the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Joshua’s thread

Posted by Jeff Id on September 15, 2011

I often think back to how this blog started.   It’s stupid because it is just an electronic opinion space but if you start a wordpress blog and write an awesome post, you will get 8 views for your reward.  Views,  the food of journalists.   Write the magic words and the world will find you.

Nope, screw that, too much engineer in me.

I think Joshua has earned some respect here.   He’s highly critical of ‘skeptic’ views, yet has proven thoughtful enough to change his mind.  My number one most respected trait in others.   Now please don’t assume that this blog is about changing minds, most of us at the Air Vent  (on all sides) would rather let loose our opinions than spend time maximizing our result.  I don’t know if Joshua is 18 or 80 but my guess is 20.   I guess this because of his still flexible mind, good thought skill yet limited information.  Intelligent, opinionated yet not in full grasp of the gray areas of life.  This is not a slight nor is it proof of my own grasp, although  I/we the embattled do understand our role in the matter.

Some of you old farts and managers out there will get the logic.  Sorry for calling you around-the block folks out, but gray hair comes with both understanding and responsibility.

So Jeff –

You disagree with Giaever, and you agree with the APS: Global warming is, in fact “incontrovertible.”

Interesting.

Giaever, being the recently resigned scientist from the necessarily politically motivated  APS.  Of course it is confusing to Joshua how we can be the “denialists” as described by Real Climate could refuse to deny global warming.   To be fair, he is more sophisticated than that. Joshua is predisposed to assume our ‘belief’ and is looking for the keystone to yank – can’t really blame him.   Public schooling has assured that predisposition IMO. To make it worse, we the unwashed don’t agree with each other, the consensus does ‘agree’ , so how can we claim understanding? The short answer is that we don’t any more than he/they.

Our singular message IMHO is that when you see wide consensus style agreement, you are seeing wide external pressures and it isn’t up to us to chew that piece of tough meat for the younger crowd.

Joshua said

September 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm e

Actually, I used the Google:

Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.

[…]

So thus far you agree with the APS and disagree with Giaever. But then…..

[…]

If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

So my guess is that you agree and disagree with both the APS and Giaever.

Interesting.

My reply is on the other thread but it doesn’t matter one lick.   What matters is the detail of the problems addressed.   So many threads get caught up in what is or isn’t AGW.   This thread should be about Joshua’s rational curiosity and nothing more.  He is far from alone.  One of my top five favorite posts was actually a regression by RomanM which I inelegantly beat into a global temp average.  The reason it is one ofmy favorites is two-fold, first it shows more warming (more trend) from the same data than climate science(always), the second is that Roman’s methods are statistically superior.   A confusing bit of data for a young believer to read from an alleged denialist (me/us).   The consensus should adopt the approach immediately.

As clear as CO2 warming.

What isn’t clear is that the 0.8C of warming we’ve seen is 100% man made.   No serious climate scientists claim 100% of the trend is AGW, to my knowledge.  On the nonintuitive yet diametrically opposite side, what is clear is that we humans can’t stop AGW no matter what we do.   There is only ONE single technology which can make any difference engineering wise, and that is nuclear.  This tech would have to be implemented in a fashion more aggressively than man has ever imagined.  Of course it will not be.  Thus, we have no choice.  Humanity will continue to produce ever more CO2, we will see the result, and we will discover its power.  Like so much in nature – which we are part of – we are powerless to stop it.

Hopefully our newly industrialized society is smart enough not to self-immolate along the path.

148 Responses to “Joshua’s thread”

  1. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Giaever or Joshua, I really give a damn what either thinks about AGW or policy. I have learned over the past few years that a title, or lack of it, has little to do with the worth, to me, of what anyone in these discussions opines about what needs to be done about AGW. The discussion has to get pretty darn specific about the predicted levels of AGW and its consequences before it would become meaningful for me. I am not at all sure what Giaever believes about warming and the attribution to man’s part of it.

    I do, however, see a problem with making a big deal about what a Nobel winning scientists says or does with regards to a science opinion piece on AGW. There is no evidence for me that a renowned scientist will know anymore about climate science than a well-informed layperson, and in fact, layperson knowledge in certain fields of climate science can exceed that of climate scientists who specialize in other areas of climate science. When we make a big deal about what a well-known scientist says about AGW we fall into the consensus trap whereby uninformed scientist opinion is given way too much weight and credibility – and is no doubt telling us more about the scientist’s political views than any science insights he may have. And it works both ways on both sides of the AGW debates.

  2. timetochooseagain said

    I take offense to the insinuations about twenty year olds Jeff. Or I would, but I have always been told I have the personality of an old man. So I hardly associate myself with my own generation.

  3. Bruce said

    COAL will stop AGW.

    “When gas replaces coal there is additional warming out to 2,050 with an assumed leakage rate of 0%, and out to 2,140 if the leakage rate is as high as 10%. ”

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/b430681263425q64/

    Therefore, the corollary must be true. Replacing natural gas with Coal will produce less warming and possibly even cooling.

  4. timetochooseagain said

    3-Even more so if we remove the scrubbers and learn to choke down the dirtier air for the sake of reflecting solar energy out to space. ;)

  5. M. Simon said

    I went from being a “denialist” to being a warmist” and back to being a “denialist” again. The last change was at age 57 or so. Do I get the OFs Medal of flexibility? ;-)

  6. Bob said

    Jeff said: “you are seeing wide external pressures and it isn’t up to us to chew that piece of tough meat for the younger crowd. ”

    I don’t know if I understand what you are saying here, Jeff. I don’t believe it is our job to chew tough meat for anyone. If they believe they are mature enough to enter a conversation, there should be no slack awarded. I know you feel that Joshua needs some slack, but one of the most important lessons in life is to be able to think independently.

    If Joshua has the technical background to review the data, then he can come to his own conclusions. Google will not help him, here.

  7. joshv said

    Even if you think that global warming is happening, and is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, such a belief is not ‘incontrovertible’. There is no such thing as ‘settled science’, and scientific results are never incontrovertible.

    Ask yourself, why did hard core scientists send spend a quarter billion dollars to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity (Gravity B probe)? Isn’t GR settled science?

  8. Jeff Id said

    TTCA, sorry for the age comment, I’m sure everyone paying attention has seen your technical abilities improving over the last years as they have seen my own. Most of the younger age group has opinions on AGW with no knowledge. We employ quite a few of them. It just shows that if you put the time in to learn, you will find the right answers. We had a young secretary who was afraid to use her hairspray and hairdryer because of the ozone hole. Try and explain to a person like that the nuances of AGW.

    I wrote the age thing last night because it was my mood. Sometimes that makes for a more fun post, sometimes not but I just let it take me where it goes. It got Kenneth going pretty good!! That’s unusual, he usually just tells me I’m wasting my time :D

  9. j ferguson said

    #1 Kenneth
    Something that has worried me in all this recommending action, representing the consensus, informing policy, regaining trust is how well the climatologists who would represent the art in public actually understand the work of their peers. I confess that i hate the idea of “informing policy makers” because I would prefer that they not mess with the climate, but maybe that’s a childish view.

    I asked Dr. Curry in a comment at C. Etc. whether she read the full papers supporting her testimony, whether she had the math and physics prowess to follow them, and in particular, the statistics, how she dealt with papers which reached a congenial conclusion yet did so with weak science, how she decided whom to trust. No answer. I conceded (and apologized for it) my comment was tantamount to suggesting she didn’t know what she was talking about, but i couldn’t contrive any other words with which to pose the questions. But still, no answer. My take was that if she wanted me to trust her, I needed to know how she decided to trust her peers where she didn’t have the time or expertise to confirm their work.

    She seems very interested in how the climatology community might regain the public trust, but seems not to want to divulge what part trust plays within her own professional pursuits.

    The “Bart” feedback analysis seems a prime example of possible application of technique to a dataset where the technique is not understood by the usual suspects and the people who do understand the technique may not be comfortable in the physics “reported in part” by the datasets. For example, as the data treated in Bart’s analysis located comfortably within the technique or is the analysis near the limits of what can be done? Is the method employed by Spencer and Dessler really inappropriate (unsuitable?) for the these data? Is this really more of a gotcha with a more sophisticated technique?

    The dialogue at CA suggested that there were a few people commenting who understood from experience with these tools what was going on, but maybe only one or two with the confidence that Bart showed. but I digress…….

  10. j ferguson said

    Oops, change “as the data treated in Bart’s..” to “IS the data treated in Bart’s”

  11. Jeff Id said

    J Ferguson,

    The problem I had with Bart’s analysis was in the data itself. If you read about the source accuracy, multi-year trends are useless in the dataset due to instrumentation problems. A signal half of the length of the data was not interesting for that reason. If we had 60 years of data, it would be more verifiable but not yet.

  12. j ferguson said

    #11 Jeff,

    Thanks for this.

    It seemed surprising to me that he could infer anything about signals with periods far longer than the time-aperture of the data. The idea of “lucky” data also seemed a bit bizarre. His test for the goodness of his analysis was that he could fabricate a synthetic dataset with similar characteristics and produce similar results didn’t seem to me to exclude the possibility of the “luck” of his analysis.

    In the end, people with my level of insight (not much) must decide whom to trust. It’s very difficult.

  13. cementafriend said

    @ Bruce said September 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm The paper by Wigley (who is one of the “team” noted in Climategate emails) is nonsense. The burning of methane (as natural gas or coal seam gas) results in more greenhouse gases than coal and these (from the water vapor) would have a greater greenhouse effect (if that should be a concern) than CO2. see http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/07/natural-gas-more-polluting-than-coal-only-according-to-the-ipcc-a-note-from-cementafriend/
    I have to confess that I have had experience with combustion in furnaces (unlike any of the “team” members who have no understanding of heat transfer). I have designed burners for coal, oil and gas and measured their effectiveness. Coal has a flame emissivity of 1 while even designing the burner to crack methane molecules to get elemental carbon it is a struggle to get a gas flame with an emissivity over 0.5. In many processes burning natural gas is less efficient than coal (and of course is much more costly)

  14. Andrew said

    8-It’s no big deal, I largely agree that most young people have strong opinions based on very little knowledge (not just on this, but so many issues!) and I hope I am not a part of that. My opinions have I think gotten stronger over time, though. When I was ignorant, and darn well knew it, of anything about the “science” I honestly had no opinion one way or another. Hard to believe, I know. I did have opinions about the politics and those have refined with time, too, but in more subtle ways.

  15. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “She seems very interested in how the climatology community might regain the public trust, but seems not to want to divulge what part trust plays within her own professional pursuits.”

    Judith Curry had expressed, early in the blogging discussions a rather typical consensus view of AGW and with it an abiding trust in the scientists forming the consensus. It was probably a rather easy choice considering her research on hurricanes and all the publicity that was garnered for Judith and her career. I suspect that trust was shaken somewhat when the climategate emails were revealed. It is unclear to me whether her more skeptical approach in recent times was more the result of loss of trust or an attempt to spin the PR surrounding AGW science and policy back to something more trustworthy.

    I am more interested in what Judith Curry has to say about hurricanes than where she stands on trust of her fellow climate scientists – as I suspect I can better judge their trustworthiness for myself. The main issue with climate science currently, in my view, is how much skepticism to apply to specific areas of research and how much effort to exert in testing the evidence and conclusions. The very thing that makes me most skeptical is the pushing of a consensus and the lack of skepticism from fellow scientists in these areas of research. I have heard Curry talk about another very important climate science issue and one that leads to some of my skepticism and that is the lack of placing objective uncertainty bounds on the results coming out of climate science. And remember this recent interest in uncertainty comes from a scientist, who at one time, was not at all shy about publically propounding some rather catastrophic hurricane scenarios.

    By the way, I am very much skeptical of all sides of the science debate on AGW, but I have seen some advances to the science coming from the non consensus science work, even when it is shown to have errors and weaknesses, and that comes from the replies from the consensus where we get a better picture into the documented uncertainty in the evidence for or against a particular argument. It appears to me that without those countervailing papers the consensus scientists are too much inclined to hand wave important issues away or certainly underplay those issues.

  16. Carrick said

    Kenneth:

    here is no evidence for me that a renowned scientist will know anymore about climate science than a well-informed layperson, and in fact, layperson knowledge in certain fields of climate science can exceed that of climate scientists who specialize in other areas of climate science.

    Well said! If you try and challenge me in my area of expertise you might get your jockey strap handed to you (and vice versus), but that doesn’t make me an expert on mitigation policies for global warming, job creation, who should be president or any of that sort.

    I don’t blame the guy from resigning (the way this APS statement was stuffed down the members throats was almost designed to cause problems), but that doesn’t make me one iota more, or less, likely to believe what he says.

    Contrawise, note how this started out with a discussion by the “warmers” of just how many non-expert-in-this field scientists sign on to CAGW. What it does it present an opportunity to point out just how vacuous that particular argument is, and not argue whether or not a consensus exists among equally uniformed laureated scientists with no clue what they’re talking about in this case.

  17. Carrick said

    make that “uninformed”, as opposed to “uniformed”. ;-)

  18. Jeff,

    “There is only ONE single technology which can make any difference engineering wise, and that is nuclear. This tech would have to be implemented in a fashion more aggressively than man has ever imagined. Of course it will not be. Thus, we have no choice. Humanity will continue to produce ever more CO2, we will see the result, and we will discover its power. Like so much in nature – which we are part of – we are powerless to stop it.”

    You are probably right but shame on us. If the CAGW folks were really concerned about fixing what they see as a problem (as opposed to gaining control of our lives and our money) they would be supporting people like me who say:

    BUILD A NUKE EACH DAY!

  19. #18 That is what it would take about 3 years ago, if IPCC and Tom Fuller are correct. We are behind, we need to build 2 nukes a day to make up for the regualitory delay, and the actual online construction delay before these stupidities cause the extinction of homo sapiens.

    Then we can worry about the environment. This is because “The poor cannot afford to take care of the environment, and the stat(e)ists have historically shown that they WON’T!” Quoting history and myself.

  20. And I can’t spell either (LOL)>

  21. John Pittman,
    Thanks for correcting me. The USA alone could build 2 nukes a day if we still had the “Can Do” attitude that built all those Liberty ships in WWII.

  22. kim said

    Where’s Joshua? Praying with the Baby Ice?

    There’s a new kim @ Climate Etc. Shabbas nears.
    ===========================

  23. Ed said

    This might be the correct forum in which to ask a question. This peripherally relates to the comment about clean (CO2-wise) nuclear energy. I have been caught up in the whole AGW debate and became so involved I have returned to graduate school in EE (for another Master’s – which pretty much calibrates my lack of good sense) in the field of power systems engineering from one of the preeminent electrical power schools in the country (US). I have been recently developing a minor in wind energy. All of the classes and text books tout the benefits of carbon-free energy generation (never mind the hideously complexity required to connect to the grid, compute optimum unit commitment, etc) Wind energy generation is a fascinating technical challenge and since the government is willing to pay for its development, we engineers will flock to the source of work and technical challenge.

    What really interests me is that I have been able to find almost no evidence that anyone has thoroughly vetted the consequences of widespread wind turbine deployment. We are asked to believe that CO2 in minute amounts can seriously affect global climate. The basic science is pretty good. But I am not close to admitting that the narrow scope of the theory is ready to be applied on a global scale through computer modeling. The CO2 theory is kind of like the small potentials tickling the grid of a triode and controlling much larger amounts of energy (Jeff, that should tell you the color of my hair.) If we accept that small amounts of CO2 can cause global climate disruption, wouldn’t seem to make sense that we should thoroughly vet new technologies so that we don’t make a very expensive mistake that exacerbates our problems? Is it possible to extract terawatts of energy from the earth’s convection (or solar) energy without climate, or at least local meteorological, consequence? I have done a preliminary literature search and have found very little research here. My advisor seems to want to sidestep the issue but when pinned down, nervously agrees. I don’t begin to claim I know the outcome of such an inquiry.

    I am looking for any pointers toward serious research done in this area and ask the august body that comprises this forum for their help if they know of such.

  24. Paul Linsay said

    Ed @ 23

    All you need to know is that adjusing for installation size:

    Nuclear power – 1000 W/m^2
    Solar power – 100 W/m^2
    Wind power – 4 W/m^2

    Using the above number, a 1MW generator needs about 80 acres of land so that turbulence from one generator doesn’t cause trouble for a nearby one. Any significant capacity requires huge areas, 1000 MW needs about 80,000 acres. Land use alone is a very large issue. I’d be very surprised if the turbulence doesn’t cause changes to the local weather pattern.

    A word to the wise: no government subsidues, no wind power because of the problems and inefficiency.

    The only serious use for wind power is to pump water into cattle troughs or charge a battery for an isolated lamp or sign.

  25. kim said

    Ed, the wind, the water and the sun are the earth’s natural climate regulating mechanisms and any rape of that regulator demeans the earth’s ability to so regulate.

    Furthermore, energy taken from the wind is unavoidably, because of efficiency losses, worth less than that same energy left in the wind to perfom its wonders. We are all downwind, hence all members of the same class, protesting torts and claiming damages.

    The natural counter is that there is an immense amount of energy in the wind, and effect on climate, even regional and microclimate, is difficult to discern. It’s like Kevin Trenberth’s naughty null, the effect pervades.

    Research Makarievna(sp) a Russian who can moderate microclimate for more clues.
    =================

  26. curious said

    23 – Ed, I think there is some work on the effects on convection/transpiration from land surfaces. IIRR it was Texas based but not certain. I looked a long time ago and there wasn’t much about. Given the power densities relative to insolation I’d expect the effects to be localised. Maybe one could argue windpower will enhance UHI as it is channeling energy from the rural to the urban setting….another factor to correct for perhaps?…

  27. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Ed (Sep 17 10:08),

    The whole issue of land use/land cover changes, of which wind and solar are a subset, and their effect on local and global climate have largely been swept under the rug. Roger Pielke, Sr. is one of the few voices crying in the wilderness. The concentration on greenhouse gases in general and CO2 in particular seems to be a result of the UNFCCC treaty (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

  28. timetochooseagain said

    If wind power was extracting mechanical energy from the atmosphere, we would then presumably put most of it back as thermal energy (waste heat). The waste heat from human activities is not a significant part of the global energy budget, but, witness urban heat islands: it’s local effects can be substantial. Of course, in the case of current waste heat, the original source of the energy isn’t the atmosphere’s own mechanical energy. The “loss” of a small amount of mechanical energy from the atmosphere and “gain” of a small amount of thermal energy might have scientifically interesting consequences…but probably not significant ones to society.

    As Dewitt mentions, the land use changes associated with wind and solar power are probably a somewhat different story.

  29. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: timetochooseagain (Sep 17 18:34),

    And then there’s the proper accounting of carbon footprint for growing biofuels. See this article at Pielke, Jr.’s.

  30. timetochooseagain said

    29-I’ve seen analyses suggesting that biofuels actually have more emissions over all, than traditional fuel sources. Well, regardless of the carbon footprint it is clear, to me, that ethanol is the biggest boondoggle in energy policy history. And it’s almost untouchable.

  31. curious said

    23 – Ed – similar issue of “clean energy” downside here, though more to do with implementation than fundamentals:

    “China: Villagers protest at Zhejiang solar panel plant”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14963354

  32. Jim said

    @Jeff Id said
    September 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Bart has stated elsewhere that he simply wants to make the point that a negative feedback from clouds is possible as indicated by his analysis.

  33. Joshua said

    Jeff –

    Thanks for the thread!

    I’m not entirely clear what the point of this thread is, but since it is my thread, I think that it is in order for me to clarify a few things about my perspective:

    Of course it is confusing to Joshua how we can be the “denialists” as described by Real Climate could refuse to deny global warming. To be fair, he is more sophisticated than that. Joshua is predisposed to assume our ‘belief’ and is looking for the keystone to yank – can’t really blame him. Public schooling has assured that predisposition IMO. To make it worse, we the unwashed don’t agree with each other, the consensus does ‘agree’ , so how can we claim understanding? The short answer is that we don’t any more than he/they.

    I have been pretty clear about how I look at the question of who is, and who isn’t, a “denier.” I think that there are a spectrum of “skeptics” – I use a slashed descriptor to describe the range: “skeptical un-convinced/denier” to make it quite clear that I don’t think that all “skeptics” are deniers. I fully recognize that within the group of “skeptical un-convinced” there are a variety of viewpoints. I’m not looking for a “keystone to yank” about “[your ‘belief’]. I don’t know what you mean by “our,” and even if I did, think that no “keystone” exists.

    I just thought that it was interesting that you posted about Giaever’s resignation from the APS without noting that you disagreed with the stated fundamental reason behind his resignation: he does not think that warming is incontrovertible I am aware, generally, with your perspective on whether warming has taken place, and whether it can be attributed to antrhopogenic CO2 emissions. The distinction between your perspective and that of Giaever comes as no surprise to me (even though in the previous thread you tried to cover over that distinction). My whole point was, precisely, to get to to acknowledge and to highlight that difference.

    Here’s the thing: I read all the time at sites like WUWT and Climate Etc. something on the order of “Hardly any ‘skeptics’ question whether the Earth is warming,” or “Hardly any ‘skeptics’ question whether or not CO2 is a greenhouse gas that warms the environment, they only question how much anomalous warming there’s been and/or to what degree anthropogenic C02 is responsible for that warming.”

    And then I come to sites like WUWT and I find significant #’s of on the “skeptical un-convinced/denier” side of the debate who actually don’t think that warming has taken place, and/or that CO2 can even affect the climate. So what I find interesting is to get people to recognize where agreement lies, and to acknowledge the reality behind the various beliefs that comprise “climate skepticism,” as opposed to making false generalizations.

    Joshua is predisposed to assume our ‘belief’ and is looking for the keystone to yank …Public schooling has assured that predisposition IMO

    Even if the antecedent were true, which it isn’t, that is a ridiculous, throw-away line. I assume it was to get my goat? You have no idea about my “schooling,” and just because you apparently have some obsession with public schooling, there is no valid reason for you to make that kind of statement. I’d absolutely love to see you try to prove some cause and effect relationship between public schooling as opposed to any other form of schooling (or non-schooling for that matter) and how people are predisposed to think in the climate debate or any other particular realm. Do you think that children of wealthy parents attend public schools like those in a community near mine – Lower Merion – are any more inclined to approach debates about controversial topics in a way such as you described when compared to lower income kids who attend a parochial school in, say, the heart of Iowa? Actually, pedagogy and epistemology are areas I’ve studied quite a bit, and I will note that the dominant paradigm in our society’s view towards education is one that rewards conformity and convergent thinking as opposed to creative and divergent thinking (not simply public education although as currently constructed public education is more likely to reinforce conformity and convergent thinking than in the kinds of private schools that higher SES pupils generally attend) – but to think that you can reverse engineer from your (mis) perceptions about what I do and don’t think to how I’ve been educated is facile and juvenile, and I can only imagine reflective of some (libertarian?) obsession you have with demonizing public schools?

    To make it worse, we the unwashed don’t agree with each other, the consensus does ‘agree’ , so how can we claim understanding?

    I never assumed that “you” agree with each other, because the very notion of “you” is based on a false delineation of a range of perspectives, and as such, the ambiguity and nuance of relevant data and perspectives are diminished into useless caricatures. And I never have stated any opinions on what “you” do and don’t understand. My goal is to examine uncontrolled for biases in how you reason.
    .
    These discussions go a lot better when you don’t create straw men based on specious and facile assumptions about what I do and don’t think, Jeff.

    If you want to know what I do and don’t think, just ask me.

  34. Joshua said

    Jeff –

    I think that this comment from Climate Etc. will help explain my point:

    Eric Ollivet | September 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Dr Curry,

    Maybe you should also have highlighted and commented, in this “week in review” thread, the recent resignation of Dr Ivar Giaever (Nobel Prize 1973) from the American Physical Society. His resignation seems to be motivated by his disagreement with APS official claim (2007) that AGW was not disputable.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/16/week-in-review-91711/#comment-113354

    In fact, the APS statement does not say that AGW is not disputable (it says that AGW is “likely), but that warming is indisputable. Such confusion is widespread in the “skeptical” community – and it can easily be seen in comments such as the one I just posted. While you may not be so confused, I think that it is relevant for you to clarify the relevant distinctions on a consistent basis.

  35. Tom said

    Interesting thread here–I’ll try not to drag down the s/n ratio. Joshua, it is my opinion that Dr. Giaever’s resignation from APS is a reaction to their politics, not their science.

    Their position on AGW is almost purely political–AFAIK they have not commissioned or performed science related to the issue–and is clearly meant to provide political support for a political struggle. Their attempt to issue a blanket statement on behalf of their membership is clearly intended to add the prestige of their organization to the many other organizations that have done the same.

    That they attempted to do so without sufficient consultation with their membership is not good, but not unusual either. Resignation from an organization because of severe disagreement with such a position statement is good, but not usual.

    Dr. Giaever should be congratulated for acting in accordance with his principles. The APS should be criticized for trying to railroad a statement through without at least considering a minority report.

    And none of this has anything to do with the truth or falsity of anthropogenic climate change. I personally think that AGW is happening, although I side with Pielke Sr. in thinking there are a multitude of causes and we have not correctly apportioned the effects to those causes. I think relatively little useful work has been done on constraining sensitivity adequately, and the resulting wide bands mean little in the way of effective planning for the result can be done at this point in time.

    So, if Dr. Giaever ever publishes a more complete description of his views and how he arrived at them, I may end up disagreeing with a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. (I don’t mind–I already disagree with two others–Gore and Krugman–about global warming.)

    But however that plays out, I agree with his political response to a political gesture by APS that was made for purely political reasons to influence a policy response.

    No science involved.

  36. Layman Lurker said

    Here is the APS statement again:

    Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

    The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.

    If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

    Joshua, the inarguable context of this statment is AGW, not GW. Are you actually suggesting that Giaever’s issue is with APS’s stance on warming rather than on attribution of warming?

  37. Kenneth Fritsch said

    LL, that statement that you copied is what is wrong with these types of proclamations and also add to the confusion of the discussions about what exactly a declaration means and what is its extent. It appears to encompass the entire rationale behind consensus thinking and stands on AGW. The first part is a throw away no brainer that all thinking peo[ple will agree with – and by itself something that would not be a call for action at all. The second part is, on the other hand, something for which good evidence is lacking and presents an unscientific and generalized alarmist view of things. An alarmist approach that has worked rather well lately in using “emergencies” to increase the size and reach of government.

    If those discussion from all POVs on these AGW issues are to have any relevance and reasonableness, it would have to include specific issues about the beneficial and detrimental effects of future warming and how those effects would change with predicted levels of warming and the uncertainty bounds for predicting those levels and the effects that result from those levels.

    I think more and more that many in the consensus camp on AGW see no need for those types of detailed discussions, primarily because they see no negative effects from major government mitigation programs whether a need for them can be demonstrated or not. On the other hand, I see the skeptical side being as skeptical as they are from not only the uncertainty for warming evidence, but their skepticism of government mitigation having any net beneficial effects.

  38. curious said

    36 – Quotation source here:

    http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm

    with some accompanying value added weasel.

  39. kim said

    LL, Joshua’s sophisticated enough to understand the difference, and sophistical enough to gloss over it.
    =============

  40. kim said

    Too bad he’s three years behind the conversation. The oncoming waves have already washed away that sand castle.
    ==========

  41. Ruhroh said

    Hey Jeff; While awaiting Joshua to note your skepticism of Bart’s calculations of negative feedback of clouds,

    I’m curious about your perspective on Mr. Bode and his potential role in the AGW story.

    I rarely read his name anywhere on climate blogs.
    When I do see “Nyquist”, it is rarely followed by the words “Stability Criterion”.
    While Bode’s revised implementation is certainly more popular, Nyquist preceded Bode by ~a decade.

    I’m so weak in statistics that I’m always in awe of the high-fallutin’ statistical hoo-ha that goes on here, and I never noticed the paucity of Bode plots until Bart got on his horse.

    What’s your take on feedback analysis in the frequency domain?
    TIA
    RR

    If you’re not a guy conversant in poles/zeros and suchlike, I bet you know some guys who are.

  42. Jeff Id said

    #41, I spent almost no time on the topic at CA, although I did read most of it a couple of days ago. The problem I had with it is that the data itself is not stable beyond a couple of years. My understanding is that any 4+ year trend is likely just noise in the data at this point. It is really unfortunate because otherwise the whole discussion would be very interesting. Lindzen Choi discuss some of the longer term data problems with CERES but we really don’t have the history with this data to do much with a 4 year response. Data quality is so critical to a correct answer.

    I also don’t like some of the assumptions in the Spencer Dessler papers about ocean energy content but it could be just my lack of familiarity with the data.

  43. timetochooseagain said

    42-My understanding is that most of the problems arise because they (Lindzen and Choi) use both ERBE and CERES data. They are difficult to compare in absolute terms. At least for the Aqua period(May 2002 onward), shouldn’t the CERES data be fairly stable?

    That being said, I am in fact highly skeptical that there is enough data to get frequency dependent information for such long periods. But then again, to be honest my biggest problem with Bart’s analysis has been that I don’t understand it. I don’t understand the method, or the implications, or anything about it really. But what doubts other people have raised mostly make sense to me (ie calculated a 5 year signal from just ten years of data).

  44. Kenneth Fritsch said

    From Curious’ link to the APS above we have:

    “With regard to the last sentence of the APS statement, the role of physicists is not just “…to support policies and actions…” but also to participate actively in the research itself. Physicists can contribute in significant ways to understanding the physical processes underlying climate and to developing technological options for addressing and mitigating climate change.”

    We have very transparent evidence for APS’s interest in AGW policy. After reading the declaration and provisos in full, I find the weasel descriptor quite apt. Could anyone other than an already committed warmist see any scientific informational value or rationale in these comments? Sometimes I think scientists or science groups are better at making political statements than politicians themselves.

  45. Joshua said

    LL–

    Joshua, the inarguable context of this statment is AGW, not GW

    From the APS statement:

    If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur.

    This seems rather clear to me, and notably different than the statement:

    The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.

    Seems to me that the only clear interpretation is that they do not think that AGW is incontrovertible, but likely, and that warming is not likely, but incontrovertible.

    From Giaever’s statement:

    In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?

    And here Giaver’s statement seems clear: no doubt, he disagrees with the conclusion that AGW is “likely,” but he chose to highlight the his disagreement, very prominently, with the statement that global warming is incontrovertible

    If from that, you get that the inarguable context of his statement is AGW, not GW – then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Re: KF #37 –

    The first part is a throw away no brainer that all thinking peo[ple will agree with – and by itself something that would not be a call for action at all.

    The thing is, the evidence I’ve seen is that a fairly sizable % of “skeptics” do no agree with you assessment. I have read many “skeptics” who say that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are not changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate – very specifically

    I’m not included to characterize those “skeptics” with respect to whether they are “thinking” or not: Although I suspect that some might be “deniers,” and some might be basing their opinions on a lack of careful examination of the science and therefore are clearly driven by partisan or ideological biases – I have read the opinions of many “sketpics” who have examined the science and who have concluded that, as I said, very specifically, anthropogenic emissions of GHGs are not changing the atmosphere in ways that change the Earth’s climate.

    I don’t know precisely to what degree being specific about these distinctions between what people do and don’t believe, or do and don’t say, is truly meaningful in terms of looking how the overlay of politics, partisanship, and ideology affect the climate debate – but I think there is some importance, and that everyone would benefit from more accuracy, and less hyperbole.

  46. Jeff Id said

    #43, You might be correct about stabiliity but I was left unsure without understanding the tobs and instrument.

  47. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    Have you any opinion on the proof that we humans are measurably changing the climate? The technical detail of your opinion is critical to your case.

    The APS has stated that mitigation is necessary in their statement placing the capital A before the global warming. There are a variety of unscientific (read political) logic based conclusions which this specifically implies. There is also direct financial and other motivation on the part of the APS to have those views. Are you concerned about that or do you find yourself in agreement?

  48. jim said

    jeff – There might not be enough high quality CERES data to use right now, but a more interesting question is if Bart’s techique is a useful one when we do have enough data. Will it resolve the cloud feedback question? If so, it looks like a relatively simple approach.

  49. kim said

    I’ve already asked Joshua at Judy’s if he ever, ever wonders about the 90% attribution to human guilt for the warming.

    Try to understand the science, Joshua; you’ve the skills. Note the curiosity.
    ====================

  50. stan said

    Jeff,

    Just saw this at Instapundit. http://scienceblog.com/47894/gamers-succeed-where-scientists-fail/

    Gamers took 3 weeks to solve a problem scientists worked on unsuccessfully for over a decade. Distributed intelligence (see e.g. Wisdom of Crowds, Army of Davids, Future Babble) kicks butt on the scientific establishment. After your experience with Steig, I thought you might enjoy it. Maybe we can kill the ‘appeal to authority fallacy’ monster once and for all.

    I’ve written many times that I wish we could get some of the hockey team bozos on the witness stand for a competent cross-examination in a trial where they are offered as expert witnesses. I’m convinced that after revealing the depth and extent of the incompetence and negligence endemic to the field that a lot of jurors would simply laugh at them.

  51. kim said

    You watch, Stan, gamers may model climate before ya know it.
    ===============

  52. Joshua said

    Jeff –

    Have you any opinion on the proof that we humans are measurably changing the climate? The technical detail of your opinion is critical to your case.

    Although, clearly, humans can affect the atmosphere and the environment, I’m fairly agnostic about whether we can affect the climate – precisely because I lack the skills (and knowledge) to evaluate the technical details.

    Thus, I am left trying to evaluate the reasoning of those who do purport to have the knowledge. And since I have somewhat limited information available for making that evaluation, I am inclined to give some weight to the predominance of opinion within the community of people who, presumably, have the skills and knowledge. As I’ve told kim, the predominance of opinion is not dispositive (he hates that word), but I consider it to be relevant.

    And on the other hand, I basically reject evaluations about that predominance that are based on, IMO, implausible conspiracy theories about the leftist/socialist/communist/statist/elitist/eco-Nazi cabal that is “invented” AGW as a means to implement their nefarious goals. I see the conclusions of many participants in the debate as easily dismissible because their conspiratorial foundation is obviously implausible.

    Now in cases such as yours, it gets a little trickier, because you don’t see AGW as an “invention,” but you do, from what I can see, believe in some form of a nefarious cabal – so the question then becomes how to evaluate the degree to which your reasoning about the political overlay is based in a valid questioning of the motivated reasoning in others, and to what degree your reasoning is attributable to your own motivated reasoning.

    The APS has stated that mitigation is necessary in their statement placing the capital A before the global warming. There are a variety of unscientific (read political) logic based conclusions which this specifically implies.

    I’m not so sure about that. First, I think that the “uncertainty” about the impact of mitigation is large; and so when I see categorical conclusions (either way) about the certainty of that impact, my “motivated-reasoning meter” is pegged at 11. Second, (I’m not sure if this point follows from the first or if the reverse it true, or even if they are mutually exclusive),I think that it is difficult to evaluate the weight of the risks involved in inaction vs. action.. The metrics of how to evaluate the risks of inaction vs. action are highly contingent upon the risks of CAGW. Given that I don’t think that the risks of CAGW are easily quantified, I must, necessarily, reject categorical assessments of the risks of action vs. inaction.

    More specifically, I believe that at least some % of the scientists who sign on to the APS statement believe, by virtue of a reasonably objective and reasonably comprehensive examination of the science involved, that the risks of CAGW justify at least some degree of (unspecified) immediate action. I’m not going to simply dismiss all those involved based on the reality that at least some of them are unreasonably subjective or are basic their views on unreasonably comprehensive examination of the science.

    There is also direct financial and other motivation on the part of the APS to have those views.

    Of course the questions of financial and other motivations are extremely relevant to the debate at all levels – on both sides. Yes, they concerns me, and they should be subjected to intense scrutiny.

    Are you concerned about that or do you find yourself in agreement?

    Concern and agreement are not mutually exclusive. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, “Or” can sometimes be grammatically ambiguous – and either imply a binary relationship, or a suggestion of two possible alternatives. That you seem to think that those two possibilities are mutually exclusive, IMO, is problematic. Perhaps I’m just misreading you there?

    FWIW – from my own perspective, the uncertainty in the science merits something like a progressive carbon tax on those who can most afford it (those in rich countries) so as to provide funding for the development of cheap and reliable alternative energy sources, which in the very least will help mitigate other environmental impacts from fossil fuel energy. The questions about the economic impact of aggressive carbon emission regulation are very real, IMO – but unfortunately, the economics debate is no less fraught with motivated reasoning than the debate about the physics of CAGW.

    As I see it, there is a basic need to address the negative externalities of fossil fuels and to balance the degree to which fossil fuels are, essentially, subsidized in myriad ways. Just as I don’t assume that “statist” solutions can “solve” most, if any problems, I don’t assume that government intervention in the form of progressive taxes is necessarily invalid . I would reject policy solutions proposed by anyone who signs on to either of two extremist political ideologies. That said, no doubt my view on the potential benefits of a progressive carbon tax are at some level a product of my underlying ideological orientation – which is why it is important for me to evaluate my conclusions against those who have different conclusions based on a similarly nuanced political perspective. When someone displays un-nuanced political orientation, or when someone mischaracterizes my political orientation based on a lack of information or a willingness to speciously mischaracterize people that disagree with them – having that kind of a discussion becomes difficult. If they insist on holding on to such specious reasoning despite information that help inform them of their errors, it becomes near impossible – depending on exactly how rigid they are..

  53. Jeff Id said

    “More specifically, I believe that at least some % of the scientists who sign on to the APS statement believe, ”

    How many do you think were directly involved in writing and approving the statement? Guess before you look it up. — then look it up.

    “FWIW – from my own perspective, the uncertainty in the science merits something like a progressive carbon tax on those who can most afford it (those in rich countries) so as to provide funding for the development of cheap and reliable alternative energy sources, which in the very least will help mitigate other environmental impacts from fossil fuel energy. ”

    So you believe that you are convinced that a ‘carbon tax’ will somehow help. You don’t know the quantity required to help, you don’t know the magnitude of the warming, you don’t know if the warming is a problem but a tax will help?

    You also believe there is such a thing as a ‘rich’ country rather than a politically more functional country. This we disagree on and this is directly taught in public schools. It’s like expecting government to create jobs. Governments don’t create anything other than the climate by which individuals can succeed or fail. If a government could create jobs, private industry would be unnecessary, we’ve seen how that worked out. It may seem off topic, but you are suggesting a taxation of the ‘rich’ for carbon mitigation. This taxation of the rich will come from those who have a successful system but what will it be used for? Solar — it doesn’t work. I’ve done a number of calculations here and it isn’t ready. I do believe in the future of solar power but not today as Obama’s 500 million quickly proved. Biofuel – dumber than a box of rocks. It is purely inefficient solar that can’t begin to dent our energy usage and creates inflated food costs – starving the poor. Wind can’t dent the problem, not enough energy there. Nuclear, political greens block production. Can’t build them but they could dent the problem although India and China’s coal plat production would more than make up for the difference we could make.

    So we tax, and the tax does nothing except slow the economy of the ‘rich’ countries. New workable energy technological development slows (India isn’t going to develop it), food costs rise, poor people starve, big rich companies cut deals for huge incentives to create fake energy production.

    Sounds like a great plan. All because:

    “I am inclined to give some weight to the predominance of opinion within the community of people who, presumably, have the skills and knowledge. ”

    Pay attention to the ‘community’ and who pays the bills. And definitely look up who and how many made the APS statement.

  54. M. Simon said

    Jeff,

    I think a term to search on would be useful.

  55. Joshua many misunderstand that it is not a conspiracy, but rather a confederacy. The goals of certain politicians and policies complement each other in AGW and how we approach it with their political bent.

    You correctly indicated that with increasing uncertainity, one should be careful about what is done. In fact in the risk based studies required by regulations, there is an important fact dismissed by those who preach mitigation. Their claim is that we cannot afford not to do it, because of the risks. The reason it is preaching, rather than just opining, is that in risk analysis one must take into account costs and benefits. A good one will have the time cost of money as well direct costs and benefits. It has been noted that several of the carbon control proponents recognize this, and have stated that this future costs and worht should not be used for envirnmental issues because the risk is too great. The reason is that if one counts lost time of money, or lost money as an anti-investment, then such costs can be shown not to be a good idea if it takes over ten years. This is different from an investment, some of which are on a 20 to 30 year scale, such as waste water plants and nuclear power. The problem with the progressive tax is that it is a cost to the economy, and if you cannot show that in ten years it was effective, it should not be done. In doing the analysis, you have to show it. That in ten years, we may say, Yipes we neeed to do something, a risk that is true, does not effect the risk analysis done today.

    Your statement of “Given that I don’t think that the risks of CAGW are easily quantified, I must, necessarily, reject categorical assessments of the risks of action vs. inaction.” is what risk analysis would indicate, but that includes your progressive tax on carbon since it has an economic cost.

    You state, “As I see it, there is a basic need to address the negative externalities of fossil fuels and to balance the degree to which fossil fuels are, essentially, subsidized in myriad ways. Just as I don’t assume that “statist” solutions can “solve” most, if any problems, I don’t assume that government intervention in the form of progressive taxes is necessarily invalid . I would reject policy solutions proposed by anyone who signs on to either of two extremist political ideologies.” I think the better statement would be I support workable solutions even if they are pronounce by extremist political ideologies, after all even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.

  56. co2fan said

    Jeff, you identified right away which camp Joshua is in.
    The impression of being neutral in this discussion: “I’m fairly agnostic about whether we can affect the climate” is then followed by the affirmation of the carbon tax concept “merits something like a progressive carbon tax”.

    His political bent is further amplified by the opinion of funding : “financial and other motivations are extremely relevant to the debate at all levels – on both sides”.

    He parrots the CAGW party lines too well.
    No free thinker to be found here.

    He is no expert, but he believes.

    Your patience with him is appreciated, I’m just not that nice.

    Hal

  57. Joshua says that he doesn’t think “conspiracy theories” about people being socialists have any validity. He then proceeds to call for a redistributive, “progressive” tax.

    How is it a conspiracy theory to call people who want to redistribute wealth, people who want to redistribute wealth?

  58. stan said

    Jeff,

    You might also explain to Joshua that carbon taxes which cost people their jobs will then be used to fund corrupt deals like Solyndra. The ultimate lose-lose-lose.

    I don’t really care how many of the alarmist scientists really believe and how many are just riding the corrupt gravy train. Malthus really believed. A quick read of “Future Babble” shows that fields like history, economics, finance, political science and science are littered with extraordinary numbers of supposed experts who fell in love with their theories and made good faith predictions which ended up being ridiculously wrong. It’s the nature of the beast. Tetlock shows us that these guys are utterly incapable of predicting the future any better than random chance — a chimp throwing darts. Their fault lies not in making mistakes. It lies in succumbing to the extreme hubris of thinking that they are uniquely qualified to do something no one else has ever managed to do — see the future. Given how poorly they understand the system about which they make predictions, their confidence is laughable. Given how poor the quality of their work, their pronouncements border on criminal.

  59. Joshua said

    lol.

    Among the things I’ve learned at the Air Vent today:

    Anyone who thinks there are possibly sometimes merits to progressive taxes is a “socialist.” No doubt, then, the majority of Americans are “socialists.” Have been decades now. In fact, Jefferson himself was a “socialist” well ahead of his time:

    “Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometric progression as they rise”

    Be sure to check under the beds, fellas – those “socialists” are everywhere.

  60. curious said

    “We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    ‘Pop!’ goes the weasel.

    btw kim – I’m guessing you are objecting to to the use of “predominance”? or is it “presumably”?! :-)

  61. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    This is an educational opportunity, use it to your best advantage. I nailed your age and your politics as you have just exposed yourself in spades. All that despite being just a half-witted dumbassed right wing conservative. Jefferson was no socialist despite the revisionists who write wiki and were he a socialist, he certainly wouldn’t have been ‘ahead of his time’. Wow!!, the next generation is out of touch.

    Nobody’s looking under the bed, we can look at society in general. The youth in America have often considered themselves the enlightened liberals. Us old fart business owners are worn out, missed the boat and conservatives are idiots (behind the times).

    Crazy stuff you wrote there. You may want to reconsider.

  62. Joshua said

    The humor continued, Jeff. You’re wrong about my age. And you have continuously mischaracterized my politics. You build straw men left and right.

    I didn’t say Jefferson was a socialist – I was laughing at the notion that anyone who sees any merits in progressive taxation is a socialist.

    That was exactly my point – that looking favorably at the notion of progressive taxes does not make someone a socialist. That you’d defend that kind of facile reasoning says far more about you than it says about me – which is why you are continuously wrong in the assumptions that you’re making – about my age, about my politics, about who I think are “deniers,” about what I think “skeptics” believe, about what I think that you believe. With each and every exchange between us, the list of things you’re wrong about grows.

  63. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    Sorry I missed your point, still don’t believe I missed the age by much. I’ve missed the politics by zero IMO but since I’m wrong, it is easy to correct.

    Write it, I’m hiding nothing.

  64. Joshua said

    I mean seriously – Jeff,

    You thought that I was saying that Jefferson was a socialist? That I was saying that the majority of Americans are socialists? Have been so for decades?

    Oh, my sides.

    You’re hilarious.

  65. Jeff Id said

    What, was I a year older and you are 19?

  66. Joshua said

    Jeff – you missed my age by a mile.What adds to the humor is your certainty that you were right. The more you state it, the more you show that you’re inclined towards certainty when you don’t have the evidence to back your conclusions.

    I mean I thought all the “public school” comments were some bizarre attempt to get my goat. Apparently not, eh? You actually believe your reverse engineering that leads you to conclude that my political beliefs are attributable to whether or not I attended public school.

    Seriously, Jeff, my side are killing me.

    It reminds me of when you were sure that your post (in which you used a word that could easily trigger the screening software) was deleted from Krugman’s blog by some pimple-faced teenage intern because they recognized your name and were scared silly about some “subtle” point you made because they were so afraid of the damage might be done (in spite of other highly critical posts that go through on a regular basis at his blog).

    And you haven’t as of yet accurately characterized my politics. You are absolutely convinced I hold the political beliefs of those liberal demons that you rant about And instead of just asking what I my political beliefs are, and basing your conclusions on actual information, you apparently would prefer to expose your ignorance by making incorrect assumptions. It’s just like with my age – your arguing with your fantasies, Jeff.

  67. Jeff Id said

    Sarcasm is difficult to interpret by text. Were you to be serious in your post 59 or joking, nobody would know. I have read many insane leftist comments which make your (apparently sarcastic) drivel in 59 seem quite tame.

    A lot of blogs avoid politics for this reason.

    If you wish to be victorious in silly attacks, this blog knows how to deal with non-technical people in far less kind ways. If you don’t mind discussion whereby neither of us may be ‘victorious’, more content is required.

  68. Jeff Id said

    And by the way, your politics are still fully exposed.

  69. Joshua said

    Sarcasm is difficult to interpret by text.

    Wow! You’re doubling down here? You didn’t get that I was ridiculing the facile conclusion that someone’s a socialist if they think there may be merits to a progressive task.

    And now you’re doubling down because it’s “difficult to interpret sarcasm by text?” This gets funnier by the post.

    Silly attacks? Are you kidding? My post to you was very respectful – and then you started coming after me, with complete confidence, with one specious claim after the next? I mean really, “wiki?” You were actually fantasizing that I wend to “wiki” and found that they said that Jefferson was a socialist?

    ?I have read many insane leftist comments which make your (apparently sarcastic) drivel in 59 seem quite tame.

    Jeff – show some accountability. You fell prey to your own confirmation biases – based in fantasies about liberals, that led you to overlook the obvious. Man up and own it.

  70. Jeff Id said

    “You didn’t get that I was ridiculing the facile conclusion that someone’s a socialist if they think there may be merits to a progressive task.” — nope

    Who care’s about wiki, it was an example I assumed and didn’t even look up. If you find the quote above on wiki, it is not where I grabbed it.

  71. Jeff Id said

    “You fell prey to your own confirmation biases ”

    Interesting considering that my words are honest and you assume them to be specious. hmm.

    I’m trying to have a discussion and losing at that. I’ve written my words with the maximum honesty and you won’t listen. I really don’t mind talking, that is what makes blogging fun, but if you are looking between invisible lines, there is no opportunity to continue.

  72. Joshua said

    And by the way, your politics are still fully exposed.

    Right. Like we’ve already discussed: I’m a “socialist.” And you know that because I believe that some progressive taxes have merit. Just like Jefferson. Just like the majority of Americans. For decades. Look under the bed, Jeff. The “socialists” are everywhere!!!!

    Hilarious.

    No amount of actual information, no amount of exposing your facile conclusions, will convince you that you’re wrong. Because in your head, you just absolutely have to be right.

  73. Jeff Id said

    Wow.

    Thanks for teaching me.

  74. Joshua said

    Who care’s about wiki, it was an example I assumed and didn’t even look up.

    EXACTLY!!!

    Just like you “assumed” you know my age. Just like you “assumed” you know something about the relationship between my schooling and my reasoning and ideology. Just like you “assumed” that your post was erased because someone recognized your name.

    Keep going, Jeff.

    Or – on the other hand, you could resume a respectful discussion where both of us try to avoid making specious assumptions, and where both of us acknowledge them if we do screw up.

    Either way, I’m done for now.

  75. Jeff Id said

    So Joshua, Why don’t you correct me?

    Hmm?

    Why not tell me how your conservative politics lead you to a ‘progressive’ carbon tax.

    Why not explain your age? Nail it to a decade.

    Why not explain your opinion about my questions?

    I assumed your age from your previous honesty and your lack of knowledge. Perhaps I was wrong, which means what?

    Sorry I made you mad. Not sorry about your politics b/c you have a lot to learn.

  76. Jeff Id said

    The whole thing is silly. We want taxes because that’s what climate scientists say? We want mitigation yet don’t know if it will do anything. We want a green world, high income for everyone and a fair life for all, so progressive taxation is the way.

    Not one micro-bit of thought behind any of it.

    Oh, and it isn’t progressive liberalism either.

    Makes me want to try and quit blogging again.

  77. Joshua said

    Why not tell me how your conservative politics lead you to a ‘progressive’ carbon tax.

    Straw man.

    Why not explain your age? Nail it to a decade.

    So you assume I’m being deceitful – and object to my pointing to your specious reasoning.

    I assumed your age from your previous honesty and your lack of knowledge. Perhaps I was wrong, which means what?

    Jeff – you assumed based on your own beliefs. No facts. It means you employed facile reasoning to reach a wrong conclusion.

    Why not explain your age? Nail it to a decade.

    Because the longer you persist with your facile reasoning, the more I can point it out to you. Besides, you have to admit it is amusing to watch you try to backpedal.

    Sorry I made you mad. Not sorry about your politics b/c you have a lot to learn.

    Jeff, we have different beliefs. I might say that you “have a lot to learn,” but I don’t – because I don’t make the facile assumption that someone who has different beliefs than I, “has a lot to learn.” I reason that they have a different set of beliefs, and that both of us might benefit from a respectful dialog. I still hold open that possibility – but you’ll have to drop the straw men, and you’ll have to drop the specious reasoning for that to happen.

  78. Jeff Id said

    Josh,

    You have answered none of the questions. Any reason for that?

    “– because I don’t make the facile assumption that someone who has different beliefs than I, “has a lot to learn.” ”

    No Josh, it is because you have admitted a ZERO understanding of the technical aspects of the climate. Duh! Yet you come here claiming that I have all these pre-determined beliefs. You have your own thread to discuss your own beliefs, yet you give ZERO again. What do you want? I will give up soon, but it could have been a fun thread of discussion rather than this game playing you insist on.

    Nobody knows who Joshua is, so why not let your opinions out?

  79. Jeff Id said

    Prove me wrong, state I’m wrong, I really, really don’t care. Just don’t play stupid games as I have no more time for them.

  80. Joshua said

    The whole thing is silly. We want taxes because that’s what climate scientists say? We want mitigation yet don’t know if it will do anything. We want a green world, high income for everyone and a fair life for all, so progressive taxation is the way.

    Not one micro-bit of thought behind any of it.

    Oh, and it isn’t progressive liberalism either.

    Makes me want to try and quit blogging again.

    Now there is an indication of at least a potential for an actual exchange of views. Of course, there are straw men there also, but at least it’s on the subject at hand, rather than your facile reasoning about my politics, my age, my education, etc.

    No, I don’t want taxes “because that’s what climate scientists say.” We know some things about what mitigation will do – as for other things that mitigation “will” do, we can have a discussion of plausible cost/benefit analyses. A green world and “high income for everyone” are fine goals: I don’t agree with anyone who thinks that progressive taxation is the singular way to reach those goals – and that’s why I never said anything that resembles that argument. The question is what merits there might be to progressive carbon taxation weighed against the potential costs. The question is whether or not progressive taxation is, or isn’t, necessarily counterproductive with respect to reaching those goals.

    You need to give more merit to the nuances of what I say, and what I believe, if you want to have a discussion with me rather than your fantasized liberal demons., Now should I conclude that your facile arguments are based on your age? On your schooling?

  81. Jeff Id said

    “The question is whether or not progressive taxation is, or isn’t, necessarily counterproductive with respect to reaching those goals. ”

    I don’t know of anyone proposing progressive taxation will lead to a green world and high income for everyone. We have progressive taxation already, what am I missing?

  82. Joshua said

    Prove me wrong, state I’m wrong,

    About what, Jeff? About your facile conclusions? I’ve already done that.

    No Josh, it is because you have admitted a ZERO understanding of the technical aspects of the climate

    Jeff – the mistaken and/or facile conclusions that you’ve made obvious have ZERO to do with an understanding of the technical aspects of the climate. Unless, somehow, you think that my age, my education, my political beliefs, or my pointing out your facile reasoning is, somehow, related to the technical aspects of the climate.

    You made a similar mistake in the original discussion that, I guess, inspired this post. I highlighted the differences in perspective between your view and that of Giaever – differences that you failed to mention in your original post on Giaever. I knew that that difference existed, and that you failed to highlight it – and you mistakenly assumed that I didn’t understand enough about the technical aspects of climate science to know what the differences are.

    Again – facile reasoning, based on a lack of attention to detail about what I say, based on incorrect assumptions about what I do or don’t say, about what I do or don’t believe, about how freakin’ old I am, about what affect my schooling had on my reasoning.

  83. Jeff Id said

    Actually, what this thread should be about is the lack of understanding of the intellectually capable public in the ‘problem’ followed by the lack of understanding of the magnitude of the problem, followed by the insane solutions.

    First, if AGW is a problem, how come nobody knows its magnitude?
    Second, if the magnitude is a problem which creates actual hardship, how come nobody has measured ANY hardship whatsoever?
    Thirdly, if the hardship is so severe that we need extreme measures to correct it, how come the only working measures are unworkable from an engineering standpoint?
    Fourthly, since this is Joshua’s thread, and Joshua supports a carbon tax, how the heck does the carbon tax help the above?

    Finally, how do we convince those who support the above insanity that there isn’t a certain warming problem, there isn’t a single measured hardship, there is no way to mitigate the problem and taxes are the goal of the governments.

    I don’t care to convince anyone because the last sentence seems insurmountable given the liberal media and schooling of our younger generations.

  84. Jeff Id said

    “differences that you failed to mention in your original post on Giaever. ”

    I’ve explained these in detail, if you don’t understand ask for specific clarification, not a complete re-explanation my patience is limited.

    I again note the lack of information in your replies. Come on man, tell us what you think, let the public know. Nobody will show up on the doorsteps of the ten million Joshuas in the world to take it out on you.

  85. Joshua said

    I don’t know of anyone proposing progressive taxation will lead to a green world and high income for everyone. We have progressive taxation already, what am I missing?

    I don’t live in a binary world, Jeff.

    “Will lead to?” That’s a straw man (at least in a discussion with me, as opposed to a discussion with your liberal demons). The question is to look at the costs and benefits, and potential ancillary costs and benefits. I don’t think you’re missing anything – per se in that statement. It is, basically, unfalsifiable – because it contains in it a binary, straw man construction.

    The question is whether or not progressive taxes on carbon will help make progress towards a green world while possibly leading to at least some economic benefits, or at least not have prohibitive economic costs.

    I’m discussing here a progressive tax on carbon so as to help pay for the development, through a public/private partnership, of newer, greener technologies. Not entirely different than some of the ideas of Pielke Jr. As to whether we have progressive income taxes, or other kinds of progressive taxes, is not directly germane.

    And even if you were arguing that we already have a progressive tax on fossil fuel energy sources (which in itself is an interesting argument), it doesn’t say whether or not it brings benefits to simply note that we have not reached some absolute state of a “green world.” The lack of a perfect solution does not speak directly to whether or not some policies that we have in place don’t lead to advancement towards a goal.

    Going back to the more general argument about progressive taxation (one that I didn’t bring up, btw), I will note the fact that higher standards of living, and higher levels of representative democracy, are correlated across the world with progressive taxation. That does not in and of itself prove causation – far from it – but it does prove that progressive taxes are not inconsistent with higher standards of living and with higher levels of representative democracy. That’s why I reject extremist arguments w.r.t progressive taxation (especially when they devolve into specious red-baiting about SOCIALISTZZZZ!!!!). As to the details related to analyzing where correlation crosses over with causation – I’m open to a good discussion. Perhaps at another time? I’m really out for now.

  86. Joshua said

    Actually, what this thread should be about is the lack of understanding of the intellectually capable public in the ‘problem’ followed by the lack of understanding of the magnitude of the problem, followed by the insane solutions.

    Last post for the night. I think that would be an interesting discussion (outside of your “insane” characterization).

    Unfortunately, your last paragraph with the “librul media, public schools, younger generation” blather makes it questionable whether such a discussion can take place.

    I’ll continue to hold out hope for you, however. No matter how intransigent you appear, and how dearly you seem to cling to your facile reasoning.

  87. Jeff Id said

    Josh,

    You are free to correct any of my statements at your leisure — with data. I do believe the proposed solutions are ‘insane’ or a form of cognitive dissonance, or simply a lack of technical understanding. Since they are often proposed by people like nobel prize winning scientist and presidential advisor Stephen Chu, insane, seems a soft characterization from my viewpoint.

  88. Layman Lurker said

    Yawn

  89. kim said

    No Olympics, no Chicago Carbon Exchange, no fast and furiously regulating militias, no windmills, solar panels laying toxic waste to all of Massachusetts, great, gaping, insatiable green hole in the ground with liars at the top, waaaaahhhh!
    =====================

  90. kim said

    jfp @ 3:04

    See the dunces who waterwitched Steve’s genius. My valve is giving me trouble. Where’s Big Chief?
    ================

  91. kim said

    The stick used was fashioned from larch for use by jockeys. No, I think it’s hockeymates, or something along that line.
    ===============

  92. Heh, you know, you really could learn something Joshua. Like that, yes, calling for a progressive tax is socialist-a term the definition of which you are evidentaly unfamiliar with. A socialist is one who seeks to redistribute wealth. Your unsourced quote is indeed a socialist statement. And I don’t care if you attribute to Jesus or Yaweh himself, it is still a statement based on dangerous, distractive ideology.

  93. kuhnkat said

    #59 Joshua,

    Here is the full letter that the quote comes from:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Letter_to_James_Madison_-_October_28,_1785

    I hope you noted that he felt that every man should have land or the right to cultivate land for a livelihood? Who is the largest landowner in the US with over 50% of the land, little of which the small guy can make use of?? More of which every year is made off limits to normal uses as a sop to the Gods of Environmentalism?? Strange that the US is becoming like France through Governmental monopolization of the resources rather than the rich keeping it for their own pleasures. Or is their a difference? Whose laws and regulations make it ever more convenient for Corporate Agriculture to continuously eat away at the small farming base as the small farmers are trun off their land?

    You are absolutely right that Jefferson wasn’t a socialist as he felt people should be allowed to WORK rather than given handouts and demeaned. Of course, he would also be nauseated by how we have gone down the same path of the elites controlling the government as all previous political creations have.

    Your taxes would be damaging to an economy that has already been abused to the point of collapsing. Sorry you have no ability to understand this. Those who are wealthy are skilled at keeping it and would not be taxed more than they wanted without taking their marbles and playing elsewhere. The amount they are ABLE to pay, as opposed to WILLING to pay would NOT make any real difference in our debt or future growth potential. Our idiots in charge have really run us that far into the hole.

    When a government needs the money it is because the economy has already failed or was broken, or they are simply wasting it. Either way they shouldn’t be allowed to have it as they will make things WORSE.

  94. co2fan said

    Joshua is in love with the word “facile”. He used it 18 times on this thread (the count will go up since I referenced it).

    Sounds like ivy league snobbery, because he probably assumes people don’t know it.

    At least he didn’t pick on Jeff’s notorious spelling issues (I didn’t see any in this thread, Jeff, LOL).

    He has already stated he was “fairly agnostic on AGW” I wonder which way from this agnosticism he leans via that “fairly” modifier.

    It is interesting that he shies away from the term Socialism, that shows he is deeply rooted in Americanism, if he were European, he would embrace it.

    As it is, he will never define himself here.

    Fun chatter, but no substance from his side. Too bad don’t see many warmistas outside their protected realms, like RC and SS.

    Hal

  95. kim said

    Probably thinks George Washington had a fat ass.
    ============

  96. PaulM said

    It is very amusing that Joshua (#34) thinks that skeptics often confuse the concept that warming is indisputable with the idea that AGW is indisputable.
    I assume he is unaware of the fact the while the UN IPCC AR4 stated that

    Warming of the climate system is unequivocal

    The UN press release announced at the same time in Feb 2007 that

    Evidence is now ‘unequivocal’ that humans are causing global warming – UN report

    See

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?Cr1=change&Cr=climate&NewsID=21429

  97. curious said

    94 – “Joshua is in love with the word facile.”

    Hmm, from here it looks more to me like Joshua is in love with himself. Maybe it’s the same thing.

  98. Jeff Id said

    #92, While flat taxes are my preference, I believe that some gray areas are reasonable and don’t quite rise to the level of socialist. It is a slippery slope and one we have definitely crossed the edge of.

    What can we do though, people consider flat tax to be extreme here. I would be happy with flatter tax.

  99. Jeff Id said

    Co2Fan,

    It would have been fun if he were willing to state his opinions, it can be a bit intimidating though. It isn’t like you guys give me a break either, but you have to have a certain toughness to blog and accept the inevitable critique.

  100. conard said

    Hamilton’s legacy is all around us; what Jefferson thought or might think about today is largely irrelevant. One further thing Hamilton can teach us is that sometimes controversial action is demanded even when the dimensions of both problem space and solution space contain large unknowns.

    I assume Jeff, as entrepreneur and engineer, the stress of current economic struggles aside, you can understand both side of that coin far more than your political statements admit.

  101. 98-Jeff, I have probably the most extreme position on taxes there is: namely that no one should pay any more, in absolute terms, than anyone else. But I’d settle for a flat tax as more politically, well, possible.

    As for whether there are gray areas: obviously one cannot, even under a head tax, tax those with virtually to precisely no income. I would guess you could call it somewhat “progressive” to allow the lowest income group some extra leeway. But with the definition of socialism I have to be strict and call it as I see it: Joshua wants to redistribute the wealth, he explicitly mentions, I believe, reducing “inequality”. Under no circumstance could that be considered not socialist. In this sense, the traditional structure of a progressive income tax is, essentially, socialistic. I think on the right, we generally agree we want it less socialistic. There are, however, legitimate differences of opinion on how far we should go doing that.

    The way Joshua resists the label you’d think I was calling him a Stalinist…

  102. Jeff Id said

    conard ,

    Not sure if I fully follow but we definitely are forced to make decisions without complete information at times. More often it is a balance of two difficult choices, like a lawsuit settlement you don’t want to make but is cheaper than the lawyer.

  103. conard said

    Jeff,

    Cutting down the weeds to find the disagreement between you and Joshua– I give up.

    The one thing that Dr. Giaever got right was that the eventual outcome will have nothing to do with science. And that is just how it should be.

  104. Gras Albert said

    Jeff

    Joshua’s contribution to every thread (including this one) on every blog where he adds his wisdom is to divert attention from the subject of the thread to another topic, one in which he can ‘manage’ the discussion on his terms. He is careful never to comment on technical issues citing ‘scientific ignorance’ while utilising language in such a manner as to call into doubt the competence of those that do comment, unless of course they are ‘climate establishment’.

    Elsewhere he has compared his engagement with blog contributors with that which he has with his students, implying both an ‘educational’ purpose and a ‘lecturer to student’ superiority.

    His interaction with Judith Curry is characteristic, his persistent & consistent attempts to engage her in a discussion about Judith Curry rather than about climate science indicate his motives.

    In short, Joshua is a troll with but one purpose, sophisticated use of language to engage denizens in debate about them rather than about science, sadly this thread is evidence of his success.

    Judith has it right, do not feed the troll.

  105. curious said

    104 – seconded.

  106. Jeff Id said

    My approach to critics hasn’t won a lot of support but at so many blogs, they are simply tossed out or not addressed. Here, I give them all the rope they want. Joshua fears what the rope will do but still thinks he’s good enough to approve of CO2 taxation, and the establishment conclusions.

    It is interesting that he is unqualified to judge the main issue, yet is fully qualified to recommend a course of action. Without knowledge to drive your decisions, you are left with ideology – only. So from now on when he accuses me or us of political bias driving our decisions, or even attempts to write the word conspiracy, he has to do it in front of a great big mirror while we watch the silliness of it from the side.

  107. Joshua said

    It would have been fun if he were willing to state his opinions, it can be a bit intimidating though.

    Still with the facile reasoning, I see.

    I am more than happy to “state my opinions.” I discuss my opinions, frequently, on blogs. Your notion that I’m “intimidated” (to the point where you fantasize that you need to assure me that people aren’t going to show up at my doorstep is just another on the list of your mistaken assumptions.

    What would you like to discuss? Shall we discuss how America sustained economic and political preeminence concurrent with the advent and development of public education? How about whether or not there are any economic data that show that within a range of bounds (that we are arguably below at this point), progressive taxation does not correlate, either way, with our standard of living or the health of our economy? Maybe you’d like to discuss whether or not there is any correlation between economic growth and the % of GDP countries spend per capita on providing public education? Or maybe we could discuss whether there is a correlation between taxation rates (and/or how the progressivity of taxation rates) correlates with the economic status and the level of representative democracy that exists in various countries around the globe?

    Or perhaps you’d like to discuss Pielke Jr.’s views on a carbon tax?

    Putting a price on carbon however makes good sense. A straight carbon tax, at whatever level that would be politically acceptable is a far better place to start than with a fully gamed cap and trade system. The point of such a tax would not be to change behavior, but to start the process of pricing carbon directly and to raise some revenue for clean energy investments. With progress in decarbonizing the economy, a steadily rising carbon tax should be politically possible.

    Or perhaps you’d like to discuss this opinion expressed by Pielke Sr.?

    Of course. The emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, and its continued accumulation in the atmosphere is changing the climate. We do not need to agree on the magnitude of its global average radiative forcing to see a need to limit this accumulation. The biogeochemical effect of added CO2 by itself is a concern as we do not know its consequences. At the very least, ecosystem function will change resulting in biodiversity changes as different species react differently to higher CO2. The prudent path, therefore, is to limit how much we change our atmosphere.

    By continuing to argue on global warming and its magnitude, I feel you, and others, are missing an opportunity to build up a larger consensus on how to properly deal with the myraid ways we are altering the climate and the environment, in general. Even if there were no global warming (or even cooling) in the coming decades, we still need to limit how much we change the environment (including land use change, nitogren deposition, CO2 etc).

    I am very much in favor of energy sources which minimize the input off gases and aerosols into the atmosphere. Much of my career has been involved with reducing air pollution (both in research and in policy). What we should move towards is an economy with as small a footprint on the natural environment as possible.

    In terms of how to do this with respect to carbon emissions, I completely agree with my son’s perspective as he presents in The Climate Fix – http://theclimatefix.com/

    And Jeff – you are also mistaken that my opinions about a carbon tax are simply a function of “what climate scientists say,” but yes, I do consider “what climate scientists say” to be useful information when I evaluate the viability of various options.

  108. Jeff Id said

    I have already asked my questions.

  109. I wouldn’t mind discussing those with you Joshua. But I will need to do so after work, so it will be a long conversation.

    JeffID, Joshua has made some valid points about your speculation. If I were to speculate, I think Joshua could be 50+years, doc or pot doc, and well versed in pollicy and/conomics. But why speculate, if instead I can have a good discussion as the questions/statements above do warrant discussions?

  110. Joshua said

    Re: #92

    Heh, you know, you really could learn something Joshua. Like that, yes, calling for a progressive tax is socialist-a term the definition of which you are evidentaly unfamiliar with. A socialist is one who seeks to redistribute wealth. Your unsourced quote is indeed a socialist statement. And I don’t care if you attribute to Jesus or Yaweh himself, it is still a statement based on dangerous, distractive ideology.

    I’d be more than happy to discuss whether or not progressive taxation, or what rates of taxation, correlate with the economic health of a citizenry.

    What I find laughable is your assertion that someone who sees potential merits in progressive taxation is, therefore, a “socialist.” I may, or may not be a socialist. In point of fact, until you ask me more questions about my beliefs, you have no idea. Your facile reasoning – based on a bizarre reverse engineering from my statement that a progressive carbon tax might be a viable policy – that I am a socialist, reflects nothing other than your political biases.

    Otherwise, all of these quotes (and I could provide others) would mean that you think that some of our founding fathers (not to mention the vast majority of Americans for decades who have supported progressive taxation) were all socialists – in the freakin’ mid-18th century.

    “Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometric progression as they rise.”

    ~Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785

    The collection of taxes… has been as yet only by duties on consumption. As these fall principally on the rich, it is a general desire to make them contribute the whole money we want, if possible. And we have a hope that they will furnish enough for the expenses of government and the interest of our whole public debt, foreign and domestic.

    ~Thomas Jefferson to Comte de Moustier, 1790

    and

    The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the General Government are levied. … Our revenues liberated by the discharge of the public debt, and its surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., the farmer [ie, working class/poor] will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings.

    Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811

    and

    “The great mass of the articles on which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers.”

    ~Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806

    “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    “the expense of defending the society, and that of supporting the dignity of the chief magistrate, are both laid out for the general benefit of the whole society. It is reasonable, therefore, that they should be defrayed by the general contribution of the whole society, all the different members contributing, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities…

    “When the toll upon carriages of luxury, upon coaches, post-chaises, &c. is made somewhat higher in proportion to their weight, than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts, waggons, &c. the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor, by rendering cheaper the transportation of heavy goods to all the different parts of the country.”

    Adam Smith: Wealth of Nations

    “…as a Tax, and perhaps the most equal of all Taxes, since it depreciated in the Hands of the Holders of the Money, and thereby taxed them in proportion to the Sums they hold and the Time they held it, which is generally in proportion to Mens Wealth.”

    ~Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Ruston, October 9, 1780

  111. Joshua said

    Joshua is in love with the word “facile”. He used it 18 times on this thread (the count will go up since I referenced it).

    Thanks for counting. And for reading my posts so carefully.

    Please update your list.

  112. Joshua said

    It is interesting that he shies away from the term Socialism, that shows he is deeply rooted in Americanism, if he were European, he would embrace it.

    I don’t shy away from the term. I may be a socialist or I may not be. Kind of depends on how you define whether or not someone is a socialist. My point is that it is facile to reason that someone is a socialist simply because they state that they see some merit in a progressive carbon tax.

  113. Joshua said

    Re: 112:

    I should also add, that reducing differences of opinion to false and cartoonish caricatures such as calling someone a “socialist,”is no different than reducing differences of opinion to falsely characterizing someone as a “warmista,” or a “denier” serve no real benefit towards furthering a debate. False delineation into useless caricatures only diminishes ambiguity and nuance of relevant data and perspectives.

  114. Joshua said

    PaulM –

    It is very amusing that Joshua (#34) thinks that skeptics often confuse the concept that warming is indisputable with the idea that AGW is indisputable.

    I assume he is unaware of the fact the while the UN IPCC AR4 stated that

    Some “skeptics” do confuse those concepts. But more to the point, I have seen that many “skeptics” confuse whether or not other “skeptics” confuse those concepts. That is why I commented on the topic in response to Jeff’s post.

    You will never find me saying that “non-skeptics” don’t confuse that concept. That is not particularly germane to the discussion of how “skeptics” are confused (I tend to reject “They do it tooouuuuu.” arguments out of hand as justifications ), but Indeed, the debate about the distinction of those concepts is very important to the debate.

  115. Joshua said

    Albert.-

    Joshua’s contribution to every thread (including this one) on every blog where he adds his wisdom is to divert attention from the subject of the thread to another topic, one in which he can ‘manage’ the discussion on his terms.

    Thank you for reading my comments.

    First, I find it rather amusing that on a thread where I am, at least at some level, the topic of a thread, you post a comment that I am trying to “divert attention of the subject of [the] of the thread to another topic.”

    Thanks for the chuckle.

    Now – as for my intent, I think that you are probably better off if you keep away from speculating about other people’s intent when you don’t know them and have never had a discussion with them about their intent.

    My interest on this blog, as it is on Judith’s blog, is to point out facile reasoning I see in the climate debate – particularly when I feel it is influenced by political or other ideological biases. I am also interested in, by virtue of ensuing discussions, exploring how/where/to what degree my own opinions are similarly influenced by biases (as no doubt they are).

    He is careful never to comment on technical issues citing ‘scientific ignorance’…

    That’s not quite true. Sometimes I ask questions related to technical issues so as to help clarify my understanding of them. I try not to express assertions on matters of technical debate when I lack the technical background to formulate solid opinions. Would you expect otherwise?

    …while utilising language in such a manner as to call into doubt the competence of those that do comment, unless of course they are ‘climate establishment’.

    I don’t really intend to call out the “competence” of others that do comment – as to do so, I would need to be more conversant in the technicalities myself. What I try to do is call out biases when I see them. No doubt, there is a general, and marked, disporportionality with respect to whose biases I point out – but it isn’t categorical.

    His interaction with Judith Curry is characteristic, his persistent & consistent attempts to engage her in a discussion about Judith Curry rather than about climate science indicate his motives.

    That’s also not true. I frequently focus on potential biases that influence Judith’s perspective – just as I focus on the biases that I see in the perspectives of others. In fact, the vast majority of the posts, by all commenters, at Judith’s blog focus on biases that people see evident in the opinions expressed by others. I would suggest that the differentiation you make between the nature of my posts and those of others is not one of substance, but one of kind, and in such, merely reflects your own biases.

    In short, Joshua is a troll with but one purpose, sophisticated use of language to engage denizens in debate about them rather than about science, sadly this thread is evidence of his success.

    Again – thank you for reading.

  116. Joshua said

    It is interesting that he is unqualified to judge the main issue, yet is fully qualified to recommend a course of action.

    I think that my “recommendations” for actions were sufficiently conditional so as to reflect my lack of qualifications (and intelligence, no doubt). No one is fully qualified to “judge the main issue,” IMO – and so everyone is, at least to some degree, faced with the same difficulties you noted in my ability to reach conclusions about a course of action. I like to think that at least I recognize that problem – whereas, unfortunately, many people on both sides reach categorical decisions without recognizing that the limits to their understanding should cause them to be more conditional in their approach. When I see people falling into that trap – I call it “facile reasoning.” Perhaps you recognize my use of that term?

  117. Joshua said

    I wouldn’t mind discussing those with you Joshua. But I will need to do so after work, so it will be a long conversation.

    I look forward to that. This forum will be difficult for carrying out such a conversation (if you’re even in Philly let me know and we’ll grab a beer) – but I am curious to hear more about your perspective. We all fall into the trap of non-productive debate in this forum, but with that understanding and some willingness to be open to our own short-comings, it can be a useful place to have enlightening exchanges of perspective.

  118. It is now apparently “facile reasoning” to apply an actual definition of an actual term. Heh, amusing.

  119. Joshua said

    It is now apparently “facile reasoning” to apply an actual definition of an actual term. Heh, amusing.

    I’m afraid I don’t understand your point. Would you mind clarifying it for me?

  120. Joshua said

    And one more point – since this is my thread.

    I don’t see the goal of progressive taxation to be to “re-distrubute” money to the poor.

    I assume that we all agree – at some level – that a laudable goal is to uplift the standard of living for as many people as possible. It seems to me that ultimately, one important goal of a democracy should be to allow as much input as possible for a citizenry to have a voice in how to raise the collective standard of living. In point of fact, I consider myself fortunate to live in a country where raising the collective standard of living has, in general, been a shared, while mitigated, goal.Obviously, we will likely disagree about the practicality of that goal as well as the logistics of how to reach that goal – what the costs and benefits of various approaches might be, and what reasonable limitations should be employed so as to prevent unfairness or totalitarianism. I think that there is rather solid evidence that dramatic economic inequality is an obstacle towards achieving collective economic prosperity – but I am open (and interested) in other perspectives about the impact of dramatic economic inequality, and how to draw parameters around what point we might logically speculate about the direction of the impact of economic inequality .

    It is important, I think, to carefully consider distinctions related to ends versus means. IMO, caricatures of the opinions of others, derived by facile reasoning based on ill-informed assumptions, don’t seem particularly useful in that regard.

  121. 119-I defined socialist. You said it was facile reasoning to point out that, yes, by that definition, that is what you, and anyone else who wants to “reduce inequality” in such a manner, in fact are.

    And again, I don’t care who else you can bring to the fore as advocating an idea that is socialist. It doesn’t change the definition. As it stands, however, perhaps you should be standing up proud of your socialism. After all, look at it’s pedigree! You certainly would like to make it seem as though every reasonable person ever has held the same destructive view as yourself. Or perhaps you just hold an infantile view that conservatives are mere fools worshiping at an alter of some set of individuals, whose opinions in their entirety are gospel truth: thus you hold up the people you think to be worship icons of conservatives and say “would you dare call these people socialist” the answer was already given by me, and yet you persist: you could show God himself advocating a progressive income tax: well if so, God is not, for the sake of argument, immune to the rules of logic whereby words are given definitions that must be consistently applied, so that would make God himself a socialist-and wrong.

    Anyway, if, on the other hand it is you who blindly worships at the alter of the “Founders” then perhaps you should stop to ask yourself why it would be necessary to amend the Constitution to allow for a progressive income tax to be implemented, if the men who conceived the document so universally loved the idea.

  122. kim said

    Fat bottom boys they make the rockin’ world gallop.
    ==============================

  123. Joshua said

    Re: 121

    I’ll try one more time. Holding a belief that there may be some merits in progressive taxation does not make someone a “socialist.” I provided you with quotes of people who were obviously not socialists, to make my point.

    I defined socialist. You said it was facile reasoning to point out that, yes, by that definition, that is what you, and anyone else who wants to “reduce inequality” in such a manner, in fact are.

    Holding some beliefs in common with a particularly ideology without being accurately defined by that ideology, are not mutually exclusive. An examples, it is possible to believe that the climate is warming without being a “warmista,” and it is possible to believe that there are necessarily inaccuracies involved in simulating the climate with computer models without being a “denier.” I see no value in caricatures based on ill-informed notions of what are, and what aren’t, mutually exclusive.

    Or perhaps you just hold an infantile view that conservatives are mere fools worshiping at an alter of some set of individuals, whose opinions in their entirety are gospel truth: thus you hold up the people you think to be worship icons of conservatives and say “would you dare call these people socialist”

    This is, in its entirety, a straw man. I have never said anything resembling “conservatives are mere fools.” I have never said anything about who “conservatives” consider to be “worship icons.”

    You certainly would like to make it seem as though every reasonable person ever has held the same destructive view as yourself.

    Another strawman.

    Anyway, if, on the other hand it is you who blindly worships at the alter of the “Founders”

    This is, yet another, strawman. You are arguing with demon liberals who exist somewhere, but mostly in your brain – you are not engaging in a discussion with me.

    If the men who conceived the document so universally loved the idea.

    Another strawman.

    I think our perspectives are as clearly laid out as they’re going to get. And with that, my friend, I wish you a nice day.

  124. DeWitt Payne said

    Joshua,

    Economic inequality per se, is not the problem. What’s really important is mobility. How easy is it for someone in the lowest quintile of earnings to move into the top two quintiles. Highly progressive income tax rates decrease mobility, in my opinion. Phase outs of deductions can actually make marginal tax rates higher for people with relatively moderate incomes compared to people with the highest incomes.

    Making the tax code more progressive than it is now would not be a good idea in current conditions. Warren Buffet to the contrary, the evidence is that people that make a lot of money not only pay more income tax, but also pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than people with lower income. The evidence from the past is that making the income tax less progressive boosts economic activity and benefits everyone. Every time the capital gains rate is raised above 20%, tax revenue decreases. Every time it’s been dropped below 20%, tax revenue increases.

    As far as whether support for a progressive tax rate makes you a socialist, it depends on your motive. If in your heart you think nobody should make more than $X/year and everything above that should be taxed away, you’re definitely a socialist.

  125. 123-“I’ll try one more time. Holding a belief that there may be some merits in progressive taxation does not make someone a “socialist.” I provided you with quotes of people who were obviously not socialists, to make my point.”

    Sorry, but you cannot change the definition of the term by merely saying there are some people it would have to apply to, who it “obviously” should not. It is not at all “obvious” that the people you quoted were or were not socialists or socialistic with regard to this issue. Holding a belief that the merits of progressive taxation come from “reducing inequality” which, by the way, cannot be read to mean anything other than “redistribute the wealth” does,/i> make one a socialist. Your refusal to accept this point tells me that you are just really resistant to the terminology, but cannot dispute its accuracy.

    “Holding some beliefs in common with a particularly ideology without being accurately defined by that ideology, are not mutually exclusive.” Holding the defining trait of an ideology in common definitely makes one “defined” by that ideology. To use your analogy, it would in fact be rather like resisting those labels if the core of those particular groups was based around an idea that you shared. However, the reason the analogy fails is that socialism is a well defined ideology-despite your attempts to deny that it is-whereas the spectrum of opinions on AGW has few truly well defined “camps” and there are no definitions that can be rigorously applied.

    “I have never said anything resembling “conservatives are mere fools.” I have never said anything about who “conservatives” consider to be “worship icons.” ”

    I would love to hear what else could possibly motivate your extensive use of quotes, other than as thought terminating cliches. Some things can go unsaid and it is still quite evident what is being implied.

    120-“I assume that we all agree – at some level – that a laudable goal is to uplift the standard of living for as many people as possible. It seems to me that ultimately, one important goal of a democracy should be to allow as much input as possible for a citizenry to have a voice in how to raise the collective standard of living.”

    Whether a goal is “laudable” and whether it is proper for such a goal to be pursued by the State are entirely different things. The problem is that no, we don’t agree that the State should work to optimize economic growth or raising the standard of living-that is not the proper purview of the State. The purpose of a Republic (NOT a democracy!) is to have a government that serves the basic function of insuring that the fundamental rights of individuals are protected from violation, whether by other individuals, by external threats, or by the State itself. None of this entails the government trying to optimize increasing the standard of living-which is good because the State can do no such thing.

    You are correct that our different perspectives have been layed out. They are irreconcilable: they are built on fundamentally different premises as to what purpose the government is intended to fill.

  126. kim said

    I’ve pondered the questioned of how ‘socialism’ works so well at the family and tribal level, and so poorly at larger political units, repeatedly, tragically and farcically. I believe that social research shows that Prisoner’s Fallacy reasoning works in groups up to about 200. If so, the paradox is explained.

    Me, I suspect it’s more like 42 or so.
    ===================

  127. Joshua said

    Dewitt –

    Thank you for your post. I like respectful discussions.

    Economic inequality per se, is not the problem. What’s really important is mobility.

    I agree with that, mostly. That is essentially what I was referring to when I was talking about distinguishing a reduction in inequality as a means or as an end. Personally, if the collective standard of living would be lowered by virtue of a focus in reducing inequality, then reducing inequality is not a means to an end that I would support.

    As for mobility – we have seen that economic (or at least class) mobility had reduced significantly in this country – to the point where it is arguably quite a bit lower than in some other countries (some of which would be more likely called “socialist” countries by my friend timetochooseagain. The question that I think is interesting is to examine whether, or at what point, economic inequality becomes an impediment to economic mobility.

    Highly progressive income tax rates decrease mobility, in my opinion.

    Although there is certainly a common sense logic to that opinion, I have seen little data that support it. The data that I’ve seen, at best (in terms of your opinion) show that a progressive income tax is not correlated to economic or class mobility. My guess is that teasing out correlation there, let alone causation, would be pretty difficult there. Certainly, even if you are correct in your opinion, you’d have to consider the degree of taxation and the degree of progressivity in the taxation. I highly, highly doubt that there is some binary relationship between the existence of a progressive tax and a reduction of economic mobility. So then we need to factor in, even if your supposition is accurate, what ancillary benefits there might be to progressive taxation.

    And most important of all – given the general focus of this blog and my statement that began the discussion of progressive taxes – what might or might not be true for progressive income taxes is not necessarily then true for a progressive tax on carbon.

    Phase outs of deductions can actually make marginal tax rates higher for people with relatively moderate incomes compared to people with the highest incomes.

    Sure – but taxing capital gains at a different rate from income taxes tends to have the opposite effect – and the studies that I’ve seen show no correlation between levels of capital gains taxes and metrics such as GDP growth.

    Making the tax code more progressive than it is now would not be a good idea in current conditions. Warren Buffet to the contrary, the evidence is that people that make a lot of money not only pay more income tax, but also pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than people with lower income.

    That is a very broad statement – and as such it is a little difficult to respond, but we have seen in recent decades that the incomes of those at very high levels of income have grown at a rate that is very disproportionate to the incomes of everyone else – even as the economy has suffered. On the other hand, we have seen those at very high levels of income do extremely well, even though their income growth was not so disproportionate to the income growth of everyone else, even as the economy had grown quite nicely. The existence, or lack thereof, of a progressive tax on income is probably not the deciding factor there either way.

    The evidence from the past is that making the income tax less progressive boosts economic activity and benefits everyone.

    Can you please give a link?

    Every time the capital gains rate is raised above 20%, tax revenue decreases. Every time it’s been dropped below 20%, tax revenue increases.

    Can you give a link? I will offer you this one. http://usbudget.blogspot.com/2010/11/do-capital-gains-tax-cuts-increase.html

    As far as whether support for a progressive tax rate makes you a socialist, it depends on your motive. If in your heart you think nobody should make more than $X/year and everything above that should be taxed away, you’re definitely a socialist.

    I don’t feel that way in my heart (although I do have an negative reaction when I see extreme levels of economic inequality). So does that mean that I’m not a socialist?

  128. Joshua stated: “”I highly, highly doubt that there is some binary relationship between the existence of a progressive tax and a reduction of economic mobility. So then we need to factor in, even if your supposition is accurate, what ancillary benefits there might be to progressive taxation.””

    I have read there is a limit to total taxation, hidden, misnamed, or otherwise that does effect economics and perhaps mobility in the aggregate, about 44%. I do like the implied question as to how we would measure ancillary benefits of a progressive tax. I would like to compare that to the ancillary benefits of a flat tax. So, I would ask those who wish to participate to take one or the other and discuss what advantages, or benefits and how it is or should be measured.

    From a personal note, I know more of progressive tax, and think its benefits are real. This is an opinion. I support it more as a fact than a desire of what should be. I also think that the place to start is with a flat tax and compare it to a progressive tax for making understandable and comparable comparisons.

    Perhaps Joshua there is something else you would care to discuss, if so. plesae proceed.

  129. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    “When I see people falling into that trap ”

    How would you know when people are falling into the trap if you don’t understand the dimensions of the trap itself? You judge everyone unqualified in the statements above, yet since you admittedly don’t have the technical background to understand the discussion, how can you make the universal determination of others qualifications?

    Let me help — you can’t.

    You have to grok the technical issues to discuss the problem intelligently.

    For instance, I used to ‘like’ solar power. It sounded like a great idea and we know it works in all of its various forms. Then I did some calculations and found that I was completely wrong about its current potential. Solar is a horribly expensive bad solution to any perceived problem. I only understood after the calculations. Same thing for algae biofuel. I did the calculations and found out that my previous uninformed hopes were dashed by very basic numbers. Biofuel stinks in ALL forms. If you can make money at it, I’m enough of a capitalist to let you but it is bad for the environment and it is a terrible way to power anything because of the basic photosynthetic efficiency.

    It doesn’t matter what we feel Joshua, it matters what the numbers say and just because you haven’t done them, shouldn’t make you think that others haven’t.

    One of the great lessons of being an engineer is that the numbers don’t care what you think. It’s quite a cold feeling when your firm beliefs are overturned by the numbers in front of you.

  130. Joshua said

    Jeff –

    You judge everyone unqualified in the statements above…

    What I said is that IMO, no one is “fully qualified to judge the main issue.” If you consider yourself so qualified, more power to you – but I will remain “skeptical” about that.

    You will also note that very qualified people hold a range of views on this subject: Notably, Pielke’s Sr. and Jr. So I’m left with trying to understand the reasoning of various people who are qualified, as best I can, and to assess the quality of reasoning as best I can.

    Given the numerous examples of facile reasoning that you have displayed on this thread – I see reason to question, even if you were “fully qualified,” as you seem to think yourself to be, whether or not you sufficiently control for the influence of your own biases in your reasoning. I make no automatic assumptions in that regard, but I’m similarly not inclined to accept your analysis simply because you say that you ran the numbers.

    I don’t doubt that you are knowledgeable about the subject, and I don’t doubt that you are, at times, able to control for biases that influence your reasoning; however, I will remain skeptical about whether you are “fully qualified,” and I will continue to point out where, IMO, your reasoning is affected by biases.

    It doesn’t matter what we feel Joshua, it matters what the numbers say and just because you haven’t done them, shouldn’t make you think that others haven’t.

    Again, facile reasoning.

    I don’t make assumptions about who has or hasn’t run the numbers – and I certainly don’t think that way “because” I haven’t run them.

    I read what different people say about the numbers. Almost invariably, I can predict their analysis of the numbers based on their political or other ideological predilections. What I find interesting about Pielke Sr. and Jr., is that their analysis of the numbers runs counter to how one my predict based on other opinions they express which seem aligned along partisan boundaries.

  131. Joshua said

    John –

    Thanks for the post.

    Headed out to the gym, probably won’t get back to this tonight. If I get a chance, I’ll respond to you tomorrow.

  132. Joshua said

    DeWitt —

    Just caught an editing error. I think you may have gotten my meaning anyway, but case not…:

    “I agree with that, mostly. That is essentially what I was referring to when I was talking about distinguishing a reduction in inequality as a means or as an end. Personally, if the collective standard of living would be NOT lowered by virtue of a focus in reducing inequality, then reducing inequality is not a means to an end that I would support.

  133. Historically, flat tax was common, such as tithing. However wages were often set from the top down and not from the bottom up. There are some interesting facts and factoids about such things as a royal patents or charters. The accounting and accountability were also on level with the progress that had been made. One test for determining a measurement of ancillary benefits would be to show the increase of benefits from the “primitive” flat tax case, or conversely show that the ancillary benefits remain essentially the same, but that government gets more. In other words make the case of benefits, or make the case of equal worth, but because the taxes are more, we pay more for the same.

    One way of discussing this is to consider Joshua’s quote ““The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” Is this quote an actual measurable quantity, or a moral statement justifying an increase in revenue? If the rich buy more and pay more tax, and in that they buy not of need but for other reasons, even if pleasure, do they not, not only pay more tax, but in that they cause employment not in needs, but enable us to progress to wants and desires, are an ancillary benefit that is lessened with a progressive tax?

  134. Jeff Id said

    “If you consider yourself so qualified, more power to you – but I will remain “skeptical” about that.”

    Try to listen, I don’t care who is your authority, it ain’t me but I’m not going to listen to Trenberth, Mann, McIntyre or Steig without understanding either because authority based understanding is worthless. The point of science is that you think for yourself AND you accept what you find. When you say, ‘I don’t understand but…’ —- you have lost my interest completely.

    If you intend to opine, grow roots.

  135. Joshua said

    John –

    I would like to compare that to the ancillary benefits of a flat tax

    […]

    I also think that the place to start is with a flat tax and compare it to a progressive tax for making understandable and comparable comparisons.

    Perhaps Joshua there is something else you would care to discuss, if so. plesae proceed.

    I would like to proceed with that discussion, but I don’t have much knowledge on that subject and haven’t come across much analysis – any that you could supply would be appreciated.

    I can certainly understand the logic of possible merits behind a flat tax at a number of levels – primarily among them the simplicity and issues of fairness. On the other hand, I wonder about the logistical complications and economic implications of getting from here to there (which I suppose could be mitigated by a gradual phase-in), and about the relative impact of a flat tax on those whose “disposable income” (an inherently subjective term?) is relatively small – and how that would affect consumer spending which is, IMO, a major driving factor in the current recession (one of the major factors in explaining, IMO, why corporations are sitting on historically high levels of cash on hand) and also issues related to federal debt

    With reference to the aspect of the relationship between income inequality and debt (and federal revenue) that I raised above, I found this analysis interesting:

    …over the years, Social Security was structured so that the payroll taxes that fund it (13.4 percent of wages, half from the employee and half from the employer up to about $107,000 in salary, a figure that rises a bit each year) would be applied to 90 percent of total U.S. compensation. The actuaries calculated that hitting that 90 percent should keep the trust fund in pretty good shape.

    Today, though, Social Security payroll taxes are collected on only about 82 to 84 percent of total compensation. The difference is immense. And why does the difference exist? Rampant inequality, and compensation arrangements at the top that give executives their pay in the form of capital gains and stock options and other income forms to which payroll taxes don’t apply. And, if middle-class incomes had grown respectably since they instead stagnated in the 1970s, we’d have millions more Americans making $60,000 instead $50,000 and $100,000 instead of $80,000, and the Social Security trust fund would have that much more money.

    As to this comment of yours:

    Is this quote an actual measurable quantity, or a moral statement justifying an increase in revenue? If the rich buy more and pay more tax, and in that they buy not of need but for other reasons, even if pleasure, do they not, not only pay more tax, but in that they cause employment not in needs, but enable us to progress to wants and desires, are an ancillary benefit that is lessened with a progressive tax?

    Good questions – and also, I think, worthy of discussion. On a somewhat tangential (in that it is related to corporate taxes) but I think related note, here’s an interview I found interesting that discusses what has happened in recent history WRT ancillary benefits and the impact on our economy of tax holidays for corporate repatriation of taxes – I will highlight this quote but there are some very interesting data more comprehensively discussed in the interview.

    “In 2004, Congress passed the American Jobs Creation Act, which permitted [corporations] to bring back profits from offshore one time at a reduced rate — paying 5.25 percent instead of 35 percent. And companies brought back about $312 billion that qualified for the break, and there’s a fair amount of literature that shows very little job creation went on as a result of that. And most of that money was used to buy back stock”

  136. kim said

    I would opine, but I’m not up on strip bark controversy.
    ===========

  137. conard said

    Kim needles and Jeff bristles while Joshua reaches for the sky.

  138. Neil said

    The problem or beauty of economics is that it is dressed up like a science, using formulas and matrix algebra etc, but it is a social science. It has many characteristics that make forming a concrete opinion on what works or does not difficult. Hence a discussion on flat versus progressive taxation is very good to have but you can usually find an exception to break the rule.

    There are plenty of examples that show that if you set tax rates too high you affect the incentives of the economic participants. Humans being the resourceful creatures we are will then modify their behaviour etc based on the incentives they face to the point where the marginal benefits equal the marginal costs (including transaction costs etc).

    One of the reasons the rich get richer is that the marginal benefit of structuring their investments etc more than compensate them for the costs, plus they generally have a great range of opportunities and probably drive! For me unfortunately the costs of a skilled international tax lawyer/account exceeds my capital to invest. Many less well capitalised people don’t even know how to invest, let alone worrying about optimising their investment.

    However I stray from the topic at hand. Firstly, fairness has no place, it is a qualitative concept which some but not all of us can agree on. Equity is different, but we have both horizontal and vertical equity to consider. But we also first need to decide why would we tax? There are whole text books on public economics, as there are on tax etc. We also know that as humans we respond to incentives. So somewhere between no tax and no public provision of services etc and 100% tax and full provision by the State of all services and goods is the correct answer.

    We are lucky that some “experiments” have been performed for us, East and West Germany, North and South Korea. Plus we know that as a general rule communism does not work.
    However, once we fall towards right and left wing in a western democracy it become blurry and as I said an exception can then be found to break every rule.

  139. Neil said

    I also remembered this blog/article. thought it might be of interest – The inequity of progressive taxation http://kiphagopian.com/

    Plus a thought piece/debate starter from New Zealand – The Big Kahuna Tax Idea – http://www.gmi.co.nz/bigkahuna/

    Not sure how to do web links sorry.

  140. I agree with your quote,

    “In 2004, Congress passed the American Jobs Creation Act, which permitted [corporations] to bring back profits from offshore one time at a reduced rate — paying 5.25 percent instead of 35 percent. And companies brought back about $312 billion that qualified for the break, and there’s a fair amount of literature that shows very little job creation went on as a result of that. And most of that money was used to buy back stock”

    perhaps I saw the same analysis.

    The analysis I saw was showcasing that it was not capital incentives that were needed for the 2001 recession, since there was more capacity than demand. The case was made that the tax breaks of the first attempt failed due to a political belief about economics rather than an economical evaluation of the problem and possible solutions. Your quote agrees with the contentions of the article. This is a bill that also does not address what was happening in the economies of the world at that time, but rather on the political belief world.

    I also agree that the SS issue is related as you state, in the aggregate. I have read in different articles, and expressed differently since Jimmy Carter’s time of the fall of the middle class and its impact on the funding of SS.

    I would say on the bulk, we see much the same. That is why I think the measurements we take or the problesm we asume to exist make the difference that Neil has in #138. I think it is more a matter of misunderstanding the assumptions rather than that the general or even micro economic studies are inherrently wrong. That is whay I wanted to discuss what measurement of a benefit consists of, and how should it be applied.

  141. DeWitt Payne said

    As far as the applicability of SS tax on total compensation: Show me that a significant fraction of highly compensated people exists who receive less than the SS cap in taxable salary. I suspect you can count them on the fingers of one hand. I don’t think the actuaries considered that a large number of people would receive compensation on the order of an order of magnitude greater than the cap. That’s going to lower the percentage of income subject to SS taxes but make absolutely no difference in SS revenues.

    The SS trust fund is an accounting fiction. If salaries had gone up faster it would have only delayed the inevitable by a very few years. The problem isn’t wages and salary it’s demographics and politics. The automatic cost of living adjustment was a colossal error.

  142. kuhnkat said

    Joshua #110 and later:

    You have shown no evidence of the founders favoring a PROGRESSIVE taxation. They apparently did favor luxury taxes and especiallly import duties to be able to “spread the wealth” somewhat. They obviously did not have any intention of reducing that wealth as you do not want to damage the economy or run off the Goose laying the Golden eggs.

    Please try again.

  143. kuhnkat said

    Joshua,

    in case you consider responding to me I would suggest you also review why the founders never implemented an income tax and why it wasn’t until an amendment was passed that it was. You must overcome their arguments that it was too difficult to implement a fair and equitable tax. In our modern society so many have forgotten that originally the federal government was required to treat everyone equally. Just because one person was rich and another was poor was no reason to give favors one way or the other. Your arguments must address this issue also. They understood the slippery slope scenario where once a rule was nibbled at it was inevitable that it would be corrupted and eventually tossed. Our many decisions in the Civil Rights arena are excellent examples of how this early adherence to equal rights has been turned on its head by the courts to the point where it is accepted that people will be treated by the Federal Government and under the law differently. We can also look at the many subsidy programs that have ended up as welfare to the rich. You speak of ideals. I speak about the human reality that the founders understood.

  144. curious said

    For Jeff :-)

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100105725/rogue-trader-in-38-6-billion-green-jobs-fraud/

  145. curious said

    PS – in case this hadn’t crossed your US radar:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financial-crime/8770947/Rogue-trader-losses-engulf-UBS.html

  146. Neil said

    #144, I like that analogy. While I would not normally start from the perspective that taxation is theft, through State exercised force, in cases such as these, where perhaps good intentions trumped good thought, people really need to be reminded that the money a government redistributes or spends for any purposes is not their own money. They have exerted a property right that they gave themselves to obtain another persons property. Failure to use that capital in a responsible way should be punished. However, we have double standards, bankers losing money – bad go to jail (sometimes), politicians wasting money – borrow a bit more, sit in opposition until I get my next chance to waste money.

  147. curious said

    146 – Thanks Neil. IMO the level of efficiency displayed in Gov. directed use of resource would not be sustainable in the private sector. FWIW IMO the argument about taxation and income and the balance between them is a bit of a red herring. The problem I see is that we have consumption based economies that are near maxxed out in the developed world. There is only so much stuff one needs and after that it is a case of “what becomes the vehicle in society for carrying the added value?” The countries which are not maxxed out re:need will be where the growth is and I can’t see how fiddling around with tax bands etc will change that. Which I guess paradoxically implies that Gov. sponsoring unproductive enterprise in the developed world might not be a bad thing…. No doubt an eceonomic theorist can set me straight…. :-)

  148. kim said

    kim’s always got a dilemma; guess or look it up. It’s where Prisoner’s Dilemma reasoning becomes fallacious that the dirty work is done. How? Let me ask someone I trust.
    =============

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