Category Archives: News

The Democrats are considering carbon tariffs on imported goods

Robert P. Murphy’s linked to this post he wrote at the Institute for Energy Research. Murphy is concerned that Obama is going down the same path as that interventionist Herbert Hoover did. Hoover passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which led the United States into the Great Depression. Murphy thinks that carbon tariffs could be on the way!

Here is an an excerpt from Murphy’s post:

…the Obama administration—under the guise of fighting climate change—is testing the waters with new restrictions on imports. Specifically, lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are considering imposing “carbon tariffs” to prevent foreign nations from gaining a competitive advantage vis-à-vis U.S. producers who are burdened with a forthcoming cap-and-trade regime. The idea is that the U.S. government would slap a huge “compensatory” tax on imports that were produced in foreign nations that do not impose carbon legislation on their manufacturers.

Murphy explains why free trade increases the prosperity of all nations, by promoting efficient production:

Even without retaliation, a unilateral tariff increase makes Americans poorer. The gains to the workers in the “protected” domestic industry are more than offset by the loss to consumers who have to pay higher prices. A tariff is a tax on American consumers; the government says to its own citizens, “If you want to buy a product from a foreign producer, you have to make a side payment to the U.S. Treasury.” You don’t make a country richer by jacking up taxes on its own consumers.

International trade allows countries to specialize in their “comparative advantage,” or their areas of relative expertise. It would be catastrophic if everyone had to grow his own food, sew his own clothes, and drill his own cavities. We all benefit tremendously from the ability to specialize in occupations at which we are better than our peers, and then trade with each other.

The same principle applies to entire countries, which are simply aggregates of the individuals living in them. Because of differences in resource endowments, industrial infrastructure, weather, and the skills of the workforce, it is much more efficient for certain regions of the world to concentrate on a few key items and export them to other regions. When the government raises tax barriers, it interferes with this process and makes everyone poorer on average.

Not only do tariffs hurt consumers, but they also destroy businesses that export products. First, those businesses will have to pay more for raw materials. Second, the goods they export to other countries will face import tariffs. This will cost more American jobs than are “saved” by imposing tariffs. And the government gets the money from tariffs, not the productive private sector.

Murphy explains how global warming is really just a euphemism for economically-ignorant socialism:

Even if the threat from man-made climate change is as serious as some scientists claim, this fact would not overturn the centuries of work done by economic scientists. We know from both theory and history that raising trade barriers in the middle of a severe worldwide recession is a terrible policy. We also know from theory and history that government central planning does not work. When the technocrats reorder the economy, deciding which firms will survive and which prices are too high or too low, the results are disastrous. It doesn’t matter whether the justification is “fighting the Depression” (as in the 1930s) or “fighting climate change” (as in today’s discussions). Either way, central planning will wreck the economy, and it won’t even achieve its ostensible goals.

I recommend you go there and read the whole article. Think of the future of your children, and of your neighbor’s children.

Related story over at Stop the ACLU: “EPA may soon deem CO2 a threat to human health“. I blogged before about cap and trade, tax hikes on oil, the world’s anger at tariffs, and the myth of global warming.

Republicans call for Obama to fire tax-cheat Geithner

I found these stories on the blogs of conservative Republicans. They are not going to let Obama weasel out of the consequences of his incompetent Cabinet picks.

Representative Marsha Blackburn
Representative Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn

Representative Marsha Blackburn posted about Geithner on her blog.

Excerpt:

Yesterday Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) appeared on The Fred Thompson Show and called on Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner to resign.

“I think that he has caused more problems than he has solved,”
Blackburn said on the nationally syndicated radio show.  “I think he needs to go and it doesn’t matter if the President wants to remove him or he wants to submit his resignation but Secretary Geithner needs to go.”

Audio of Blackburn on the Fred Thompson radio show is here: short clip, long clip).

Senator Jim Demint
Senator Jim Demint

Jim Demint

Jim Demint calls for the firing of Geithner in this post on his blog:

Excerpt:

During an interview with FOX Business, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) discusses Americans’ outrage with AIG bonuses and government bailouts. DeMint calls upon President Obama to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying that Americans have lost confidence in him because he clearly “has lost his ability to operate” and deal with America’s current economic crisis.

Video:

John Shadegg

In addition, Representative John Shadegg had a post on his blog.

Excerpt:

“How could Geithner have been so intimately involved in the AIG bailout, head of the New York Federal Reserve when the Reserve was informed of the bonuses, head of the Treasury when the department asked for the provision that helped secure these bonuses, and supposedly one of the greatest experts on Wall Street today – and not have known about them?

“Sadly, it appears that Secretary Geithner is either dishonest or incompetent.

“Perhaps the Senate should have paid more attention to Geithner’s tax errors after all.”

We need to embarass Obama for nominating this incompetent tax cheat.

Massachusetts state-run health care costs hit 820 million

Spotted this article in the leftist New York Times, (H/T Independent Women’s Forum). Looks like the communists in MA are finding out too late that there is a problem with having the state make health insurance compulsory and having prescription drugs and mental health coverage included for every policy holder, regardless of risk.

The article states:

Alan Sager, a professor of health policy at Boston University, has calculated that health spending per person in Massachusetts increased faster than the national average in seven of the last eight years. Furthermore, he said, the gap has grown exponentially, with Massachusetts now spending about a third more per person, up from 23 percent in 1980.

John R. Graham of the State Policy Network, (H/T Pacific Research Institute) explains how they got into this mess:

Surely, even the New York Times can figure out that spending $820 million on the Bay State’s Commonwealth Care “universal” health-care plan, in order to save $250 million in uncompensated hospital care, is not a good trade-off.

Not according to today’s article on the latest state to compel its residents to buy health insurance, which reports those savings as the only positive outcome of this out-of-control program.  Three years ago, Gov. Romney collaborated with the Democratic-majority legislature to achieve “universal” health care by government diktat: squeezing every resident into either compulsory private health insurance or expanded government programs, using both tax-hikes and subsidies.

Today, we learn that, alongside the absurd cost/benefit ratio, the state can no longer bear the costs, which are spiralling out of control faster than other states’ costs are.  This reminds us of a fundamental lesson of government power: When the government orders you to buy something, the government will have to step in to decide what that something looks like.

It’s the same old story of how fixing the price of a product or service below market value results in increased demand and decreased supply. And we all know what happens when the costs of government-run health care escalates – increased government control of the lives of patients and decreased quality of health care service.

For the life of me, I don’t know why anyone voted for that RINO Mitt Romney in the primaries. In my opinion, he was terrible on social issues across the board, and this RomneyCare mess doesn’t exactly inspire confidence on fiscal policy, either.

Judd Gregg says Obama’s budget will bankrupt the country

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from Free Canuckistan! Thanks for the linky, Binky!

Found this post over at Gateway Pundit. You’ll remember that Judd Gregg is one of those fiscally conservative New Hampshire senators, an expert on business, finance and economics. Despite being a Republican, he was nominated by Obama for the Cabinet position of Commerce Secretary. He backed out of it, though. And now we can guess why.

Last month, he warned that the budget would bankrupt the USA:

A new video from CNN is here. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

“The practical implications of this is bankruptcy for the United States,” Gregg said of the Obama’s administration’s recently released budget blueprint. “There’s no other way around it. If we maintain the proposals that are in this budget over the ten-year period that this budget covers, this country will go bankrupt. People will not buy our debt, our dollar will become devalued. It is a very severe situation.”

“Your listeners have to understand how staggering the numbers are. We’re talking about a deficit in the trillion-dollar range for as far as the eye can see. We’re talking about deficits which are 4% to 5% of GDP – which is not sustainable under any form of government. We’re talking about a public debt – this is a debt that people own of the federal government – that will be around 80% of GDP. Historically, it’s been around 40% of GDP in the out years. The practical implication of this is bankruptcy for the United States. There’s no other way around it.”

I know people who denounced Bush, McCain and Palin. They voted for this ACORN lawyer. As if Obama was God’s gift to small government conservatism. They wouldn’t read a single economics book. I remember showing them numbers from Citizens Against Government Waste and American Taxpayers Union, which they rejected.

Here’s one more interesting piece from the always wonderful IBD (editorial, podcast). I include the details of the Bush and Reagan budgets, for comparison with Obama’s budget.

Excerpt:

According to the CBO, the Obama administration lowballed its deficit forecast by $482 billion over the next four years and $2.3 trillion over the next 10. In other words, the CBO says that 10-year deficits will be 33% higher than the president claims, should his plans get enacted.

This makes Obama’s budget one of the worst accounting jobs ever put forward in modern times by a new administration.

When the CBO reviewed George W. Bush’s first budget, for example, the difference between what Bush said his budget would cost and what the CBO said it would cost was minimal.

…Reagan’s first budget, which was widely panned for allegedly employing rosy scenarios to cook the numbers, differed from the CBO by just 1.2% in projected revenues and 5% in spending over the first four years.

So why the huge gap between Obama and the CBO?

Obama’s team employed one of the oldest budget tricks in the books — exaggerating economic growth — to hide the true cost of his tax and spending plans. Budget forecasts are hugely sensitive to predictions about GDP growth, inflation, unemployment and interest rates. Even slight differences can have a huge impact on projected outlays and revenues.

And in his budget, Obama is positively Pollyannaish about the economy, predicting 3.2% real GDP growth next year, compared to the CBO’s 2.9% and the Blue Chip consensus forecast of 1.9%. While the CBO and Blue Chip think unemployment will be 9% in 2010, Obama claims it will be only 7.9%. And so on.

Here’s an image I stole from IBD:

IBD: Publically-held debt
IBD: Publically-held debt

Read the whole editorial! And don’t foget to subscribe to IBD’s podcast feed. It’s FREE!

Michelle Malkin has more details on Obama’s “public-private partnership” plan for economic recovery.

Excerpt:

Full video and slides from the Heartland Institute GW conference

I first heard about this global warming conference on John Lott’s blog here. But at least I’ll be able to go through the slides and video of the presenters, because it’s all online here.

I was excited to see the Czech Republic President (and current European Union President) Vaclav Klaus in there as a keynote. And I see some other names I recognize, like Richard Lindzen of MIT who also gave a keynote address. I see Tom McClintock gave a keynote. He’s a solid conservative who ran against Arnold in the California gubernatorial race, after Gray Davis was dumped.

The only other people I recognize are Sen. John Sununu, Fred Singer and Roy Spencer. And Iain Murray, whose book I still have to buy.

Here’s something by Iain Murray in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Open Market blog that’s relevant. The UN wants to impose a tax on wealthy nations to raise 750 billion dollars to stop ManBearPig global warming.

Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program, has said that the global financial crisis provides an opportunity for a global green new deal.

Murray quotes Steiner in this Reuters article, on how he proposes to get the money:

“If, for argument’s sake, you were to put a five-year levy in OECD countries of $5 a barrel, you would generate $100 billion per annum. It translates into roughly 3 cents per liter,” he said.

“It would be almost, if not totally, unnoticed by the consumer”…

Remember a little while back, Sen. James Inhofe tried to stop UN global taxes? I don’t know if this counts as one, but it sounds like one to me!