Nutty Professors and Nutty New Taxes

By Alan Caruba

Alan S. Binder is a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. All of which might explain why the nation is broke and why “intellectuals” like Binder are responsible for some of the most stupid ideas ever imposed on citizens who lack their credentials.

In the January 31st edition of The Wall Street Journal, Binder had a commentary titled, “The Carbon Tax Miracle Cure.” It is a masterpiece of ignorance.

Binder claimed that “Everyone knows that CO2 emissions are the major cause of global climate change, that climate change poses a clear and present danger to our planet, and that the U.S. contributes a huge share of global emissions.”

One can only conclude that Binder is among the last of Al Gore’s acolytes who has not heard that the only “climate change” occurring is the same that has been going on for 4.5 billion years on planet Earth.

Binder’s miracle tax is “a carbon tax—really, a carbon dioxide tax—but one that starts at zero and ramps up gradually over time.” Will someone please tell Binder that the scheme to sell “carbon credits” for the right to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) has gone bust? Even the Chicago Exchange created to foster this “global warming” fraud has closed its doors.

The idiocy of Binder’s “miracle tax” is that, if you can tax CO2, what is to prevent government from taxing oxygen too? Or nitrogen? Hell, just tax the entirety of the Earth’s atmosphere because, obviously, we are just using too much of it.

Binder’s justification is that “the U.S. contributes a huge share of global emissions.” So, naturally, Americans should be taxed for exhaling six pounds of CO2 every day, along with every other activity from manufacturing to transportation, as well as heating and cooling our homes and all other structures. Every living creature and most all human activity emits CO2 along with the earth’s numerous active volcanoes.

It probably never occurred to Binder that all other nations also “contribute” global emissions.

For the record the Earth’s atmosphere is composed of 76.55% nitrogen, 20.54% oxygen, and 0.91% argon. Of the remaining 2% of the atmosphere, water vapor constitutes 1.95%, while carbon dioxide is 0.0389%. Let me repeat that, 0.0389%.

Despite what the liars at the Environmental Protection Agency are loudly shouting these days, carbon dioxide is not a “pollutant.” In earlier eras that was far more CO2 in the atmosphere than now, providing the dinosaurs vast amounts of vegetation on which to dine and something to eat for those dinosaurs with a taste for other dinosaurs.

The only “global warming” in recent times has been the one degree of warming that began to occur at the merciful end of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. The Earth has, since 1998, entered a new cycle of completely natural cooling due to a solar cycle called the Maunder Minimum when the Sun’s radiation is reduced.

Acknowledging that “this is a terrible time to hit (the nation) with some big new tax”, Binder nonetheless advocates a carbon tax that “should be set at zero for 2011 and 2012. After that, it would ramp up gradually.”

“The tax might start at something like $8 per ton of CO2 in 2013 (that’s roughly eight cents per gallon of gasoline), reach $25 a ton by 2015 (still just 26 cents per gallon), $40 a ton by 2020, and keep on rising. I’d like to see it top out at more than $300 a ton in, say 2040.”

This would lead, says Binder, to “lucrative opportunities from carbon-saving devices and technologies.” He envisions “80% of our electricity being generated by clean energy sources in 2035.”

By clean energy Binder means wind and solar energy which, together, barely produce one percent of the electricity America uses daily. It is unreliable and would not exist were it not for government subsidies and mandates requiring its use.

Meanwhile, the vast bulk of our electricity comes from coal, just over 50%, and a combination of natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectricity (dams). Even if we blanketed several States with solar mirrors and wind turbines, we could never match the cost effectiveness and efficiency of fossil fuels.

Binder notes that “No one likes to pay higher taxes” and dismisses value-added taxes (a favorite form of extortion in Europe), but in his view “A CO2 tax trumps them all”, concluding that a carbon tax would reduce oil imports.”

Apparently, it has not occurred to Binder that extracting some of America’s vast oil reserves, billions of barrels worth, might also reduce oil imports, but what is one to expect from a professor of economics who thinks taxing a minor component of the atmosphere would solve our present economic problems?

Only morons want to turn America’s corn into “biofuels.” Only charlatans want to “reduce” greenhouse gas emissions. And only those locked in academic ivory towers keep insisting that man-made “climate change” is “a clear and present danger.”

You end recessions by reducing taxes, not inventing new ones. You end recessions by encouraging access to the nation’s reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil because that generates real jobs, not “green” ones. And you end recessions by not listening to the likes of Alan S. Binder.

The Moral Lib­eral Fea­tured Writer, Alan Caruba, writes a daily post at An author, busi­ness and sci­ence writer, he is the founder of The National Anx­i­ety Center. Copyright 2010 © Alan Caruba

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