Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #370

The Week That Was: August 3, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.”— Michael Crichton [H/t William Readdy]

Number of the Week: 1998 and 2016

Confusing Planet: Our planet is a complex place, no doubt confusing global warming headline seekers. About 71%of the surface is water (ocean), 29% is land. Water warms and cools far more slowly than land. Complicating matters further, the dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor, slowing the nighttime cooling of water and land masses even further, where it is present.

Making matters even more complex is that about 81% of the Southern hemisphere is water and 19% is land. For the Northern Hemisphere, about 61% is water and 39% is land. Land area varies by latitude. About 68% of the land is in the Northern Hemisphere, only 32% in the Southern Hemisphere. By latitude, the highest percentage of land area is between 30 degrees North and 60 degrees North. [The distribution of land areas has changed significantly over the past 750 million years, making any paleo-earth studies of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide on temperatures difficult. One cannot assume the ocean currents were the same as today.]

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Federal Debt Ceiling Reached As Federal Spending Rages

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The federal government will soon run up against its self-imposed borrowing cap once again.

Current estimates are for the government to max out its credit limit at a little over $22 trillion in early September. Congress goes on recess in August, so there is some pressure to address the cap right now.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been fulfilling what seems to be the most sacred responsibility of his position: borrowing money. It’s one that each of his predecessors has also undertaken, without fail and without regard to party affiliation, in recent decades.

He is solemnly arguing why it would be wholly irresponsible for Congress not to approve another massive increase in what the Treasury can borrow.

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It’s Been A Great Recession For A Few

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

This month the economic expansion brought to you by your Federal Reserve and by US government largess becomes the longest expansion in the history of the United States! That’s something, right? Something? Let’s take an honest look at what we now call great.

By “the longest expansion” we mean the longest period in which US GDP has been growing without a recession. Now, that’s something to crow about, right?

Not so fast for many reasons. It’s also been the most anemic expansion on the books, and it’s not too hard to see why it’s been the longest, having nothing at all to do with a great economy. It has cost us far more than any expansion (by an order of magnitude) because we’ve piled up ten times the national debt over any amount we accumulated during previous expansions. (I’ve said before, it’s easy to let the “good times” roll when you are buying it all on the company credit card.) We also quadrupled the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. That didn’t cost anything, but we sure didn’t get much bang for the buck! We actually got less bang than in any previous expansion!

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Illinois Could Raise EV Registration Fee To $1,000, Hike Gas Tax

A bill at the Illinois legislature proposes to raise the annual registration fee for electric vehicles (EV) from US$17.50 to US$1,000 and to more than double the gas tax from 19 cents to 44 cents per gallon, under a plan to fund infrastructure advanced by Democrat State Senator Martin Sandoval.

According to the bill, introduced at the Illinois General Assembly, owners of fully electric vehicles “shall register the vehicle for a fee of $1,000 for a one-year registration period,” under the proposal that strikes out the current “In no event may the registration fee for electric vehicles exceed $18 per registration year.”

The bill also proposes to increase significantly the gas tax in the state, as well as the license fees.

EV charger

Magic Money Tree Economics

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Our Current Financial Circumstances

  1. The U.S. is $22 trillion in debt and burdened with $100 – $200 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Just to pay the interest the U.S. must borrow. Debt is rapidly rising and cannot be paid unless “they” default or hyper-inflate the dollar.
  2. Chairman Jerome Powell stated, “The U.S. federal government is on an unsustainable path.” Even the Fed admits what everyone should realize.
  3. Global debt is $250 trillion. Some countries have descended farther down the debt-paved road to economic hell than the U.S.
  4. Pensions are under-funded, student debt is a disaster, the main street economy is weak, real estate prices and sales are falling, retail sales are down, real wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, and no credible plan exists to fix debt, deficits or devaluations.
  5. The political and financial elite profit from wars, inflation, devaluation, strip-mining assets, and income inequality.
  6. It’s an ugly picture with no easy answers. But debt, deficits and QE levitated stock markets to all-time highs.

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How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security

By Peter Reagan -Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Fiscal year 2018 wasn’t a good one for U.S. government net-worth. While that may hardly be surprising, it’s possible we’re reaching a “tipping point.”

From an official report released by the U.S. Treasury, Sovereign Man pulled out a few key highlights:

  • In fiscal year 2018, the government’s total net loss was $1.16 TRILLION.
  • … they spent over $4.5 trillion.
  • … nearly HALF went to Social Security and Medicare.
  • … spent a record $523 billion just on interest payments on the national debt!

 

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security
(Pixelrobot/Dreamstime)

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Memories…And A Warning

By Gary Savage – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

This week my second son Joey turns 30 and my granddaughter Addie turns 3- just a day apart. The reason I bring this up is that we took a few days and visited Disney World in Florida.

As I walked into Disney’s Main Street I was reminded of a simpler and happier time here in America that many today cannot remember. America was a place where budding entrepreneurs could hang out a shingle without much government interference and chase their dreams. Mom and pop stores could make a living and provide services that made life easier for everyone. With few regulations and few barriers to entry many could earn a living and make their lives better. This Main Street is a reminder of this. Low taxes, low interference, high growth and stable money. Life was good for most.

Those with great ideas were rewarded with great fortunes.

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