During his 2008 campaign, President Obama made his support of climate-change interventions clear, stating that his presidency would slow the rise of the oceans and begin to heal the planet. He promised that a cap-and-trade system would curb global warming.
He was elected, but the electorate hasn’t liked many of his policies. Cap and trade never passed Congress. To this day, President Obama has remained comparatively popular, but people believe he is taking the country in the wrong direction—toward a European system. Even his Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, believes our gasoline prices should be higher, like Europe’s.
Two weeks ago, my column addressed China’s act (ring #1) in the climate-change circus. Last week, I looked at Europe’s staunch support for climate-change intervention when the majority of the industrialized countries have rejected or resisted a Kyoto-style deal (ring #2). Using Italy as an example, I suggested that the country’s lack of natural resources made expensive renewable energy a viable option for them—though an economic tightrope destined to failure.
While Italy is in the news for its brutal economic woes, it shares several components with the US.
Italy has a declining private sector with growth in government, disappearing industrial production being filled in with goods from China, and high gas prices/imported oil. Italians are still consuming, but now their euros are going to other countries—most notably China and the OPEC countries, resulting in exploding trade deficits. (Sound familiar?)
Climate-change mitigation adds to the problem as it artificially inflates energy prices through the troubled Ponzi-like cap-and-trade scheme and creates more government jobs, regulation, fees, and hidden taxes. With the increasing production costs, industry declines and unemployment rises. Over time, some of those put out of work in industry may get absorbed by government—which keeps the unemployment numbers from looking as grim as they might without the government jobs. Government jobs do not create wealth, as mining and farming do, but like a funhouse mirror, they distort the true picture.
All of the above sounds eerily similar to the US—except we did not sign on to the Kyoto protocol, nor did we pass cap-and-trade legislation. However, President Obama has not given up on his plans to “curb global warming.” Instead of cap and trade, we have the EPA directed by President Obama’s appointee, Administrator Lisa Jackson—who, by her own admission, aims to level the playing field. The EPA is doing everything it can to raise the cost of energy, which, if left unabated, will continue the demise of American industry and the growth of the government sector—resulting in exploding trade deficits. (Sound familiar?)
While Italy’s situation and the US have several similarities that are worth noting, there are also some crowd-pleasing differences.
As noted, Italy lacks quantities of large natural resources—America has them in abundance. We often lack the access to our own resources.
Italy is a part of Europe’s cap-and-trade scheme intended to curb manmade global warming. We have Lisa Jackson’s EPA—but Congressional action (encouraged by America’s citizens) can thwart her, and the 2012 election can replace her.
Italy’s economy is collapsing, leaving the stronger countries—mainly England and Germany—to bail it out. The US isn’t quite there yet.
With the economic damage that climate-change interventions deliver, why is the administration still using them as an excuse to implement regulations that will make electricity more expensive for industry and consumers? Maybe, it is because they are, as Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper described Kyoto: “a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.” More and more, it seems that it never was about saving the planet.
If, in fact, reaching a binding global emissions-reduction agreement is really about global government—with the Green Climate Fund sucking money from the “wealthy” countries and redistributing it to the poor countries, Europe gives us a prime example of why the US should follow Canada’s lead and shun the “at-any-cost” green agenda that stunts economic growth and job creation.
Back to Italy. In EU terms, Italy is one of the “poor” countries—along with the other Club Med countries: Greece, Spain and Portugal. In the mini-global government known as the EU, the “wealthy” countries no longer want to carry the “poor” ones.
Germany and Italy are both EU members and in good times, Italy’s growing government sector could mask the harsh economic realities. By comparison to Italy, Germany has abundant energy supplies from nuclear and coal-fueled power, a strong industrial sector, and a good work ethic. Germany “has”; Italy “has not.” In EU terms, Germany is expected to carry Italy—but they don’t want to.
The US “has” abundant energy supplies; the EU “has not.” The EU has to depend on schemes like carbon trading, about which Rob Elsworth of the climate-campaign group Sandbag in London said: “is a pretty important revenue stream for most member states.” He asks, “If you take away this green-economy narrative, what's really left of Europe?”
The EU’s economic crisis provides the US with living proof that we do not want to play in the global-government game where the “haves” are expected to carry the “have nots.” We have the resources; we still have industry; and we still have a good work ethic. Will we use them to save America and the free market system that has allowed us to grow to strength, or will we be drawn into the green big top?