Mark Zuckerberg is a Rich Guy who will pay $1 Billion in Taxes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

It’s open season on rich people.  The favorite target of the Left.  And governments everywhere that are spending far more money than they have.  To buy votes.  So to make up that shortfall they continuously attack the rich.  For how can the rich complain with all that money?  So they attack them.  To get them to pay their ‘fair’ share of taxes.  Despite the huge tax bills they pay (see Report: Zuckerberg facing $1billion tax bill by Brett Molina posted 3/29/2013 on USA Today).

So how much will Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have to pay in taxes for taking his social network public..?

Citing three certified public accountants based in California, CNN says Zuckerberg’s final tally, after deducting charitable donations, sits at $1 billion.

The median U.S. income is $52,762.  Based on the 2012 tax rates a single person earning the median income will pay approximately $17,442 in federal income taxes.  Which means one rich person, Mark Zuckerberg, will pay the same amount of taxes 57,333 Americans will pay.  And if a rich guy is paying what 57,333 Americans are paying it’s pretty hard to say they aren’t paying their fair share.

Zuckerberg paid these taxes while the economy was limping along in one of the worst recoveries in history.  So it would seem we should be encouraging people to get filthy rich.  For they will be able to pay huge sums in income taxes.  No matter how low the tax rate is they pay.  Even in one of the worst economic recoveries in history.

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Thanks to the Sexual Revolution One in Four Women have Herpes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

The Democrats attacked Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.  Saying that he was conducting a war on women.  That he wanted to take away women’s birth control.  Instead, he was going to force them into marriages first before they have sex.  Like they did in the awful, repressive Fifties.  Where women would be nothing but June Cleaver and Donna Read clones.  And what woman would want to be in a loving, happy marriage?  As it turns out, a lot of women.  Who join dating sites just for that one purpose.  To find someone to live happily ever after with.  But because of the Sexual Revolution women are finding that harder to do these days (see STD dating websites are on the rise by Natalie DiBlasio posted 3/28/2013 on USA Today).

[Clinical psychologist Carl Hindy says “a] lot of my clients are looking for relationships and they are on dating websites like eHarmony and Match, but then the question is, ‘When do I tell him or her that I have herpes? If I tell them right away, that person is going to go away. But if I let the relationship develop and wait to tell the person, is that betrayal?'” Hindy says. “It makes dating really hard.”

The Left has been telling women that birth control and abortion empower women since the Sixties.  And it just so happened that empowering women made a lot of men very happy.  As they loved and left many women.  Leaving a little something of them behind when they left these women.  An STD.

There are more than 110 million sexually transmitted infections among men and women in the United States, and there are 20 million new infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Its report includes eight common sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus, herpes, HIV, HPV, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

“There are more and more sites being created catering to people who are infected,” says Diana Kirschner, a psychologist who wrote Find Your Soul Mate Online in 6 Simple Steps. “Part of the reason is that one in four women is infected with herpes. It’s off the charts, and there is a great deal of shame associated with being diagnosed with one of these diseases.”

This is what the Sexual Revolution gave women.  Some 20 million new STDs each year.  With one in four women having herpes today.  Something they will have for the rest of their life.  Which is just tragic.  And caused by the Left.  For they’re the ones who’ve been encouraging these women to have sex.  By calling birth control a women’s rights issue.  And giving them near abortion-on-demand.  Everything they need to throw caution to the wind.  And to go out and have casual sex.  Even giving high school girls free birth control.  And abortions without parental notification.  Because what could possibly go wrong with that?

Of course if these women could travel back in time they would probably tell their younger selves the same thing their mothers told them then.  Wait.  At least until you’re older.  Preferably when you’re married.  Like June Cleaver.  And Donna Read.  So you can live happily ever after.  And not worry when the appropriate time is to tell someone you have an STD.

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With the Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline more Oil spills from Derailed Rail Cars

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

The Obama administration has shut down oil drilling on federal land.  While at the same time urging us to quit being so dependent on oil from countries where oil revenues find their way into the hands of terrorists.  Being denied to do one thing (more domestic drilling) leaves us more dependent on the other thing (foreign oil that pays for terrorism).  So we turn to another option.  Importing foreign oil from a friend and neighbor.  Canada.  But the president intervened there, too.  By refusing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  Because of environmental concerns.  So to get that oil to U.S. refineries we’ve turned to the only other option.  Shipping it by rail (see Canadian Pacific oil spill cleanup to last two days by Edward McAllister posted 3/28/2013 on Reuters).

Recovery efforts were underway on Thursday to clean up an oil spill in western Minnesota, a day after a mile-long Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed, rupturing three tankers and leaking around 15,000 gallons of fuel…

The spill, which has triggered an investigation by federal officials, came as a debate rages over the environmental risks of transporting Alberta tar sands crude across the border from Canada.

This was the first major spill since a boom in North American oil production began to outgrow the existing pipeline network, prompting a huge rise in crude-by-rail transport three years ago…

As crude by rail has increased in the United States, so have spill incidents. Of the 132 incidents that occurred while trains were in transit in the United States between 2002 and 2012, 112 occurred in the last three years, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

So we can expect about 38 spills per year from trains shipping that Canadian oil to U.S. refineries.  It would seem that building that Keystone XL pipeline would be the more environmentally friendly option.

So here are our options.  Build the pipeline and eliminate the spills from rail transport.  Not build the pipeline and continue the spills from rail transport.  Or issue an executive order confiscating our cars.  So we don’t need any oil.  Which will be the only way we’ll make the reductions they want in our oil consumption.  As existing sales of electric cars prove.  We’re not buying them.  Because they aren’t as dependable as our gasoline-powered cars.  And don’t give us anywhere near the freedom gasoline gives us.

No, gasoline is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  And the anti-oil policies are only increasing the cost of the gasoline we buy.  Increasing the cost of food.  And everything else that ships with an internal combustion engine providing the motive force.  Leaving us with less in the family budget.  Sacrificing the quality of our lives to keep the environmentalist money flowing into the Obama administration.

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Britain’s National Health Service is becoming less Centralized to Improve Quality

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

The answer in fixing the American health care system, according to Obamacare, is for more top-down management.  A centralization of the health care system.  Having distant bureaucrats make treatment decisions for patients.  Why?  According to President Obama, doctors were ordering needless tests and procedures just to maximize their billings.  The president even said they were amputating limbs unnecessarily.  Again, to maximize their billings.  And the only way to stop that was with the heavy hand of government.  Just like they do in Britain (see Hospitals that fail patients will be fined, says NHS chief by Denis Campbell posted 3/29/2013 on the guardian).

Hospitals will face financial penalties if they fail to give patients with problems such as a stroke or heart attack the best possible care, under controversial plans spelled out by the NHS’s top doctor.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, speaking to the Guardian, said the new GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that will take control of £65bn of health spending on Monday will hold back from a hospital part of the fees for an operation if the patient has not been treated to the highest possible standards. “The idea is that the CCG would say: ‘We will withhold a certain amount of payment from you until you can demonstrate that you’ve met these standards.’ So it’s a bit like the building industry – you pay 90% of the [cost of] the building upfront, and then the final payments comes a bit later, when you’re sure everything is OK,” Keogh said in his only interview before the new NHS system starts in England on 1 April.

Such differential payments – it is hoped – will compel hospitals to provide high-quality care and force units that do not embrace the latest medical thinking in their specialism to overhaul what they do. Medical teams that do not implement the latest clinical guidance – called quality standards – on how to manage those with a particular condition will forfeit an as yet to be agreed part of the payment…

His tough message to hospitals on quality of care was reinforced by the decision late on Thursday to suspend children’s heart surgery in Leeds General Infirmary following concerns about the quality of lifesaving procedures offered there and the number of its patients who died. An inquiry into practice at LGI has begun…

The NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals, voiced unease at the plan. It would be better to give high-performing hospitals small bonuses over and above the full tariff rather than use penalties against the weaker ones, said Mike Farrar, its chief executive and a former boss of the NHS’s north-west region.

“Bruce is right that commissioners [CCGs] need to use levers. But the downside of penalties is that if hospitals don’t reach the standards set, then they don’t get the rest of the tariff fee and the risk is of a downward spiral in which they have less resources next year in which to try and meet the standards,” Farrar said.

In the Guardian interview Keogh urged the NHS to help stick to its tight spending limits by cracking down on patients receiving unnecessary tests and procedures – known as “overtreatment”.

He voiced concern that the NHS is conducting too many x-rays and blood tests without a good medical reason, subjecting some patients to operations they do not need, and prescribing too many antibiotics.

Odd.  The very things a more top-down approach was supposed to eliminate are now being eliminated by moving away from that top-down approach.  And moving towards a more local approach.  Having people closer to the patients making treatment decisions.  Holding caregivers accountable before they authorize final payment for their services.  And making sure patients and their families are satisfied with the care they received.

Almost sounds like a step back to that intimate doctor-patient relationship.  That served patients so well.  And doctors.  For the only way for doctors to get rich was by taking care of their patients as if they were family.  So they wouldn’t go to another doctor.  And form an intimate doctor-patient relationship there.  Providing a strong incentive to give patients the best care possible.  Because there was accountability.  Not a cold, faceless bureaucracy.

Those on the left have long pointed to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) as the proper way to do health care.  And here they are.  Moving towards the way things were in America.  Before Obamacare.  Basically a tantamount admission by someone in the business of national health care that it doesn’t work.  And yet here we are in the United States.  Moving towards something with a proven track record of failure.  Something that will benefit the politicians.  At the expense of the patient.

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Health Care Professionals say School Shootings are Rare therefore we shouldn’t Overreact with Gun Control Legislation

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama is pushing for more gun control legislation.  Before the memories of Newtown fade.  To overreact before the emotions fade.  Even though most legislation proposed thus far would not have changed the outcome at Newtown.  It was a tragedy.  But a rare tragedy.  And trying to take the guns out of the hands of all the future unknown school shooters will probably fail.  For no legislation is perfect.  And no enforcement is perfect.  If there were hundreds or thousands of these shooters it might make a difference.  But trying to find 2 or 3 or 4 shooters across the country will be impossible.  Which is the ultimate reason for the tragedy at Newtown.  It was a statistically rare event.  As a child in school is more likely to die from a lightning strike than from gunfire.

You know what would probably work better?  Arming a few people in that school.  But not telling anyone who they are.  Why would this work?  Because people like Adam Lanza pick defenseless people to hurt.  Because they don’t want anyone hurting them.  That’s why they pick places where people can’t shoot back.  And hopefully where they won’t fight back.  So if it’s public knowledge that there are a few people in that school carrying a gun but a potential shooter doesn’t know who, he is less likely to break into that school out of fear that he may walk into someone with a gun (see Adam Lanza Newtown search warrants released by Jason Sickles and Dylan Stableford posted on Yahoo! News).

Connecticut State Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III, who’s overseeing the case, said Adam Lanza killed 26 people within five minutes of storming into Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning a gun on himself…

Lanza killed all 26 school victims with a Bushmaster .223-caliber model XM15 rifle for which he had 10 magazines capable of carrying 30 rounds each. Sedensky’s report says officers recovered 154 spent casings and 58 unfired rounds for the assault-style rifle from inside the school.

Lanza was also armed with a Glock 10 mm handgun, a 9 mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun and additional ammunition for both. Inside the car Lanza drove to the school, police found a 12-gauge shotgun and two magazines containing 70 rounds of ammunition. Lanza took his own life with the Glock as police were arriving at the school, the report states.

Lanza had enough guns and ammunition to shoot for more than five minutes.  And he probably could have held the police off for awhile.  But he didn’t.  Once someone aggressive arrived on the scene he quickly took his own life.  For he had no interest trading shots with anyone.  Once again showing why he and others like him choose schools and theaters for their carnage.  For these aren’t tough guys.  There often quiet loners.  Shut off from other human contact.  Who are even afraid of people.  Fantasizing about life in a video game.  Where they find escape from a world where they find no enjoyment.  And they know they aren’t alone.  For they read the papers.  Perhaps getting inspired.  From articles like the one they found in Lanza’s house.

Exhibit #630 – One (1) New York Times article on 02/18/08 of a school shooting at Northern Illinois University.

Finding these people will be all but impossible with background checks.  But if they knew that someone could shoot back at them it may dissuade them.  And it would probably help not to give them so much press.  For a news story could be the thing that pushes one of these people over the edge.  It may normalize such an atrocity in the mind of someone disturbed.  Making the shooter move from fantasy to reality.  With nothing to stop them.  Except, perhaps, if the intended targets are not so passive (see Schools Are Training Second-Graders to Attack Mass Shooters by Deanna Pan posted 3/28/2013 on Mother Jones, bold added for emphasis).

In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, politicians and educators have debated fiercely about how our nation should protect school children—with some schools turning to controversial tactics…

Ever since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High, K-12 schools in many states have been required by law to have emergency management plans; often these include lockdown drills for dealing with a violent intrusion, although such an event is statistically rare

[Greg] Crane [a former SWAT officer and schoolteacher in Texas who created Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate—A.L.i.C.E.—to train students what do if a shooter comes into the classroom] points instead to the 1998 shooting at Thurston High School in Oregon, where 15-year-old Kipland Kinkel fired 50 rounds in the cafeteria, killing two students and injuring two dozen others before he was tackled by his classmates…

“It wasn’t a staff member who led the rush against him that took him to the ground and disarmed him. It was a 17-year-old student, Jake Rykar,” Crane notes. “If they had maintained that passive, static posture on the floor, with all those hundreds of kids in the cafeteria, there’s no telling what the outcome could have been that day.”

But Dr. Stephen Brock of the National Association of School Psychologists says teaching such tactics may cause unnecessary anxiety and stress for students, particularly young ones who are more easily traumatized. “It strikes me as an overreaction and potentially dangerous,” Brock says. “School shootings are extremely rare. The odds of a student becoming a victim are 1 in 2.5 million. The odds of getting struck by lightning? One in 700,000.”

Crane says that he has seen an uptick in interest in his program after every mass shooting—but that it has increased by an order of magnitude since Newtown. In the first weekend after the attack, Crane’s company was hit with more than 2,000 email inquiries, he says, with little letup since. To date, according to his company’s website, more than 300 schools and universities have trained 1.6 million students using A.L.i.C.E.

If you ever watched a Friday the 13th movie you’ll see that most victims share one thing in common.  They run, they cringe and they cry but rarely do they fight back.  Even when they do knock Jason down they just keep running away.  Until they eventually become a victim, too.  So there is something to be said about fighting back.  For anyone who walks into an elementary school is as evil as the fictional Jason.  But unlike Jason these shooters can be hurt.  Even scared.  As they always pick people who are unarmed and are not likely to fight back.  Something an unafraid person probably wouldn’t do.

So do you risk traumatizing children by teaching them to fight back?  Or because it is such a statistically rare event is it simply better to do nothing?  Experts in the field of psychology think so.  And if so should we even be bothering with new gun control legislation?  For as the health care professionals say this is an overreaction for an extremely rare event.  And will probably be as useful as teaching second graders to physically attack a gunman.

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For Proof that President Obama’s Economic Policies are bad just look at Singapore

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers.  The economy boomed in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore because of their business-friendly environments.  Free markets.  And free trade.  Which is why the Four Asian Tigers had some of the strongest economies in the world.  Because the government did not interfere with market forces.  Like they are doing more and more in the United States.  And if we compare the two economies we can see which system is better (see More than half of employees in Singapore planning to leave jobs: Survey by Cheng Jingjie posted 3/28/2013 on Breaking News Singapore).

More than one in two employees in Singapore are planning to leave their jobs within the next two years because of unsatisfactory compensation.

This isn’t a problem they’re having in the United States.  Americans may be unhappy in their jobs and dissatisfied with their compensation.  But all they do is complain.  They’re not leaving their jobs.  Because unlike in Singapore there are no other jobs to go to.  Because President Obama, unlike in Singapore, is trying to fix the economy with government spending.  And new regulations.  Making the current recovery the worst recovery since that following the Great Depression.  While Singapore’s economy hums along the United States have seen people disappear from the labor force since 2008.  Which is why no one is threatening to leave their jobs.  No.  In the United States their biggest concern is getting laid off.  No matter how unhappy or how poorly paid they are.

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Thanks to a Horrible Economy a lot of Starbucks Baristas have a BA Degree

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama is always talking about sending more kids to college.  And investing into the future.  But as it turns out a lot of kids are going to college.  Taking on enormous amounts of student loan debt.  But they’re not graduating with a useful degree that they can use to help build that future (see Why a BA is Now a Ticket to A Job in a Coffee Shop by Megan McArdle posted 3/27/2013 on The Daily Beast).

Too many college kids are living in Mom’s basement, or working at Starbucks…A while back, I found myself talking to a professor whose school has a number of impressive-sounding graduate programs that were originally conceived as add-ons for a professional degree in law or medicine or business.  They are now attracting a number of students who just go for the standalone degree.  He didn’t understand what the career path was for these kids, and he wasn’t sure that they did either.

“It sounds good, so they can persuade their parents to pay for it,” he said, a touch guiltily…

Skilled workers with higher degrees are increasingly ending up in lower-skilled jobs that don’t really require a degree–and in the process, they’re pushing unskilled workers out of the labor force altogether…

I made quite a splash with a Newsweek story arguing that we may be overinvesting in college.  There were basically three parts to this argument: first, that a lot of college attendance is signalling activity rather than skill acquisition; second, that more students with BAs are ending up in jobs that don’t require them; and third, that a substantial number of kids don’t finish, washing out with a lot of debt and no commensurate earning power to pay it…

So while college graduates are having trouble getting college-style jobs, the unskilled workers are doing even worse.  This is not necessarily evidence that the college degree is producing the wage–it might be that folks capable of getting into college would be able to get that barista job even if they didn’t go…

It suggests that we’re pushing more and more people into (more and more expensive) college programs, even as the number of jobs in which they can use those skills has declined.  A growing number of students may be in a credentialling arms race to gain access to routine service jobs.  Or maybe the productivity of our nation’s wait staff is spiking as more skilled workers flood into these jobs.

Unfortunately, there’s no obvious policy response to this.  It’s easier to create more college educated workers through government policy than it is to create jobs for them.  It’s not even obvious what the personal response should be–except that if you’re planning to major in English, you should maybe see if you can’t get a job at Starbucks instead.

A lot of kids go to college for the fun.  And because it’s the fun that they care about they take the easy degree programs.  Like English.  Because studying physics, engineering, medicine, etc., would just take too much time away from having a good time.  This is why they can’t get a job with their degree.  Because their degree is useless in the high-tech future that the president says we must invest in.

This is why the high-tech companies are hiring Asians and Indians.  Because they study hard in school.  Getting degrees in the hard programs.  Because they grow up with the values of their parents.  They work hard and are willing to wait to enjoy the fruits of all their labors.  Unlike American kids that can’t wait for anything.  Especially when it comes to having a good time.

When the economy is booming again and good workers are hard to find businesses will be hiring people with BAs again.  Maybe even those people earning degrees in economics.  Like those who are advising the government on how to create jobs.  But until the economy recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression they will only hire those with the more valuable degrees.  The useful degrees.  The degrees that can actually help bring their goods and service to market.  And if their business is developing new hardware for the Internet or communication satellites knowing what a split infinitive just isn’t a useful skill.

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The NHS sets up new Non-Emergency Phone Service to Reduce the Overload on the Emergency Phone Service

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

Once upon a time Americans worked hard, saved their money and lived austere lives.  Always saving, planning and waiting for the future.  When they could finally enjoy the things they worked so hard and so long for.  Today’s world is a little more hedonistic.  Where few wait for anything.  Or save.  Like that classic Eagles song.  Life in the Fast Lane.  “Everything all the time.”  Especially those on the left.  Who want government to take care of them so they can enjoy life in the fast lane.  Pensions.  Health care.  A college education.  Birth control.  Childcare.  All the things that would take away from their having a good time if they had to pay for these themselves.

This is why they wanted national health care.  And fervently hope Obamacare will evolve into national health care.  So they can enjoy life to the fullest.  Knowing that if they crash the government will be there to take care of them.  For free. Just like the utopian National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.  Where everyone has everything all the time (see NHS 111 line should be delayed, says BMA posted 3/28/2013 on BBC News Health).

The organisation representing British doctors has written to NHS bosses to call for a delay in the launch of a new non-emergency telephone advice line…

Lord Howe has already admitted the new 111 telephone advice service – which the government has said will ease pressure on emergency 999 phone lines – had run into “teething problems”…

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the the BMA’s GP committee, said: “There have been widespread reports of patients being unable to get through to an operator or waiting hours before getting a call back with the health information they have requested,

“In some areas, such as Greater Manchester, NHS 111 effectively crashed because it was unable to cope with the number of calls it was receiving. The quality of advice being given out has also been questionable in some instances.”

He said the “chaotic mess” of 111 was “placing strain” on overstretched parts of the NHS, such as the ambulance service, and potentially placing patients at risk.

Of course it doesn’t work like that in real life.  For free stuff is very expensive.  It is so costly that the NHS cannot put enough ambulances on the street.  Placing patients at risk.

The problem with free stuff is that people see no reason NOT to use it.  So they use it.  And over consume it.  Which is why emergency rooms back up.  And emergency phone lines are overloaded.  The shortage of services is so bad that they have to create a new telephone service to reduce the call volume on the emergency telephone service.

When everything is free people over consume.  Which stretches the resources of the NHS.  Leading to longer wait times.  Rationing.  And service denials.  They don’t even have the resources to staff a non-emergency telephone service.  Which they added to reduce the burden on the emergency telephone service.  Which would hopefully reduce the burden on their emergency rooms.  As well as freeing up the ambulance service.  Just something else they’re adding with things like the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) for the Dying Patient.  What some families who had their loved ones placed on the LCP without their knowledge call a death panel.  So these patients die sooner to free up some beds.  And health care workers.  All to try and make their limited resources cover more people.  For you just can’t have everything all the time.  At least not in the NHS.  And if they can’t what chance do we have with Obamacare?

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British Columbia’s Carbon Trading System did not make the B.C. Liberal Government Carbon Neutral

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

Something the American left really wants is a carbon trading system.  For this in conjunction with a national health care system would give the government great control over the private sector.  Because health care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  And everything takes energy.  So everything would be subject to the government’s carbon oversight.

A carbon trading system would basically turn carbon emissions (i.e., polluting greenhouse gases) into a commodity.  If you want to pollute you must pay to pollute.  By buying carbon permits to pollute.  Or paying carbon taxes.  Those who pollute heavily must buy more permits/pay more taxes.  Those who pollute less buy fewer permits/pay fewer taxes.  The idea is to take money from the polluters to give to others to reduce their carbon emissions.  Thus giving everyone an incentive not to pollute.  And a net zero carbon emission.  But in reality it’s just another way for government to pull more wealth out of the private economy so they can spend it how they want to spend it.  Rewarding their campaign contributors.  And providing businesses access to unneeded subsidies (see Auditor general delivers damning report on B.C.’s carbon trading system, Crown corporation that managed funds by Gordon Hoekstra posted 3/27/2013 on The Vancouver Sun).

B.C. auditor general John Doyle delivered a damning report Wednesday on the province’s controversial carbon trading system and the Crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust.

The report concludes the government did not reach its goal of carbon neutrality in 2010, the year under examination, because the carbon offsets it purchased that year were not credible…

…NDP environment critic Rob Fleming said it’s time to look at changes to the PCT, including ending transfers of public money for emission-reduction projects.

He was referring to the fact that the carbon trading system involves transferring public money from institutions like hospitals and universities to the private sector so the government can declare the public sector is carbon-neutral…

Under the carbon system, public institutions such as hospitals and universities have so far paid more than $50 million for their carbon emissions. That money has been used to fund greenhouse gas reductions projects at private sector pulp mills, sawmills, gas drilling rigs, hotels and greenhouses.

The idea is the reduction projects in the private sector offset emissions in the public sector to zero, allowing the B.C. Liberal government to claim it is carbon neutral.

That’s a first.  Transfer money from sick people to give to businesses in the private sector.  So hospitals can pollute.  Kind of a strange thing for a government to do that puts profits before people.

Of course the big question is who measures the change in carbon emissions?  And how?  For you can’t put a carbon meter on your business.  It takes math.  And some assumptions.  You can tie it to one’s electrical consumption.  But if the user is attached to a section of grid powered by both a coal-fired power plant and a nuclear power plant that’s more math.  And more assumptions.  Did your power come from the polluting coal-fired power plant?  Or the emissions-free nuclear power plant?  And what about burning fossil fuels?  Did the fuel someone burn come from a refinery that processes a high-sulfur oil (sour crude)?  Or a low-sulfur oil (sweet crude)?  More math.  More assumptions.

When it comes to carbon emissions you can’t really measure emissions.  You have to measure inputs.  Such as electric power.  Consuming a lot of electric power could put a lot of carbon emissions into the air.  But not where the consumer uses that electric power.  But back at the power station that produced that electric power.  So who pays those carbon permits/taxes.  The user?  Such as a hospital?  Or the power plant?  Or both?

Anything so complicated makes it easier for people to game the system.  Which is what is happening in Canada.  And why despite spending C$50 million of public money the B.C. Liberal government is not carbon-neutral.

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Cyprus and the Eurozone Crisis shows why we’d be better off with a Gold Standard

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2013

Week in Review

Debtors love inflation.  They love to borrow cheap dollars.  And love even more to repay their loans with even cheaper dollars.  Creditors, on the other hand, hate inflation.  Because they are on the other side of that borrowing equation from the debtor.  And when a debtor repays a loan with depreciated dollars the creditor who loaned that money loses purchasing power.  Causing the creditor to lose money.  Just because they had the kindness to loan money to someone who needed it.  Which is a strong disincentive for making future loans.

This has long been at the heart of all banking wars.  And banking crises.  The fight between paper money and hard money.  Printed dollars versus specie (gold and silver).  People who want to borrow money love paper.  Because banks could make a lot of it to lend.  Something they can’t do with gold and silver.  Because it takes a lot more effort and costs to bring new gold into the economy.  Those who want to borrow money argue that hard money hinders economic activity.  Because there is a shortage of money.  And because governments are always interested in boosting economic activity they are always in favor of expanding the paper money supply.  This generous expansion of credit is currently miring the Eurozone in a sovereign debt crisis.  And launched a confiscation of wealth in Cyprus.  Greatly threatening the banking system there.  As few depositors trust their money will be safe in their bank.  Causing people to return to specie (see Cypriot bank crisis boosts demand for gold by Ian Cowie posted 3/27/2013 on The Telegraph).

The Cypriot banking crisis reminds even the most trusting savers that not all banks or jurisdictions are safe – and is boosting demand for gold, bullion dealers claim.

As if to prove the old adage that it’s an ill wind that blows no good, enthusiasts for the precious metal argue that financial shocks in the eurozone are reminding savers of gold’s attractions…

[Daniel Marburger, a director of Jewellers Trade Services Partners (JTS)] said: “The situation in Cyprus has reignited the wider Eurozone sovereign-debt crisis. At a time like this, people are attracted to gold because it is the ultimate crisis commodity.

“The proposed levy on deposits of Cyprus’s savers has not only shaken confidence in the single-currency Eurozone, it illustrates the fragility of savings held within the banking system. In our experience, clients are attracted to gold because it offers insurance against extreme movements in the value of other assets. Unlike paper currency, it will never lose its intrinsic value…”

“The events in Cyprus prove once again that bank customers do face risks as creditors who are owed money…”

When you deposit your money into a bank you become a creditor.  You are loaning your money to the bank.  Who pays you interest to loan your money to others.  If the inflation rate is greater than the interest you earn your money actually shrinks in value.  And the more they print money the more it shrinks in value.  That’s why as a creditor you won’t like the harmful effects of inflation.  Even if it makes the people happy who borrow your money from the bank.  Because they get a real cheap loan at your expense.

Which is why people are drawn to gold.  Because they can’t print gold.  So it holds value better than paper.  And the government can’t just confiscate a percentage of your savings if it isn’t in the bank.  Another reason why people are drawn to gold.  If the banking system collapses, or if the government seizes people’s retirement savings to ward off a banking system collapse, people can take their gold and move somewhere else that isn’t having a financial meltdown.  And not lose any of their wealth.

Which is, of course, the last thing you want to happen in a country.  For a sound banking system is essential for a prospering middle class (if it weren’t for banks only rich people would own homes, cars, go to college, etc.).  Which is why a responsible monetary policy, and responsible people in government, is a prerequisite for a sound banking system.  Which few nations in the Eurozone have.  As few nations throughout the world have.  For they all want to buy votes by giving away free stuff.  And having the power to print money allows them to give away a lot of free stuff.  Pensions.  Health care.  College educations.  Lots and lots of government jobs.  Etc.  But there comes a point when you give away too much.  And you have sovereign debt crises.  As well as confiscations of wealth.

This was the advantage of a gold standard.  Like when we coupled the value of our world’s currencies to the price of gold.  It did not allow any nation to inflate their currency.  For if they did people would exchange that devalued currency for the fully-valued gold.  A strong incentive not to devalue your currency.  Which was nothing more than a promise to pay in gold.  The gold standard kept governments responsible.  But because it made it so difficult to buy votes everyone cheered when President Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold.  Putting an end to the last vestiges of a gold standard.  Allowing governments everywhere to be irresponsible.  Bringing on financial crises.  And the confiscation of wealth.  As we see happening in Cyprus.  And will no doubt see elsewhere.

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