Liberty is not free, and efforts to make it appear so inevitably lead to tyranny.
Mr Steven Frisch, who frequently shares his thoughts on these pages, has written an eloquent opinion piece in the 8oct15 Union in which he argues for compliant submission to California’s carbon cap and trade (C&T) program that became law under the notorious AB32 legislation. I believe his Other Voices commentary to be an effective piece of government propaganda for people who, for openers, are not students of liberal governance.
Mr Frisch claims that we should separate C&T from the preventable global warming (PGW) debate, and focus on garnering the 'benefits' he sees coming to Nevada County from that legislation. In his arguments he characterizes C&T as being a new wealth creating instrument and economic boost for California which “has taken bold action to reduce emissions, priced carbon emissions, created a stable market to reduce carbon emissions (the California Cap and Trade Program and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard), and is now realizing a hefty revenue stream to address climate change. That market is returning billions of dollars to state accounts (called the Greenhouse Gas Investment Fund) to invest in emission reduction projects.”
This “hefty revenue stream” is nothing but a naked tax increase on all Californians and those doing business here. The new C&T tax has not and cannot be shown to provide any measurable benefits to California’s environment, but that is how the phony new market place for trading carbon credits continues to be sold to the state’s light thinkers.
Mr Frisch points out that by 2020 the state will be sucking out more than $5B annually in additional taxes from our wallets, but not to worry because the money will be “used to improve transportation networks and infrastructure, install energy efficiency measures, realize water efficiencies, build affordable housing, manage forests and divert waste.” In short, the money will be used to augment state expenditures that would normally have come out of the state’s general fund (now being depleted by growing costs of MediCal, welfare programs, and unfunded pension liabilities).
As a posterchild offspring of AB32 he introduces us to Truckee’s proposed Railyard project for which the city has already been awarded $8M under the guise of redevelopment money which apparently no private interests are willing to gamble without government as a partner (read taxpayer guarantees). The new Railyard is slated to essentially revamp Truckee’s downtown, providing jobs, shops, housing units, and the Lord knows what other goodies for our county’s east end. And yet again we note that this wonderful idea shows little promise to stand on its own legs.
But the really big benefits touted for California lie in all the new ‘green jobs’ that the C&T taxes promise. This is the biggest of all phony economic arguments that was first revealed by Frederic Bastiat over 150 years ago in his ‘Broken Windows’ dissertation contained in The Law. C&T creates nothing new, but does impose new business and private citizen behaviors that in the scheme of things are completely arbitrary, and ride on the ever growing hubris that government can plan and direct the spending of an additional $5B a year better than can the people from whom that tribute was extracted at gunpoint.
People who think and educate themselves know that money is fungible. C&T tax monies do nothing but replace the general fund monies collected under existing taxes that pay for the laundry list of things spelled out by Mr Frisch who exhorts us to get excited and get in line for our share of Sacramento directed ‘largesse’. But we all should know that the new C&T monies will do nothing more than release general fund monies to pay for new progressive programs that create more Californians on the government tit and buy their votes.
[For those new to these pages, Mr Frisch, a leading progressive in these parts, is employed as president of the Sierra Business Council a nonprofit organization based in Truckee, and the Sierra Small Business Development Center serving a seven county region including Nevada County. His grant and tax funded organizations stand to directly benefit from advising jurisdictions and private concerns in the conformance to a vigorous implementation of AB32 and all its derivatives.]