Projected increases in electricity prices under Obama’s cap-and-trade policy

Over at Michele Bachmann’s blog, I noticed that she has posted about the expected increase in electricity prices (per person) under Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade legislation. The numbers are provided by Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp.

Here are a couple of the bigger increases:

  • Alabama $1,528.26
  • Indiana $1,627.46
  • Kentucky $1,798.23
  • Montana $1,717.63
  • North Dakota $4,350.56
  • West Virginia $3,972.29
  • Wyoming $7,249.54

Looks like the effect is to transfer wealth from pro-business red states to anti-business blue states. Redistribution of wealth. Equalization of outcomes. Welfare. After all, a lot of these blue states have been spending like drunken sailors, and will need to grab some money from their red-state neighbors, if they are to continue acting irresponsibly.

Here is an interesting quotation in Michele’s post, provided by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Dr. Douglas Elmendorf on the proposed cap-and-trade legislation:

At a Ways and Means hearing today, Congressman Camp questioned Congressional Budget Office Director Dr. Douglas Elmendorf  about the impact of this policy on consumers in other ways as well.  As Dr. Elmendorf said, “at any point in which we are putting a price on carbon emissions, that would be passed through to the cost that consumers face on energy products but also all other products that are made using fossil fuels….I don’t know if there are any goods that use no energy in their production.  It seems to me unlikely.”

I blogged here about the proposed tax hikes on oil companies, and here on the proposed cap-and-trade system and here on the proposed carbon tariffs Obama wants to impose on imported goods. And we’ve also seen that global warming is just a myth – useful crisis that leftists sell to the public in order to justify government control of the free market.

Victory for academic freedom in Texas School Board hearings

“Teach the Controversy” is now the law in Texas. This is a huge win, because the science standards in Texas will influence the science standards of other states, since Texas dominates the science textbook market.

Here’s a brief excerpt about the decision from Evolution News:

Today, the Texas Board of Education chose science over dogma and adopted science standards improving on the old “strengths and weaknesses” language by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence.” In addition, the Board—for the first time— specifically required high school students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

The new science standards mark a significant victory for scientists and educators in favor of teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.

…The science standards approved today by the Texas State Board of Education include language requiring students to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Equally important, the high school biology standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate” the scientific evidence for key parts of evolutionary theory, including common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

More here at the Evolution News blog:

UPDATE: Discovery Institute Fellow John West has a piece in the Washington Post.

The Republican alternative budget

Tired of trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see? Worried that Obama is going to bankrupt the country? Angry about the planned reduction of charitable giving by 9 billion dollars? Or tax hikes on energy companies that will raise consumer energy prices? Are you doubtful that any amount of tax hikes on the productive sector can pay for all this spending?

Well, I spotted this post outlining the Republican alternative to Obama’s budget over at Investors Business Daily. (H/T Club for Growth)

This is definitely worth reading! The first part reiterates how tax cuts have stimulated the economy and job creation in the past under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The article then list all the details of the GOP budget proposal which would get us similar results.

Instead of socialized medicine, the GOP would lower prices by increasing consumer choice and competition among medical plan suppliers. And they would also introduce a simplified tax system that would reward hard work and productivity:

…[The GOP budget] would establish “a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10%, and 25% for any income thereafter, with a generous standard deduction and personal exemption.”

Prefer the current system? The GOP plan lets you stay in it. The capital gains tax would be cut and the Alternative Minimum Tax would be fixed to prevent huge surprise tax hikes each year.

…businesses with fewer than 500 employees would get a deduction of 20% of their income, so “these engines of growth will continue to fuel our economic recovery and companies can compete with their foreign counterparts, while keeping jobs here at home.”

On energy policy, the plan would open the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling and use part of the federal share of revenues for alternative fuel programs. The Arctic Coastal Plain would be opened for exploration and development. Obstacles to new nuclear power plants would be removed.

Read the whole wonderful thing! And don’t forget: they have a podcast of this article read by the professionals at OutloudOpinion.com. Subscribe here!

Traditional marriage supporters sue California over harassment and intimidation

Supporters of traditional marriage are being harassed and intimidated by opponents of the pro-marriage Proposition 8 initiative that passed recently in California. Anti-traditional-marriage activists used public lists of donors to put up web sites with maps showing the names and addresses of people who donated to support traditional marriage.

Here is an excerpt of the Washington Times article: (H/T John Lott)

After giving $10,000 to California’s Proposition 8 campaign last year, Charles LiMandri began receiving some unexpected correspondence.

“I got about two dozen e-mails and hate phone calls,” said Mr. LiMandri, who lives in San Diego….Those e-mails are now among hundreds of exhibits in a landmark case challenging California’s campaign-finance reporting rules, which require the release of the names, addresses and employers of those who contribute $100 or more to ballot-measure committees.

The lawsuit argues that those who contribute to traditional-marriage initiatives should be exempt from having their names disclosed, citing the widespread harassment and intimidation of donors to the Proposition 8 campaign.

…Intimidation tactics range from letters and e-mails to death threats, proponents say. A Sacramento theater director was fired after opponents of the initiative publicized his Proposition 8 campaign contributions.

“Anybody who’s in California knows that it’s very widespread,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the biggest contributors to Proposition 8 and a joint plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Every donor has a story. I talked to a $100 donor the other day who had a note in his mailbox that said, ‘I know where you live and you’re going to pay.’

I don’t think it’s right for anyone to force their views on others by using threats and intimidation. Maybe we need a Human Rights Commission to protect the rights of supporters of traditional marriage.

Greg Koukl explains how to be a consistent moral relativist

The absolute easiest way to get into a good conversation with someone is to ask them what makes something right or wrong on their view. You have to be careful not to get into a fight about a particular moral issue, though, so you have to choose a clear-case example, not something controversial.

Just ask the person you want to engage two questions:

  1. Is it it wrong to treat people badly just because of their skin color?
  2. What makes it wrong?

Now, as I see it, there are only 3 possible answers to this question.

  1. I personally prefer not to do that – it is wrong for me.
  2. Our culture has evolved a set of customs that apply for us in this time and place, and that set of customs says that members of the society ought not to do that. It is wrong for us, here and now.
  3. Humans are designed to act in a certain way, and part of that design is that we ought not to do that. Acting in line with our design allows us to flourish, (Aristotle’s eudaimonia).

Response #1, is called “moral relativism”. Response #2 is called “cultural relativism”, and I will say a few words about that later. Response #3 is my view. I believe in a hierarchy of moral absolutes.

In this post, I wanted to go over a paper by Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason, in which he critiques moral relativism. His paper is called “Seven Things You Can’t Do as a Moral Relativist”. First, let’s see the list of sevent things.

  1. You can’t make moral judgments about other people’s moral choices
  2. You can’t complain about God allowing evil and suffering
  3. You can’t blame people or praise people for their moral choices
  4. You can’t claim that any situation is unfair or unjust
  5. You can’t improve your morality
  6. You can’t have meaningful discussions about morality
  7. You can’t promote the obligation to be tolerant

You’ll have to read the paper to see how he argues for these, but I wanted to say a brief word about number 1. I already blogged about 2 here.

1. Relativists can’t accuse others of wrong-doing

In moral relativism, what you ought to do is totally up to you. Morality is just like a lunch buffet – you pick what you like based on your personal preferences.

I remember one particular discussion I had with a non-Christian co-worker. Both she and her live-in boyfriend were moral relativists. They were fighting because she was angry about his not having (or wanting) a job, and he was angry because when he asked her for space, she immediately ran out and cheated on him.

What’s interesting is that both of these people chose the other in order to escape being judged themselves. I think this happens a lot in relationships today. Instead of choosing someone who has character and who takes the role of spouse and parent seriously, people choose someone ammoral, who doesn’t threaten their autonomy.

Only later do they realize that marriage and parenting requires moral knowledge! I think that they each hope that they will later be able to change the other person into someone they are not. Which is probably why a lot of marriages break up. I just don’t see how it’s possible to get married without the ability to appeal to objective moral standards when disputes arise.

One of my best friends is married to a woman who I think is a really great wife and mother. A number of times I have disagreed with her about various topics, like firearms or masculinity. She goes away and reads a bunch of things and then comes back with a more thoughtful view. I think this is very important in a marriage. She’s changed my mind a few times as well.

(She spends her free night answering apologetics questions for seekers at her church)

A quick point about cultural relativism

Regarding cultural relativism, there a number of problems with it, some of which are described here. What constitutes a society? Who defines the moral consensus? What about the reformer’s dilemma? Why should I care what the herd thinks? Why should I sacrifice my own autonomy when the herd won’t catch me? Etc.

Also, I want to point out the 7-part series on morality and atheism that Tough Questions Answered put together a while back. I blogged about it here. Here’s another post with some debate about the rationality of moral rules and moral behavior on atheism. And then there was that debate with the postmodern moral relativist against Peter Williams.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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