Hank Paulson (ya know: the guy that “managed” the financial crises in 2008) had a recent op-ed in the New York Times warning America of the next great crises. According to George W Bush’s former Treasury Secretary, climate change is the next sub-prime mortgage disaster. Or something. Writing in the New York Times, Paulson lays out his case:
Looking back at the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008, it is easy to see the similarities between the financial crisis and the climate challenge we now face. We are building up excesses (debt in 2008, greenhouse gas emissions that are trapping heat now). Our government policies are flawed (incentivizing us to borrow too much to finance homes then, and encouraging the overuse of carbon-based fuels now). Our experts (financial experts then, climate scientists now) try to understand what they see and to model possible futures. And the outsize risks have the potential to be tremendously damaging (to a globalized economy then, and the global climate now).
Right… I totally see the similarity between government-mandated sub-prime loans, and driving an SUV. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that a bunch of alarmism over inaccurate and ideologically driven climate models will lead to an “environmental” equivalent of the “great recession”. (You read that with a sarcastic tone, right?)
Paulson’s tortured analogy is bad enough. But things get worse when you begin to actually consider what he is trying to say. Keep in mind that we have seen no measurable global “warming” in the last 17 years. Contrary to the dire warning that Al Gore gave us in the early 2000s, New York is still not under water, hurricane activity has not picked up, the Antarctic has been accumulating ice, and the polar bear population is still happily slaughtering seals as they continue to grow in numbers.
In other words: The climatological Armageddon that has been forecasted since the 1970s still hasn’t come to fruition. Paulson’s second grade attempt at allegorical writing is made even less impactful by the fact that global warming has a track-record of discrediting itself.
The coup de grÃ¢ce of Paulson’s article, however, wasn’t his cartoonish understanding of climate science, or his tortured attempt to equate energy consumption to a banking crisis; it was his “solution” for the coming climate disaster… The only way we can afford the weather equivalent of bank bailouts and wealth depreciation is – wait for it – to implement a new tax! How original!
Paulson calls for a carbon tax to stem the creation of that naturally occurring (and necessary) emission known as carbon. Which makes complete sense to big tax-and-spend liberals who think the best way to save the planet is by regulating and taxing businesses into a decreased state of productivity. The former Treasury Secretary even goes so far as to suggest that such a tax is “conservative” in nature. (Apparently, he reached this conclusion after consulting with Nannycrat Bloomberg, and the Democrat mega-donor Tom Steyer.) Yeah… Because those darn conservatives are always coming up with new taxes on productivity, right?
Which brings us to another point: Productivity is better for the environment than some arbitrary tax or onerous regulation. Because the dirty little secret about Capitalism is that free markets have been pretty fantastic stewards of the environment. I know that leftists like to portray Capitalism as a giant factory pumping radioactive sludge into some victimized river (did you just picture Montgomery Burns as well?) but that’s just not the case. While the Soviets were busy draining seas, clear cutting trees, and raping the natural beauty of Eastern Europe (cough*Chernobyl*cough), the West was busy preserving forests, cleaning rivers, and adopting highways.
And it’s pretty easy to understand why this is the case: Because the West was far more prosperous than the Soviets. Prosperity allows a society the luxury of allocating dollars and time to causes other than the basic tenants of existing. Prosperity enables philanthropy, charity, and even environmentalism. And central to prosperity, is productivity… So (and this is just a thought Mr. Paulson) maybe we should encourage productivity, rather than tax it.
Besides, there are probably more pressing issues in the world than some ideologically driven forecasts from a bunch of scientists who have an uncanny penchant for proving themselves wrong. The financial crises was, in large part, the consequence of big government mixing with private business… So, let’s try to avoid another bout of big-government and bureaucratic micromanagement of the private sector.
Of course it shouldn’t be surprising that Hank Paulson is encouraging big government in the name of some imaginary crisis… I mean, heck, this guy’s answer to a real crisis (that he didn’t see coming) was to step up institutionalized cronyism. So, it’s not really that shocking that he supports a tax on businesses to help Al Gore fight manbearpig…