"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"
click pic to reminisce

raising taxes during a depression  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

(for baseball giants tickets, just scroll down one post please)

in 1930, as the great depression was shifting from pretty bad to truly horrendous, the president and congress came up with an idea. they thought not only that it was a good idea, but that it was essential to the recovery of the nation, perhaps vital to the very survival of the nation.

the idea was the smoot-hawley tariff. to protect americans and restore prosperity. as it turned out, while economists and historians disagree on some of the basic cause and effect of various acts and events of the depression, there is consensus that the tariff was a tremendously damaging decision, that played a primary role in the worst, longest economic catastrophe in american history.

it just dawned on me this current scheme to tax carbon dioxide emissions will be the smoot-hawley of our great depression. a tax that will be the coup-de-grace for the already crippled commerce and industry of our nation. seems like a good idea, even an essential idea for survival today. but only a short distance down the path of history will reveal this to be a mad, self-destructive choice, just as obvious in retrospect.

they will look back, shake their heads, and wonder, 'what the hell were they thinking?'

[currently i am agnostic on the global warming issue. i just don't know, because i am skeptical of all sides, and i have not taken the time to dive into the data to make up my own mind. agnostic on whether the warming trend documented is part of normal cyclical changes or is a drastic aberration, on the geologic scale of time, as opposed to the human scale. and agnostic on whether if we are experiencing a non-cyclical spike, if human activity is the source, or a significant source. finally, agnostic on whether fossil fuel consumption is the one human activity that is determinant.

anyway, just disclosing my ignorance. but lets assume all the global warming arguments, that if we don't change our ways quickly, horrible things will happen. i am not arguing global warming in this post; i will concede all those issues to make my point on this particular policy.

this tax scheme is a terrible mechanism by which to change global energy consumption behaviors. will not work; will have huge negative unforeseen consequences. just like smoot-hawley.]


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