Energy Used vs Wealth

  By Bob Shapiro – Image from WUWT

As per capita use of energy goes up, so does wealth. Making energy cheaper means more energy can be used, which translates into a higher standard of living. To make people poorer – lowering their standard of living – you raise the cost of energy, reducing the per capita use of energy.

By forcing greater use of more costly solar, wind, and other uneconomical renewables, the US and other western governments (and the NGOs supporting the Global Warming nonsense) are spreading poverty throughout their countries.

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Fleeing California

Re-Blogged From Prager University

Why are millions of people leaving California and moving to other states? What do those states have that California doesn’t? PragerU’s first mini documentary explores the root causes of this mass exodus from the Golden State. “Fleeing California,” featuring PragerU’s own Will Witt, sheds light on one of the most significant but underreported stories of our time.

Please view the VIDEO.

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Virginia’s Clean Economy Act

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

850-foot-tall turbines, 3.5 times DC covered with solar panels, mining, child labor, pricey power

Largely with party-line, urban-vs-rural votes, Virginia’s legislature is poised to enact a Clean Economy Act that would eliminate coal-based electricity generation, prevent construction of new gas-fired power plants – and replace reliable, affordable fossil energy with wind, solar and battery-backup power. The bill offers important cautionary lessons for voters, workers and consumers in Virginia and across the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has said Virginia has “a climate problem, and you can’t fix it for free.” However, the climate crisis is mostly exaggerated, imaginary or based on faulty computer models. Worse, the “fix” will be pricey on many levels, but won’t make an iota of difference to the global climate.

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The Market Will Set You Free

By Andy Puzder

It’s time for free-market capitalism to reclaim its legacy as a creator of prosperity — not just for citizens of the Western world, but for people everywhere. It’s not capitalism that has to justify itself; it’s everything else. Why? Because everything else has resulted only in poverty. Does that surprise you? Are you skeptical? Andy Puzder, author of “The Capitalist Comeback,” has the charts and data to prove it.

Please view the VIDEO

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Irrational Fears Of Deflation

The benefits of a deflation of prices brought about by a combination of sound money and markets free from government intervention have been demonstrated to be the best economic environment, the denial of which in favour of inflationary financing has led to repeated monetary and systemic failures.

This article explains how this has come about and puts the record on deflation straight. The development of macroeconomic theory had to deny the benefits of a deflation of prices, unbelievably telling us we need higher prices to stimulate our consumption.

Deflation and investment funded by savings is a far better, natural economic environment than the false gods of easy debt and money printing. There can be no return to the stability of gentle price deflation without seismic shifts in economic thinking and government responsibilities.

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Palm Oil – A Gift or a Curse?

Re-Blogged From WUWT

Oil palm is alternatively seen as a gift from god or a crime against humanity; according to science, it is neither

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

IMAGE: The view of an oil palm plantation in Indonesia. Credit: Douglas Sheil

IMAGE: The view of an oil palm plantation in Indonesia. Credit: Douglas Sheil

Oil palm is neither the devil’s work, nor a godsend to humanity. Its effects on its surroundings largely depends on case-specific circumstances. Those who ask to boycott all palm oil due to its contribution to deforestation should also consider boycotting coffee, chocolate and coconut if they wish to be consistent.

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Give thanks that we no longer live on the precipice

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Fossil fuels helped humanity improve our health, living standards and longevity in just 200 years

Thanksgiving is a good time to express our sincere gratitude that we no longer “enjoy” the “simpler life of yesteryear.” As my grandmother said, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

For countless millennia, mankind lived on a precipice, in hunter-gatherer, subsistence farmer and primitive urban industrial societies powered by human and animal muscle, wood, charcoal, animal dung, water wheels and windmills. Despite backbreaking dawn-to-dusk labor, wretched poverty was the norm; starvation was a drought, war or long winter away; rampant diseases and infections were addressed by herbs, primitive medicine and superstition. Life was “eco-friendly,” but life spans averaged 35 to 40 years.

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The Mythology and Mathematics of Income Disparity

By Granddad – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

There are those who tell us that all of the benefits of tax cuts and the wealth created by our booming economy goes to the very rich; that the “one percent” has taken it all, leaving the middle class and poor behind. We are told that disparity of income and wealth, the distance between rich and poor, is at record levels, and this is a threat to our democracy. We are also often told that income disparity results from the greed and avarice inherent in a capitalist society.

This mythology is difficult to reconcile with history or arithmetic. In real dollars, the four wealthiest men early in the twentieth century, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Ford were as rich as any today. Meanwhile, only the very rich had indoor plumbing and carriages, labor had no union bargaining power, consumers had no protection against monopolies, farmers had no electricity or tractors and the government proffered no welfare benefits or other income transfers. In earlier times kings and queens and their retinue controlled all wealth.  In ancient Rome, there were only landed patricians, plebes, and slaves. The patricians, one hundred families, less than two percent of the population ruled the Roman Empire and controlled virtually all the wealth for over two centuries. In the Roman Republic, fifteen percent of the population was enslaved.

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Poverty and Energy

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Poverty and access to energy are closely related. Although it probably isn’t possible to show that access to energy is the key reason so many have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, the data and logic suggests that this so. In the United States, the average person uses about 300 million BTUs of energy per year according to the EIA. This is equivalent to the manual labor of 69 healthy people working hard for 6 hours per day. Worldwide, the average person uses 73 million BTUs, the equivalent of 16 hardworking people.

Prior to the industrial age, which began with the first practical coal- and wood-fired steam engines between 1712 and 1776, slavery, bonded servants and serfs were common, this group made up over 90% of the world’s population in 1800. For a few people to live well they needed lots of servants and domestic animals to do the manual labor for them. Now, in the age of electricity, petroleum and nuclear powerplants, most manual labor can be done by machines. No longer do a few wealthy people live from the labor of others, everyone who has access to energy can live well. Before the industrial age, nearly everyone was extremely poor as seen in Figure 1, today fewer than 10% are extremely poor.

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Pope Francis’s Misguided War

By H. Sterling Burnett – Re-Blogged From American Thinker

It seems that Pope Francis has learned little since his 2015 papal encyclical calling on the world to fight climate change by limiting the use of modern technologies and fossil fuels. At a recent Vatican meeting he called many of the world’s leading oil company executives to the carpet. Francis told the executives they should shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to fight “global warming.”

Pope Francis has myriad misguided beliefs about climate science, almost all of which he holds based on faith alone, as if they were holy writ. Even worse, his belief that society can transition from fossil fuels while reducing hunger and poverty is downright dangerous.

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Do Humans Harm the Environment?

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This is the first of seven posts on the potential costs and hazards of human-caused global warming and the impact of humans on the environment in general. The IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, defines “hazards” on page 39:

“The potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend or physical impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems, and environmental resources. In this report, the term hazard usually refers to climate-related physical events or trends or their physical impacts.”

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Energy and Society from now until 2040

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

ExxonMobil released its 2017 Outlook for Energy, A View to 2040 in mid-December. David Middleton has written that the report reveals wind and solar will supply a whopping 4% of global energy by 2040! He also reports that wind and solar capacity will grow, but we will only be able to utilize 30% of the wind capacity and 20% of the solar capacity due to their intermittent nature. This is true, but the report has much more to say and this year the nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State makes it even more important. Here we will cover some the other numbers in the report.

The cost of energy is closely correlated to standard of living. In addition, it has often influenced major political decisions, like Germany’s decision to invade Russia or Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbor in World War II. Figure 1 shows the relationship between per capita GDP (one standard measure of standard of living) and annual per capita electricity consumption for 218 countries in the CIA Factbook. Excluding the anomalous countries listed in the upper right of the figure the R2 is acceptable. The least squares line suggests that each 0.2 kWhr/person of electricity consumed annually can raise GDP by one dollar per person. Obviously, other factors are important also, but the trend suggests that per capita GDP is positively influenced by the electricity consumed or that countries with a higher standard of living use more electricity.

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The Average American Today Is Richer than John D. Rockefeller

By   – Re-Blogged From The Foundation for Economic Education

This Atlantic story reveals how Americans lived 100 years ago. By the standards of a middle-class American today, that lifestyle was poor, inconvenient, dreary, and dangerous. (Only a few years later — in 1924 — the 16-year-old son of a sitting US president would die of an infected blister that the boy got on his toe while playing tennis on the White House grounds.)

So here’s a question that I’ve asked in one form or another on earlier occasions, but that is so probing that I ask it again: What is the minimum amount of money that you would demand in exchange for your going back to live even as John D. Rockefeller lived in 1916?

21.7 million 2016 dollars (which are about one million 1916 dollars)? Would that do it? What about a billion 2016 — or 1916 — dollars? Would this sizable sum of dollars be enough to enable you to purchase a quantity of high-quality 1916 goods and services that would at least make you indifferent between living in 1916 America and living (on your current income) in 2016 America?

Think about it. Hard. Carefully.

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How Access to Energy Brought Humanity Forward

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

I got an email today that contained a blog post about another subject unrelated to climate or energy, but it had this graph in it that caught my eye:

global-gdp-since-steam-engine

The invention of the steam engine (which used coal and wood at first, with oil and natural gas coming later) seems to be the catalyst for change in the human race. Now that’s a hockey stick we can all get behind!

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The Value of Petroleum Fuels

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

It is difficult to compare 1840 to 2015, so much of what we have today didn’t exist then.  But, they had to move people and goods from place to place as we do now.  They had farms then as we do now. They used wagons pulled by horses, mules or oxen.  We use cars and airplanes. They used muscle power to farm, we use tractors, combines, grain carts, and trucks powered by petroleum fuels. In 1840 crude oil and natural gas production and use were rare. Coal was used in manufacturing, but steam engines were still in their infancy. So the world in 1840 was fossil fuel free for the most part. Biofuels, that is burning wood and dung, were common. Windmills would not appear until 1854. Hydropower was not in common use until after 1849. Solar power had not been invented yet.

The cost of gasoline can be seen on the sign at any gas station, but what is its value?  Using gasoline or diesel saves us time and manual labor. It also saves air, water and waste pollution. Let us not forget that the automobile was lauded as a great environmental improvement after the “Great Horse Manure Crisis” of 1894. Nothing like having horse manure up to your knees to help you appreciate gasoline!

How much manual labor is replaced when we use gasoline? In other words what is the value of gasoline? In large part our standard of living is determined by the difference between what we pay for petroleum fuels and coal and their value in time and labor. I’ll try and compute that value by comparing a 1,812 mile trip, along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in 1840 with a trip today. I’ll also compute the value of diesel by comparing a 10 acre grain harvest in 1840 to a harvest today.

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OMG: Do a Million Americans Really Have no Toilet?

By Ryan McMaken – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

The Drudge Report today features the headline: “BUST: 1.1 million Americans don’t have a toilet…”

Drudge then links to today’s article in The Week where the headline blares “A shocking number of Americans don’t have a toilet.”

I have been accused of being a perma-bear, and I admit I like to click on any link declaring “BUST,” but this is one indicator of our declining standard of living that should be ignored.

Thanks to markets, capitalism, and the massive amounts of wealth that has been generated in the US over the past 200 years, virtually everyone who lives anywhere near a city in the US has easy access to toilets.

Historically, it has not always been so, of course, which is why the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a measure in its “Better Life Index” called “dwellings without basic facilities.”  Naturally, when it comes to constructing measures of quality of life, having a functioning toilet around is something people figured was worth measuring. So, the OECD measures what percentage of the population has an indoor flushing toilet. (Out houses don’t count.)

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The War on Cars Is a War on Workers and the Poor

By Gary Galles – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

A just-released poll of Los Angeles residents found that 55 percent of respondents indicated their greatest concern was “traffic and congestion,” far ahead of “personal safety” — the next highest area of concern — at 35 percent. So if their city government was working in their best interests, it would be doing something about automobile congestion.

It is. Unfortunately, it will make things worse.

Los Angeles’s recently adopted Mobility Plan 2035 would replace auto lanes in America’s congestion capital with bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, despite heightening congestion for the vast majority who will continue to drive. Even the City’s Environmental Impact Report admitted “unavoidable significant adverse impacts” on congestion, doubling the number of heavily congested (graded F) intersections to 36 percent during evening rush hours.

Driving Saves Time and Offers More Opportunity

Such an effort to ration driving by worsening gridlock purgatory begs asking a central, but largely ignored, question. Why do planners’ attempts to force residents into walking, cycling, and mass transit — supposedly improving their quality of life — attract so few away from driving?

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The Single Most Important Thing About the US Economy Sure Looks Broken

By James Pethokoukis – Re-Blogged From the American Enterprise Institute

US productivity in the second quarter grew at the fastest pace since the end of 2013, according to revised government figures. This is good. But if you pull back the camera, longer-term productivity growth remains terribly worrisome. IHS Global Insight:

This update does not change the underlying story. Productivity growth remains low. The slowdown started about 10 years ago. The Great Recession muddied the data, making it difficult to tell whether the slowdown was a byproduct of the business cycle or something fundamental. In recent years, it has become clear that something was fundamentally off.

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Really Measuring Real GDP

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Consider two families. Both have a weekly income of $1000, and both spend it all.

Next year, one family gets a $30 raise (3%) and again spends it all ($1030). The second family does not get a raise, but it borrows $30 and spends all $1030.

Question: Are both families doing just as well, or is one doing better than the other?

My guess is that you can see that it is earnings which are important, rather than spending. I expect that you will agree that family one is 3% better off than family two, which borrowed 3% to match the spending of family one.

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Have Fossil Fuels Diminished the World’s Sustainability and Resilience?

By Indur M. Goklany – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

The recent Papal Encyclical on the environment’s endorsement of “changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat…warming,” and drastic reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions is based on the notion that “it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society…” and that the “exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits” (paragraphs 23. 27). It also reflects the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences’ Declaration which asserts that “Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience” (p. 1).

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America’s Standard of Living

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

How does the Standard of Living in an Economy grow?

During the Dark and Middle Ages, there was very little innovation. There was very little effort expended to find new ways of doing things – of finding ways to create more while using the same amount of effort.

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Taxes vs Subsidies

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

There’s a truism in economics that, if you want more of something you subsidize it, and if you want less of it then you tax it. A quick look at government policy here in the US shows that this is as true today as it ever was.

But, since Americans have been taught to have knee jerk reactions, let’s try just to look as dispassionately as possible, not considering whether any of the policies are “needed desperately,” “are for a good cause,” or some other worthwhile purpose. Let’s just look at what is.

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The Gruberization of Environmental Policies

Paul Driessen   by Paul Driessen

Accumulation of fraudulent EPA regulations impacts energy, economy, jobs, families and health

Call it the Gruberization of America’s energy and environmental policies.

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of transparency is a huge political

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Control Our Government to Raise Americans’ Standard of Living

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg  By Bob Shapiro

 

Welcome to US Issues Blog. This is the first of (hopefully many) posts. Let’s jump right in!

The US Economy and Americans’ standard of living have grown tremendously over the last 100 years. This growth wasn’t all in a straight line.

Before the Great Depression, worker productivity gained at roughly 3.5% a year. During the 1950s and 1960s, productivity growth had slowed to around 2.5%, and continued going down to about 2% until 2000. Continue reading