Divorced from Reality

The  extreme reaction to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords brought  home just how divorced from reality elites in our country (and indeed worldwide) have become.  This was a strange agreement where 197 nations have signified their good intentions. Some state what they might do about global warming sometime in the future while others signed up for some handouts from a “Green Climate Fund”. It contains no enforcement mechanisms and apparently everyone can change anything they stated originally. Even in the  happy but unlikely circumstance  everyone does exactly what they promised, it would have little measurable effect on future climate. No solutions or even cost benefit analysis were offered.. Just a bunch elites gathering in Paris to make themselves feel good about themselves. Like Christians taking communion, the feel they have kept the faith through symbolism. They’re good Christians and if you didn’t well, see you in  hell.  Never mind you really haven’t done any actual good. The symbolism is everything. In fact, what are we actually withdrawing from? It’s not a verifiable treaty. If it was it should’ve been submitted for Senate approval. It was this pile of feel good holy grails that would have been resoundingly rejected by that august body. Even the far more serious League of Nations Treaty President Wilson signed failed to be ratified. (It didn’t stop World War II either but we digress).  Wilson and Obama could sign anything, but to obligate the nation they needed to convince the Senate and by extension the nation of the worth of their endeavors. Wilson had enough faith to bring the League to the Senate and the country. Obama knew these Paris Accords were so flawed he didn’t even try. Yet elites from both our major parties are rending their garments and crying the world is coming to an end. Why? The Paris Accords only symbolically recognized a problem, while doing little nothing to solve it. It just muddied the waters.

We need to realize we have real problem when we don’t do the real work to solve problems, We make only gestures. We have endeavored to point this out in health care. Instead of finding a reasonable way to give all our people real healthcare, both major parties offer up jumbled messes  leaving millions without coverage. More pre-existing conditions created through employment change to be dumped on someone. But just as with “climate change” both sides are ready to go to the barricades over these non-solutions. No wonder people question our leaders. They seem incapable of determining and tackling realities. Fighting over at best half measures inspires confidence in no one.

Worse than the non solutions discussed above, leaders in both parties have chosen to declare entitlements “those that shall not be mentioned.” Even though Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid are marching  inexorably towards disaster, neither party will even discuss reform. It wasn’t always this way. In 2010 the  National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Known as Simpson-Bowles) was created by President Obama to propose solutions. Even though a majority of the members backed the commission’s proposals President Obama failed to back the commission or build on its solutions. Republican leader Paul Ryan opposed it for not going far enough but was open to build on it and indeed moved in that direction. For his troubles he was portrayed in commercials pushing granny off a cliff.  No leader has come forward since. In fact President Trump made it a major campaign point of not touching entitlements. Our leaders used to be made on sterner stuff.  For instance, Reagan pushed his economic, immigration and cold war policies with all of his prestige on the line.  Clinton lead us toward welfare reform, trade and a balanced budget in the face of fierce opposition. They were joined by opposition leaders who realized something actually needed to be done. Giants or not, they were in the tradition of our founding fathers. In the face of a hyper partisan press, extreme sectional differences (agrarian slave-owning south to a mercantile north with plenty of variants in between) and nothing to work with but their experience with English customs and law.  Yet they brought forth one of the most enduring documents of all ages, our constitution. Can you imagine sending our leading politicians to Philadelphia to solve the lesser problems of today and achieving any success?

Therein is the quandary of those of us who seek to solve problems without partisanship. If you’re not in either the Republican or Democratic tribe you have no way forward.  Your ideas are suspect because who haven’t sworn loyalty to the tribe even though they seem to have no idea what they realty believe in. You say this isn’t true? Sean Hannity or Rachael Maddow and their like have no workable solutions to the problems mentioned here but will still attack you as a non believer.

Those denouncing Trump for dooming the world have only themselves to blame. By predicting “Armageddon” is right around the corner they have lost credibility.  Al Gore in 2006 declared in his book  “An Inconvenient Truth” that unless we took drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gasses, the world would reach a point of no return in a mere ten years. Well 2016 came and went and we’re still standing.  So who do they put out on the Sunday shows to make their case against Trump but the same Al Gore. No wonder President Obama never presented these accords to the Senate. If Trump had been smart he would’ve taken the Wall Street Journal’s advice and sent them as a treaty to the Senate himself. The resounding defeat would’ve  put the debate where it should be.

A great part of the country believe the true believers just aren’t to be trusted  Still they keep sending out people to make silly arguments, such as “more people are employed in wind and solar than by the coal industry.”  In 2016 we received  15% of our energy from coal vs. 10% from all renewables.  However, Wind and Solar made up less than a third of the renewable total or 3% of total energy. This only highlights how highly inefficient they actually are. Taxpayers aren’t dumb, they know they subsidize these ineffective energy sources. Further, the cost of a rapid switch to these sources would fall heavily on the poor and worldwide it would probably keep over a billion people in poverty. So much for the moral and ethical high ground. No wonder true believers fail to garner the broad support needed for their program. They point to surveys showing a majority of Americans believe in global warming. Well, the earth is either  warming or cooling. It isn’t a reach to conclude we’re in a warming period. The real questions are what are the ramifications on balance and can we do anything counter dangerous ones at a price that doesn’t have a severe negative impact for millions of lives? Bringing it closer to home, am I going to pay the big price so elites can continue there nice even temperatures? But the elites say, Europeans will be upset we’re moving away from them. We need to more like them. Sure, paying more than twice as much for electricity and gas has enormous appeal to the average American.

Rather than appearing to side with those who think global warming is a hoax, President Trump would be better served to seek the advice on personnel and actions from those who recognize problems but seek to properly measure them and then propose cost-effective solutions.  On climate, we suggest people such as Bjorn Lunborg the President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and/or Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger the authors of “Lukewarming”. The true believers deride such people as “Skeptics” but it’s exactly that perception that makes them so valuable. Those skeptical of the Al Gore type cries of wolf and are perceived to use a realistic approach to the problems and possible solutions are just more likely now to be believed. Better measurements and ideas from diverse funding would make whatever is found better accepted. Like us, they are more interested in solutions than loyalty to tribal or near religious groupings. Ultimately this is the direction we have to go if we are to succeed in overcoming all our  major problems..  President Trump could enjoy Reagan or Clinton like success if he followed this route, but as we are well aware he is a master of  making even the right decision the wrong way.

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