Todd Hollenbeck

Everyone wants to Save the World, as long as Everyone else pays for it

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 4:34 PM PERMALINK

The BBC reported yesterday that the Copenhagen climate summit negotiations have been suspended. The China-led G77 coalition of developing nations (and some wealthy nations like South Korea) have withdrawn their co-operation due to the “Danish text” that leaked last week. Turns out, the developing countries do not want to be penalized more than developed nations to prevent mythical climate change. Who would have thought central planning of the world economy would be so difficult?

The negotiations are supposedly based on the absolute certainty of the “settled science” that the planet will die if they do not act now to curb carbon emissions. They tell us dooms day predictions of mass extinctions, droughts, floods, heat waves, ice ages, malaria increases, etc. if something drastic isn’t done right now. So what is the problem?
They are certain of our imminent demise, but strangely, no one wants to put their money where their mouth is. Wealthy countries do not want to cripple their own economies, so they want the poor countries to bear the burdens and pay the price. The poor countries do not want to suffer for a problem they blame on the rich countries and do not want to doom themselves to perpetual poverty. But why?
If you knew with absolute certainty (remember, “the science is settled”) that you and your family and everyone you love would die unless you spent every dime you have on a solution, would you hesitate to do it? Would you stall and play political games, knowing everyone you know will die? The only things that would make you hesitate are a) there is doubt about the cause and/or severity of the danger, or b) you know it is made up and you are using it to push a hidden agenda.
If you goal is to scare everyone so you can profit from their fear (either through subsidies for green technology, increased tax revenue, or increased power) then you would obviously not want to spend your own resources to fix a problem that you exaggerated or invented. The actions at this conference should tell us all we need to know about the dangers of climate change. The attendees at this conference are the biggest group of global warming alarmists on the planet. Yet they fly private jets around the world, bring in limos from other parts of Europe, and produce more CO2 than a midsized city (more here). They eat fancy meals and get numerous other perks. Then when it is time to sit down and save the world, they try to loot each other and score political points. Doesn’t sound like they are very concerned with stopping the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

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When Governments Get Together Someone Suffers

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009, 4:23 PM PERMALINK

At the onset of the Copenhagen conference the fear was that a binding agreement would cripple the US economy and the economies of other developed nations (and do not think that is off the table), but a leaked document called the “Danish Text” seems to have other plans.

The Guardian reports that a group called "the circle of commitment" has drafted a secret agreement known as the “Danish Text” which flips the Kyoto agreement on its head. Rather than penalizing rich countries and forcing the burden of carbon reduction on them, this agreement would put a heavier burden on poorer, developing nations.
The Copenhagen debates seem to focus on the premise that Global Warming is an immediate threat and that someone has to suffer in order to fix it. It is obvious from their behavior at the conference that the rich “Green Elites” do not want to suffer, so who else can they make suffer? Obviously, the same people who always suffer from Government Planning: poor people. Sometime Government Planning hurts poor people indirectly such as inner city children suffering from failing public school. Other times it hurts then directly such as the use of eminent domain take their property to rid the community of “blight” or to sell it to developers to increase tax revenue. The result is always the same, the connected elites win and everyone else loses.
The United States must oppose any binding agreement in Copenhagen. If the options presented are to destroy our own economy or to permanently destroy the economies of developing countries, the only option available for President Obama is to say “NO.”

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Obama's Plan: Make existing jobs too expensive, replace with subsidized "Green Jobs." Good Plan.

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Monday, December 7th, 2009, 12:41 PM PERMALINK

Last week, Roll Call reported that President Obama pushed Cap-and-Trade at his so-called “Jobs Summit” as a way to create “green jobs” to lower the staggering unemployment. His plan is to increase the costs of producing carbon to the point that “green” technologies are cheaper by comparison. Notice I wrote, “by comparison” it would not actually be cheaper to switch to “green” technologies it would just be cheaper than continuing to use fossil fuels after the government jacks up the taxes and regulations.

This plan will destroy efficient jobs by increasing energy costs, forcing businesses, and even entire industries to close their doors. Some companies will shift to “green” technologies and other “green” companies will spring up, however, this plan does not make them any more viable in the market place. As a result, the government will pay billion in subsidies just to keep these businesses alive.
How does destroying efficient jobs and replacing them with inefficient, subsidized jobs create more net jobs and help the economy? Click here for our one-page summery to find out (Spoiler: It doesn’t).

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Tort Reform: Popular Because it is Right

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Friday, December 4th, 2009, 10:45 AM PERMALINK

A recent Rasmussen poll shows that 57% of voters nationwide favor limiting the amount of money a jury can award a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit. On top of that, 47% believe that limiting the jury awards would reduce the cost for health care.

I do not tend to put a lot of credence in polling data. Even if we assume that the poll is a valid measure of public opinion, just because 57% of people believe something is true does not mean it is necessarily true. If that were that case than “Family Guy” would be a funnier show than “Arrested Development” because it had better ratings. This of course is just silly, so we should not judge something based solely on its popularity. Tort reform, however, is not only popular it also makes logical sense.
People are concerned with the high costs of health care, and with good reason, no one disputes that it is expensive. The debate is how to lower the costs while maintaining high quality. Should we put more government restrictions and increased costs on doctors and hospitals or should we lower these burdens and allow the free market to work? Tort reform is by no means the magic bullet that will solve all of the problems. It is one piece of the puzzle that will help bring down operating costs for doctors and as a result lower costs for patients.
The same principle applies to tort reform that applies to tax reform. High taxes and complicated compliance regulations increase costs for businesses. The businesses then pass these costs on to customers increasing prices for everyone. If the taxes and regulations become too burdensome, the business will simply close its doors, firing its employees and removing its product or service from the market. Everyone loses. The same principle applies to doctors when it comes to malpractice costs. If a doctor pays increased costs due to unreasonable malpractice settlements and in turn buys more and more malpractice insurance, he will pass those increased costs on to his patients. If the costs or fear of lawsuits becomes too great, the doctor will leave the profession, or some may choose to never become doctors. Fewer doctors also lead to higher costs and lower quality because of less competition.
Any talk of health care reform that does not include tort reform lacks a major component for lowering costs and increasing quality. The current health care proposals do not include tort reform. In addition, health care reform should include greater free market competition for health insurance by allowing people to buy insurance across state lines (which two-thirds of the country supports, according to Rasmussen). A great explanation on free market solutions to lower the costs and increase the quality of health care is available in the Winter 2007-2008 issue of The Objective Standard. It is a long article, but worth the time for anyone who is serious about fixing health care.

Drill Baby Drill...Just Not There...Or There... Or Over There, Or There either...

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 5:26 PM PERMALINK

As a lifelong Coloradoan I was excited when Obama selected Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior, because then he would no longer be our Senator. As an American, I was sad when Obama selected Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior, because, well, he would be Secretary of the Interior. A new report from the Institute for Energy Research shows that my sadness was justified.

The Department of the Interior recently issued a press release bragging about when a great job they are doing with onshore and offshore oil leases. They have leased 55 million acres in 29 onshore and 2 offshore auctions this year. These leases have collected more then $931 million in revenue. That’s great, Ken, but how much revenue did you get last year from offshore and onshore leases?
Ten. Billion. Dollars. That’s right, this year’s revenues are one-tenth of last year’s revenues. The country is hemorrhaging money on stimulus schemes, borrowing and printing to finance our outrageous debt, and sitting on millions of acres of land that could be earning revenue, creating jobs, and lowering energy costs for hurting American families.
There were fewer onshore acres leased in 2009 than in any previous year. Only 1,028,299 of the 2,888,354 acres were leased and another 77,055 that were leased in Utah in 2008 were rescinded or deferred.
Offshore the numbers are even worse. Only 53 million acres were authorized to be leased and of those only about 2.7 million were leased. The following charts show the offshore acreage offered and leased under the discretion of the Obama Administration. The charts do not include lease sale 208, which Congress mandated under the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act of 2006 and finalized one week before Obama took office. This lease accounted for 65% of the total offshore acreage offered and 70% of the offshore acreage leased. It was also responsible for 74% of the $930 million revenue collected from all leases. The Obama Administration played no part in its sale and was also unable to prevent the sale.
Wasting these valuable resources at a time when Americans need them most is reckless and irresponsible. Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration are placating the environmentalist fringe and you are paying the price.

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10 Reasons to be Thankful that Cap and Trade Hasn't Passed

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 3:41 PM PERMALINK

This year we have much for which to be thankful: family, friends, and the Obama-Reid-Pelosi National Energy Tax (Cap and Trade) has not yet become law to name a few. We would like to remind you of 10 reasons you should be thinkful for that this year: 

  1. We don’t have to pay over $100 billion in additional taxes.
  2. We don’t have to pay an additional $3.6 trillion in gas taxes.
  3. We won’t lose 1.1 million jobs between 2012 and 2030 and 2.5 million each year after that.
  4. We haven’t made new industries that are dependent on government handouts for their survival.
  5. We don’t have a new bureaucracy in place to allocate and sell carbon credits that will increase corruption and favoritism in Washington, DC.
  6. Our energy costs will not go up by $1500 per year for a family of four.
  7. We won’t have our national debt increase by 26 percent by 2030. An increase of $116,600 for a family of four.
  8. We won’t have protectionist tariffs to create trade wars and cause increased prices and shortages on the goods we need.
  9. We won’t have a reduction in GDP of $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2030.
  10. We won’t have a 58% increase in gas prices. 
A PDF of ATR’s press release can be found here

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Senate Cap and Trade Update

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 2:36 PM PERMALINK

With all of the excitement about the Healthcare Bill, ever growing unemployment rate, Obama flying over seas (on a huge jet), and Sarah Palin signing books we felt it was a good time to update you all on the progress of the Cap and Trade Energy Tax making its way through the Senate. Here is what you need to know before you head off for your carbon-filled Thanksgiving festivities:
The ironically named “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,” which will without a doubt not create jobs or produce American power, is currently undergoing hearings in the United States Committee on Finance. The last hearing was on Nov. 10-2009 titled “Climate Change Legislation: Considerations for Future Jobs.” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist submitted testimony for the hearing available here. The Finance Committee’s website does not have further hearings scheduled.
A recent headcount shows that as of Nov. 6, 2009 there are 27 Senators sitting on the fence. Those Senators are:


Max Baucus (Mont.)
Evan Bayh (Ind.) *
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Sherrod Brown (Ohio) *
Robert Byrd (W.Va.) *
Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
Claire McCaskill (Mo.) *
Kent Conrad (N.D.) *
Mark Pryor (Ark.) *
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) *
Byron Dorgan (N.D.) *
Arlen Specter (Pa.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) *
Jon Tester (Mont.)
Carl Levin (Mich.) *
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) *
Jim Webb (Va.) *
Bob Corker (Tenn.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Richard Lugar (Ind.)
John McCain (Ariz.)
Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Judd Gregg (N.H.)
George LeMieux (Fla.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
George Voinovich (Ohio)

* Gang of 15 | Italics: Faces re-election in 2010 | Bold: Retiring

If you see your Senator on this list, we encourage you to call them and let them know where you stand on this massive job killing energy tax.

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Congressman Latta Requests Hearing on Impacts of Cap and Trade

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Friday, November 20th, 2009, 3:03 PM PERMALINK

 A letter went out today from Congressman Bob Lattea (R-Ohio) on behalf of 31 other Midwestern Colleagues requesting a joint hearing with the House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and House Committee on Small Businesses to examine the effects of climate change regulations on manufacturing, agriculture, and small businesses in the Midwest. The letter is available in PDF format here.

“Cap-and-Trade legislation, which will have an effect on the energy, jobs, businesses, and industries in the Midwest who rely heavily on coal and natural gas, should be examined and fully considered for negative effects before further proceeding. We need to keep American Farmers to feed America, out manufacturers to keep our citizens by making American-made products, and our small businesses to be given incentives to create jobs and expand operations to new markets.”
Signers of the letter included: House Republican leader John Boehner, Mike Pence, Todd Tiahrt, and Michele Bachmann among others.

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"[C]arbon credits won't matter" Says Senator Vitter (R-La.)

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009, 3:04 PM PERMALINK

An article yesterday by David Freddoso in the Washington Examiner explains how a provision in the Senate Climate Bill will expand the power of the executive branch to regulate carbon emissions and render the carbon credits created by the bill effectively useless. Senator Vitter held a press conference yesterday to talk about an “emergency provision” of the Kerry-Boxer bill that would require the President to “direct all Federal agencies to use existing statutory authority to take appropriate address shortfalls" if greenhouse gas levels climb above 450 parts per million. According to the Pacific Northwest National lab that limit will be reached in 2010 if undeveloped nations do not impose carbon restrictions on themselves.

This “carbon emergency” could result in the denial of all discretionary permits for carbon-emitting industries, and EPA regulation of carbon emissions. "In that context, the carbon credits won't matter," Vitter told Freddoso yesterday. Even if a future President doesn’t want to penalize businesses based on an arbitrarily set threshold, the language of the bill would force the President to take the required action. This would also be a handy excuse for a President trying to have his cake and eat it to. He could expand his own power, while holding favor with voters because “his hands are tied.”
A similar provision also appeared in the House-passed Waxman-Markey Energy Tax. Wondering why you have never heard of it? "This provision was not focused on to any significant extent during the House debate," said Vitter. It is very easy to slip things into bills unnoticed when they are 1428 pages long.

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Global Warming Has Brought on A New Ice Age!

Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 5:05 PM PERMALINK

Data on the average national temperatures from the NOAA came out for the month of October, and it is worse than we could have imagined… October was the 3rd coldest month on record! That’s right, global warming has become so intense, it is ushering in a new ice age. The NOAA reports, “The average October temperature of 50.8°F was 4.0°F below the 20th Century average and ranked as the 3rd coolest based on preliminary data.” Now one month of cooling doesn’t mean an ice age is coming, but the earth has been cooling since 1998! We must act immediately!

Climate legislation going through the Senate seeks to save us from “climate change” by limiting carbon emissions. Increased carbon emissions caused a “greenhouse effect” which changed the climate and caused the earth to warm. The increases in carbon eventually changed the climate again and the earth is now cooling. The carbon has continued to increase and the planet has warmed (slightly) and cooled (slightly), so if we now reduce the carbon, the climate will change and become …? Warmer? Cooler? Wait, hold on, um…..???

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