The Hood Robin Syndrome

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

There’s a new study out, under the imprimatur of the Energy Institute of the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, California, entitled The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits.  As the title implies, it looks at who actually profited from the various “green energy” tax credits across the United States. SPOILER ALERT! It wasn’t the poor folks.

How much money are we talking about? Well, the paper says that from 2006 to 2012, the taxpayers have been on the hook for $18 BILLION DOLLARS to fund these subsidies, money that would have otherwise gone into the General Fund.

And just how much money is eighteen billion dollars? Here’s one way to think about eighteen gigabucks, regarding safe, clean drinking water.

Water Wells for Africa reports from their ongoing projects that on average it has cost them about $3.50 per person ($7,000 per well serving 2,000 people) to provide people with clean safe well water. So eighteen billion dollars is enough money to drill drinking water wells for three-quarters of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants. (Yes, I know that’s a gross simplification, some folks don’t live over a subterranean water table, and so on, but it is still enough money to drill the two and a half million wells that would be needed.)

So what did we do with this huge amount of money, enough wealth to truly change the lives of the world’s poor?

Well, following the brilliant policies pushed by the Obama Administration and the climate alarmists, we took enough taxpayer money to truly change the lives of the world’s poor folks … and instead, we gave it to the American rich folks.

No kidding! This is not a joke. This is what passes for moral activism in the liberal American universe. Throwing money at the rich is seen as striking a noble blow for POSSIBLY saving the poor from a tenth of a degree of warming by 2100.

Sadly, it’s no joke at all—the whole war on carbon has been a tragedy for the poor. In this case, the result of these misguided tax subsidies, of the type which have been pushed by climate alarmists for years, has been to create a real climate “hockeystick”. Here is the data from their paper:

the hood robin syndromeFigure 1. Distribution of benefits of the “Clean Energy Tax Credits” by the income class of the benefit recipient for the period 2006-2012. All values are percentages of the given benefit. “Residential” is subsidies for residential solar systems and weatherization. “Hybrid” are the subsidies paid to the owners of hybrids, as well as hydrogen, fuel cell and natural gas vehicles. “Electric Vehicle” is the subsidy paid to the pure electric vehicles like the Tesla, Leaf, and Volt.

Note that in all cases, the bottom half of the income scale got 4% or less of the benefits …

Look, if someone wants to fight the claimed evil menace of CO2, that’s their business.

And when they want to justify it on the basis that to them, it is a deed most noble and virtuous to be POSSIBLY helping the poor in 2050 by POSSIBLY reducing the future global average temperature by a few tenths of a degree … well, I gotta say that’s as dumb as a bag of ball bearings, but there’s no law against dumb.

But that’s just for starters. From there, it gets ugly fast. Tragically the preferred method of fighting evil carbon is to increase the cost of energy, which is an extremely regressive tax. Not only is it regressive, but unlike many taxes, there is no escape at the bottom of the income scale from increased energy costs. The poor pay no income tax, but they pay energy costs, and energy costs are a greater portion of their expenses than for the rich. So rather than going down with decreasing income, the effect of hikes in energy costs go UP with decreasing income. Like I said, it is among the most regressive,inescapable kinds of taxes you could design.

Raising energy costs sentence the global poor to further impoverishment, sickness, and even death. And hiking energy prices based on the pathetic justification of a POSSIBLE cooling by 2050 of a few tenths of a degree is a crime against the poor of unimaginable size and ubiquitous effect. The war on carbon literally hurts, sickens, and kills poor people all over the world. And I can assure you … the poor are not amused.

But I guess that merely shafting the poor by increasing energy costs doesn’t help the rich enough. So the other noble and virtuous method for POSSIBLY helping the future poor is to fling tax money at various pluted bloatocrats … yeah, that’s the ticket. We’ll help the poor in 2050 by making it easier for rich people to buy a new $100,000 Tesla, and meanwhile Elon Musk is laughing all the way to the bank … at this point, we have to wonder how much folks like Al Gore and Warren Buffet and the UN Climate Ambassador Leonardo Dicaprio had to do with the design of these tax subsidies for the rich.

And of course, these are just the income tax subsidies. They don’t include the massive subsidies handed out directly to the solar and wind industries. They don’t include the subsidies paid to the people wealthy enough to justify rooftop solar when the utilities have to buy their electric production at three times market value … or the cost that I and millions of others pay as electrical consumers to subsidize those over-the-top rooftop solar payments. They don’t include the cost of Solyndra and the other solar companies slurping at the public trough. They don’t include the millions of dollars that with one stroke of the pen Obama gave to his billionaire pal Warren Buffet by vetoing the Keystone pipeline. This is merely the Federal tax-related subsidies, nothing more … and this tiny part of the global waste in the war on carbon is eighteen billion freakin’ dollars.

But always remember … this is all being justified by the alarmists on the basis of “Think of the grandchildren”, and because they’re saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction.

And if you are someone saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction, well, you are the man. There is no action that you shouldn’t take if it is in the service of your noble cause. You know that you have right on your side, you’re preventing disaster. You know you are fighting the good fight to cool the fevered brows of those sweltering in the 2050 heat by at least a tenth of a degree, and that it is a fight that has to be fought if we are to save the very planet. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure, and you have the moral high ground. As a result of all of that, there is no transgression you won’t commit in order to have other people pay to make your beautiful Elysian (and slightly-cooler) dream come to fruition … and meanwhile, let’s go for a spin in your new Tesla. After all, you only bought an electric car because it’s noble and virtuous and pollution-free … if you don’t count the coal-fired power plant providing your electricity.

I have a proposal for a new name for the Holocene, and it’s not the Anthropocene like some folks claim.

I think we should call it the Egoscene …

Regards to all,


My Plea For Better Understanding: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you disagree with. This will allow all of us to understand precisely what you are objecting to.

About The Title: For those not up on their English history, Robin Hood was the name of a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor … hence my invention of the term“Hood Robin Syndrome” to describe the opposite action.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies: To me, the issue is never the existence of a subsidy. It is whether we get something for the subsidy. For example, one of the fossil-fuel subsidies in the US is the tax exemption for diesel used by farmers and fishermen … in exchange for which, it encourages production and so we get more food. To me, that’s a good deal. The problem with renewable subsidies is that we’ve been subsidizing solar and wind since Jimmy Carter was President, and they are still not economically competitive in the grid-scale marketplace.

We get large value in return for fossil fuel subsidies, whereas for solar and wind subsidies we get almost nothing. Per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy produced from solar and wind, there is a subsidy to the producers of about two cents/kWh. Since base electric price in the US is around 8-10 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s about a 20% subsidy.

The subsidy for oil, on the other hand, is about a hundredth of one cent per kWh, coal is about two hundredths of a cent per kWh, and nuclear is about eight hundredths of a cent per kWh.

Why the huge disparity? It’s because solar and wind don’t produce economically, so they have to be artificially propped up. I wouldn’t mind the subsidy if they actually produced. It’s the lack of getting value in return that is the problem.

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August 29, 2015 5:38 pm

Very definition of madness, wouldn’t you say? Take money from the working poor and give it to the idle rich to indulge their green fantasies. Save us from those who would save the world. I’ll take my chances with global warming.

Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 29, 2015 9:47 pm

Hi from Oz. No, Alan, these ‘green fantasists’ are not mad – quite the opposite, these are smart, well organised people. Taking gob-smacking amounts of money from the working poor under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and giving to the rich is just one of their opaque strategies to achieve their evil end purpose. To defeat this cult, we must focus on stopping them achieving the ends that they seek, not ridiculing the means that they use to achieve it – especially when the data above indicates that they are being very successful! Having lived through the Cold War, I suggest that all AGW skeptics read up on their 20th century history – especially the strategies and tactics used in the Stalinist era, the Nazis, the Cold War, etc., which the AGW crowd (and those quietly behind them, urging them on) have studied deeply and are using very effectively against the West. We must not sleepwalk into allowing them to win by merely laughing at them.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 29, 2015 11:23 pm

Very true, This is a political issue not a scientific one and should be dealt with via politics. An article such as the one above when understood by those whose earnings are being stolen would lead to many arrests for fraud and savage financial penalties for the guilty, politicians, scientists, foundations, journalists and the media. Bring it on.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 30, 2015 5:47 am

Van Jones was very explicit that the radical Left anywhere loves the Green Energy gambit precisely because it has political authorities deciding what will be produced, where, by whom, and who will be hired. It is a means of reuniting political sovereignty with economic power for the benefit of designated groups.
Climate Change is just an excuse for Cronyism and State Capitalism. Of course the connected Oligarchs are the ones who benefit.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 30, 2015 12:32 pm

Being smart and well-organized doesn’t mean they’re not mad – in fact, just as with the Bolsheviks, the fact that they’re smart, well-organized and mad is really the problem.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 30, 2015 7:53 pm

It’s a souped up hypered fantasy that so-called top concerns cannot renege on. Despite overwhelming contrary physical evidence, it’s undoubtedly written large and successively pumped to a gullible public,
Hey, Willis – was at the Falkirk Wheel Monday past. That’s quality and understanding for sure.

Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 29, 2015 10:38 pm

It’s not madness, it’s just that the aims of the policy are not the claimed aims. NONE of this is about saving the environment, it is about saving the banks.
From the graph caption:

“Residential” is subsidies for residential solar systems and weatherization.

When they introduce subsidies for solar panels ( for example ) and say the are giving the money to ‘residential’ users, all they are doing is inflating the market price of panels. The money goes to the residential sector of the market, not the residents.
If someone can find $1000 to invest in PV and the state gives another $1000 ‘subsidy’ the solar companies simply double the cost until the subsidies run out.
To do a full, grid-tied,residential installation with regulators, inverters etc you are talking tens of thousands, not thousands. So in most cases this means … a bank loan.
In the case of feed-in tariffs, as are applied in most european countries the PV installation produces a guaranteed income. With a guaranteed income you can go to a bank and the bank can justify lending you more money.
Once you sign on the dotted line and agree to give the bank X thousand dollars over the next tens years, the bank instantly increases it’s on paper assets by X thousand dollars and lends it to you part of what you’ve just promised to pay them, to buy your PV installation.
No you did not misread it, they lend you money that they did not have before you signed the loan agreement. That is how debt-wealth is created.
All the “green” subsidies are is a means of recapitalising the banks. Many naively think the word green refers to the environment, but it’s green as in greenbacks.

Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 29, 2015 11:12 pm

It is the very essence of corruption, tyranny, and thought control.

John Silver
Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 30, 2015 2:16 am

Yeah, but those stupid paupers don’t pay much taxes anyway. So they don’t lose much, right?

Reply to  John Silver
August 30, 2015 12:57 pm

That was a pretty ignorant comment Mr John Silver. True, they don’t pay income taxes, but as the article points out, high energy costs affect the poor far more than the middle class and the rich. The poor by definition have little extra disposable income. Taking what little they have in additional energy costs makes their lives more difficult. Also, poor does not equal stupid. Far from it.

Reply to  John Silver
August 30, 2015 1:15 pm

this disabled vet has no taxable income however receives no welfare/SS/etc yet still pays electric bills that keep rising.
so this stupid pauper does lose.
I do hope you meant that sarcastically.
if not we have a problem.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  John Silver
August 31, 2015 6:29 am

Kolowski, I think Silver was being sarcastic there.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 30, 2015 5:26 am

Well, no. The Court of Verseilles would be in admiration of the Warmistas “Quel scam!” they would applaud.

Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 30, 2015 6:44 am

Have you all noticed the many parallels between the failed predictions of the Club of Rome and those of the IPCC. How the few anointed ones want to control the economies of the world, based only on models that are validated against reality?
Has anyone here read ‘The Vision of the Anointed’, by Thomas Sowell?

Reply to  pierre
August 30, 2015 6:45 am

correction: ‘How the few anointed ones want to control the economies of the world, based only on models that have not been validated against reality?’

michael petko
Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 30, 2015 9:10 am

I think you missed the point of the post – take this subsidy money and spend it on the poor in another country.
It is not about taking money from the US poor and giving it to the US rich, since most of the US tax money is coming from the same people getting the subsidies. Thus, the subsidies are acting as a tax rebate incentive to become more energy efficient.

Reply to  Alan Poirier
August 30, 2015 12:34 pm

The more important thing to keep in mind is that EVs in most of the country are powered by American coal. They’re mostly charged at night when coal is the predominant energy source.
I think this is a good thing.
That said, I agree that all subsidies and mandates are inefficient. Better to use the money for R&D.
We’d probably have fusion power plants producing energy too cheap to meter by now if we’d used the PTC and ITC money for R&D instead of subsidies for wind, solar, energy efficiency, and EVs. Once we get there, EVs will sell themselves.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Vboring
August 30, 2015 11:00 pm

Seems I have heard the “…too cheap to meter…” promise before.

Jay Turberville
Reply to  Alan Poirier
September 1, 2015 11:00 am

That’s a bit of a leap. I think that if you look you will find that the working poor aren’t paying much in taxes. I think you will find that it is the middle and upper level incomes who are paying the taxes that fund these subsidies.
That’s not to say that these policies don’t affect the poor negatively. Surely they do. Just not in the way you say.
And, BTW, the “rich” aren’t necessarily idle.

August 29, 2015 5:51 pm

I was actually enjoying my day before I read this. 🙁 Now my blood is angryfied.

August 29, 2015 5:51 pm

It’s inconceivable that people in this country who have teeth rotting in their mouths are subsidizing Tesla purchases as well as an endless string of useless expenditures. (Yes you, Mr. Mann)
The U.S. distributes 3 trillion dollars every year. A lot of that gets spread out via medicare, soc. sec. etc., but hundreds of billions are left to give favors to the wealthy and connected, or groups who can deliver votes.
Sorry, Willis, but thirsty folks in Africa can’t vote.
The answer, of course, is to reduce the amount they receive. It won’t happen, I know, but one can dream.

Reply to  Grant
September 1, 2015 9:53 am

“…thirsty folks in Africa can’t vote” Really, there are people who can’t vote in American elections? Don’t let the pol hear of that.

Ron Morse
August 29, 2015 5:53 pm

My observation over the years has been that aid programs for the poorest of underdeveloped nations serves mostly to take money from middle-class people in rich countries and give it to rich people in poor countries.

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Ron Morse
August 30, 2015 8:56 am

Bingo, Ron!

Reply to  Ron Morse
August 30, 2015 11:40 am

Jesus knew that about nations and gov’ts:
“For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.” Mark 14:7 (NKJV)

Reply to  csanborn
August 31, 2015 3:52 am

Indeed. And Jesus also knew how to deal with poor tenants, who were behind with their rent. The moral of the parable is that the absentee landlord should eliminate the idle tenant, and let out his land to more reliable tenants. Job done, as they say….
“The (absentee landlord) will miserably destroy those wicked (tenant farmers), and will let out his vineyard unto other (tenant farmers), who shall pay him the rent in their seasons.” (Math 21:41)

Reply to  csanborn
August 31, 2015 5:02 am

Please read the passage you quote (Math 21:41) in its context.
Jesus was not saying how absentee landlords should behave:
he asked how absentee landlords do behave when tenants behave badly.
And you are plain wrong when you say

The moral of the parable is that the absentee landlord should eliminate the idle tenant, and let out his land to more reliable tenants.

The moral of the parable is that those who were in religious authority (i.e. “the chief priests and the Pharisees”) were abusing their oversight of the religion.
The NIV translation of the relevant section of Mathew 21 is this

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable:
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.
34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’
39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.”
The parable is also in other Gospels at Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19.

Reply to  csanborn
August 31, 2015 6:56 am

Indeed, Ral. If you remember a different parable, he urges debtholders to forgive their debtors (the parable of the unforgiving servant, Matthew 18:21-35). There is a strong difference between being behind on one’s rent and being abusive and murderous.

Reply to  csanborn
August 31, 2015 8:07 am

>>The moral of the parable is that those who were in religious
>>authority were abusing their oversight of the religion.
Nonsense. it was originally a scathing comment about the Romans, who were living on Judaean lands and not paying rent. It was a political commentary, not a religious one.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  csanborn
August 31, 2015 10:33 am

@ralfellis August 31, 2015 at 8:07 am
Wow, your exegesis could not be more wrong. Clearly you have been quaffing too much from the cup of Liberation Theology. Richard S. Courtney has given quite sufficient context for anyone to see how far you’ve missed the mark. Or in this case, the Matthew.

Reply to  Ron Morse
August 30, 2015 2:31 pm

You definitely hit the mark with that one.
calls for the ouster of Prime Minister Najib Razak have grown louder in recent months after the government
appeared to be obstructing an investigation into how more than $600 million in funds from a Goldman-backed development bank ended up in Najib’s personal bank account.”

August 29, 2015 5:58 pm

This is quite a devastating analysis. Thank you. Would like to see one or two of the Republican Presidential aspirants making this case to the American people. The Dems conjure a war on women and a war on blacks, but the real war is the war on the poor. And it’s waged not by the right, but the left.
As I said, just devastating…
(aka pokerguy)

Reply to  aneipris
August 31, 2015 10:07 pm

“The Dems conjure a war on women and a war on blacks, but the real war is the war on the poor. And it’s waged not by the right, but the left.”
It’s ludicrous to call Democrats “the left”. They are more right wing than British Conservatives.

August 29, 2015 6:01 pm

I think we should call it the Egoscene
I prefer the shorter Obscene.

Chris y
Reply to  Chuck
August 29, 2015 7:11 pm

I had the same reaction.

Tom J
Reply to  Chuck
August 30, 2015 6:36 am


Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:16 am


Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Chuck
August 30, 2015 8:56 am

Chuck wins the thread! 😀

Reply to  Chuck
August 30, 2015 10:47 am


Leonard Lane
Reply to  ticketstopper
August 30, 2015 11:02 pm


Reply to  Chuck
August 31, 2015 5:47 am


August 29, 2015 6:01 pm

This is a post that should be sent to all newspapers and media outlets. Maybe one or more might decide to publish it or an abbreviated version.

August 29, 2015 6:08 pm

Great post. I wish more people would understand what’s going on with these subsidies/taxes, etc. Thanks Willis! The poor are the hardest hit with these “policies” and even the “middle class” is hard hit – whatever that/they are.

Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 6:11 pm

Of course, the goal of those subsidies was not the relief of income inequality — that is better served with other, and not necessarily tax, policies. The goal of these programs was to encourage the adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies. I would not expect poor and lower middle income people to have the excess income available to buy a new Tesla, Volt or Prius or to install solar panels on their rented homes. By definition this involves choices that people make with their disposable income and the more disposable income you have the more you can benefit from such subsidies. This is hardly and indictment of the policy although it does point out a weakness of tax subsidies as opposed to a refundable carbon tax for achieving these goals.

Old Huemul
Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 6:50 pm

The economic consequences of a tax or subsidy, or whatever other policy, are not a matter of intentions. They are simply observable consequences that follow from a certain policy. Whatever the intent of the legislator, the fact is that some groups benefit and some others bear the cost. In this particular case, the rich benefit and the poor bear the cost. Pre-subsidy income distribution would thus be less unequal that the post-subsidy distribution (“less unequal” does not involve a judgment: it just means that without the subsidy the rich receive relatively less,and the poor relatively more, whatever the merits of such change in distribution).

Rattus Norvegicus
Reply to  Old Huemul
August 29, 2015 9:53 pm

That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. It is important to evaluate a policy in terms of what it was intended to accomplish. In aspects — takeup of solar voltaic for example — this appears to have been a successful policy. Other aspects are more debatable. But it is important to note, that for things like residential solar or weatherization, renters and landlords were specifically excluded from benefiting from this policy, and other benefits, such as the credits for hybrid and electric vehicles only apply to new cars. This will of course have negative distributional effects, but the policy was not intended to have positive distributional effects, it was intended to have effects on the takeup of alternative energy and efficiency technologies. Other aspects of ARRA did address lower income people. I personally benefited from a program to weatherize rental housing, which saved me a substantial amount of money on my winter heating costs.
The interesting part of this study is the question of how effective was it in promoting efficiency and alternative energy (answer: in some cases very good, in others moderately), not what the distributional effects might be, since other programs addressed helping lower income people.

Reply to  Old Huemul
August 31, 2015 7:20 am

Rattus, I accept your premise that a policy must be evaluated on whether it met it’s goals. However, it’s goals must also be evaluated on how well they align with the greater purpose they serve.
I would accept your point that we are evaluating it on the wrong basis, if helping the poor wasn’t the explicit reason given for much of the anti-carbon movement. So these policies accomplish the short term goal by undermining the long term one.
Willis’s point still stands.

Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 7:11 pm

Well of course any excuse to keep the rich rich if not richer.
“Adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies” is as good an excuse as any.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 7:29 pm

Re Rattus:
**** encourage the adoption of non-carbon emitting technologies****
So does that mean Gore used the subsidy to fly commercial instead of his carbon emitting private jet to make his 300K spoof speech?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 8:11 pm

So Rattus, the ends justify the means? Even assuming the ends are laudable (which is questionable in this case), how can any educated person support such a supposition when so much evil in the history of the world has been committed using this demented logic?

Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 29, 2015 8:17 pm

You say:
….”refundable carbon tax for achieving these goals.”
Now in my little corner of this world, called Illinois, the states budget is so out of whack that winners of the state lottery have to wait for the politicians to pass a budget to collect their winnings.
You don’t really expect me to assume I’ll get a carbon tax “refund” do you ?
Maybe you ain’t from Illinois ?

Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 30, 2015 1:48 am

Think off this as “job creation!” Another layer of bureaucracy will be required to administer refund evaluation and dispensation, along with attendant underlings and supervisors; plus additional oversight personnel.
“Carbon Tax Refunding” might reduce unemployment considerably, and might not cost more than 60%(+/-) of refunds.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 30, 2015 7:56 am

Gee. The people in Illinois have to wait for the legislature “to pass a budget to collect their winnings?” This is after the state has already collected way more than enough in bets to cover the winnings? That sounds like a state that someone like Obama might have come from…. It is a good way to discourage people from playing the lottery.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 30, 2015 1:21 am

‘… thalidomide “in terms of what it was intended to accomplish”, which was nausea reduction … and judged by that metric it was a roaring success …’
The parallel is apt up too a point, however in this case the technologies which the subsidies are directed to are useless boondoggles that don’t even work.

Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 30, 2015 10:51 am

While I understand your point, the supposed goal of green energy was to change societal energy use patterns.
Simply making the top 20% richer is changing society, but not in the way the proposals were sold as.
Making poor people poorer does not engender better attitudes toward energy efficiency or alternative energy – except perhaps in the sense of forcing more of them off the grid to burn wood and dung.

Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
August 30, 2015 1:05 pm

What I would like to see is a simple calculation that takes the total amount of subsidies paid out, and divides it by the amount of CO2 not produced, and tells us what it actually cost us per ton of CO2. I would suspect we are paying some many thousands of times the “market price.” In other words, we are probably getting a bad deal.

August 29, 2015 6:14 pm

You truly have to admire the beautiful symmetry of this scheme! I have a brilliant solution to a problem to a problem that may not exist. I band together with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and lobby the government to convince them that the problem is not only real, but much worse that we feared, but there’s good news! We just need a few minor subsidies and loan guarantees to let this fledgling business get off the ground…until we develop “scale”. The government willingly obliges, thereby elevating yours truly out of the working class, and securing my little piece of the American Dream.
Honestly, who doesn’t like Christmas?

Reply to  DataTurk
August 30, 2015 8:02 am

Christmas? Where I come from it’s called a “confidence game” and people are supposed to go to jail for it.

Reply to  Jbird
August 30, 2015 10:25 am

Accountability requires the responsible agencies of government to admit error, which happens rather less often than one might hope for.
The list is getting pretty long: Solyndra, A123, Fisker, and on we go.
To be fair, though, military contractors operate in much the same mode. Most beneficiaries of government largesse have some sort of angle, and they are not in the game to just break even!

August 29, 2015 6:22 pm

That all you got ??
I’m thinking not.
Keep it coming.
People might start to listen.

August 29, 2015 6:26 pm

It has always fascinated me that the left wing parties in the democracies, i.e. the so called “Labor” party in Australia, the British Labour party, the various Green parties in Europe have always supported energy policies that penalise the lower income groups they claim to represent. The Democratic party in America seems a somewhat different animal, it appears to contain an inordinate number of billionaires. Perhaps they think their ability to amass fortunes entitles them to tell others how to behave.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  dch47982
August 29, 2015 8:13 pm

“Perhaps they think their ability to amass fortunes entitles them to tell others how to behave.”
That is exactly what they think, and I find it completely contemptible on every level.

Reply to  dch47982
August 30, 2015 12:56 am

Regressive policies are not left-wing.
The Green policies that are adopted by left-wing parties (and by right-wing parties too) are the result of infiltration of the parties.
Infiltration by those who put their religion above “justice” or “utility / benefit maximisation”.
Their religion is green. See the previous post about appeasing zealots.
They corrupt the political process by not standing on their own platform (as the Green Party loses when it does).
And for real fun discuss why US Evangelicals have abandoned Jimmy Carter’s party. There’s no ideological reason for that. Just a matter of expediency.

Reply to  MCourtney
August 30, 2015 8:23 am

The sincere greenies are just tools. The policies forced upon us in the US are actually neither Democrat nor Republican, liberal nor conservative, green and not green. They are policies contrived by globalists, international bankers and other special interests who have different objectives and care little about saving the planet.
The real political struggle is between “We-the-people” and the special interests. Unfortunately, not enough of the electorate have actually come to realize that yet. Until they do, nothing will change here.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  MCourtney
August 31, 2015 10:51 am

OK, I’ll bite. US Evangelicals have abandoned the Democratic party because it is anti-Israel, pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion. See? Not hard to figure at all. And it’s hardly expedient given the pounding they get in the press and the calls from Dem legislators to restrict their First Amendment rights.

Reply to  dch47982
August 30, 2015 10:54 am

The term is limousine liberal.
And the notion that this is just an American phenomenon is false. In Europe over 150 years ago, Rousseau came up with the notion of the “noble savage” – the predecessor to modern limousine liberalism. Rousseau didn’t intend that, but many of the upper classes of the era used this notion to justify obstructing progressive policies.

Reply to  dch47982
August 30, 2015 5:47 pm

“dch47982”, indeed, almost all collectivist societies end up being tyrannies. Reasons are the underlying irrationality of collectivism makes it very difficult for people to stop the shift to tyranny because they lack thinking skills to debate the power-grabbers and they’ve bought into the premise that the collective is moral – anything it does it right. (So Hitler succeeded with his pitch that the Aryan’s value was in his sacrifice to society, not in his individual attributes.)
(Note the nature of those who gain power:
– Lenin and Trotsky were cheap thugs who met in jail
– Hitler was a n’er do well
– Che Gueverra enjoyed killing
I am only aware of one democratically elected heavily socialist society that voted itself out of existence – the kibbutz movement in Israel. And perhaps the Pilgrim’s after their first winter in America, as reality was staring them in the face (Individual effort varied in their socialist system.)

Michael Maddocks
August 29, 2015 6:32 pm

This is why the west has a shrinking middle class.

Louis Hunt
August 29, 2015 6:37 pm

They can always justify rob’n the hood to give to the rich. That’s because all the big-money donors to political parties just happen to be rich. They have to pay them back somehow or they’ll stop donating. Besides, if they don’t prevent climate change now by giving billions to the rich, they’ll just have to give trillions to them in the future to pay for all the damage rising sea levels will do to their beach-front homes. /Sarc

August 29, 2015 6:39 pm

Robn Hood did not steal from the rich and give to the poor – rather he stole from the government (King/nobelmen) that which the government had already stole from the citizens. Robin Hood did not practice altrusim but rather he defended justice!

Reply to  objectivistken
August 29, 2015 11:29 pm

We shouldn’t smear Robin Hood, he was a good guy.
I think the article is referring to his brother Robin Bastard.

August 29, 2015 6:40 pm

Right on Willis! You did, however, wake the bee in my bonnet. 🙂

… but there’s no law against dumb.

Dumb often carries the death penalty. It’s pathetic that the condemned usually know better. It is beyond description when the guy who ended up with his boot nails welded to the floor of the equipment enclosure was the very person who wrote the safety manual for that very equipment.

Reply to  commieBob
August 29, 2015 10:45 pm

“Dumb often carries the death penalty.”
“Nature abhors a moron.”
—H.L. Mencken

Reply to  commieBob
August 30, 2015 9:00 am

We even have Darwin awards for these folks.
“Hey y’all! Watch me swallow this little bluegill backwards!”

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
August 31, 2015 4:02 am

And here was the 2009 winner of the Darwin awards.
She believed the Greenie propaganda that said poly bears were nice and cuddly, and thought it would be a good idea to swim with them. But reality bit her on the arrse…

August 29, 2015 7:04 pm

One thing I have a beef with and that is this statement ‘ The poor pay no income tax, but they pay energy costs” that statement drives me crazy. I have on occasion been in the income bracket where I did not have to pay “income taxes” ( a family with a stay at home mother etc). But I still paid taxes, gasoline, beer , rent , hydro heating fuel and even food, they and many others like VAT , (GST, PST in Canada). indirect taxes and other hidden taxes are being paid by even the “poor”. To only mention “income taxes really irks me.

Reply to  asybot
August 29, 2015 7:16 pm

It’s true while income tax is the most visible and largest singular tax, there is death by thousand cuts type taxes as well. I often wondered when an evangelist climate nut will propose a tax based on size of family since the larger the family the more CO2 is produced.

Reply to  Alx
August 31, 2015 4:18 am

Indeed. I could not find a taxation pie chart for the lower and middle classes, but the following is a UK government revenue chart. And the only taxation the poor will not pay here, is income tax.
NIC. ….. National Health, and they pay that.
VAT. ….. Yes, they pay that on purchases, although not on food in the UK.
Corporation taxes. ….. Yup, the company just loads those onto the product price.
Fuel and N. Sea duty. ….. Yes, because the oil company puts that in the price of petrol.
Business rates. ….. Yes, included in the cost of goods.
Council tax. ….. Yes. Less for the poor, but a big percentage of income.
Sin tax. ….. I presume this is fags and booze. And the poor pay a lot of this.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 29, 2015 8:02 pm

Gas tax – the rich can afford it, no problem – the poor cannot, sometimes cannot even get to work (I’ve been there) sometimes I would use coins just to get enough gas to get home…

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 8:11 am

Sorry Willis, I missed that but a lot of people never ever seem to understand this and I have often heard this ridiculous statement from many people:
” Be glad you only make a little money you don’t have to pay taxes” It used to drive me nuts , now I just think to myself, just another ignoramus.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 12:28 pm

asybot, one of the things that drives me nuts about the US tax policy is that “fees,” “fines” and “surcharges” are not considered “taxes.” They really should be. We have fees added to telephone service, internet service, and so forth to “finance the oversight” of same….but then we can’t exempt ourselves from the sum of those fees in our income tax preparation.
If I paid $2,000 in sales, use, contractor, fee, fine, and surcharges to various governments, shouldn’t I be able to itemize those and reduce my effective income? Even if we exempt “fines” as a result of doing something administratively “bad,” shouldn’t these others be considered double taxation?

Tom J
Reply to  asybot
August 30, 2015 8:31 am

Hi, asybot! You’re forgetting one very big one: property taxes. I’ve been successful in recently getting a loan modification on my duplex. The mortgage with escrow is $962.32/month. Since 1 bedroom apartment rents in the Chicagoland area run $800-$1,000/month continuing to own my home is the best bet. But, here’s the hitch; the property tax portion of that $962 is almost $300/month. And, that’s with a disability exemption. And, whereas the mortgage is fixed, the only thing that will stop yearly increases (250% total since 2002) in the property tax are probably cosmic rays in the stratosphere. There’s a whole bunch of elderly homeowners living on Social Security (payments which fall far short in equivalency to the $15/hour minimum wage that the ‘same’ political class is calling for) that are surrendering 10-15% of their SS payments to this onerous tax.

Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:00 am

@ Tom J . I do count them in, as a renter I pay the property tax for the owner as part of the rent. You don’t think I’d get a break now do you? I am not familiar with the system in Chicago But in our area property taxes are public knowledge but as to how the system works seems better left to an accountant the rules, restrictions give/ take away etc drove me nuts when I first looked at buying. The other thing was that you pay property taxes as long as own the home , then pay taxes on the selling price and death taxes when you left it to your kids, as they say they get coming and going. to me renting was the solution never had enough long term security to end up buying.

Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:16 am

Man I got out of IL over 30 yrs ago and am now in TX, thank God!
Every now and then I hear someone say TX should have an income tax and maybe we could lower our property taxes. I always interject that I’ve lived in two states with income taxes and that it doesn’t work that way. If you let the politicians have an income tax, they won’t cut some other tax, they’ll just spend it all.

Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:57 am

You left out that you can deduct a significant part of your payment from your income tax. Also that your payment is building up equity. And the owning of a property gives you the capability to gain from asset price increases (and decreases).
None of the above is true for renters.

Tom J
Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 11:00 am

Hi again, asybot. I was a renter too for about 20 years.
Here’s a funny story. A number of years back I was having a conversation with an accountant. I said that as a renter I was paying my landlord’s property tax. He told me, no, I wasn’t paying the property tax, the landlord was paying it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s what a college education does to someone. His answer was technically true I guess, but it was totally meaningless.
He went on to argue that the landlord’s property tax was irrelevant to the rent I was paying. This was an accountant!
I fear there’s an awful lot of people who think that way.

Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 12:39 pm

Tom J, accountants often lack the real-world application of their accounting. As someone who spends a lot of time working with corporate accountants, I have often dragged them out of the cubicle and taken them to an operating location and had to open their eyes to what the real world is doing, why it was doing it, and what money ramifications it had.
Old man story time: I once had to prove a property that the company owned existed by taking an accountant to it because the post office decided that 1400 East Street was a bad address and returned mail going to it a few times. It turns out that the PO had a glitch in their addressing software that wanted the address to be at the beginning of the block we owned (Something like 1000 East Street instead of 1400) The company owned the address and about 15 acres on each side of the building, so the particular address was a moot point – until the post office started bouncing letters with the ‘wrong’ address on them, creating a stir at the corporate offices.
Accountants, in my harsh generalization, are basically math majors with a backing rule set (like GAAP in the US). They often don’t understand the goal the rules they implement are aiming toward and can thus implement them hilariously wrong or disturbingly ruthlessly.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  Tom J
August 31, 2015 11:05 am

Pffffft. My NJ 3-bedroom is over $750/mo in property taxes, and I don’t live in the lake association where is would be 2X that. With the balance on my mortgage what it is, I basically rent my home from the town.

August 29, 2015 7:16 pm

Poor people can’t AFFORD electric and hybrid vehicles and they CERTAINLY don’t own their own homes.
I don’t know what you’re bitching about because these subsidies were never intended for the poor or even to help the poor.
Only an idiot would think that.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Barbee
August 29, 2015 8:20 pm

And just where do you think the money came from for these subsidies? And when the PV feed-in rates force electric rates to increase, who do you think is hardest hit? Not the rich. Of course these subsidies weren’t designed for the poor; they are gifts to the rich and (to some extent) on the backs of the poor. That’s the point of this article. Only an idiot wouldn’t understand that.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Barbee
August 29, 2015 8:49 pm

Barbee got that right, this is a subsidy for only the rich and since there are so many poor people the poor people can afford the regressive tax structure these subsidies help create. And if the poor get any ideas about buying hybrid cars or homes they should remember it is the rich really that need these things.

Reply to  Barbee
August 29, 2015 8:54 pm

… these subsidies were never intended for the poor or even to help the poor.

That is exactly the point Willis is making. It’s perverse that a lawyer can end up paying less income tax than his secretary and even more preverse when his secretary’s taxes end up subsidizing him.
[sarc] Perhaps you think the poor should be taxed more as an incentive to make them work harder. They’re only poor because they’re lazy after all. [/sarc]

August 29, 2015 7:21 pm

“[b]About The Title:[/b] For those not up on their English history, Robin Hood was the name of a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor … hence my invention of the term“Hood Robin Syndrome” to describe the opposite action.”
I always felt that was what Robin Hood was about until I read the other day someone state that he actually robbed from the over taxing government of the day and gave it back to the citizens.

Reply to  Vanguard
August 29, 2015 8:38 pm

Right . Back in 2003 I wrote :

The misinterpretation of Robin Hood has long bugged me .
It wasn’t the Baker , the Smith , the Fletcher or even the money lender who Robin and his band “stole” from
it was the Sheriff and his tax collectors .

The only people who were rich were the political class and their enforcers .

Tom J
Reply to  Vanguard
August 30, 2015 8:39 am

There were actually two Robin Hoods. You’re right about one of them: he actually did rob over taxing officials and return the money to the citizens.
However there was a second Robin Hood. But, he was a wealthy government official who fleeced the citizens. Robin was his nickname. His full name was Robbing Hood.

Gerald Machnee
August 29, 2015 7:26 pm

I guess we know where Gore and Suzuki fit in.

Jason Joice MD
August 29, 2015 7:26 pm

I’ve paid way more than my share of taxes. I don’t feel bad one bit about receiving a credit for my Tesla purchase.

Steve P
Reply to  Jason Joice MD
August 29, 2015 7:51 pm

Be sure to wave at the homeless from your trick ride, Doc, and don’t forget who’s paying for your juice when you have to plug it in.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 12:05 am

beautiful reply!

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 2:35 am

Perhaps there should be an energy allocation system. I can imagine an ‘Individual Energy Allocation Account’ (IEAA?) for each resident. Every resident would receive (annually?) permission to purchase xx kwh of electricity, xx gallons of gasoline, xx air miles, etc. These allocation units could be traded, bought and sold. Balance could be managed by a smart-card system from a gov’t maintained database using a hybrid of E-Bay and Obamacare Marketplace software.
Willis could trade (or sell) his electricity units to Al Gore, and Al could trade them to me for air miles. At year’s end, low energy consumers could convert unused units to tax credits, or sell them to Al for cash.
Low income households could get a supplementary income and Al could pay for permission to buy as much av-gas as he can afford.
I think of it as “Trickle Down Cap and Trade.”

Reply to  Slywolfe
August 30, 2015 5:59 am


Every resident would receive (annually?) permission to purchase xx kwh of electricity, xx gallons of gasoline, xx air miles, etc. These allocation units could be traded, bought and sold.

And what if every one of those “credits” was issued based on each individual’s own specific “value” or “worth” to society – as agreed on by some standard of course, and could be traded freely for any other item of value to each each person?
What if each such “energy credit” were colored a specific color to present how much value it represented? Say “green” or “purple” or “blue” with decorative symbols and impressive signatures and numbers all over it – just to make it difficult to cheat and counterfeit such “energy credits” obviously. And what if you could purchase any “non-energy” things you might need with unneeded or excess or spare “energy credits” – certainly, not everybody needs to buy heat or air conditioning every day of the year. Diapers, clothing, food, or shelter are sometimes needed too. Chairs, tables, boxes, paper, ink, pencils … Why, ANYTHING could be “bought” or sold at any time with “energy credits”!
What a concept! You’ve come up with something new and valuable that should be marketed by governments and kings and dictators everywhere! /sarcasm. 8<)

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 6:09 am

Nope! Everybody gets the same ration.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 6:16 am

I’ve been tossing this concept around in my mind for a few days, but I’ve been hesitant to post it.
Obama might hear about it.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 2:37 am

(removes tongue from cheek)

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 10:33 am

I’ve heard it said that Tesla is more a fashion statement than a form of transportation. Personally, I choose a bad haircut and well-worn shoes….and a proper car.

Reply to  Jason Joice MD
August 30, 2015 8:44 am

Sorry Doc. A Tesla is nothing more than an expensive toy, a profligate waste of your money and mine, since I helped to subsidize your purchase. You can get from point A to point B in just as much style for a lot less money. It is a poor investment, and you would have been a lot smarter to have put the extra cash into something that would pay good dividends and help shelter your income. Enjoy your second adolescence.

August 29, 2015 7:36 pm

From the article:
Solar subsidy 2 cents/kWh
Oil subsidy 1/100 cent/kWh
Coal subsidy 2/100 cent/kWh
Nuclear subsidy 8/100 cent/kWh
It is good to know solar subsidies are about 200 times larger than oil subsidies and 18 to 20 times larger than all the other energy subsidies combined. But to climate zealots and activists, eco-profiteers, and the lobotomized (when it comes to climate) media and politicians it only means that it is horrific that we still have subsidies for oil, coal, and Nuclear.

August 29, 2015 7:45 pm

“…a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.”
I understand that Robin, early on, tried it the other way around. It was a spectacular failure, though he did make a few farthinges here and there. I think it was Friar Tuck who suggested a better way.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 29, 2015 9:52 pm

It took a few hundred years but finally the Democratic party figured out how to rob from the poor and give to the rich.
Eugene WR Gallun

August 29, 2015 7:50 pm

Yes, climate zealots, and those who take advantage of all the ‘green’ subsidies, are hurting, and as you note, even killing the poorest of the poor through making energy more expensive and less available.
But is there a surprise in any of this? Zealots of every persuasion have been responsible for most atrocities and abominations for all of recorded history, along with a host of lesser evils. ISIS cuts off the heads of innocent people and then say they act only on behalf of God. Surely there can be little expectation climate zealots will not do terrible harm….. if people allow them to. Zealotry is an almost perfect predictor of who has the potential to do great harm…… if people allow it to happen.

August 29, 2015 7:55 pm

Good overview of subsidies for those who don’t need it:

August 29, 2015 8:06 pm

Yes of course.
CAGW is just an amped up improved version of this age old scheme.
The cause is usually very vague and flexible, the objective always the same. rob the many to enrich the well connected few.
Paris-ites have always worked this way.

Claude Harvey
August 29, 2015 8:09 pm

I was disappointed to see the study did not include the same breakdown on tax credits to commercial solar and wind farms, where it’s almost exclusively the high-roller, limited partner investors who reap the benefits of tax credits and accelerated depreciation and where only “sophisticated investors” (translate: rich and politically connected) need apply. There, the numbers are just obscene.

August 29, 2015 8:15 pm

The exclusion from road taxes for diesel fuel used by farmers and boaters is no subsidy.
The tax was installed in order to pay for the road system, and since farm vehicles and boats don’t use roads, then it makes no sense to tax them to support the roads.
Without the exemption, farm vehicles and boats would be subsidizing motorists.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 5:39 am

A few years ago (2000?), the tax refund laws in Texas became so convoluted and the fines for minor mistakes so high, that our local fuel distributer quit selling non-taxed fuel. I worked for a fracking company which used 75% of its fuel for off-road but it was cheaper to just pay the tax.

Just Steve
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 30, 2015 10:05 am

Why should the gas tax “trust fund” be any different from the Social Security “trust fund”. Politicians have never been able to keep their hands off of large sums of available cash by which they can buy a few more votes, or line their own pockets.
As to the off road diesel tax…I used to own a refrigerated trailer. The diesel used to run the reefer unit falls under the off road category. There used to be places you could find off road pumps, where the fuel had no tax applied. For a whole host of reasons, they have for the most part disappeared. If you want to go through the headache, you can fill out a lot of paperwork to get refunded the tax.
Off road diesel is also dyed. Taxed fuel is clear. Some states have special officers running around checking trucks for dyed fuel in their truck fuel tank. IIRC the minimum fine is $5,000 for having dyed untaxed fuel in an on road vehicle.

August 29, 2015 8:18 pm

The depreciaton allowance for miners and drillers is only a “subsidy” if the same allowance for all other businesses is a subsidy.
Actually if you thought about, having to depreciate items rather than cost them completely in the year in which they were purchased increases the taxes that businesses have to pay.
Don’t fall for the left wing nonsense that any tax that is less than 100% is a subsidy.

Terry Bixler
August 29, 2015 8:19 pm

This is how Obama got elected. People donate to him to open the floodgates of tax monies to themselves.

Reply to  Terry Bixler
August 29, 2015 9:13 pm

bull, he is part of the machine politics out of Chicago which are no different than the politics out of California. It is not just a popularity contest it is machine politics that the media knows about but never reports on.

August 29, 2015 8:50 pm

This is a great interview between Carly Fiorina and Katie Fouric. One of the very few times that someone actually lays the issues if the economy, health, education, real pollution and limited resources (like over fishing-my insert) on the line versus the waste of resources on a climate that always changes. Like the story of King Canute turning back the tides, the climate will change in spite of us.
Thanks for another great post Willis.
Oh, and I just read a story about a 5000 year old Olive tree in Palestine. I wonder what stories it could tell. Adapt or die.

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
August 30, 2015 12:53 am


Say What?
Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
August 30, 2015 7:35 am

I wish she had made it more of an issue as Climate Change should be made into the hottest topic and the candidates should study and then reveal the hoax to the voters. So far, in the mainstream media, nobody hears the dissenters. Our arguments are being censored effectively because nobody just runs across our claims as often as they get the reinforced mantra of Global Warming. I think we need a candidate to make the hoax into an issue, otherwise they will regret it – come December. We need the “silent majority” to get the word out.

August 29, 2015 8:51 pm

I wondered how to describe these “do-gooders”. “Psychopath” is not quite right, although their callousness towards others’ actual (rather than modelled, ie imaginary, future) pain suggests it is.
I suggest the term “ecopath” for an environmentalist who wilfully injures (or causes to be injured) other humans in the course of pursuing their goals.
It’s not enough to be well-meaning if you also disregard the social and human costs of your well-intentioned actions, or if you prioritise imaginary benefits over actual harm to other humans.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  jon2009
August 29, 2015 10:07 pm

Joyce Kilmer were she a 21st century environmentalist
I think that I shall never see
A child as lovely as a tree
Eugene WR Gallun

Reply to  jon2009
August 30, 2015 3:46 am

“Watermelon” (see avatar) and “Ecoloon” are my favorites.

August 29, 2015 9:05 pm

Good article Willis:
We knew and published some of these points in 2002 – including the key point of clean water, infant mortality and misallocation of resources:
Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. [Since the start of global warming hysteria, about 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated water.]
Thank you, Allan
[excerpts from my recent article published on]
In 2002 the PEGG, the journal of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) solicited the following debate on the now-defunct Kyoto Accord (Kyoto Protocol), between Dr. Matthew Bramley and Matt McCullough, P.Eng. of the Pembina Institute, who supported the Kyoto Accord and relied upon the IPCC’s position, and Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Harvard Astrophysicist, Dr. Tim Patterson, Carleton Paleoclimatologist, and Allan MacRae, P.Eng., who opposed Kyoto based on scientific statements in their PEGG article and rebuttal.
Now, after 13 years, it is instructive to look back at the two positions and determine how they have fared.
One’s predictive track record is perhaps the only objective measure of one’s competence. The IPCC has a negative predictive track record, because ALL of its scary projections have failed to materialize. The IPCC thus has NO credibility, actually it has NEGATIVE credibility.
Probabilistically; based the IPCC’s negative predictive track record, one would more correct if one assumed the opposite of the IPCC’s scary projections.
All the IPCC’s scary projections of catastrophic humanmade global warming, wilder weather, and climate change have failed to materialize, despite significant increases in atmospheric CO2, the purported driver of this falsely-predicted “weather weirding”. According to the best data from satellites, global temperatures measured in the Lower Troposphere (LT) have not increased significantly in about 18 years. Hurricane frequency and intensity are at record low levels. The climate has been remarkably stable despite substantial increases in atmospheric CO2.

In comparison, let us review the eight predictions we made on our 2002 Rebuttal [my comments in brackets]:
Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.
Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist. [NO net global warming has occurred for about 18 years.}
Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil. [Note pollution in China and the former Soviet Union.]
Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. [Since the start of global warming hysteria, about 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated water.]
Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt. [Canada adopted Kyoto but then most provinces wisely ignored it – the exception being now-depressed Ontario, where government drank the Kool-Aid.]
Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution. {Note the air in China.]
Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.
[We shamed our government into not paying the FSU, but other governments did so, to bribe them to sign Kyoto.]
Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming. [IF one believed the utterly false climate models, one would probably conclude that we must cease fossil fuel consumption.].
The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels. [Those governments who adopted “green energy” schemes such as wind and solar power are finding these schemes are not green and produce little useful energy. Their energy costs are soaring and those governments are in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as they try to save face.]
In summary, all our predictions have proven correct in those venues that fully embraced the now-defunct Kyoto Accord, whereas none of the IPCC’s scary projections have materialized.
So what happens next? Will we see catastrophic humanmade global warming? No, our planet will cool.
I (we) predicted the commencement of global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article published in the Calgary Herald in 2002. That prediction is gaining credibility as solar activity [in current SC24] has crashed.

Timing is difficult to estimate, but I now expect global cooling to be evident by 2020 or sooner.

August 29, 2015 9:10 pm

It’s worse than a question of “is wind better / cheaper than coal?” Everyone thinks it’s an equation. It’s not. Power demand is shrinking in US and AUS. The power stations and grids are ALREADY in place.
If you needed capacity, THEN it’s an equation. Is coal better than wind (net of all applicable externalities if you like). But when you don’t need it, the economic value of the windmill is zero or negative.

August 29, 2015 9:19 pm

A few more points on energy:
The modern energy industry keeps those of us who live above the tropics from freezing and starving to death.
When imbecilic politicians fool with their countries’ energy systems, they put entire societies at risk. This is particularly true today in Britain and Western Europe, where these fools have compromised their energy systems through the widespread adoption of nonsensical grid-connected wind and solar schemes that produce little or no useful net energy. We predicted this energy debacle in several articles published in 2002.
We said in 2002:
““The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
Apparently that blunt statement was not clear enough.
Sadly, it will take a catastrophe to enlighten these fools, and I fear we will see it soon, in the form of an increase in excess winter mortality in certain European countries.
Regards to all, Allan

Bill Parsons
August 29, 2015 9:33 pm

“We’ll help the poor in 2050 by making it easier for rich people to buy a new $100,000 Tesla, and meanwhile Elon Musk is laughing all the way to the bank …”
It’s pure graft. Tesla now rated by Consumer Reports as “best car evahh!” – so good it broke their ratings scale. Just like the guy with his mallet at carnival, knocking the bell right off the top of the “high striker” game. Wow!
A little skin ripped from the hide of the American public… must be good for covering somebody’s poor business acumen.

August 29, 2015 10:47 pm

Leftists also forget there are always unforeseen and unintended consequences of circumventing free-market forces by State economic control: the lost jobs, the lost inventions that were never made, the new products that were never launched, the new companies that were never started, etc., all as a direct result of the State wasting capital that a free-market would have utilized differently…
Free-markets are the best and most moral way to effectively use and allocate land, labor and capital.

August 29, 2015 11:25 pm

If you exclude tax breaks from the definition of subsidies then the whole thing makes more sense. All that matters is the NET flow of money ie, total tax less total ‘subsidy’. If that net is negative then you are being subsidized, of it is positive then you are paying tax. If you are claiming to be a producer of energy but are being subsidized then in reality you are a net absorber of energy. ie you are a burden.

John F. Hultquist
August 29, 2015 11:44 pm

Thanks Willis. I know this makes you angry. Me too.
I’ll send a link to our local (small town) paper.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The numbers are news but the conclusion is not.
It takes money to make money.

Phillip Bratby
August 30, 2015 12:13 am

This is the reverse Robin Hood effect.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 31, 2015 2:33 am

It is a bit like city-center car-tolls, that prevent the poor from driving in cities. Well, the great unwashed should be on buses anyway. Don’t they know their place? /sarc

August 30, 2015 12:37 am

Liberals deserve blame for much of the looting but conservatives have dirty hands too. In 1999 Gov George Bush pushed a law in Texas forcing power companies to buy all green power produced in Texas. This mainly benefitted Sam Wyly, the Green King of Texas. In 2000 Bush did badly in the first 3 primaries. He had to win in S Carolina or give up. The polls had McCain 10 points ahead of Bush. Ten days before the election somebody flooded S Carolina with TV spots calling McCain a military coward. Bush won. Several months later it was learned that the Green King funded the attack ads.
By 2010 West Texas had so many wind mills that only 75% of the power being produced could be sent to consumers in East Texas cities. Presidential candidate Rick Perry pushed a bill that forced the rate payers of Texas to fund new high tension lines costing $5 billion. I could go on with this.
Also, you might think that SOME subsidies are good, like farming subsidies. I don’t buy it. Sure we get a lot of food, more than we can eat. Then we dump it in Africa. That makes African farmers uneconomic and they stop farming. Then they move to city slums, doubling the ranks of poor people. I see a bunch of conservative governors and congress critters strongly supporting farmers with ethanol subsidies and other green crap, like foecing all gasoline to have 10% alcohol. The vast majority of the farm subsidies go to people with home addresses in New York City or San Francisco. Rich bankers with low wage share croppers working the land. (Remember the conservative lady from Iowa who ran for president last time? She got farm subsidies AND subsidies for her medical business.)
All subsidies distort the free market structure of production. They should all be abolished.

Reply to  eVince
August 30, 2015 12:51 am

Guess what? George Bush is not a conservative. Don’t lump him in with conservatives. We haven’t had a conservative president since Ronald Reagan, and even then he wasn’t a pure conservative, but better than most…

Reply to  eVince
August 30, 2015 6:38 am

“All subsidies distort the free market structure of production. They should all be abolished.”
Exactly! And they all have “unintended” negative consequences that become the excuse for another government program. Pass an energy policy that artificially drives up the cost of home heating and then pass a program to subsidize the cost of home heating. Have agriculture policies that set minimum crop prices and then set up a food subsidy program so the poor can afford the overpriced groceries. This evolves into a government so large and with so many regulations and programs that even the staff in the agencies can’t know all of them. And in the end you wind up like Greece.

Reply to  tgasloli
August 30, 2015 9:40 am

You got it. The biggest beneficiaries are the millions (really) of bureaucrats who personally benefit from that racket.
When I’m running things (starting the second Tuesday of Never), there will be a mass layoff of every employee of the Dept’s of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the EPA, and a dozen other federal bureaucracies. That enormous burden should be lifted from hard-bitten taxpayers. Despite their self-servong P.R., they add no net value to the country.
Security and national defense should be provided by police, the military, and the 50 National Guards. The others are State issues — per the Constitution.
The problem was even predicted by none other than Karl Marx, who warned of a growing, unaccountable, nameless and facelss bureaucracy. That is happening now. Since year 2000, “fees” for public services have risen by more than 25%. Why? Because there is never enough money to feed the ravenous beast.
There are very few legitimate reasons for subsidies. At least 97% of all subsidies should be eliminated. The free market works far better and more efficiently than any government solutions.
But we have probably passed the point of no return. The federal bureaucracy, including most of the teachers receiving federal subsidies, numbers in the multi-millions. One-half of all Americans are now on the dole. They all vote, and they will not vote to cut their own benefits and jobs.

Reply to  dbstealey
August 30, 2015 12:10 pm

Yes , the overwhelming transfer of wealth the political class creates , whatever their rhetoric is to themselves and their bureaucratic empires .
In highschool in the `60s we read essays worried about how we would fill our expanded leisure time in the future . The State has taken care of that with regulations and paper work , backed , as Alan Greenspan said in his Ayn Rand days , by a gun .
One of the Statist mantras is “creating jobs” . Jobs don’t create wealth ; production does . One of the shallowest thoughts proffered here was that the subsidies for Teslas for the rich was fine because other programs subsidized energy for the poor . It reminds me of one of Thomas Sowell’s brilliantly simple observations : If people think healthcare is too expensive , how do they expect that that healthcare plus a bureaucracy to administer it will be less ?
If the production is there , eg , the energy cheap , then more people need to work less . And that’s a pleasant thought — the common expectation a half century ago .

August 30, 2015 1:28 am

“They don’t include the massive subsidies handed out directly to the solar and wind industries.”
It’s a pity you didn’t include this, as I suspect it dwarfs other subsidies. For example, it is not surprising that “GE does not disclose revenue for its wind business”, however having flogged over 25,000 of the monstrosities, at a couple of mega bucks a pop, taxpayers have poured $50B or so down the drain on GE alone.

Bob Lyman
August 30, 2015 1:33 am

The logical next step would be to conduct a study of which companies, countries and stockholders benefitted from the manufacture of heavily subsidized wind and solar equipment, electric vehicles and biofuels. In the case of solar equipment (PV Modules), seven of the top ten manufacturers are based in China and two in Japan, only one in the U.S. Of the top ten manufacturers of wind turbines, four are based in China, three in Germany, one in Spain, one (the largest – Vestas) in Denmark, and one in the U.S. It seems clear that a substantial portion of the subsidy benefit is being exported.

August 30, 2015 1:53 am

The tax on gasoline and diesel fuel refunded to farmers is because fuel is used off road and the tax was originally passed to support the construction and maintenance of roads.

Peter Miller
August 30, 2015 2:22 am

Well, like it or not, it is the poorer members of our society who tend to vote these leftist clowns and ecoloons into high office.
Leftist clowns and ecoloons by definition are not economically savvy and are usually obsessed with ’causes’ designed to make them look caring and concerned. The end result is inevitable and always the same, the poor get screwed by the rich, as the latter are normally quick to understand how they can personally exploit the situation.
Put simply, the left likes to think that because of action A, the result will be B and that is good, but ignore the fact that B causes the further results C, D & E, which can usually be relied on to be bad or detrimental.

August 30, 2015 2:38 am

Takes a liberal to discover a cool way to rape the poor

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 30, 2015 9:12 am

Leo, I am so stealing that.

Steve P
Reply to  Barbara Skolaut
August 30, 2015 11:36 am

Best to avoid labels, and address issues.
The liberal-conservative, left-right paradigms really reflect the two front paws of the same tiger, playing both sides against the middle. Divide and conquer.
Imagine, if you could rate a movie, or novel, only by describing it as liberal or conservative. This is your mind on programming and propaganda. If you’re going to use labels, at least broaden your palette.
In this case Barbara, you’ve jumped in with both feet at the chance to blame all raping of the poor on liberals, but do you really think our world is so simple, so predictable, so easily understood that it can be rendered completely only in black & white?
Of course I hasten to note as I close that the idea never crossed my mind that any conservative would ever think of raping the poor.

August 30, 2015 2:39 am

NEW YORK The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.14 Mar 2013
Are the Iraqis more secure? Fewer deaths? Freedom to live peacefully?
Matters of Scale – Spending Priorities
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide reproductive health care for all women in developing countries $12 billion
Amount of money spent annually on perfumes in Europe and the United States $12 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide water and sanitation for all people in developing nations $9 billion
Amount of money spent annually on cosmetics in the United States $8 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide basic health an nutrition needs universally in the developing world $13 billion
Amount of money spent each year on pet food in Europe and the United States $17 billion
Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide basic education for all people in developing nations $6 billion
Amount of money spent each year on militaries worldwide $780 billion
Combined wealth of the world’s richest 225 people $1 trillion
Combined annual income of the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people $1 trillion

Reply to  sergeiMK
August 30, 2015 5:52 am

And your point is?
Are you pretending that an all-powerful, anonymous, un-accountable international “government” would do a better job more accurately or more efficiently of taking all the world’s time, money and energy from everybody (except those whom that international government favors!) and giving it to those who that international government favors?
Or merely that “you” would “feel better” if “your” propaganda were satisfied according to how “you” feel that propaganda should be satisfied? How do “you” propose treating those innocents who disagree with “you” (and those guilty of NOT agreeing!) with “your” interpretation of a prefect world and “your” desires to impose “your” will on everybody else?

August 30, 2015 3:30 am

Once again another good article Willis. This same racket is happening here in UK too.
In the North East of England where I live, in the middle of summer we get up to 16 hours of daylight. We do not need the electricity then, since very few buildings are air-conditioned, lights are not needed etc. In the middle of winter when we do need the electricity for heating and lighting we get 7 hours of daylight, with the Sun a maximum of 15 degrees of altitude.

Gras Albert
August 30, 2015 3:38 am

Failed UK politician Ed Milliband’s lasting political legacy legacy is the Climate Change Act, the single most effective instrument of legislation in the last 300 years at transferring money from the poor to the rich. Why?, because the poor pay artificially inflated energy bills and the rich own the land that attracts renewable energy subsidy…

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Gras Albert
August 30, 2015 4:25 am

This whole issue of robbing the poor to pay the rich reminds me of the 19th Century Corn Laws. Increasing the cost of energy by imposing taxes in order to fund so called Green Energy is an example of state interference that clearly rewards an uneconomic industry. If it is easier to make money by getting the state to tax its citizens rather than to lower your industry costs by improving efficiency or applying new technology, then lobbying the politicians to impose taxes is clearly the correct business decision to make.
Put simply if an industry is not profitable then it is not sustainable. Funding Green Energy is a pyramid scheme, another example of the myth of a free lunch, that we can all have endless energy for no effective cost or effort.

August 30, 2015 4:12 am

“And hiking energy prices based on the pathetic justification of a POSSIBLE cooling by 2050 of a few tenths of a degree is a crime against the poor of unimaginable size and ubiquitous effect”
Shouldn’t that be Warming by 2050 Wills ?

August 30, 2015 4:17 am
I have been considering this approach for several years and I think it is now time to proceed..
Civil RICO provides for TRIPLE DAMAGES. Global losses from the global warming scam are in the trillions, including hundreds of billions on the USA.
We would sue the sources of warmist funding and those who have significantly profited from the global warming scam..
The key to starting a civil RICO action is to raise several million dollars to fund the lawsuit, which will be protracted and expensive.
If serious funders are interested, please contact me through
Regards, Allan MacRae

August 30, 2015 4:36 am

The fact that coal fired power plants emit considerable amounts of heavy metals and other pollutants is also a part of the equation. There are no such pollutants from wind power.
when comparing alternative power sources on a national level, all factors should be counted in, including the health effects of small particulares and heavy metals. This make the cost comparison between wind and coal a bit more complicated.
And it doesn’t help on our understanding that the heavy metals lowers our IQ.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 5:18 am

Poppycock. Whatever health effects there may be from our modern coal-fired power plants, they are miniscule, and deliberately overblown by those pushing so-called “green” energy for ideological reasons.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 30, 2015 6:43 am

I guess I should have used the word balderdash instead. So my comment instead is;
Balderdash. Whatever health effects there may be from our modern coal-fired power plants, they are miniscule, and deliberately overblown by those pushing so-called “green” energy for ideological reasons.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 5:24 am

But Jan, since wind power is intermittent, every megawatt of production capacity must be backed up by an additional megawatt of fossil fuel powered generating capacity. Additionally, the infrastructure required to build wind turbines as dirty as any other, as is the construction industry,…not to mention that the effing turbines dont last as long as advertised, nor do they ever generate anywhere near faceplate specs…theres that.
Look: if wind power made sense, people wouldn’t need subsidies to create capacity. its really that simple.

Reply to  davideisenstadt
August 30, 2015 11:34 am

You need some backup capacity, but not necessarly fossil backup. Hydro is also renewable and since it is easy to store in water magazines, and quick to start and stop, it is a very good backup for wind and solar.

Reply to  davideisenstadt
August 30, 2015 3:34 pm

hydropower isn’t exactly in favor in the states at least, because of the effects it has on spawning fish, as a result there have been no new hydropower generating facilities built in the States for decades.
You present an alternative that doesn’t, in fact exist.
In any case, the additional cost pf creating duplicate power generating capacity isn’t included in most cost analyses of nontraditional sources of electricity, do you agree?

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 5:28 am

Jan Kjetil Andersen

The fact that coal fired power plants emit considerable amounts of heavy metals and other pollutants is also a part of the equation. There are no such pollutants from wind power.
when comparing alternative power sources on a national level, all factors should be counted in, including the health effects of small particulares and heavy metals.

Show these measured heavy metal “traces” that can actually get through the particulate filter and electrostatic precipitators of coal-fired plants in the Western economies. (Not China nor India, but the Western economies.) it is physically impossible for such amounts as you imply emitted are released. Wind turbines REQUIRE the less-efficient continual running of fossil plants at standby to makeup for the unreliable variations of wind power in rapid, unpredictable shifts. Or the very rapid startup of gas turbines under emergency conditions that break the heavy-walled castings and thick forged steel pressure vessels of the turbines. A 200 million installed machine that should run for 30 years will be destroyed by cracks and fatigue in 3-7 years.
And, for worse measure, the millions of tons of dissolved acids and heavy metals that ARE released from China’s pits, mines, and dump ponds ARE draining from those waste pools from battery, wind mill and rare earth magnets, and heavy metal manufacturing sites NOT covered by ANY emissions policies nor safeguards.
But they are draining from communist factories and mines, and so are immune from your enviro-concerns, aren’t they?

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 2:37 pm

Show these measured heavy metal “traces” that can actually get through the particulate filter and electrostatic precipitators of coal-fired plants in the Western economies. (Not China nor India, but the Western economies.) it is physically impossible for such amounts as you imply emitted are released

The portion of US air pollution that comes from power plants are:
• Arsenic 62percent
• Acid gases 77 percent
• SO2 60 percent
• Nickel 28 percent
• Mercury 50 percent
• NOx 13 percent
• Chromium 22 percent

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 3:36 pm

so jan, how much arsenic SO2 and the like are actually being emitted?
percentages are useful, but actual amount might be more illuminating..

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 7:38 pm

You need to do your homework and look at all of the mining, processing and manufacturing processes related to the production of these beasts that are polluting the atmosphere just as much and with heavier, more dangerous poisons than emitted by the burning of coal. There are some rather dangerous materials in the magnets of the generators, and these rare-earth meatless are in the same ground as other even more dangerous elements. all released to the atmosphere in mining, manufacturing and disposal.
Also, the EPA in the USA basically will never let another dam, be built, thus Hydro is not an option, they are presently removing dams – then studies show that the elimination of the foliage caused by a dam-reservoir creates a net positive increase in CO2 balance. No trees/vegetation – no CO2 adsorbed. and worse yet, the rotting vegetation releases CO2.
Also, it seems like most of the EU is now burning Lignite (they call it coal, in the US, power plant workers call it dirt as it looks like hardened clay.) The US EPA basically outlawed burning that stuff many years ago. Check out its heat capacity, that means you have to burn twice as much to get out the same amount of electricity as decent coal. Then, the byproducts given off when it burns, Hint – look at China that is where all of their hazy atmosphere comes from. Remember the masks and horrendous atmosphere at the Olympics there? When the EU shuts down all of the Nukes you will witness it also. Move now while property values allows you.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
August 30, 2015 10:33 pm

According to the American lung association coal fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution in the U.S. than any other industrial pollution sources.
• More than 400 coal-fired power plants located in 46 states across the country release more that 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere each year.
• Particle pollution from power plants is estimated to kill approximately 13,000 people a year.

Coach Springer
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 5:39 am

Coal is quite clean. Standards were upped considerably with the sulfur scare a few decades back and continue to improve – with real technological improvement. Meanwhile, emissions from an average coal plaint in Wisconsin are equal to or even more dilute than levels found in the surrounding environment. Except for CO2 and steam. (You can be pro-technological improvement and pro-coal. You can be anti-technological improvement and pro-wind.)

August 30, 2015 4:44 am

Another critical piece of information about hidden costs that EIA does not include
The INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY RESEARCH in their report called HARD FACTS state
The American Tradition Institute conducted a study
to calculate wind’s “hidden costs” They found
that when the hidden costs were taken into account,
• the cost of fossil fuel power as back-up
when the wind is dormant,
• the additional cost of transmission that frequently occurs with wind farms
due to the inaccessibility of the best wind resources,
• the cost of wind’s favorable tax benefits in
‘accelerated depreciation’,
• and a shorter estimated life of a wind turbine of 20 years (versus 30 years
assumed in most cost estimates)
• the cost of wind power is if natural gas is used to back-up the wind
energy or 19.2 cents per kilowatt hour if coal is used as the back-up fuel
then the costs are 1.7 to 2.2 times the 8.66 cents per kilowatt hour estimate the
EIA is using for generating electricity from wind in its models
If you also read the IER report called WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF ELECTRICITY
Electricity from New Wind Three Times More Costly than Existing Coal
WASHINGTON – Today, the Institute for Energy Research released a first-of-its-kind study calculating the levelized cost of electricity from existing generation sources. Our study shows that on average, electricity from new wind resources is nearly four times more expensive than from existing nuclear and nearly three times more expensive than from existing coal. These are dramatic increases in the cost of generating electricity. This means that the premature closures of existing plants will unavoidably increase electricity rates for American families.
The graph below further illustrates how the EIA data is distorted.
This graph clearly shows that the average monthly or yearly capacity factor is not 35% which EIA use for their levelized electricity calculations and comparisons for wind turbines vs conventional options like coal and nuclear . Using the 35% factor instead of 20- 25% lowers the cost per kwh and makes it look more competitive when in fact it may not be so.

Coach Springer
Reply to  herkimer
August 30, 2015 5:28 am

An engineer acquaintance at a nuke that is threatened with closure over costs notes that the underlying cause of the threat is that wind is on a different economic footing. Wind not only keeps the nuke plant from producing at capacity and requires technical use of the nuke plant at the nuke plant’s cost in order for wind to sell its energy, the nuke plant must price its electricity under a different, unsubsidized structure competing with fossil fuels in an auction. All necessary by green government interference.

Mike M. (period)
Reply to  herkimer
August 30, 2015 8:36 am

Willis wrote: “Per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy produced from solar and wind, there is a subsidy to the producers of about two cents/kWh.”
As herkimer points out, that is only the tip of the iceberg of wind subsidies. I had not seen the report that herkimer links to, but the American Tradition Institute report “The Hidden Cost of Wind Electricity” is quite good. It is a rough but fair attempt at finding the true costs.
A good example of a hidden subsidy for wind is the $7 billion that ERCOT (the Texas grid operator) just spent on upgrades to the transmission grid to better accommodate wind power. It is apparently paid for by charging electricity customers more, not by charging the wind producers for the upgrades. That amounts to a $7 billion gift from the ratepayers to the wind producers, who can now get a better price for the subsidized electricity they produce.

Reply to  Mike M. (period)
August 31, 2015 6:47 am

Misinformation continues to be fed to the public about global warming issues. This is what Paul’s article addresses. Here are some other examples.
• NOAA and Karl et al who alter observable climate data at will and seem to issue biased reports to suit political agenda
• EPA who seems to creates impossible and over restrictive environment regulations to shut down coal plants and invents unsupportable “ carbon pollution”
• Energy Dept. that continues to misinform the public about the true cost of wind turbine energy
• EIA who claims to be neutral but seems to create and issue biased levelized cost data favouring renewables
• Environmental consultants who do the bidding of the government in order to qualify for free research money
• Universities and science societies who fail to police and rein in the flawed global warming science in order to get governments grants
• Rich billionaires who fund only those politicians who support their global warming initiatives
• Special interest groups and supplier industry that benefit from all the subsidies , tax benefits , grants
• Politicians who support carbon taxes and cap and trade taxes, not to fight climate change, but to raise more taxes which they use for other pet purposes
Here is the latest example of not telling the public the real facts about wind energy as already noted in the earlier or previous posts
According to the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report released today by the Energy Department and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, total installed wind power capacity in the United States grew at a rate of eight percent in 2014 and now stands at nearly 66 gigawatts (GW), which ranks second in the world and meets 4.9 percent of end-use electricity demand in an average year. The United States was the global leader in total wind energy production in 2014. The report also finds that wind energy prices are at an all-time low and are competitive with wholesale power prices and traditional power sources across many areas of the United States.

August 30, 2015 4:59 am

Well Willis, I’ve at times taken issue with you for your cantankerousness, but this time it has really paid off.
Fantastic article. Well done.

August 30, 2015 5:05 am

Good article, Willis. However, as I try to tell people here in Canada, if the UK/EU/UN support any action, do the EXACT opposite. You will only benefit, and be better off for it. Oh. And never trust a Brit’s word on anything. They created the asinine gubermint we now have.

Craig Austin
Reply to  Justthinkin
August 30, 2015 5:11 am

Imagine if the spawn of a Commie and the village hippy idiot, gets elected. Justin will do to Canada what Kathleen Wynn has done to Ontario.

Reply to  Craig Austin
August 30, 2015 5:48 am

In the states we have out front a village hippy idiot, a career crook and a hustler from brooklyn that became a multi billionate realeatate tycoon that wings campaign speeches like hes on the street corner in brooklyn. I have no idea how this will turn out but you cannot write this stuff.

Craig Austin
August 30, 2015 5:08 am

These policies sound ridiculous, unless you keep in mind that all these people and groups want to reduce the population substantially, and starvation is the way to go. Driving up fuel and food costs in a cooling world is a terrific method to eliminate the pesky poor, the staving attend to their dead.

August 30, 2015 5:20 am

The poor have a role to play in this war, their duty is to use less energy, sweat in the summer, shiver in the winter, pay more in taxes, pay more for energy, and then die.
Get with the plan.

Bruce Cobb
August 30, 2015 5:33 am

Although “green” energy policies do essentially rob from the poor, they have a far more insidious and damaging effect on the overall economy, and on democracy itself by putting further economic stress on, and further shrinking the middle class. We are shooting ourselves in the foot ecomically, for absolutely no reason. And as we all know, it is only wealthy, vibrant economies who are able to put resources into cleaning up their environment. A vibrant economy can offer the poor a way out of poverty through jobs, instead of government handouts which only make them dependent.

August 30, 2015 5:39 am

I like science better then economics as a study. At least when science and politics mix it is obvious. When economics and politics mix it is nothing I care to discuss. At least with cagw we have physics and chemistry. Its pretty hard to lie about science to everybody forever. Climate change is testing this.

August 30, 2015 5:43 am

These numbers put me in mind of those impoverished regions where the self professed ‘Helpers of the poor” have held elected office for generations.
Their only measurable effect?
More poor.
Detroit being a proud North American example.
However when you view them as parasites their actions are very rational, no matter how the money flows, our “helpers” get their cut.
Given that self reliant,informed citizens are the natural opponent of such freeloaders, one can see why government funded academia treats taxpayers as the enemy.
Charlatans, high priests and witch doctors have always relied on FUD.

August 30, 2015 5:53 am

Have to quibble here:
“one of the fossil-fuel subsidies in the US is the tax exemption for diesel used by farmers and fishermen”
That’s not a subsidy by most definitions.

Reply to  Matthew W
August 30, 2015 6:05 am

Correct. In th US, on-highway fuel has a road use tax collected at the point of sale for non-commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles pay road taxes separately by mileage per state, typically.
It would not be right to collect road-use tax on vehicles that don’t use roads!

Tom Johnson
August 30, 2015 6:05 am

Excellent points (as usual). I do take issue with your statement that Robin Hood took to from the rich, and gave to the poor. Actually, he took from government bureaucrats who became rich by taking from the poor (for example, the Sheriff of Nottingham). He then gave it back to the poor.

Tom J
August 30, 2015 6:08 am

Sir John Houghton; the deeply religious, skull faced, puritanical, former cochair of the UN IPCC wrote that climate change was a “moral issue” and that efforts to combat it would “contribute powerfully to the material salvation of the planet from mankind’s greed and indifference.”
So, after reading this post I’d just like to ask dear John, “How’s that working out?”
Tom Judd

August 30, 2015 6:21 am

This is reminiscent of a quip about NGO charities ‘getting money from poor people in rich countries to give it to rich people in poor countries’.

August 30, 2015 6:38 am

Home energy costs have lots of subsidized programs for the poor. IOW, it’s not really a regressive tax, as Willis claims. The only real regressive tax is the gasoline tax….and recall, by regressive, we mean fair, lol, cuz everyone pays the same.

Tom J
Reply to  Bruckner8
August 30, 2015 8:49 am

I might dispute you. I’m living on Social Security Disability payments. I’m on medical oxygen and in my home I have a plug in oxygen concentrator which, besides supplying me with oxygen, can also supply a pump which fills a travel tank with 2,000 psi of oxygen. Both devices are energy hogs yet there is no provision whatsoever for a modification in my electrical bill to compensate the costs of operating them.

August 30, 2015 7:28 am

Thanks, Willis. A brilliant but very sad article.
Historically, not a new thing though, this fleecing of the poor by the very rich.

August 30, 2015 7:57 am

If you cannot stay in business or make,a profit on the merits of your product or service you do not need to be in business. You certainly don’t need my tax dollars. Subsidies are unjust and they distort the one crucial aspect of an economy; information.

Jim G1
August 30, 2015 8:20 am

Nothing new here though this presentation of the facts is more lucid and succinct than most. The rich have always taken from the poor. The peasants in feudal times, sharecroppers in more recent times, the proletariat in the iron curtain countries and the rank and file in today’s various types of governments have always been preyed upon. And the taking has always, and continues to be, by force of arms, or the threat thereof. Just try not paying your taxes and eventually government employees with guns will come to visit you. Today’s systems for redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich are simply more complex and devious. And all forms of government, today,eventually get down to some form of crony capitalism, even communist China as even partial capitalism works better than complete central planning in poducing economic success.

Bruce Cobb
August 30, 2015 8:53 am

As if it isn’t bad enough that the Greenie thieves have to rob from taxpayers and ratepayers alike just to stay in business, but they, along with those in cahoots add insult to injury by pretending they are doing this “for the good of the planet”. It’s an outrage.

August 30, 2015 9:05 am

“Raising energy costs sentence the global poor to further impoverishment, sickness, and even death.”
Even death? I thought that was the purpose of the excercise. The target being: the useless eaters and those welfare recipents from a different and more caring political age – now, however, finding themselves excess to requirements in an overpopulated world..

Say What?
August 30, 2015 9:41 am

I have a question – If clouds can block the sun and cool the earth below, what about solar panels? They block the Sun, all day long. Also, we all know that a nice breeze can cool you down on a humid day. How much energy do windmills rob from the wind, slowing them down and lessening the cooling effect, downwind? Not a scientist, probably a dumb question, but I am curious about how the various types of energy transfers balance out.

August 30, 2015 10:16 am

While I am a true fan of your essays in this forum, I am underwhelmed by this finding. Of course most of the benefit of a tax subsidy goes to the people who pay taxes, in rough proportion to the taxes they pay. Residential subsidies, for improved insulation, solar photovoltaics, etc., account for the vast majority of “green” tax subsidies. If those making over $200,000 are harvesting 56% of the residential tax subsidies, but are paying 56% of the taxes (which is approximately true), then these “green” subsidies make the tax code neither more progressive (as some might wish), nor less progressive (as others might wish).
However, I am in total agreement with you about the disproportionate burden increased energy costs places on the poor. What is regressive in the extreme is the burden of increased energy-related prices on the cost of just about everything for those of limited means.

Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:20 am

Besides the deplorable aspect of having the world’s most powerful (Obama’s not quite done yet), and wealthy (aggregate wealth; and again, Obama’s not done yet) country subsidizing a rich man, or woman’s, electric playtoy (I’m thinking about a car here in case you have other thoughts) to the detriment of its poorer inhabitants there is the additional deplorable aspect in that this car the country is subsidizing is also a wienee car. Yes, I’m talking about the Tesla. And yes, it is a wienee car. In fact, the wieniest of wienee cars.
It’s been said that the the speed limit free German Autobahn is the anvil on which the world’s finest cars are forged. So, a collection of wieners took the wienee car out for a spin on that anvil to see if it would prove to be forged steel or a limp noodle. These kilometer illiterate wiensters were zipping (a gross exaggeration) along at 90 kmh in their Tesla. Of course everybody was passing them including geriatrics walking their Dachsunds. I mean, for chrissake, 90 kmh is equivalent to 55 mph which, when it was in force, nobody but nobody in the US drove at either. And these guys are on the autobahn! Ah, but then they decided to let ‘er rip! 90 kmh. 100 kmh. 110 kmh. 120 kmh. One of the wiensters goes; ‘Whoee, this is faaast!’ They actually move over into the left lane at that speed. Memo, to the wiensters; 120 kmh is less than 75 mph which is almost the legal limit in control freak Illinois. And, it’s also a rear end collision on the autobahn in the left lane. Alas, that didn’t happen because that 120 kmh became 130, then 140. Our daredevil wiensters did, however, notice a rather significant armada of traffic building behind them. Ya’ think? Anyway, they got the wiener mobile up to about 150 to 160 kmh; about 90-98mph. Heck, I got my 90 year old mother’s Mercury Grand Marquis up to 100 mph in Montana a few years back while she was in it, and she was happy we were getting to where we were going faster.
Now, let me ask you. Would you be proud to inform somebody that you’re a citizen of a country that subsidizes the purchase of something where its only accomplishment is backing up traffic for miles on the autobahn. I’m surprised that action didn’t start another World War.
I’m not making any of this up. Just Google ‘video of German autobahn’ and you’ll see Tesla pop up and be able to watch a truly embarrassing YouTube video of what I’ve described.
It’s funny but it’s also quite pathetic. A year or so ago Car & Driver did a comparison between a Tesla and a … Ford Model T. From their home base in Michigan to New York the Tesla got there faster than the Model T by … 2 hours. Progress?
I mean, c’mon, if we’re going to subsidize toys for wealthy people why don’t we at least be honest and subsidize Ferraris?

Reply to  Tom J
August 30, 2015 10:47 am

I’ve had a judge get very mad at me for doing 90 mph.
So I was very careful when letting my BMW run out to 140 mph, on an empty American highway.
Only did that once (the car was limited to 155 mph).

Tom J
Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 30, 2015 11:35 am

Congratulations! That’s faster than I’ve ever gone. Years ago a coworker got me up to 120 mph in his Camaro.
I did have an opportunity to drive my Alfa Romeo Milano through Montana back in 1998 when there was no speed limit in the state. 782 miles in 9 1/2 hours with stops. Glorious!
Someday I’ll divulge some of my speeding tricks to you. One hint is that Ford Crown Vics and Mercury Grand Marquis are excellent speedsters. Police don’t look for those kind of cars to be speeding. Especially really fast.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
September 1, 2015 6:50 pm

Tom J
Except Crown Vic’s had speed limiters on them in Canada and when you hit the limit the engine shut right down. Scary the first time but kinda fun after you figured it out ;-). I had two of them. Great cars.

August 30, 2015 10:35 am

Our new “witch doctors” , “shaman’s” and or “medicine men” now chant the “Climate Change” chant in unison from MSNBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, C-Span, in a never ending mind numbing chorus that now has the deliberately miss-informed, miss-educated, and dumb-ed down population lusting to be saved by the tax credit for wind energy fake etal other medicines these co-corrupt liars dish out 24/7/365.

Michael Jankowski
August 30, 2015 11:26 am

At first glance, I am having trouble reconciling your Figure 1 with the Table 2 in the document…

August 30, 2015 11:59 am

Great essay! Thanks.
Ready availability to basic infrastructure like clean water, electricity, etc. is very worthwhile. Extreme green misanthropes on the other hand want de-growth.

John A. Fleming
August 30, 2015 12:04 pm

You said “To me, the issue is never the existence of a subsidy. It is whether we get something for the subsidy.” All the facts for why subsidies are always bad, always create market distortions in unintended ways, are never a net plus, are well known. If this is what you believe, there little hope of convincing you otherwise.
I will say it simply, by analogy. Cash is a fact, profit is an opinion. The politicians attempt to convince you that you will profit by a subsidy, even while they take money out of your pocket and give it to themselves and their friends. You have this wierd belief that you can keep this corruption free. And just try and be the bearer of bad news that the market distortions outweigh the “public good”. The chumps don’t like it when they are reminded that they’ve been taken for fools by a bunch of grifters.
“Public good” is a “just so”story. You’re letting yourself be robbed. What’s worse, you all in your voting millions think I also must be robbed to pay for your schemes.
When you give the government the power to subsidize as you have in your deluded voting millions, you’re riding the tiger and think you won’t get eaten. Voters, they’re what’s for dinner.
When you’re for subsidies of any kind, you’re either one of the thieves, one of their allies, one of the chumps, or one of the “good” people who in the face of evil choose to do nothing.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
August 30, 2015 12:46 pm

Thank you Willis. How about calling it ‘King John syndrome’?

August 30, 2015 1:10 pm

I think we should call it the Egoscene

love it.

August 30, 2015 1:20 pm

the paper says that from 2006 to 2012, the taxpayers have been on the hook for $18 BILLION DOLLARS

18 bn in seven years is about 2.6 bn per year.
To put that in perspective, a 2010 study by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that air pollution from coal-fired power plants accounts for more than 13,000 premature deaths, 20,000 heart attacks, and 1.6 million lost workdays in the U.S. each year. The total monetary cost of these health impacts is over $100 billion

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 2:48 pm

Only a total fool would believe those agenda-driven, fact-free lies.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
August 30, 2015 3:55 pm

So I assume you must be gung ho for nukes because it is overwhelmingly clear that wind and solar don’t cut it .
While I’m sure many here will respond with much more detailed knowledge , a few points must be considered .
0 : American health and lifespan has never been greater , and affordable energy and the technology and industry it enables has been by far the greatest single cause . Nor has the air ever been cleaner . Whatever the deleterious effects of current levels of the substances , they have been massively overwhelmed by the benefits of affordable power .
1 : All these elements are naturally occurring and are naturally occurring in living organisms . That’s why they end up in the coal . In many cases the EPA standards are bumping against the natural levels . This is most blatantly true in the proposed O3 standards which would make many forests out of compliance and require the outlawing of thunderstorms .
EKophools seem to not accept that the world is made up of elements and chemicals . Greenpeace notoriously launched a campaign against Cl for a year or two until the ridicule that extraordinary dumbness evoked got thru to them .
It appears the absurdity of the absolutely baseless anti-scientific demonization of the molecule which is the one to one partner which H2O in construction of all carbon based life has gotten thru to you so you don’t argue it here .
But why , given the EPA and the Democrats continue to push that evermore thoroughly proven falsehood , should anyone trust their on the surface outlandishly exaggerated claims of deaths , illness and costs of substances at levels which could not even be measured a few decades ago and which are less than in many natural environments ?

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 30, 2015 9:42 pm

Bob, yes I think nuclear is better than coal.
And you can see that American lifespan could be even better when we compare to other wealthy nations.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 31, 2015 8:25 am

I have read some of your linked postings and think several claims there are wrong or very inaccurate.
For instance:
1. Quote from your From EPA Mercury Madness post:

So let’s assume that the EPA regs will cut out 25 tonnes of mercury per year. This is supposed to save 11,000 lives every year.

This is plain wrong. No one claim that mercury alone causes 11 000 deaths. The EPA says that it is the total pollution from the power plants causes that many causalities. Most of the premature deaths are due to particulates, not mercury. Quote from EPA:

The great majority of the estimates are attributable to co-benefits from 4,200
to 11,000 fewer PM2.5-related premature mortalities.

PM2.5 means Particulates with diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less
2. Based on this misunderstanding you continue:

So that means if we could wave a magical wand and cut out all of the mercury, 100 percent of it, we should expect to save about 11,000 times 7500/25 = 11,000 times 300 = 3,300,000 lives saved every year … and if you believe that three million people die every year from mercury poisoning, you too could get a job with the EPA.

This is of course utterly meaningless since no one has claimed that mercury causes this deaths. EPA says that mercury causes some loss in IQ, not lives.
3. The numbers you refer to above is also saving estimates for mercury alone.
You say:

EPA itself say that the reduction in US powerplant mercury will have a nationwide total dollar value of LESS THAN TEN THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS! And on that basis alone, they want to close down the power plants, and you run around quoting the National Geographic’s alarmist view of the EPA’s madness as though it were gospel.

Not all benefits of less pollution can be quantified in monetary units.
Mercury is only a small part of the emissions and a part that is very hard to monetize. Some loss in IQ does not necessary mean that you will earn or produce considerably less. Most us value to be able to serve fish to our kids without worrying if we may be are poisoning them.
Coal fired power plants also contribute to a huge amount of other highly hazardous pollutants like Arsenic (62%), SO2(60%) and Nickel (28%), just to mention a few.
If you think air pollution matters at all, you should start to look at the emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 31, 2015 9:56 am

JK Andersen says:
Most us value to be able to serve fish to our kids without worrying if we may be are poisoning them.
People are living much longer, healthier lives than ever before. If coal power plants were ‘poisoning’ people, we would be living shorter, unhealthier lives, no?
Modern coal scrubbers remove 99.97% of all particulates. Forest fires, volcanoes, and uncontrollled coal seam fires put much more particulate matter into the atmosphere.
Your argument amounts to the usual “But what if…”
So, ‘what if’ coal power is not a problem? That’s what the evidence shows. Can you admit that, or not?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 31, 2015 1:59 pm

Pollution from coal plants in the US is something that only limousine liberals and people opposed to development worry about.
Well, plus you, of course … you seem quite willing to shut down a good chunk of the US economy based on your inchoate fears and your desire for a worry-free life

You are wrong there Willis. I’m no leftist, I am pro-industry and I am a huge technology optimist.
But I have other visions than you.
I think the US and other wealthy nations should make two strategic steps:
1. Electrify most of the land based transportation sector like cars, heavy vehicles, buses and trains. It is not something that can be achieved overnight, but we can come close to fulfilling this in a decade or two if we take bold steps now.
2. De-carbonize the electricity production. Productions from nuclear and renewables then have to be increased considerably.
The gains of will be:
a) Reduced air pollution
b) A large surplus of oil. Both U.S. and Europe could be self sufficient of energy and the U.S. could be a large oil exporter. This will lead to lower international oil prices which will gain the developing world.
c) Millions of new jobs and less deficit on the trade balance.
The best we can hope for concerning the less developed nations in the world like India, Pakistan and most of Africa is that they can follow in China’s footsteps and have a massive industrialization and economic growth. This will improve health and education, and reduce the fertility so the population growth comes under control.
The oil surplus from the wealthy nations plays a vital role in feeding this growth.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 31, 2015 9:40 pm

Funny how “bold steps” from folks like you generally translates into you putting your hand into my wallet and extracting some of my money … coincidence?

I don’t sell windmills or anything if that’s what you think.
I have nothing to gain personally from this policy

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 1, 2015 3:00 am

According to a report on Australian T.V. today, President Obama is planning an excursion in the polar regions of Alaska with someone or other to publicise the alleged effects of global warming. Is this so? If it is correct I wonder if he is somewhat obsessed. I am sure they will not be unaccompanied. Yet another waste of the American taxpayers’ money

Physics Major
August 30, 2015 2:47 pm

So in essence, green credits are a “Tax Cut for the Wealthy”. I thought that Democrats hate that idea.

Steve P
August 30, 2015 2:48 pm

Poverty affects everyone: disease, crime, violence, destructive habits, loss of opportunity, wasted lives, declining RE values are among the many negative consequences of poverty. Now, the rising cost of just about everything is driving the poorest of the poor from their homes and out into the streets. A recent story in the LA Times reported 13,000 new homeless in LA every month.
At least gas prices have had a number of slumps at the pumps this summer, which is good news for all of us, of course, but most especially for all the homeless who manage to live in their cars, itself a big step up from the shopping-cart set, who must trundle their belongings from strip-mall to various intersections where traffic slows, and there are opportunities to garner some “spare change.”
(Wisely, many of these folks also bring along a dog that can stand guard over their meager belongings while they visit the dentist for routine exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, root canals, implants, and all of the other necessary dental care that prolongs life, and makes it more enjoyable. When approached by panhandlers, I always feel better knowing they probably want the money to pay for a visit to the dentist, and not for cigarettes, booze, weed, meth, dog food, or tattoos…)
Seriously though, whatever else one may say about Mr. Obama, at least he was open about his plan to drive up energy prices to combat Blackie Carbon – apologies to Bardahl – and very adroit in his ability to convince his supporters that paying higher utility bills was in their best interests, and would help realize their hopes.
“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gases,” Obama said. “Coal power plants, natural gas, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money onto consumers.”
I think he meant they will pass that cost onto consumers, estimated in the linked article at $17 billion per year.
When something costs more than it is worth – like all of the green energy schemes – the ROI is a negative number: a scheme that keeps on taking. To make up for the shortfall, the consumer must open his pockets at every turn.
The poor and middle class weren’t the only ones who were fooled by Mr. Obama’s glib eloquence.
“Even his critics were in awe. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi fawned as he expressed his joy and pride in “our son of the African lands.” “This is completely different from anything we have ever heard from a US leader before,” he exclaimed…”
Thanks for this excellent essay, Willis! I encourage you to hammer on this theme, the harder the better.

August 30, 2015 2:52 pm

Reblogged this on Climate Change Sanity and commented:
I am reblogging this WUWT posting by Willis Eschenbach. I could not have defined this better than he does in his posting “The Hood Robin Syndrome”. I have long argued that the science is really not primary issue. Rather it is politics where “follow the money” is an excellent guideline. These people like to tax and regulate. And of course there are those that founded this movement that want badly to replace capitalism by socialism (or in many cases—communism).
Ps I am back from vacation, visiting relatives and catching up on honey-dos. Hope to be much more active with my blogging as these and other issues are resolved.

August 30, 2015 3:07 pm

Then there is the King Sadim touch. Every gold bar he touches turns into excrement.

August 30, 2015 3:21 pm

Thank you, Willis for this devastating compendium and analysis of everything that is wrong with Alarmist/Warmist subsidies and restrictions. It is not happening just in America but in all the developed World. Fortunately most of the under-developed World can see it for what it is and spear-headed by China, is avoiding it or exploiting the Western madness for their own benefit.

August 30, 2015 4:44 pm

“…we took enough taxpayer money to truly change the lives of the world’s poor folks … and instead, we gave it to the American rich folks”.
Some people would argue that much that passes as environmentalism in the developing world is simply another form of western imperialism.

August 30, 2015 6:42 pm

Robin Hood was the name of a legendary English outlaw whose most notable characteristic was that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor …
…uhm, Robin Hood robbed from the GOVERNMENT & governing bodies, and gave it BACK to the people.
Bugs the S* out of me that this popular false representation persists
He was a Tea Partier, not a Socialist

Reply to  StotheOB
August 30, 2015 10:29 pm

Hmm, StotheOB, I do like this post by Willis, but I am not sure you and I see ‘Tea Party’ policies quite the same… Surely a Tea Partier would be taking from (whoever?), and making sure it was re-applied under the auspices of “The Free Market”, thus ensuring the funds went to those with the most available capital, the best access to financing and law, and with the best connections to whatever government did exist?
ie …By likening Mr Hood to a Tea Partier, are you not advocating taking from the rich (Government and governing bodies?), and giving to the rich and powerful?

Reply to  markx
August 31, 2015 2:22 am

You seen to have that completly backwards.
TEA Party literally stands for Taxed Enough Already. It does not believe Gov should take taxes and give it to absolutely anyone (that has always been the problem); it means they shouldn’t be taking the taxes to begin with.
So yes, Robin Hood was extremely Tea Party minded – taking back from Government/Governing Bodies and returning it to the people it was confiscated from. He reversed the wrong, effectively lowering the tax rate of the people Governments were stealing from. Thats exactly what the Tea Party stands for
Tea Party wants individual Freedom for all citizens. The more money each person has, the more likely they are to build success with it or invest money in others so more can succeed. That success will benifit many. If nothing more, it will benifit their individual family & be cycled into the economy. Not one person should be treated differently, no matter their class, as far as the Tea Party is concerned. Limiting the size & power of Government is how Freedom for all is achieved.
It is actually Liberal policies which take money from everyone, chop off a big chunk to pay the needless bloated Government agencies they love, then largely give it to the rich (see the article for an example of one type, the endless examples of cronyism on display everywhere for another, or the printing of funny-money to feed Wall Street for another) or pay people to stay poor (thats not the intended goal of welfare, but it is none the less the outcome.) Each of those things destroys peoples Freedom and creates more dependency on Government for all.

Reply to  markx
August 31, 2015 4:13 pm

 StotheOB on August 31, 2015 at 2:22 am
….. taking back from Government/Governing Bodies and returning it to the people it was confiscated from…..
……. The more money each person has, the more likely they are to build success with it or invest money in others so more can succeed. …… it will benefit their individual family & be cycled into the economy.
………..Limiting the size & power of Government is how Freedom for all is achieved.
……Liberal policies… take money from everyone, chop off a big chunk to pay the needless bloated Government agencies they love, then largely give it to the rich (see the article for an example of one type, the endless examples of cronyism on display everywhere for another, or the printing of funny-money to feed Wall Street for another) or pay people to stay poor ….

OB, there is a lot of good in there.
But, in agreement with Willis, some things should not be run by private enterprise (law enforcement and prisons for a start) and you sure as hell better regulate the money lenders…
And you cannot ignore bloated big business while you are gutting bloated big government … leave it all up to the free market, and soon enough, it’s all in a few hands (and they own what government you do have). Capitalism only works due to rules and regulations defining currency, ownership, transactions, etc…
Keeping money within communities as you point out IS the answer, but big multinationals are even more efficient at shipping cash out than are government…

Reply to  markx
August 31, 2015 7:05 pm

I do not agree that the government “shouldn’t be taking the taxes to begin with.” Taxes are a legitimate way to fund government operations.
I should have added the word ‘excessive’ – it isnt that the TEA Party stands for NO taxes, just very limited taxes.
Taking excessive taxes to fund bloated government which largely works to justify its own existence is ridiculous.
As far as privatizing things like Police – im not sure thats the highest desire of most Tea Party guys either, although some might desire it to do two things – 1, cut massive amounts of Red Tape and needless regulations 2, get rid of the union, allowing better control over who actually is a Cop and ensuring salary, promotion, etc are based of merit instead of tenure.
Privatizing other once Government run aspects has been a massive success in many areas though, allowing to save money, increase production and creates accountability. Charter Schools ate the most high-profile of such changes, and ideally all schools will move in that direction in the future. Being able to fire bad teachers and promote good ones instead of the ones who have been there longest – what an extreme idea :/ haha
Btw, you sound as though you are much more Tea Party minded than you probably think. Ignore the media stigmatizing & name calling; you’ll likely find a happy home with us so-called crazy extremists

Reply to  markx
August 31, 2015 7:39 pm

And you cannot ignore bloated big business while you are gutting bloated big government … leave it all up to the free market, and soon enough, it’s all in a few hands (and they own what government you do have). Capitalism only works due to rules and regulations defining currency, ownership, transactions, etc…
That is actually not really true. Big-Government is the one which is generally facilitating Big-Businesses & destroying small-business competition.
Take Dodd-Frank for instance. That law has led to the collapse & sale of small banks across the country – banks which were bought up by, you guessed it, big-banks
Obamacare is the same way. Smaller insurance companies can not survive with the kind of losses being seen when being forced to take on previously ill people to great coverage. Big-insurance is growing leaps and bounds, however
Government “help” is crushing the small competition, leaving only the big guys to compete – which, in turn, strengthens the big guys even more.
Things like minimum wage hikes, massive regulation and endless paper & red tape is a thousand pound weight on the backs of small business. A mom & pop restaurant cant survive paying $15 an hour to low skilled workers when they cant do enough business to buy supplies in the cheap bulk quantities & dont have stockpiles of lawyers hired to handle all of the paper & regulation requirements. Big-Businesses can cut a person or two, raise prices slightly and work towards replacing more people with robots – Mom & Dad can only close their doors.
So while money will generally gather in bunches, eliminating much of the government hand holding average people down will allow us to actually grow the size of the pie instead of fighting for a small sliver of a government controlled fixed size pie.
Income inequality isnt actually a bad thing – its merely when the bottom has no shot at comfort that it becomes a problem. Getting Government out of the way and keeping as much money as possible in the communities themselves will create prosperity for all. We get that and it wont matter that some have much more than others.
So yes, Big-Business currently has too much power in dictating how laws are wriiten and such in our current Government set-up. But limiting the size of Government will dramatically reduce that influence. We can all be unbelievably successful together if only given the chance – and we should all be working towards that goal.

Steve in Seattle
August 30, 2015 7:59 pm

while I am thankful for this posting, I must make the following objection, and this same objection can apply to other posts by other authors, here and elsewhere :
Firgure 1 above gives a strong suggestion that it is literally taken from a page of the linked document. It is not however. When any author constructs a figure, IF it is NOT taken directly from a linked document, and identifies the page extracted from then PLEASE provide a detailed explanation of how and where the data WERE extracted from – page numbers and figures, tables, charts or appendix items used, with entity titles, in the linked document.
How was Figure 1, above, built ?

Reply to  Steve in Seattle
August 30, 2015 11:18 pm

It is probably worse than the graphic implies. Don’t get Willis to respond, as you may find out that this is just a conservative estimate… JPP

August 31, 2015 2:40 am

If the poor cannot buy Teslas and benefit from Green subsidies, then they should buy Rolls Royces instead. Its their own fault.
With apologies to Marie Antoinette….

August 31, 2015 4:24 am

Reblogged this on My Thoughts Today and commented:
Couldn’t be more clear than this excellent article. Thank you Willis Eschenbach.

August 31, 2015 6:32 am

that was masterful Willis, worthy as an article on it’s own. I find your comments as valuable as your essay.
Willis Eschenbach August 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm
Old Huemul August 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm
The economic consequences of a tax or subsidy, or whatever other policy, are not a matter of intentions. They are simply observable consequences that follow from a certain policy.
Rattus Norvegicus August 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm
That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. It is important to evaluate a policy in terms of what it was intended to accomplish.
First, Ratty, since you didn’t quote what you disagreed with, I’m forced to guess that it is the statement above. In future, let me ask you once again to quote what you object to.
More to the point, intentions are pretty meaningless in the real world. In fact, they are so meaningless that we have a saying about them—”The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” So analyzing the results of our intentions, as you advise, may just provide us with a metric of how fast we’re getting to Hell …
For example, the intention of the many doctors who prescribed thalidomide for pregnant women was very clear. It was prescribed to avoid pregnancy-related “morning sickness”.
The observable consequences of their intentions were horrendously deformed babies.
So … should we judge the practice of prescribing thalidomide based on whether or not it was actually able to control morning sickness in pregnant women?
Because that’s assuredly what you are saying, that we need to evaluate the decision to prescribe thalidomide “in terms of what it was intended to accomplish”, which was nausea reduction … and judged by that metric it was a roaring success.
Now, I can understand why you want that narrow focus on the claimed intentions of a program. It prevents you from looking at the real effects of green policies, the unintended things like the poor subsidizing the rich, or the shafting of the three billion people living on under $3 per day by the insane push to drive up energy costs.
With that narrow focus on intentions, you can say “We are saving the world! We achieved our goal of driving down energy use by raising gas prices to European levels”, while ignoring the single mother who depends on her car to get to work, and who will now have to choose whether to cut back on food or on medical services for her kids …
I fear that kind of willful blindness will get you little traction here. Because trying to convince the practical folks that populate this site that we should ignore the real-world unintended consequences of poorly designed programs, and we should look only at whether thalidomide actually did prevent morning sickness … well, that dog won’t hunt.

Reply to  General P. Malaise
August 31, 2015 8:52 am

I dont know, GP.M, there are things which maybe we should judge based off intentions.
Case in point, the creation of the KKK (as well as lesser known groups like the White Knights and Red Shirts and on&on)
See, in the 1860s-1870s there was this nasty trend of the people in Southern States starting to elect Republicans, often for the first time ever. Couple that with the large percentage of Blacks now able to vote, and well Democrats had to do something to keep Republicans out of office.
So these groups were created with the intention of figuring out ways to keep people from voting Republican
…and in that intention, those groups were a massive success!!!
Look at a state like Alabama. They elected only Democrat Governors from 1874 all the way to 1987 – thats 113 years of success
Mississippi is even better. They went from 1876 to 1992 without electing a Republican Governor. Thats 116 straight
Georgia might even top the list of all of them (not looking up more) It saw 1872 to 2003 (!!!) without seeing a Republican Governor! 131 straight years keeping Republicans out of office!
And while sure, there was the whole burning crosses and lynching of Blacks (and Republicans, but please dont remember that) stuff, plus massively spreading racism thru scaremongering…
But really, that stuff is such minor consequences compared to 110-130 years worth of successfully keeping Republicans from controlling states – as was the intention
The KKK (& other such groups) is the single greatest campaign strategy ever created by a political party. Democrats should be celebrated for succeeding on that intention!
(Btw, my caculated sarcasm aside, your post was great)

Reply to  StotheOB
September 1, 2015 6:47 am

it is Willis’ post. I copied it from above. I wanted to point out the mastery of Willis.

August 31, 2015 9:11 am

Mr. Anderson,
I suggest that forest fires in North America are responsible for much more particulate matter in the air than coal-fired power plants, where particulate emissions are usually controlled at the source.
One major forest fire in Washington State recently covered our province with thick visible smoke for many days. This is one of our first clear days, and shifting winds may return the smoke any time. Some people with lung problems stayed indoors, but many of us worked and played outdoors as usual.
I suggest that if the figures you cite were even remotely correct, we would all be dead by now.
Increasingly, the alarmist public statements of organizations like the Lung Association and the EPA have little or no credibility.
Regards, Allan MacRae