It is Too Late: Global Warming

It is probably too late to do anything serious about global warming. Within two years it will have reached a tipping point and no amount of reduction of carbon emissions will be able to stop it. All of the stuff that Al Gore predicted will probably come true. Even as you are reading this you probably think, “that’s impossible”.

It is indeed very, very difficult to get a grip on a concept like global warming. It is elusive, monumental, hyperbolic, imaginary. But it’s not. As predicted, the ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising and there are more storms of greater and greater intensity.

The town of Norfolk, Virginia, not by any means a hot-bed of enlightened, progressive thought, is asking the federal government to help fund $1 Billion of improvements to their harbour to enable it to withstand increased “flooding”. Yes, they use the word “flooding” because the conservative members of the town council didn’t want to seem to be endorsing the idea of rising sea levels, though the $1 billion seems to me a pretty ringing endorsement.

Ayn Ryan

“Even as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would impose trillions of dollars in spending cuts, at least 62 percent of which would come from low-income programs, it would enact new tax cuts that would provide huge windfalls to households at the top of the income scale. New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts. The new tax cuts at the top would dwarf those for middle-income families. After-tax incomes would rise by 12.5 percent among millionaires, but just 1.8 percent for middle-income households. Low-income working families would actually be hit with tax increases.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

We should always be disturbed when liberals and conservatives rejoice at the same the news. Or at least wary.

Do conservatives believe that most people would support a far right conservative fiscal policy if it was honestly and openly presented to them? I think they do. I think they are very mistaken. I think it was no accident that George W. Bush did not campaign on a policy of cutting taxes on the rich and making war on Iraq. That was his agenda, but he campaigned on tax cuts for everyone, improving education, and drilling for more oil. The only thing he actually achieved, aside from destroying the entire world economy, was the tax cuts for the rich, which he didn’t advertise. Republicans never announce those tax cuts as tax cuts for the rich. They announce “tax cuts for all Americans” and then only cut taxes for the rich and then, having created a massive deficit, they announce program cuts for the poor. Now, with Ryan, the target is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Social Security, by the way, is perfectly solvent. Social Security is this incredibly rational little plan to have employees and employers each put a certain amount of money into a fund every pay period for a person’s entire working life. When this person gets old, he is able to draw from this fund to live off of. Can you imagine a more rational social policy? It’s positively ingenius. Does it work? Hell yeah! No government or private policy in the history of the world has reduced poverty more than social security.

And no conservative policy is more sinister than the one to destroy it. Conservatives say, we can’t have it. We can’t allow people to benefit from rational policies. We must destroy them! Because, you see, we all pay in to Social Security. Even if you are rich. Even if, like Mitt Romney, you are so rich, you will never need Social Security.

The massive current government deficit– Bush inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton and immediately converted it into a deficit with his tax cuts for the rich and wars on Afghanistan and Iraq– is seen by the Republicans as the best opportunity in years to try to convince Americans that we can’t afford Social Security or Medicare.

I think about that a lot. If the Republicans are right, we live in a world in which millions of people must live in poverty without medical care of any kind. That is the only possible outcome of Republican policy in this area.

The real “death panel” is Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan planning to gut the only health insurance plan for poor Americans.


I don’t really see the logic of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate. Obama and Romney are running neck-in-neck among decided voters and the only way either of them can win is by winning a majority of the independent voters. Who these independent voters are is a bit of a mystery: who, in his or her right mind, in this election, could possibly still not know how he or she is going to vote for yet? What are they waiting for?

What is clear is that they are not ideologically committed, so they are not going to warm up to Romney because he chose an extremist as running mate. Ryan plays well to a constituency Romney already owns: the hard right. He is not going to play well to seniors in Florida, women in Pennsylvania, blacks in Michigan, or Hispanics in Colorado. He has nothing for any of them. He doesn’t really have any thing for white working-class Americans either but they don’t seem to understand that. “If you vote for me, I’ll wack you in the face with a spiked two-by-four.” “I’m in.” “Plus, you get a chance to go overseas and get paralyzed by an ungrateful Arab.” “Woo hoo! Can’t wait.”

By the way, don’t buy all this horseshit about Ryan being the “intellectual” heart of the Republican Party. He is a hack: someone who has absorbed something of the language and style of policy but, in the end, draws absurd conclusions that are completely rooted in his fervent emotional beliefs– not in science or rationality. I believe Romney will soon find himself backing away from Ryan’s budget and his other positions. [Aug 28, yes he is.]

That’s why it’s a bit hard to stomach Romney/Ryan claiming that they are the ones who want to have a serious discussion of the issues in this election. It’s always good strategy to accuse your opponent of your own cardinal vice, especially if you can do it before you become identified with it.

There could be a good debate. There is a fundamental issue at stake in this election. Is America a nation in which citizens pull together for the common good, or in which every person looks out for his or her own interests. The only flaw in this debate is that the Republicans don’t mean it, and they never did. They talk about self-reliance and individual responsibility but that’s for you and me. Once they get into power they fall over themselves cutting lavish tax breaks– which are subsidies in everything but name– for their corporate puppet masters, buying up bushels of new, hi-tech weapons systems from other corporate puppet masters, and shifting more and more of the tax burden on the working classes. This is not personal responsibility: it’s a plutocracy.

And of course, neither Romney nor Ryan served in the military: that is a personal responsibility conservatives invariably offload onto the shoulders of credulous patriots, while they hire the brass bands and salute the flag with contrived expressions of piety.

 

2012-08-10

Index

“Even as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would impose trillions of dollars in spending cuts, at least 62 percent of which would come from low-income programs, it would enact new tax cuts that would provide huge windfalls to households at the top of the income scale. New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts. The new tax cuts at the top would dwarf those for middle-income families. After-tax incomes would rise by 12.5 percent among millionaires, but just 1.8 percent for middle-income households. Low-income working families would actually be hit with tax increases.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

We should always be disturbed when liberals and conservatives rejoice at the same the news. Or at least wary.

Do conservatives believe that most people would support a far right conservative fiscal policy if it was honestly and openly presented to them? I think they do. I think they are very mistaken. I think it was no accident that George Bush did not campaign on a policy of cutting taxes on the rich and making war on Iraq. That was his agenda, but he campaigned on tax cuts for everyone, improving education, and drilling for more oil. The only thing he actually achieved, aside from destroying the entire world economy, was the tax cuts for the rich, which he didn’t advertise. Republicans never announce those tax cuts as tax cuts for the rich. They announce “tax cuts for all Americans” and then only cut taxes for the rich and then, having created a massive deficit, they announce program cuts for the poor. Now, with Ryan, the target is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Social Security, by the way, is perfectly solvent. Social Security is this incredibly rational little plan to have employees and employers each put a certain amount of money into a fund every pay period for a person’s entire working life. When this person gets old, he is able to draw from this fund to live off of. Can you imagine a more rational social policy? It’s positively ingenius. Does it work? Hell yeah! No government or private policy in the history of the world has reduced poverty more than social security.

And no conservative policy is more sinister than the one to destroy it. Conservatives say, we can’t have it. We can’t allow people to benefit from rational policies. We must destroy them! Because, you see, we all pay in to Social Security. Even if you are rich. Even if, like Mitt Romney, you are so rich, you will never need Social Security.

The massive current government deficit– Bush inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton and immediately converted it into a deficit with his tax cuts for the rich and wars on Afghanistan and Iraq– is seen by the Republicans as the best opportunity in years to try to convince Americans that we can’t afford Social Security or Medicare.

I think about that a lot. If the Republicans are right, we live in a world in which millions of people must live in poverty without medical care of any kind. That is the only possible outcome of Republican policy in this area.

The real “death panel” is Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan planning to gut the only health insurance plan for poor Americans.

 

All Contents Copyright © Bill Van Dyk 2012 All Rights Reserved

Deregulation: Bisphenol

In 2007 it was reported that among government-funded BPA experiments on lab animals and tissues, 153 found adverse effects and 14 did not, whereas all 13 studies funded by chemical corporations reported no harm. Assessment of potential impact on human health involves measurement of residual BPA in the products and quantitative study of its ease of separation from the product, passage into the human body and residence time and location there.

The studies indicating harm reported a variety of deleterious effects in rodent offspring exposed in the womb: abnormal weight gain, insulin resistance, prostate cancer, and excessive mammary gland development.[41] [wikipedia]

Wow. That might explain a lot.

It is amazing to me how many people will declare that the government should keeps it’s stupid fingers off the regulation of industry and private enterprise and just let competition do it’s work and we would all be happier, healthier, and better off.

So the industry can do it’s own studies of BPA (Bisphenol A) and we, the public, and potential customers of products containing BPA can trust that when they do twelve studies and all of them show that BPA is completely safe, it is damn well completely safe.

So why did the government do 167 studies? Who told them to? Why are they interfering with the marketplace? If customers get cancer from a product, you can rest assured, sales are bound to decline.

This government study in which 153 of 167 studies found adverse effects… who do you want to believe? The “adverse effects industry” or the company that stands to make a profit by selling you the stuff?

The Republican primaries almost lead one to believe that there are legitimate reasons to consider a world in which corporations simply behave as they wish to and consumers have the might and wherewithal to prevent them from wrecking havoc on our lives with impunity. I say “impunity” because the idea that de-regulation will stop at the free market is absurd: the Republicans are fighting this battle on many fronts and one of their pet projects is to emasculate class action lawsuits and restrict the rights of consumers to seek redress when defective products cause harm or economic or environmental hardships.

Fracking

Fracking was invented way back around World War II, as a means of getting oil to come out of the ground more easily. Back then they used napalm. The process was invented by Halliburton, the company Dick Cheney headed before becoming vice-president.

Halliburton didn’t want you to know what chemicals are used in fracking– besides the millions of gallons of water. Could be benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, diesel fuel, sand. But there was this contentious little law– something about drinking water– that made it illegal for them to inject these deadly chemicals into the ground near anybody’s sources of drinking water. No problem. With former oil executive Bush in charge, Dick Cheney was appointed to meet with oil industry executives– in secrecy– to draft some new laws, one of which gave the oil industry an exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

This is how the system works.

Did you know that in Alberta and British Columbia, you only own the top layer of the ground beneath your house? What’s below that– including any natural gas or oil– belongs to the government. Now, you might think your government would at least make sure that any money to be made from the deposits under your home would benefit you directly. And you might also believe in the tooth fairy.

In fact, you are not entitled to one red cent for any oil or gas beneath your house.  The government doesn’t care about your rights or your property: they will hand over the oil and gas to Exxon or Shell or some other carbon company and they, in turn, will reward the government with “Royalties” they can then spend on things they can give the taxpayer.

And the government’s share of the profits from this mineral wealth guarantee that the government is going to support these industries if you try to fight them.

And do you think the cost of the water used, and the damage to the environment, is an expense to the oil industry? Are you mad?

In the U.S., you might own the mineral rights. You might not. It depends on state law and previous agreements with previous owners. You might very well purchase a property only to discover that you own nothing beneath the surface In principle, just like in Alberta and British Columbia, though, mineral rights to anything below the surface are owned by the property owner.

How can you own part of an oil deposit if it encompasses several properties? Under the “rule of capture”, whoever pumps out the oil first gets it. You snooze, you lose.

Some oil companies have, in fact, been caught digging their wells on an angle in order to pump out the oil below somebody else’s property.

So once again, it’s socialism for the investors– they get to share the property below your house– and free enterprise for the working classes– you have to go out and work for a living. And then you have to pay them for the oil. And then you might find out that your drinking water has been contaminated by the toxins they inject into the ground to free up that oil and gas. And then you find out that you won’t be compensated because Dick Cheney and George Bush saw to it that the oil industry will not be liable for any damage done to your drinking water.

True, but unbelievable.


More on who owns your oil.  But not much more.

Even more.  Better information from Wiki.

Tuvalu: A Land Soon to be Down Under

George Wright, the fugitive murderer and bank robber recently found, after 41 years, in Portugal, might have been better off had he chose Tuvalu to hide in. It’s way out there in the middle of the Pacific, half-way between Hawaii and Australia, about as remote as you can get. I don’t believe they require your fingerprints on an id card for citizenship.

But then again, he might have been noticed. Tuvalu, with a population of about 30,000 and a gross land area of about 8 square miles, is the second smallest nation in the United Nations. Only Vatican City is smaller.

There may not be much of a future in Tuvalu. The highest elevation of the land in Tuvalu is about 15 feet above sea-level. During a good storm, you have to be careful where you park your car.

Yes, the citizens of Tuvalu are concerned about Global Warming because one of the results of Global Warming will be a rise in sea levels. Just to understand this clearly– the sea levels don’t need to rise 15 feet to cause a problem for the Tuvaluans (if that’s what they call themselves). If it only rises a foot or two, they will be in deep trouble. If it rises much more than that, they will have to be evacuated to New Zealand or Australia.

Ayn Rand and the Trees

People own things. In fact, today, one of the most sacred rights in our society is the right to keep what I have out of your hands. It’s mine.

This would be good and just if all of us started from zero on the day we were born and only acquired what we actually earned directly from our own labour. This is the myth a lot of conservatives love to flog: that somehow they earned it. And those who have nothing didn’t work hard enough.

Somewhere, some time in the past, obviously, nobody owned anything. You are thrown into the world with nothing. The world is already here, including the trees.

Do some human beings have the innate right to take whatever they want? If you’re a royalist, I guess they do. For the rest of us, the idea that anything or everything in the world can be taken is repugnant.

If you’re Ayn Rand, life is simple. According to Rand, if you are big enough and strong enough to take it, you should take it, you must take it, you have a divine right to elbow aside those weaker or less ruthless than yourself and take it. Take it. Take all of it, without reservation. Let the sheep tweet about justice and rights– the only thing that matters is that they can’t take it from you. Unless you have a government. Damn! They’ve organized.

Forget that. It’s not too hard to buy the government. An assistant to a congressman recently went to work for the Recording Industry of America after sneaking a provision through the back door of some irrelevant legislation granting lavish privileges to their members in the battle against composer’s rights. That is one tiny example among a ocean of cheating. It works pretty well- you won’t hear Michelle Bachmann complaining about this kind of deal. Rick Perry won’t complain, obviously, because this is exactly the way he does business all the time in Texas. There is nothing more maddening in the world than the crowds of inflamed tea-partiers mad for Rick Perry because they actually believe he’s going to reduce corruption in government.

So, back to the trees. Most people would agree: trees are magnificent. But not all trees are equally magnificent. The most magnificent trees are the ones that are 200, 300, 400 years old. These trees are monumental. They are gloriously tall and beautiful and endowed with the patina of age and endurance. Most people would enjoy seeing trees like that. Even once or twice in your life.

Already back in 1802, Lord Nelson was appalled to discover that few trees suitable for navy shipbuilding were left in England, and requested that replacements be planted and protected for an anticipated 200 years.

What is really quite shocking is that no one prevented anyone from taking tree after tree after tree until virtually all of the oldest and most beautiful trees had been permanently removed. Forever. No one can go back now and see a primeval forest. No one can recreate a forest of 300-year-old oaks or pines or anything: someone wanted to build or burn or cook, and so the trees were taken.

The use of these trees was so transient and ephemeral. The ships or homes or fires made are all long gone. So is the forest. When my wife and I walk through the forests of Ontario for pleasure, we cannot be unaware of the fact that all of the trees were are looking at infants compared to what might have been there if only the government had said, “no, you can’t take every single tree. Leave some forests for the future”. No, they said “screw the future– take every last one.”

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry both want to excise the Environmental Protection Agency from American life and allow oil companies to drill everywhere, any time, without annoying restrictions, regulations, or consumer protections. In fact, it appears that they both want to give the oil to the oil companies in the bizarre belief that citizens have no rights to the resources that exist under the ground in their own country.

 

Who’s Stopping Thorium?

“Too good to be true”. I think we all have an innate suspicion of stories that sound like the stories about the possibilities of thorium.

Scientists discover an abundant, cheap chemical element that can produce energy safer and more reliably than any other substance. It doesn’t produce ugly by-products that can be used in bombs. It doesn’t produce emissions. It can be used in numerous small reactors that can be buried in the ground and managed remotely. It’s will be so cheap, they won’t bother to meter the electricity.

We used to hear this kind of talk about nuclear energy. Thanks to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now Fukushima, we don’t now.

Anyone my age or older probably remembers hearing about some amazing carburetor developed secretly by General Motors that could give cars incredible fuel mileage, but which was suppressed by GM and the oil industry and the government, for obvious reasons.

I’m not saying definitively that there never was such a carburetor. And I would never say it wasn’t likely that the oil industry– if they could– would have suppressed it. I’m skeptical that if such a device really were possible, that someone else somewhere else (India? China? Japan?) would have not have developed it as well, and we’d know about it. Almost every brilliant innovation in industry was developed in fits and starts in many different locations by many different people. There is almost no invention of which you could say, without this particular person, it would never have happened.  [Skeptical?  Check out most of Thomas Edison’s “inventions”: almost all of the important ones, and almost all of the unimportant ones, were being worked on elsewhere at about the same time– or even before!]

Any reasonable, well-informed person would immediately conclude that thorium is all pie in the sky. If it were true, we don’t doubt, nobody could have stopped it. The benefits are too wildly important. China or India would have developed it. Come on…

So, when I read about thorium, that’s what I ask myself. If it was really as good as claimed, is it really possible that it would have been resisted.

If it’s possible to believe that, here is why: to develop an efficient, effective thorium reactor, you need to invest billions of dollars and years of research and development. No individual researcher can hope to prove that thorium is viable by himself. But to get the kind of funding you need to prove it, you need the collaboration of the powers that be– the Senators and Congressmen who are all arguably in the pockets of billion dollar industries– oil and conventional nukes, and the military-industrial complex.

The military-industrial complex rejected thorium because it did not produce, as a byproduct, the plutonium needed to develop weapons of mass destruction. Hyman Rickover, who ruled the U.S. nuclear energy program in all of it’s facets, wanted that deadly plutonium very badly. He wanted the U.S. to be able to kill millions of people if it had to. It if really, really had to. Because it would never do so if it didn’t really, really have to.

So we got thousands of nuclear missiles and bombs, enough to kill the entire world over and over and over again until no possibility of human life existed ever again. And our lousy, dangerous nuclear power plants.

When I think of it that way, I don’t think you’d have to be especially paranoid to conclude that it is quite possible that thorium really is at least as promising as it’s proponents say.

You would have to believe that the powers that be, for understandable reasons, stopped it.

Now, in the realm of understandable reasons, the most understandable is self-interest.

You also have to understand that as promising as Thorium is, it would take years and years and billions of dollars to develop it… precisely what was invested in uranium instead, because the U.S., leading the way, decided it needed nuclear bombs more badly than public safety. Ditto the Soviet Union.

So why, in the face of global warming, isn’t it being promoted today? Well, it is, in India and China. Stay tuned.


Notes:

Read this and tell me it doesn’t sound too good to be true.   Is there a downside we don’t know about?   Wiki on Thorium.

Wired on Thorium

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to believe that the oil and nuclear industries would both stop at nothing to prevent development of thorium reactors.

Indeed, India now does have a thorium reactor development project under way, and China appears to be working on one.

Some skeptics, at least, argue against thorium because … well, why?  Because we’re already here is why.

In the U.S., Senators Harry Reid (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) have co-sponsored a bill that would allocate $250 million to the Department of Energy for  research into thorium reactors.

The primary challenge, they say, is that the special containers for the thorium can degrade due to exposure to radiation and salt.  It will take some research to find a solution.

It’s in the nature of new, promising technologies that proponents exaggerate, in their minds, the benefits, and minimize the challenges.

 

Molten Salt Reactor

The Last Christian President

I have long regarded Jimmy Carter as the only real Christian president of the last 50 years. He has recently given a number of interviews with the publication of “White House Diary”, an account of his four years in the White House.

Carter used to carry his own luggage, even as president. He also put a stop to the absolutely inane practice of playing “Hail to the Chief” every time the president enters a room.

Did you you hear that, tea party Republicans? You howl about your politicians being corrupted by Washington. So how did people react when Carter put a stop to paid musicians following him around with idiotic tributes every time he met with the public? They hated him. They hated him when he put solar panels on the White House and Ronald Reagan, in a monumental act of mindless spite, had them removed. They hated him most of all when he preached to America, when he suggested that people learn to postpone gratification, make sacrifices for the greater good, and stop indulging in mindless consumerism.

Frank Capra used to make movies about naive innocents of pleasant virtue suddenly being thrust into corporate or political rats’ nests of corrupt decadence. In the Capra films, virtue triumphed and “the people” came to the rescue. Well, no they didn’t– check out “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. It’s actually one of the most darkly cynical movies about politics ever made.

So Carter kept America out of a war with Iran, and he cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil by substantial amounts, and his conservation policies produced stunning gains in efficiencies. And he was vilified by Republicans for leaving office with a deficit of about $45 billion. Ronald Reagan came in and tackled that deficit problem: he ran it up to $450 billion by the time he left office, but you should hear Republicans wax nostalgic about the “great” Ronald Reagan. It took another “liberal” (by American standards), Bill Clinton, who got the deficit under control.

The closest recent presidential candidate to Jimmy Carter was Al Gore, who, similarly, understood that some self-restraint and sacrifice is good for the country. Gore was smart and fairly virtuous– as politicians go– and he seemed more rueful than disappointed when the Supreme Court paid its debt to the Republican Party and put Bush into office. Gore, like Carter, was a bit of a moralist. He liked to lecture people about social virtue. Americans don’t like that. Gore might well be the best president the U.S. never had.

Since he left office, Carter has made a career out of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, various peace missions, and living modestly on his farm indulging his grand-children. Everyone calls him the best ex-president there ever was. He may also have been the most responsible president there ever was, but his reward was to be ridiculed by the very people who elect those characterless, corrupt politicians over and over again to undo all the good policies Carter implemented.


The greatest compliment to President Jimmy Carter: the scads of third world dictators, torturers, and murderers who expressed their relief when he was knocked out of office by Ronald Reagan. Thank god! Finally an end to all the hassles about human rights, for heaven’s sake.

The attitude of many European leaders to Carter: I remember reading about it at the time and being rather flabbergasted that they seemed to prefer the worldy and “sophisticated” Nixon. I thought Nixon was the bad guy, bombing Cambodia, rattling the sabres, promoting the nuclear deterrent.

It turns out the Europeans appreciate someone who understands that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelets, as they say. Well, no, let’s say: you have to kill people to get what you want.

It’s complicated.

Chinese Science

I came upon this marvelous item in the New York Times today that made me want to move to China:

“There is really no debate about climate change in China,” said Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, a nonprofit group working to accelerate the greening of China. “China’s leaders are mostly engineers and scientists, so they don’t waste time questioning scientific data.”

They don’t “waste time” questioning scientific data? Wow. Imagine that. Leaders who make decisions based on science.

So what do our leaders here in Canada and the U.S. base their decisions on?

But let’s not get glib about it. “Men of science” can have creepy overtones.

Stephane Dion’s Carbon Tax

Stephane Dion’s carbon tax proposals may well be the most sensible policy yet proposed on the issue of the environment– but are voters sophisticated enough to accept that there is a need for structural change in our economy to reflect the new realities of global energy use? Are they smart enough to not think they can continue to live in a world of cheap oil when China and India are both increasing demand at astounding rates?

One anchor asked the reporter in the field, “and how are we going to get those gasoline prices to go down again”. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Even people who should know better can be heard muttering about bad timing– gas prices are already up to record levels and here he wants to raises taxes on it.

What is happening is this. Gas prices are going up because expected consumption exceeds supply. It sounds like most people want to increase consumption (by lowering prices), which, of course, will reduce supply even faster, which, of course, will inevitably result in even higher prices.

Dion’s proposals actually shift the tax burden so that consumers are rewarded for reducing consumption and for using alternative fuels. Even better– it rewards clean energies and punishes energy consumption that contributes to climate change. You’ll notice that this took more than one “quip” to explain. That might– sigh– means it’s doomed as a political move.

“No new taxes” sounds much more appealing on your doorstep or in a 30-second radio ad.