Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Heartland Institute: Resetting Climate Policy

Friends,

As I head to Washington, DC, I thought you might appreciate a quick update about the 12th International Conference on Climate Change, starting Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.
  • William Happer, Ph.D., has joined the program as a keynoter during the final plenary session, a lunch on Friday. He'll be joined by Sen. John Barrasso, who will receive an award from The Heritage Foundation's Becky Norton Dunlop.
  • Jay Lehr, Ph.D., is giving the opening keynote address, breakfast on Thursday, using a PowerPoint presentation we created at the request of the White House. Jay is the most popular speaker expressing climate change realism in the country today, delivering one or two addresses a week all across the country. We hope he will share the stage with a TBD representative from the Trump administration, but we are awaiting confirmation (so to speak!).
I will kick things off with opening remarks at 8:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, and then introduce Dr. Lehr.
Every presentation made at ICCC-12 will be livestreamed. You can view the proceedings by going to www.heartland.org. The schedule is available here.

This is no amateur production! Speakers and their PowerPoints are expertly displayed, lighting and sound are top-notch. So tune in and enjoy. Better yet, urge your friends to do the same.
You can make a tax-deductible contribution to help us offset the expenses by going to our online donor page or go to our crowdsourcing site on Indiegogo.

I'll see some of you in Washington DC!

Joseph Bast
President
The Heartland Institute
3939 North Wilke Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Phone 312/377-4000
Email jbast@heartland.org
Web site http://www.heartland.org

Observations From the Back Row: The Gorsuch Hearings

By Rich Kozlovich

Yesterday I caught as much of the Gorsuch hearing I could stand. Watching Senator Patrick Leahy gives me hives...so I moved on.

At any rate he continually demanded do know if Gorsuch thought religion should be a determining factor in immigration.

Gorsuch kept saying that was already covered by the first amendment. Well, they were both being cute. The first amendment covers the rights of American citizens to practice the religion of their choice.

Being allowed to immigrate is not a right - it's a privilege - and that decision belongs to the President of the United States. He can ban anyone for any reason - that's the law no matter what any judge says - and Jimmy Carter did it.

There are times I wish I had the opportunity to answer the questions for these people. Here would have been my answer:
Well Senator, let's say there was a resurgence of Baal worship in the Middle East, which required the sacrifice of babies.  Would the left think they should be allowed here to practice their religion?  Oh....wait.....we already have them here.   We call them progressives, or liberals , and they call their demented practises rights.  

Then there were the Thuggees – the Cult Assassins of India, who practiced ritual murder for centuries in India.  A practice that didn't stop until the British found out about them in the 1800's, then executed, expelled or imprisoned all of them.  If such a group re-surged and wanted to come to America would that be acceptable?
 
So do I believe religion should be a determining factor in immigration? 

Well, if a religious movement's primary laws require violence against other religions or groups with whom they disagree, including those who are members of a different sect of the same religion because they believe they're heretics deserving of death - then they need to be kept out and any already here need to be sent back.  And that religion is called Islam.

Let's try and get this once and for all.  Islam isn't a religion.  It's a criminal political organization masquerading as a religion, and they need to be declared an international criminal movement and banned from immigrating to the U.S.  As for the European policy on Muslim immigration - they've clearly demonstrated their policy is the perfect example for national suicide - so let's save American lives and culture and let them strangle to death on their own idiocy.   
We have no obligation to let anyone into this country, but when we do it should be for the benefit of the United States - period!
 Now that would be my answer, and that would be the right answer!

The silver-tongued liars’ playbook

Coal ash scare stories are the latest tactic in their long war on coal-fueled electricity generation

Paul Driessen

Coal-fired power plant scrubbers now remove 80-90 % of airborne particulate, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants. But that means “fly ash” and noncombustible residues (what we used to call clinkers) must be sent to landfills. That’s opened a new front for anti-energy activists, who use accidents, “detectable” pollutants in water, and scary stories about health threats to advance their agenda.

In 2008, a Tennessee Valley Authority earthen retainer dam near Knoxville ruptured, sending 5.4 million cubic yards of rain-soaked fly ash into a nearby river, lake and neighborhood. Twelve homes were damaged by the muck, which contained low levels of arsenic, cadmium and other metals. The TVA’s cleanup efforts were less than exemplary, as were its measures to prevent the accident in the first place.

Companies and regulators clearly must do more to prevent accidents and pollution – and more to educate people about the actual risks involved. With a new fly ash playbook being tested in North Carolina, Virginia and other states, as part of the war on coal and the keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground campaign, those informational efforts are vital.

Duke Energy operates 14 coal-fired electricity generating plants in North Carolina – and several large fly ash facilities. Like coal itself, the ash contains trace amounts of hexavalent chromium (chromium-6 or Cr-6) and other metals that can be toxic to humans in high doses. Blazing temperatures bond the vast majority tightly in glassy vitrified ash, and well maintained impoundments ensure that few seep out.

However, tiny amounts can still escape into nearby surface waters and groundwater. Highly sensitive scientific instruments can now detect parts per trillion – the equivalent of a few seconds in 3,300 years. In 2016, an NC state toxicologist ruled that metallic levels detected in surface and ground water around the state were dangerously high. He blamed ash from coal-fired power plants and persuaded Tar Heel health officials to send “do not drink” letters to several hundred families living near coal ash disposal sites.

In his view, there is “no safe level” for exposure to Cr-6, and the state should slash its allowable level from 100 parts per billion down to 0.07 ppb (1,428 times lower). Other health officials reviewed the scientific literature, determined that amounts detected pose no health risk, noted that Cr-6 often seeps from natural rock formations into surface and ground water, and rescinded the warning letters. But the resulting controversy continues, and the company, regulators and politicians are trying to resolve it.

Duke Energy and many health experts maintain that Cr-6 levels found near the ash facilities (and miles away, from natural sources) are far below what cause health risks. But it wants to assuage concerns among families closest to the ash facilities. So the company offered to provide alternatives to their well water, by giving them access to public water sources or installing state-of-the-art home filtration systems.

In January 2017, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) granted preliminary approval to these company plans for homes within one-half-mile of a coal ash impoundment. Final approval is contingent on state health and environmental departments certifying that water provided via these systems meets “applicable” or “appropriate” standards for each location.

Now activists say Duke and other companies should move millions of tons of ash from multiple depositories. Not only would that involve hundreds of thousands of dump truck loads, millions of gallons of fuel, and huge trucks lumbering through towns and along back roads and highways. A far more basic question is: Take it where, exactly? Who would want it? Activists certainly offer no viable alternatives.

Companies previously proposed turning fly ash into cement blocks or gravel, for construction projects. Activists quickly nixed that option, even though it would involve virtually no contamination risks. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the real reason for all the vocal consternation is that these agitators simply want to drive coal out of business. Indeed, the same unaccountable, silver-tongued agitators also detest natural gas-generated electricity … and drilling and fracking to produce the gas. They oppose nuclear energy, and even want hydroelectric dams and power plants removed. They claim to support wind and solar, by conveniently ignoring the huge downsides pointed out here, here, here, here  and elsewhere.

Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating huge ash deposits to “lined, watertight landfills” (in someone else’s backyard) will bring no health or environmental benefits. But it will bankrupt companies, send electricity prices soaring, and hurt poor, minority and working class families the most.

If rates double from current costs in coal-reliant states like North Carolina and Virginia (9 cents per kilowatt-hour or less) to those in anti-coal New York or Connecticut (17 cents), families will have to pay $500-1,000 more annually for electricity. Hospitals, school districts, factories and businesses will have to spend additional thousands, tens of thousands or millions. Where will that money come from?

Virginia’s 665,000-square-foot Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital pays about $1,850,000 per year for electricity at 9 cents/kWh, but would pay $3,500,000 at 17 cents: a $1.6-million difference.

Will businesses have to lay off dozens or hundreds of employees, or close their doors? If they pass costs on to patients or customers, where will families find the extra cash? What will the poorest families do?

The war on coal, petroleum, nuclear and hydroelectric power is a callous, eco-imperialist war on reliable, affordable electricity, on jobs, and on poor and minority families. Policies that drive energy prices up drive people out of jobs, drive companies out of business, drive families into green-energy poverty.

Preventing ruptures and spills means selecting, building and maintaining the best possible ash landfill facilities. Safeguarding public water and health means properly addressing actual, proven toxicity risks.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and North Carolina set allowable Cr-6 limits at 100 ppb for drinking water (equivalent to 100 seconds in 33 years or 4 cups in 660,000 gallons of water). The state also applies a 10 ppb standard for well water. No one applies a 0.07 ppb standard (70 parts per trillion).

In 2015, the NCDEQ tested 24 wells  two to five miles from the nearest coal plant or coal ash deposit; 20 had Cr-6 levels above 0.07 ppb but far below 100 ppb, underscoring its diverse origins. May 2016 tests could not even detect the chemical in Greensboro water, the News &Record reported.

A 2016 Duke University study  found that hexavalent chromium is prevalent in many North Carolina surface and ground waters. Some comes from coal ash deposits, but much is leached from igneous and other rocks found throughout the Piedmont region of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Other health experts note that Cr-6 is found in 70% to 90%  of all water supplies in the United States. Applying a 0.07 ppb would mean telling hundreds of millions of Americans not to drink their water!

Moreover, studies have found that Cr-6 in water is safe even at 100 ppb or higher. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Applied Toxicology concluded that regularly drinking water with 210 ppb of Cr-6 poses no health risks. (The real health problems involve airborne Cr-6.) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, US EPA and other studies buttress those findings.

Equally important, an ability to detect a substance does not mean it poses a risk. Cancer is certainly scary, but the risk of getting cancer is not the same as dying from it. And people routinely accept risks of dying from activities they happily engage in daily. For example, the National Safety Council puts the lifetime risk  of dying in a motor vehicle crash at 1 in 113; that’s 8,850 times greater than the alleged lifetime risk of contracting cancer from 0.07 ppb Cr-6 in water. Drinking and smoking fall into the same category.

However, all too many people seem easily terrified by “detectable” levels of strange-sounding chemicals. 100% clean is not necessary, not possible, not found in nature and not a sound basis for public policy.

Coal and chemical controversies like these offer our nation, states and communities excellent opportunities to find novel solutions that recognize sound science, hidden agendas, often limited options, and undesirable repercussions of poorly informed policy decisions. Let’s hope they are up to the task.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( www.CFACT.org ), and author of Eco-Imperialism : Green power - Black death and other books on the environment.
 
 

Why the high intelligence of Indian Americans?

By Jon Ray @ Dissecting Leftism

Here is a well-informed answer to the above question. I disagree with his conclusion that it is all due to nutrition however. Other work finds only 5 IQ points attributable to nutrition. The suggestion of 15 IQ points is therefore startling. So I think we need to look at other possibilities. I think that the Indian advantage is probably a compound of several factors.

The treatment of Indians as a single group is of course absurd. Almost any Indian will regale you with stories about the great gaps between the castes. And the castes do seem to have a racial and historic origin. A Brahman and a Dalit are worlds apart in all sorts of ways, including skin color. And it is usually held that the differences arose from the Northern Brahmins being in fact late "Aryan" invaders on top of an original Dravidian population. So we would expect Brahmins to have higher IQs. And Brahmins seem well-represented in Indian immigrants to America.

Everything in the above paragraph is however subject to controversy so how much caste accounts for higher IQs in Indian Americans remains "under study". Something that would reveal the effect (or not) of caste would be a study of Indian diaspora populations in places such as Fiji, where the Indians there are the descendants of coolies imported to act as agricultural labourers. If they have high IQs, there is no caste effect. But I can find no data on such populations. It is however true that Indians run just about everything in Fiji these days.

The next possibility is related to the one above: A general selective effect of immigration. Diaspora populations are not always brighter than the home population but when we are looking at poor countries they probably are. To get yourself out of a poor country to a rich one surely requires brains. So regardless of caste, diaspora Indians should be brighter.

The third possibility is one shown up by the Flynn effect: Education. Education does have an effect on at least some measures of intelligence. How that works is speculative but the most plausible explanation is that doing tests and exams in the course of a long education develops test-taking skills (e.g. guessing when uncertain) that generalize to IQ tests. And the Indian education system is woeful so a transition to the less woeful U.S. system should confer an advantage.

A fourth factor that is rarely mentioned in these discussions is regional differences within India. The Indian South seems to be much brighter, particularly where mathematical ability is concerned. The great concentration of Indian IT knowledge is in Bengaluru (Bangalore), which is in the South. And it was almost entirely Southern engineers who were behind the quite remarkable Indian Mars shot.

I am not going to say much about why the Southerners are smarter but I note that they hate one-another. Keralans despise Tamils, for instance. And that is related to the long history of warfare between them. And dummies are the least likely to survive wars. So warfare has dragged up the average IQ of most of the South.

But getting back to Indians in America: I have seen no figures on it but I gather that a huge proportion of Indians came to America to work in IT. If that is so, they would mostly have come from the South -- because that is where the IT ability is. So the Indian immigrants to the USA came from a (Southern) population that was ALREADY pretty high on IQ. So from that starting point, the various advantages (already mentioned) of life in the USA could easily have added one third of a standard deviation -- which could explain what we see. It could in fact explain the whole of what we see.

And regardless of where they come from in India, being employed to work in IT is a HUGE selective pressure. To code easily in languages like C and its derivatives requires an IQ within about the top 2%. If that doesn't bring up the average, nothing would.

So I would summarize that the high IQs of Indians in the USA is the combined effect of nutrition, education, caste, an immigrant effect, an effect of regional origin and an effect of occupation.

Given the extraordinary difference in average IQ between Indians in India and Indians in America (well over one standard deviation) I think a multifactorial explanation has to be strongly indicated. But all answers at this point are speculative.

The Real Issue in the Fight over Capital Gains, Class Warfare, and Carried Interest

March 21, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

Why would the economy grow faster if we got fundamental reform such as the flat tax?
In part, because there would be one low tax rate instead of the discriminatory and punitive “progressive” system that exists today. As such, the penalty on productive behavior would be reduced.

In part, because there would be no distorting tax breaks that lure people into making decisions based on tax considerations rather than economic merit.

But we’d also enjoy more growth because there would be no more double taxation. Under a flat tax, the death tax is abolished, the capital gains tax is abolished, there’s no double taxation on savings, the second layer of tax on dividends is eliminated, and depreciation is replaced by expensing.

In the wonky jargon of public finance economists, this means we would have a “consumption-based” system, which is just another way of saying that income  would be taxed only one time. No longer would the internal revenue code discourage capital formation by imposing a higher effective tax rate on income that is saved and invested (compared to the tax rate on income that is consumed).
Indeed, this is the feature of tax reform that probably generates the most growth. As I explain in this video on capital gains taxation, all economic theories – even Marxism and socialism – agree that capital formation is a key to long-run prosperity.


 
The good news is that reducing double taxation is a goal of most major tax plans in Washington. Trump’s campaign plan reduced double taxation, and the House Better Way Plan reduces double taxation.
But that doesn’t mean there’s an easy path for reform. The Hill reports on some of the conflicts that may sabotage legislation this year.
The fight over a border-adjustment tax isn’t the only challenge for Republicans in their push for tax reform. …Notably, some business groups have criticized the proposal to do away with the deduction for businesses’ net interest expenses. …the blueprint does not specifically discuss how the carried interest that fund managers receive would be taxed. Under current law, carried interest is taxed as capital gains, rather than at the higher rates for ordinary income. During the presidential race, Trump repeatedly said he wanted to eliminate the carried interest tax break, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN on Sunday that Trump still plans to do this. Many Democrats also want carried interest to be taxed as ordinary income.
The border-adjustment tax is probably the biggest threat to tax reform, but the debate over “carried interest” also could be a problem since Trump endorsed a higher tax burden on this type of capital gain during the campaign.
 
Here are some excerpts from a recent news report.
Donald Trump vowed to stick up for Main Street over Wall Street — that line helped get him elected. But the new president has already hit a roadblock, with fellow Republicans who control Congress balking at Trump’s pledge to close a loophole that allows hedge fund and private equity managers to pay lower taxes on investment management fees. …The White House declined to comment on the status of negotiations between Trump and congressional Republicans over the carried-interest provision. …U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a House Financial Services Committee member and former Goldman Sachs executive, said there is chaos on the tax reform front. “That’s on the list of dozens of things where there is disagreement between the president and the Republican majority in Congress,” Himes said.
Regarding the specific debate over carried interest, I’ve already explained why I prefer current law over Trump’s proposal.
Today I want to focus on the “story behind the story.” One of my main concerns is that the fight over the tax treatment of carried interest is merely a proxy for a larger campaign to increase the tax burden on all capital gains.
 
For instance, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee openly uses the issue of carried interest as a wedge to advocate a huge increase in the overall tax rate on capital gains.
Of course, when you talk about the carried interest loophole, you’re talking about capital gains. And when you talk about capital gains, you’re talking about the biggest tax shelter of all – the one hiding in plain sight. Today the capital gains tax rate is 23.8 percent. …treat[ing] income from wages and wealth the same way. In my view, that’s a formula that ought to be repeated.
The statists at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also advocate higher taxes on carried interest as part of a broader campaign for higher capital gains taxes.
Taxing as ordinary income all remuneration, including fringe benefits, carried interest arrangements, and stock options… Examining ways to tax capital income at the personal level at slightly progressive rates, and align top capital and labour income tax rates.
It would be an overstatement to say that everyone who wants higher taxes on carried interest wants higher taxes on all forms of capital gains. But it is accurate to assert that every advocate of higher taxes on capital gains wants higher taxes on carried interest.
 
If they succeed, that would be a very bad result for American workers and for American competitiveness.
 
For those wanting more information, here’s the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s video on carried interest.
 

Last but not least, wonky readers may be interested in learning that carried interest partnerships can be traced all the way back to medieval Venice.
Start-up merchants needed investors, and investors needed some incentive to finance the merchants. For the investor, there was the risk of their investment literally sailing out of the harbor never to be seen again. The Venetian government solved this problem by creating one of the first examples of a joint stock company, the “colleganza.” The colleganza was a contract between the investor and the merchant willing to do the travel. The investor put up the money to buy the goods and hire the ship, and the merchant made the trip to sell the goods and then buy new foreign goods that could then be brought back and sold to Venetians. Profits were then split between the merchant and investor according to the agreements in the contract.
Fortunately for the merchants and investors of that era, neither income taxes nor capital gains taxes existed.

P.S. Italy didn’t have any sort of permanent income tax until 1864. Indeed, most modern nations didn’t impose these punitive levies until the late 1800s and early 1900s. The United States managed to hold out until that awful dreary day in 1913. It’s worth noting that the U.S. and other nations managed to become rich and prosperous prior to the adoption of those income taxes. And it’s also worth noting that the rapid growth of the 18th century occurred when the burden of government spending was very modest and there was almost no redistribution spending.

P.P.S. Now that we have income taxes (and the bigger governments enabled by those levies), the only silver lining is that governments have compensated for bad fiscal policy with better policy in other areas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trump vs. Obama

Observations From the Back Row: Agents of Shadow

By Rich Kozlovich

I don't know about anyone else, but even a newsie like me can hardly stand watching or reading the news lately. It's become patently obvious to me -  we've lost our minds.   We've abandoned any pretext at civilized behavior because we've abandoned traditional wisdom in favor of the latest philosophical flavor of the day, and that flavor is laced with the toxic compounds of leftism -hate, envy and greed. 

A friend of mine recently had dinner with a middle aged couple where the wife couldn't keep from letting them know she hoped Trump would be killed or die.  My friend and his wife are traditionalist conservatives, and I think this woman knew it.

Liberals are constantly whining and howling about compassion and inclusion when in reality everything they do or promote is filled with loathing of traditional values, including wanting to kill the President of the United States.  And they're saying it openly without one bit of condemnation from anyone on the left, including the media who would have howled like werewolves at a full moon if even one person had even mildly intimated they wanted Obama to die, let alone kill him.

Snoop Dogg made a video shooting Trump dead, and Madonna threatened to blow up the White House. And Dogg's trash son says he's going to "pimp out" the First Lady. Can you imagine what would have happened if that was said about Obama's wife? Where's the outrage?  Where are Obama and his wife in all of this?  Where's Oprah?  Where's Jesse Jackson?  Where's the NAACP?   I would think if they had an ounce of decency in them they would have stepped up and shot down this disgusting behavior.

Also, it's illegal to threaten the life of the President of the United States.  Why hasn't someone been charged?  Why hasn't there been so much moral outrage these lunatics are ostracized by civilized people?  How deep is this contaminated thinking?  More importantly - how deep is this contamination within government?

Recently we heard of a Secret Service agent who had her laptop stolen from a parked car.  In that computer was the floor plans for the personal home of the President of the United States and his family in Trump Tower - now in  unauthorized hands - thanks to the Secret Service.

We also now know the thief - having been caught on camera - knew exactly where to go, when to go and what he was looking for.  So I think these questions have to be asked:
  • Was this theft allowed? 
  • Was this theft planned?
  • If this theft was planned, for what purpose? 
  • Was this theft was allowed and planned was it part of a conspiracy by a Secret Service agent, or possibly agents, and with whom?
Is this irrational paranoia, or is this leftist contamination gone deep? 

The Secret Service agent in charge of the Denver office just couldn't help going on Facebook to tell the world how she would rather go to jail than take a bullet for the President. Well, I wouldn't be all that crazy about taking a bullet for anyone either.....but that's not my job.....it is hers, and it's a job she applied for. 

I'm sure they must have asked if she would be willing to sacrifice herself for the President during the interview process, and she must have said yes or she wouldn't have been hired.  Right?  But no matter, everyone who applies for that job knows that's part and parcel of the package.  For her to say what she's saying now is .....what? Treasonous? After all, why else would she post this online unless she wanted to encourage others to develop the same attitude - but not tell anyone - allowing the President to be killed.   Does that sound like treason to anyone besides me?  And she's still employed!

(Editor's Note:  Here's an update on Agent Kerry O'Grady, and the strange behavior of her bosses.  RK)

Then we have three intruders who entered the White House grounds and one made it to the White House.  Does this give anyone pause wondering just how seriously these people take their oaths of office - or worse yet - just exactly where their loyalties reside?

It's bad enough when the federal judiciary ignores their oath to uphold the Constitution, but what happens if the Secret Service becomes a part of a Soros funded and Obama orchestrated Shadow Government? 

Is this mere paranoia or just another conspiracy theory?  Of course we all know there's no such thing as a conspiracy unless it's a vast right wing conspiracy, but none the less, let's explore this for a minute.   

Most Presidents can't wait to leave Washington, but not Obama, who seems to think he's still the President, and is working to mobilize thousands of volunteers in a nationwide movement known as Organizing for Action (OFA), which adores anything that embraces Marxism.

'“Unbeknownst to most Americans, Barack Obama is the first ex-president in 228 years of U.S. history to structure and lead a political organization, a shadow government, for the explicit purpose of sabotaging his successor—duly elected President Donald Trump,” writes Scott S. Powell for American Thinker. Obama’s group, OFA, has been organizing with the Soros-linked Indivisible."'

And who exactly are these thousands of volunteers and what are they to do?  First, Scott Foval, National Field Director for Americans United for Change is quoted as saying,  “I’m saying we have mentally ill people, that we pay to do s–t, make no mistake”.  It's their job to protest continually in order to gain political clout and undermine the real President.  Protests which are being organized by members of the Workers World Party and Freedom Road Socialist Organization among others. 

It's almost surreal when reality starts to look and sound like an Avenger science fiction movie with the heroes fighting Hydra - a secret, subversive shadow government with tentacles reaching into every government agency, exerting influence and operating the levers of power to overthrow the legitimate government.    In this fiction movie it's easy to determine the moral imperative presented - they're the bad guys and they're committing treason and need to be defeated in order to save the nation and the world.  

So can someone explain to me why this is different?

Monday, March 20, 2017

A serious climate opportunity

Why does government refuse to do the one thing that would help our forests and climate?
Greg Walcher
For years, politicians have waged war on coal, stifled oil and gas production, and advocated carbon taxes and other extreme measures to reduce carbon dioxide, while ignoring one of the most important things they could do to help.
It reminds me of my own lifelong battle with weight and the associated health issues. I get so frustrated that I sometimes swear I would do anything – anything! – to lose weight. Well, anything except eat less and exercise. But anything else.
That same kind of hypocrisy surrounds rants about our carbon dioxide emissions. Even people who are “deeply concerned” about dangerous manmade climate change drive cars, heat their homes, and sometimes even turn on lights. They embrace modern living standards, while also embracing faddish environmental claims and policies that contribute mightily to problems they insist disturb them greatly.
A popular bumper sticker screams, “TREES ARE THE ANSWER.” Yet when it comes to managing our national forests, many of those same advocates look away, while millions of acres of once healthy trees die, fall down, rot or burn up.
It’s ironic, because those forests provide the world’s greatest resource for cleaning carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere; because the rotting and fires themselves emit greenhouse gases; and because atmospheric carbon dioxide makes all plants grow faster and better and with improved tolerance to drought.
As Colorado State Forester Mike Lester testified recently before a state legislative committee, “When so many trees die and large wildfires follow, our forests quickly turn from a carbon sink into a carbon source.” Trees absorb carbon dioxide as people absorb oxygen, and that balance is critical to sustaining life, as we all learned in grade school.
Yet instead of doing everything in our power to make sure we have abundant thriving forests of healthy trees, we allow them to die and burn and thus belch millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
Lester’s excellent testimony accompanied the release of the Colorado State Forest Service’s annual Report on the Health of Colorado Forests. This year’s assessment is the worst ever, and hardly anybody noticed. There was no outcry from global warming alarmists around the world, as there should have been. In fact, their silence on this issue is deafening. And it’s not just Colorado. It’s every state, and beyond.
The more concerned people are about climate change, the more they should be interested in active management to restore forest health. Yet many of the groups pushing urgent climate policies are the same groups that continue to fight logging, tree thinning and other management necessary for healthy forests. The result is more of the same disasters we have seen unfolding for over 20 years: dead and dying forests, catastrophic wildfires, habitat devastation, loss of human property and lives, and destruction of wildlife.
The new forest health report shows that over the last seven years, the number of dead standing trees in Colorado forests increased almost 30 percent, to an estimated 834 million dead trees. There are billions across the other Rocky Mountain States.
The report makes clear that this continuing trend of tree mortality can lead to large, intense wildfires that totally incinerate and obliterate forests, soils and wildlife. In fact, it is only a matter of time before this happens, if the U.S. Forest Service does not act.
Ironically, the most productive forest health restoration projects in Colorado have been partnerships of the State Forester with water providers like Denver Water, Northern Water Conservancy District and Colorado Springs Utilities. That’s because 80 percent of Colorado’s population depends on water that comes from the national forests.
However, the U.S. Forest Service, which owns almost all of the forestland in the State, continues to work with its hands tied behind its back, its timber programs woefully underfunded and vast sums syphoned off every year for fire suppression. Fire control ought to be funded separately, so that active management of healthy forests is not the perpetually lowest priority.
The Forest Service spends a fortune on planning, writing reports, and defending itself against environmental lawsuits, leaving few funds for what it is really supposed to be doing.
What a golden opportunity for the new Congress and Trump Administration. Reversing this demoralizing trend would restore forests, protect and increase wildlife, bring back thousands of forest products jobs, revitalize rural economies, and do more to reduce carbon dioxide than any previous policy.
The previous Administration created the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change, and Regional Climate Change Hubs, maintained a Climate Change Adaptation Library, mapped drought frequency and intensity, and created massive reports blaming humans for climate change. One study was a vulnerability assessment for the Southwest and California, titled “Southwest Regional Climate Hub and Climate Subsidiary Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies.”
All this activity is impressive, and scientific study will always play a role. But none of it actually affects climate change. Growing healthy trees would. Can we get back to that?
Or like me and my weight problem, are we willing to do anything to address climate change and improve our forests and wildlife habitats, except the one thing that might help the most?
Greg Walcher is president of the Natural Resources Group and author of “Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take it Back.” He is a former secretary of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
 

Research from European Central Bank Measures How Regulation Stifles Growth and Reduces Living Standards

March 19, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

It’s relatively easy to demonstrate how certain regulations make our lives less pleasant (inferior light bulbs, substandard toilets, inadequate washing machines, crummy dishwashers, etc).

Furthermore, it’s also simple to highlight examples of foolish and preposterous regulations.

And it’s a straightforward exercise (at least conceptually) to argue that regulations should pass some sort of cost-benefit test.


What’s not so easy, however, is getting folks to grasp the overall impact of red tape on growth and living standards. After all, most normal people don’t want to learn about wonky concepts such as the production possibilities frontier. And I also doubt there are many people who are interested in the technical challenge of how to measure the aggregate impact of thousand of rules and restrictions.

But these issues matter. A lot. According to Economic Freedom or the World, the regulatory burden is just as important as the fiscal burden when determining a nation’s competitiveness and economic outlook. Simply stated, our living standards are determined by productivity, which is determined by how wisely labor and capital are combined to generate output.

With this in mind, a new study from the European Central Bank helpfully examines the degree to which regulation hinders the efficient allocation of those factors of production.
The focus of this paper is on the…misallocation of labour and capital in eight macro-sectors (which include manufacturing and services) for five large euro-area countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) during the period 2002-2012. …The paper then investigates the potential determinants of changes in input misallocation by looking at traditional structural determinants, namely restrictive product and labour market regulations. …regulations that shelter firms from competition might result in poor allocation of resources because low productive firms will keep operating instead of downsizing or exiting. Similarly, stringent labour market regulation, in the form of high hiring and firing costs, might also thwart resource allocation.
For those who are interested in such things, the study looks at what drives improvements in productivity. Is it firms becoming more efficient because of competition, or is “reallocation” as weak companies vanish and dynamic new firms emerge?

The short answer, as illustrated by the table, is that both play a role.



Here are some of the issues considered in the ECB study.
In our full empirical specification, as well as initial conditions in misallocation, …we first examine the role of two structural factors, i.e. changes in both product and labour market regulations. In the presence of high barriers to entry, unproductive firms are able to survive and therefore retain productive resources which are not shifted to the most efficient firms in a given industry (Schiantarelli 2008; Restuccia and Rogerson 2013; Andrews and Cingano 2014). Furthermore, more stringent employment regulation might prevent firms from adjusting their workforce to optimal levels, therefore hampering the efficient reallocation of workers across firms (Haltiwanger, Scarpetta and Schweizer 2014; Bartelsman, Gautier and de Wind 2011). Moreover, in the labour misallocation regressions we also include an interaction term between the changes in product and labour market regulations.
Here are their estimates of both product market regulation and labor market regulation for selected nations.



It’s good to see that there’s a slight trend toward less regulation of product markets. A few nations have modestly reduced regulation of labor markets, but the most interesting observation is that this is an area where the United States has a major advantage. Only Germany is even close to America in allowing markets to operate with a high level of freedom.

Having examined the issues covered by the study, let’s now consider the results.
All discussed capital misallocation results are robust to the inclusion of market distortions, i.e. to regulatory and credit constraints. …The general decline in PMR over the period considered dampened capital misallocation dynamics… Stricter product market regulation is found to have led to higher labour misallocation growth. But we also find that more stringent labour market regulations positively correlate with labour misallocation growth, particularly in sectors characterized by more stringent product market regulations. Thus, these results support the idea that the positive effect of the tightness of PMR on labour misallocation growth is amplified if also EPL becomes more restrictive. Seen from an inverse perspective, the gains in the allocative efficiency of labour are larger if both kinds of regulation are jointly loosened.
Here’s the bottom line.
Our results therefore suggest that in order to foster a more efficient within-sector allocation of inputs across firms structural reforms, such as those lowering entry barriers for firms, removing size-contingent regulations that prevent firms from reaching their optimal size and enhancing bankruptcy regulations that facilitate the exit of unproductive firms, would be warranted. The loosening of PMR and EPL in recent years in some countries has proven to dampen misallocation dynamics, yet there is still room for further reductions, as shown for example when comparing the level of regulation with that in the U.S.
Unfortunately, I don’t expect that this study will have any sort of impact on the debate. The people who already understand the negative impact of regulation now have more evidence about the value of unfettered markets and creative destruction.

But the politicians and interest groups won’t care. They are interested in accumulating power and obtaining unearned benefits. To the extent that they would even bother to read the study, they would conclude that they should fight extra hard to preserve the status quo since they will realize that there are fewer favors to distribute when genuine capitalism is allowed to operate.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Everything You Need to Know about the Non-Existent Wage Gap between Men and Women

March 18, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

An essential part of a free market economy is the price system. The competitive pricing of goods and services transmits information to producers and consumers and creates incentives for the efficient allocation of resources. Just as the circulatory system or nervous system enables our bodies to function.

And when you weaken or cripple markets with various forms government intervention (price controls, taxes, third-party payer, etc), that leads to distortions that reduce prosperity.


This is why “paycheck fairness” proposals to address the supposed “gender pay gap” are so risky for prosperity. It’s no exaggeration to say that these “comparable worth” schemes are designed to empower bureaucrats and politicians to override market forces.


What makes all this especially frustrating is there is no systemic discrimination against females in the workplace.

One of the leading scholars in this field is Christina Hoff Summers of the American Enterprise Institute. She has dissected the data and demonstrated that there is no pay gap once factors such as occupational choice and work hours are added to the equation. And now she has a must-watch video on the subject from Prager University.



All of her data is very compelling, but the most persuasive part of the video is at the beginning when she asks why profit-seeking businesses don’t fire men and hire women if there really is a wage gap.
Statists might respond that businesses are part of some evil patriarchy and that there’s some sort of oligopolistic conspiracy to forego income in order to oppress females. But if that’s what they really think, why don’t these leftists start their own businesses and take advantage of the supposed pay gap? Not only would they earn large profits, but they would also bankrupt existing firms that ostensibly are engaging in discrimination.

Sounds like a win-win, right?

And if they respond by saying that they don’t happen to have business skills because they chose to study more enlightened topics while in school, then ask them why progressive companies from France or Sweden aren’t entering the American market and earning lots of business?

Or are they part of the patriarchal conspiracy as well? Like almost all theories based on conspiracies, this is nonsense.

Let’s close with some wisdom on this issue from one of my colleagues at the Cato Institute. Vanessa Brown Calder cites a considerable amount of data on occupational choice, but also focuses on quality-of-life and family issues.
…women are considerably more likely to absorb more care-taker responsibilities within their families, and these roles demand associated career trade-offs. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In describes 43% of highly-qualified women with children as leaving their careers or off-ramping for a period of time. And a recent Harvard Business Review report describes women as being more likely than men to make decisions “to accommodate family responsibilities, such as limiting (work-related) travel, choosing a more flexible job, slowing down the pace of one’s career, making a lateral move, leaving a job, or declining to work toward a promotion.” It’s fair to assume that such interruptions impact long-term wages substantially. In fact, when researchers try to control for these differences, the wage gap virtually disappears. …It’s likely that other, more nuanced but documented differences, like spending fewer hours on paid work per week would explain some of the remaining five percent pay differential.
The philoso-raptor agrees.


P.S. Given its track record of shoddy and biased output, is anyone surprised that the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is pushing dishonest gender pay data?

P.P.S. Even the Obama-era Council of Economic Advisers had enough integrity to disavow the feminist pay-gap numbers.

P.P.P.S. On an amusing note, here are some news reports about my interaction with the feminist left during my college years.




The social cost of carbon regulations

Anti-fossil fuel SCC relies on garbage models, ignores carbon benefits and hurts the poor
Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek
“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.
The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so. 
Indeed, fossil fuels created the modern world and the housing, transportation, other technologies and living standards so many of us take for granted. They are essential for electricity and life, and over the past 250 years they more than doubled average life expectancy in countries that took advantage of them.
But the Obama Administration and radical environmentalists despise fossil fuels and used every tactic they could devise to eliminate them. One of their most important schemes was the “social cost of carbon.”
Federal agencies used the SCC to calculate the “hidden costs” of carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuel use, by assigning a dollar value to every ton of CO2 emitted by power plants, factories, homes, vehicles and other sources. However, the entire process was little more than junk science and Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting.
First, each ton of U.S. emissions averted would initially have prevented a hypothetical $25/ton in global societal costs allegedly resulting from dangerous manmade climate change: less coastal flooding and tropical disease, fewer droughts and extreme weather events, for example. But within three years regulators arbitrarily increased the SCC to around $40/ton.
That made it easier to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless Obama Era actions on electricity generation, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies.
Second, the supposed bedrock for the concept is the now rapidly shifting sands of climate chaos theory. New questions are arising almost daily about data quality and manipulation, the degree to which carbon dioxide affects global temperatures, the complex interplay of solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces, and the inability of computer models to predict temperatures, sea level rise or hurricanes.
Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures rapidly fell back almost to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Met Office and other experts. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years. Nor are other predicted disasters happening in the real world.
That means the very notion that U.S. emissions impose major climate costs is increasingly indefensible. Moreover, developing nations are burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide at many times the U.S. rate; that means even eliminating their use in America would have no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels.
Third, the SCC scheme blames American emissions for supposed costs worldwide (even though U.S. CO2 emissions are actually declining). It incorporates almost every conceivable cost of oil, gas and coal use on crops, forests, coastal cities, property damage, “forced migration,” and human health, nutrition and disease. However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.
That violates a 1993 Bill Clinton executive order requiring that federal agencies assess both benefits and costs of proposed regulations. It is also irrational, and completely contrary to human experience.
Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease. They supply over 80% of the energy that powers United States and other modern civilizations; they will continue doing so for decades to come. They generate up to $70 trillion in annual global GDP.
Using readily available data on global living standards, economies, disease, nutrition, life spans and other benefits – and the government’s own SCC cost figures and methodologies – we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1 and as much as 500 to 1!
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of worldwide energy through 2040 – when the total amount of energy consumed will be at least 25% greater than today. That means these notable benefit-cost ratios will continue. The Obama Era SCC ignores all of this, too.
Fourth, SCC schemes likewise impute only costs to carbon dioxide emissions. However, as thousands of scientific studies verify, rising levels of this miracle molecule are “greening” the Earth – reducing deserts, and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. No matter which government report or discount rate is used, asserted social costs of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere are infinitesimal compared to its estimated benefits.
Fifth, government officials claim they can accurately forecast damages to the world’s climate, economies, civilizations, populations and ecosystems from U.S. carbon dioxide emissions over the next three centuries. They say we must base today’s energy policies, laws and regulations on those forecasts.
The notion is delusional and dangerous. The rate of change in energy generation and other technologies has become exponential over the past several decades, with forecasting ability declining at an equal rate. Uncertainties over man and nature-driven climate changes during the next 300 years are equally colossal. Combining all the SCC assumptions, methodologies, fabrications and omissions, and injecting its absurd predictions into high-speed computer models, just means bogus forecasts are generated more quickly.
Finally, the most fundamental issue isn’t even the social cost of carbon. It is the costs inflicted on society by anti-carbon regulations. Those rules replace fossil fuel revenues with renewable energy subsidies; reliable, affordable electricity with unreliable power that costs two to three times as much; and mines, drill holes, cropland and wildlife habitats with tens of millions of acres of wind, solar and biofuel “farms.”
Anti-carbon rules are designed to drive energy de-carbonization and modern nation de-industrialization. Perhaps worst, their impacts fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families. Those families spend proportionately three to ten times more of their incomes on energy than families earning $50,000 to $250,000 a year. They have little discretionary income and face the greatest risk of having their electricity cut off – as happened to 330,000 families during 2015 in ultra-green Germany. Worldwide, billions of people still do not have electricity – and the SCC would keep them deprived of its benefits.
Bureaucrats, activists, scientists and corporate rent-seekers certainly welcome the SCC mumbo-jumbo. They have profited the most from the countless billions that Obama regulatory agencies lavished on them every year, and from the tens of billions that Mr. Obama stashed in dozens of agencies, programs and crannies throughout the government, so they couldn’t easily be found or cut.
Above all, they would profit massively from the $93 trillion that the Financial Stability Board’s climate task force says the world must spend in low-carbon infrastructure programs over the next 15 years, as part of the Obama-UN-FSB-Climate Crisis, Inc. plan to de-carbonize and de-industrialize the planet.
Taxpayers, consumers and families would be hammered if the Climate Cabal got even more power over energy policies, economic growth, livelihoods and living standards. Thankfully, eliminating the social cost of carbon and programs implemented under it requires little more than applying the same rules and standards that government regulators have imposed on Volkswagen, Fiat and Wall Street dishonesty.
That is why the Trump Administration is challenging the SCC, climate cataclysm deception, and the bloated EPA budget behind so much of it. It’s why the House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees held a hearing on the SCC, and why we and other experts will eviscerate it during the upcoming Heartland Institute 12th International Climate Conference in Washington, DC.
It’s time to rescind and defund the SCC – and replace it with honest, objective cost-benefit analyses.
Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc. Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and human rights.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Price of Privilege

Posted by Daniel Greenfield Thursday, March 16, 201712 Comments @ Sultan Knish Blog
A proposal has been making its way through the social justice sewer system to have white people pay a 5% privilege tax.

That would be a lot cheaper than the current wealth redistribution built into the tax system.

In 2004, black people made up 12% of the population and 20% of those who didn’t file taxes at all. It was estimated that 50.7% of African American households, 52% of Hispanic households and 37% of white households paid no income taxes.

The numbers would likely have only gotten worse after the recession, which destroyed large numbers of African-American jobs, and the Obama years, which traded social welfare for economic progress,

An otherwise equal tax system with a 5% white privilege tax would be an enormous improvement.

How do you calculate the income losses for a white student shut out of college by affirmative action or a white business owner’s income losses due to preferential business programs aimed at minorities?

The white student would happily pay that 5% to be allowed to go to college instead of being told that more diverse students with worse grades will cut ahead of him in line because they are “disadvantaged”. It would be easier for the white business owner to calculate in a fixed privilege tax for an otherwise competitive market than the intangible forms of diversity discrimination that rig the game.

A 5% white privilege tax would be far too honest. The real tax is hidden and much higher.

But the white privilege tax does raise all sorts of fascinating questions. How do you calculate it? It can’t be by appearing or identifying as a minority. Such an unfair performative system would allow Rachel Dolezal, aka Nkechi Diallo, to escape paying her white privilege tax after unfairly exploiting her white privilege to head the NAACP.

If white people can just braid their hair in dreadlocks and spend a week in a tanning salon before renaming themselves Mkesi Daluboo or Willami Clintonoo, what good is a white privilege tax?

The only fair way to do it is with a DNA test.

Commercially available DNA tests make it easy to calculate the percentage of European and more diversely non-European ancestry. Every taxpayer could establish the exact diversity of his ancestry and determine his privilege tax that way.

The results would be interesting.

The average African-American is around a quarter European. That means he would be required to pay a 1.25% white privilege tax. Obama’s white privilege tax would be at least 2.5%. It would have been higher, but Africans have less European ancestry, with its accompanying white privilege, than African-Americans, even though they were never actually enslaved in the United States.

Henry Louis Gates Jr, the Obama pal who blamed racism for his confrontation with police, has 50% European ancestry. That will be a 2.5% white privilege tax. Please.

Latinos in this country average around 70 percent European ancestry. That’s a 3.5% white privilege tax.

The minority taxpayer likely to end up with the lowest white privilege tax would be Asian-American. Asian-Americans have some of the highest economic performance around, but they are also untainted by the evil curse of white privilege having no European ancestry whatsoever.

But Asian-Americans do have high intermarriage rates so before long their children, like much of the population of the United States, will end up with European ancestry and white privilege.

Is there an alternative to this madness?

We could make the white privilege tax performative so that Rachel Dolezal would pay zero white privilege tax while Clarence Thomas would pay 5 percent.

The wealthy white boy in dreadlocks who lights up at Bob Marley tribute concerts and denounces our “unjust, racist society” would be free of his white privilege tax while his fellow African-American student who is poor, works hard and speaks like William F. Buckley would be hit with the full privilege tax bill.

If race is just a social construct then we might as well be honest about rewarding obnoxious behavior.

Rachel Dolezal can run the NAACP, teach a useless identity politics course, sell hideous identity politics art, then go on food stamps after her fraud is exposed, and write a book blaming racism. The social construct we’re rewarding here is not race, but obnoxious and exploitative behavior.

And anyone can be obnoxious.

We can punish white privilege based on DNA tests or based on behavior. But the vast majority of Americans have European ancestry. And those who have the least European ancestry also have the least history of oppression. The mad social justice impulse to eradicate “whiteness” is a campaign to eradicate America. The only people who could be pure of “white privilege” are the newest immigrants from cultures that were too far away, xenophobic or homogenous to have European ancestry.

Only Japan or Saudi Arabia can be truly free of white privilege.

Either that or we follow the sordid tradition of punishing ideas of race. We can tax people for being insufficiently stereotypical. We can harm those who strive to succeed to benefit the Al Sharpton and Rachel Dolezal shakedown crew who monetize the failures of communities for their own profit.

There is one more option.

We can be Americans. We are, as President Trump said, “one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we are all made by the same God.”

The civil war and the civil rights movement were both made possible by that common understanding of nationhood and origin. But the sad legacy of the civil rights movement is that it descended into divisive Black Nationalist movements that rejected a common nationhood and into radical leftist politics that rejected religion, while, in the Obama style, appropriating its dramatic gestures and oratorical force.

Take away any national commonality and you are left with quarreling tribes using bloc voting, group alliances and aggrieved narratives to lay claim to power and privilege.

Anti-racism has become a narrow tribal campaign that invokes diversity to appear universal. Its goal is not a more united country, but a more successfully divided one. The strange alliance of white leftists who want to destroy “whiteness” to create a truly universal society and Black Nationalists who want a tribal society can only result in a nation that is less united and more divided along the lines of race.

So why not levy a 5% white privilege tax? Every racist movement blames its abuses on its victims. It calls its greed, justice and its hatred, love of its own people. It makes up for its insecurity with anger.

That is all the social justice movements of the left have to offer us. They campaign against racism with more racism. A toxic mix of narcissistic self-pity, angry insecurity and entitled greed lurks under their pseudointellectual identity politics. The men who founded this nation were not perfect, but they believed in being better than they were. The leftists riding the nuclear bomb of identity politics down through the clouds to a radioactive utopia of utter misery believe only in making it worse.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder was right. We are a nation of cowards on race. And that is what he, and the other racists and radicals, are counting on. We are too afraid to defy those who divide us.

Too afraid to stand up to him and to all those like him who have been passing off racism as progress, too afraid of false accusations of racism by racists like him and too afraid to rebuild this country as a united nation rather than a collection of intersectional tribes allied against the idea of a common racial enemy.

We can be one nation. Or we can start charging racial taxes. The choice is ours.