

When the government gets involved in what should be the free market, bad things happen.