Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Heritage of hooey

Yesterday I happened across a Heritage Foundation post "Carbon Tax a Recipe for Economic Disaster," and was struck by its lameness, its pile of assertions without analysis. I clicked through the links and found some other Heritage pieces that too had little analysis and less that was persuasive or even relevant. "A Carbon Tax Would Harm U.S. Competitiveness and Low-Income Americans Without Helping the Environment" is the most substantive piece there but still is very lacking: it can't be bothered to assess such possibilities as that a carbon tax would be coupled with cuts in other taxes; it relies on boilerplate denialism such as "the field of climate science is far from settled"; it presents a graph showing the effects of a defunct cap-and-trade bill as a stand-in for analysis of a carbon tax, and while noting that U.S. action would be ineffective in restraining climate change without international action, makes a hand-waving assumption that there's no possibility of such action even if the U.S. puts an import fee on goods from countries without a carbon tax. How do you know that, Heritage?

Anyway, reading that stuff put me into somber reflection on the sorry state of much think tank "analysis." Today I see Heritage is getting a new president, as Sen. DeMint makes an early departure from the Senate. Sadly, it does not look like this change will spur any rethinking--or first thinking--on climate and carbon; but maybe some future Heritage papers will press the "it's snowing" line of obscurantism.

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