Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Really Can't Make This Stuff Up!

I have been following Prof DeLong at Berkeley for a while. It is always good to see what the other side says, just listening to your friends creates a closed atmosphere. That is why I listen to Pacifica Radio as well. Pacifica also can be received as far as New Haven on nights returning from MIT so I have the habit of turning to it when I get to the Parkway south.

Now DeLong has published a treatise on Global Warming and I thought I would recount some of his suggestions. Here is what he says:

So what do we do now? I think we should do four things:

• Pour money like water into research into closed-carbon and non-carbon energy technologies in order to maximize the chance that we will get lucky—on energy technologies at least, if not on climate sensitivity.

• Beg the rulers of China and India to properly understand their long-term interests

• Nationalize the energy industry in the United States.

• Restrict future climate negotiations to a group of seven—the U.S., the E.U., Japan, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil—and enforce their agreement by substantial and painful trade sanctions on countries that do not accept their place in the resulting negotiated system.

Well the nationalizing of all power companies is a bit much, it is akin to Venezuela, Cuba, and the like. Now he teaches at Berkeley and frankly I have no idea who he is. Yet this type of ranting, in my opinion, is so far to the left that it loses any credibility.

He continues:

Nationalize the Energy Industry. In the 1960s it became very clear that the price of oil in the United States needed to be higher: Because of powerful congestion and pollution externalities, we were overinvesting in the automobile civilization. A larger tax on oil would nudge the economycloser to the social optimum. In the 1970s it became very clear that the price of oil in the United States needed to be even higher: Because of instability in the Middle East, unacceptable geopolitical risks were being generated by our dependence on the Middle East as a source of energy. A larger tax on oil would nudge the economy into a configuration in which this geopolitical danger would be lessened. And at the start of the 1990s it became very clear that the price of carbon energy needed to be higher: global warming.

Yet it never happened. It never happened because of what Lloyd Bentsen’s aides used to call the “ullengaz” industry—“oil and gas.” Powerful enough to block desirable public policy regulation and adjustment for nearly fifty years now. In general I am opposed to state-run nationalized industries: that is definitely the private sector’s place, not the government. But the interaction of rent-seeking politics with the flaws of America’s political system have made me willing to make an exception in the case of America’s oil industry: the increased allocative inefficiency that will flow from government ownership and management is, in my judgement, likely to be much less than the increased political efficiency that will flow from no longer having the energy industry able to purchase enough Representatives and Senators to block needed policy moves that it fearswill be adverse to its interests. So nationalize—not to expropriate or to penalize the shareholders, but to get this particular selfish and destructive political voice out of American governance.

This is the voice of the left and perhaps this is the rant that creates the countervailing forces of the Tea Party. The left complains about the Tea Party but no one complains about this. This is in effect in my opinion an appropriation by fiat of private property. Locke would roll over in his grave.

DeLong also has some undecipherable rant it seems about the Pope and the NY Times. And I thought I was idiosyncratic. At least I have some basis in historical fact upon which to argue. Perhaps I should remove him from my list, yet perhaps it is good to watch this process, for it portends what truly may happen to this Country if it falls into the hands of people like this, if I read this all correctly.