Not-a-Lemming

Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

The Gun Pointed at the Head of the Economy

I loved HALO. The original game. Even with XBox Live, neither HALO 2 nor HALO 3 captured the essence of the original game feel.

Not only was it a great game, but it had a great soundtrack. I still listen to the album when driving from time to time. One of the best songs on the HALO soundtrack is The Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe. And it played during one of the best levels - when Master Chief was tasked with destroying the generators to keep HALO from firing and destroying the known universe.

Just when we thought the economy was about to bottom out there is a new threat to the economy. Indeed, a gun pointed at its very head. For even as President Obama is striving to revive our faltering economic engine, his other hand may well be seeking to destroy it.

The EPA is considering listing six 'heat-trapping' gases as health hazards. If they do that, they will have the legal authority to regulate those gases. An article on CNN summarizes today's events but the details can no doubt be found elsewhere. These gasses are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. Now I'm not going to delve into the details of what constitutes a 'health hazard' as defined by the EPA. It really doesn't really matter because the reason they are doing this is perfectly clear. Once it is a health hazard they will then be able to regulate it as they see fit.

Before I get into the implications of what that means, lets look at the gas they're most interested in regulating, carbon dioxide. They want to say it is a health hazard. So does this mean I won't be able to drink it anymore? After all, there is significant CO2 dissolved in every Coke I drink. It comes out of solution in my stomach and when I burp it up it makes my nose sting. If this is a health hazard Coke drinkers should be dropping like flies. (BTW, CO2 is inert, which means it doesn't readily react with anything.) Will they prevent dentists from using nitrous oxides to calm patients or, God forbid, fill cans of Redi-Whip? Please say it isn't so! And to regulate methane I suppose they'll have to start ticketing cows, which means somebody will have to monitor the cows with some kind of sniffer. Ah, no thanks on that job.

But what am I talking about? These gases aren't dangerous in levels they are found in nature. It makes as much sense to regulate water since, if improperly used, water can result in drowning and death. It must be a health hazard. Thousands die every year worldwide in floods. And air - it kills people in the form of tornadoes. I suppose we should regulate that.There are people out there convinced the sky is falling and they will do anything to save us. They are 100% convinced that rising carbon dioxide levels are going to kill us, every one. And soon. Whether they are right or wrong can't even be proven. Climate simulations are less reliable than the weather forecast, and from personal experience that puts them somewhere between 0% and 25%. Are we really going to turn this power over to someone with 12.5% accuracy at best? We did it with the mortgage industry and look where that got us. We go with this one it is going to make the current recession look like a Golden Age.

Lets have some fun and play Einstein. He used to run what he called a Gedankenversuch, or, thought experiment. He used them for testing things that can't be tested, like astronauts moving at the speed of light. Suppose the EPA decides to save us from ourselves and places some kind of cap on carbon emissions. How they would even do that is so full of technical problems as to make the entire law meaningless, but that never stopped the government. But I digress. If they do that then car sales will go from a 25% drop to more like a 50% drop. Perhaps more. Manufacturing is already on the skids. This would cut it in half again. Talk about the first time jobless claims the month after that nuke goes off. And anyone who thinks Obama's high speed rail system is going to replace those jobs probably works with that heavy, man-chick at the EPA.

This is a gun pointed at the head of our economy. Maybe we do need to cap CO2. I'm not the person to ask that question. I've only spent my adult life running high fidelity, multiple-degree-of-freedom, digital simulations of physical systems and hold a masters degree in atmospheric science. Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA does have a masters degree in Chemical Engineering but after graduation she went directly to work for the EPA and has been there ever since. Something tells me her analysis of the situation might suffer from biases picked up during her government years. And you know the problem with biases? You don't know you have them.

CO2, a health hazard? Is that because it is dangerous to the health of humans? Or is it because they fear it will cause the extinction of humanity from interpretation of their climatological simulations? Do we really want to trust our teetering economy to those odds? Master Chief... where are you when we need you?

Futbol Guru, http://mises.org/community/blogs/not-a-lemming