Inequality in America Part I – Wealth and Inequality

Is inequality of wealth beneficial or detrimental to society?

By: George Noga – May 1, 2016

    A persistent meme in America during this political season is inequality. We hear it from presidential candidates and Occupy Wall Street; it has been a liberal shibboleth for well over a decade. But what is inequality; is it good or bad; how is it measured; how much is too much; how much is too little; what is the reality versus the rhetoric?

    How much inequality exists in wealth, income, taxation and spending; is it increasing or decreasing? Does increasing the minimum wage alleviate inequality? Which government policies create or exacerbate inequality? How does inequality in America compare to Europe? What, if anything, should we do to increase or reduce inequality? We analyze these questions and more with facts and logic in this five-part series.

    Let’s begin with wealth. Socialists and Utopians want no inequality whatsoever but that has proven disastrous throughout human history. Nor is the paradigm of a few oligarchs or caudillos with great wealth amidst grinding poverty for the masses a desired model. In the real world, there is no Goldilocks point where inequality is just right. So, what, if anything, can we discern about inequality of wealth in America?

    An economic analysis of wealth in a market economy provides some lessons. It is a cardinal economic principle, and one recognized even in the former USSR, that the amount of newly created wealth is a good measure of how well an economy (or society) is serving the needs of all its people. In a capitalist economy, wealth is created by providing a product or service consumers voluntarily buy. Thus, a society minting many new millionaires is a boon to everyone – rich and poor alike – as it proves that the economy is innovating, becoming more efficient and serving people’s needs.

    Dynastic wealth often is viewed differently. Many who accept the nouveau riche rail against old money that was inherited rather than earned. Consider though, that one motivation of the person who created the wealth was to provide for his family and progeny, a universal human sentiment. If wealth was confiscated after the death of the creator, this surely would diminish the incentive to create the wealth in the first place.

    History informs that most dynastic wealth is dissipated within three generations by spreading it over more heirs and by poor stewardship. Furthermore, federal and state estate taxes take a 40% to 50% bite each generation. An additional large tranche of generational wealth is bequeathed for charitable purposes. Foundations (Ford, Hughes, Getty, Rockefeller, Gates, Templeton, et al.) have long played a key role in health, education, the arts, science and improving life for all Americans.

    The dynastic wealth remaining in tact after three generations is truly minuscule due to (1) spreading it over  an ever-expanding pool of future beneficiaries; (2) prodigal spending and poor investment decisions by heirs; (3) estate taxes every generation; and (4) charitable giving. Moreover, it continues to provide investment capital, benefiting the entire economy. Arguably, the acceptance of a modest amount of residual dynastic wealth is a small price to pay for the societal benefits of the original wealth creation.

    A logical deduction is that inequality in wealth is not only acceptable but desirable. People like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs  accrued great wealth because their efforts benefited hundreds of millions, or even billions, of people. Newly created wealth often is in proportion to the number of people benefited. Therefore, we can further deduce that even billionaires accruing great wealth (the top tenth of one percent), and the vastly increased inequality that results therefrom, is beneficial to everyone in society.


Part II  – Inequality of income, taxation and spending will be distributed May 8th.

Is Scandinavian Success Due to Socialism?

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders claim the success of Scandinavian countries is due

to socialism and the US should emulate them. We explore the veracity of those claims.

By: George Noga – April 24, 2016

     To be more responsive to current events, this week’s posting takes on a topic that has dominated the news in recent weeks. As usual, none of the media has gotten the story right. Moreover, I had planned to address this issue anyway because there is a lack of awareness and understanding among most Americans about Scandinavia. The MLLG five-part series,Inequality in America, is now rescheduled to begin May 1st.

     For as long as I remember, whenever I have discussed politics or economics with liberal interlocutors, they invariably cite Scandinavian countries (usually Sweden) as veritable Utopias and as proof that socialism can work; recently, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton did the same. Let’s begin with a brief economic history of Sweden.

    Sweden was agrarian in the nineteenth century and so dirt poor it sent waves of immigrants to the USA. Beginning in the final quarter of that century, Sweden turned to free enterprise. Because of property rights, free markets and capitalism, Sweden grew rich. Circa 1970, Sweden took a hard left turn; taxes soared, welfare expanded and private enterprise was discouraged. The result was crime, drug addiction, massive bureaucracy, welfare dependency and emigration by successful Swedes.

     By the 1990s Swedes had come to view socialism as a colossal failure. They rolled back subsidies and taxes and again encouraged free markets. Leftist governments were replaced with right-leaning ones; they embraced free trade and economic freedom. The stories of Norway and Denmark are similar to that of Sweden. Today all three enjoy dynamic market economies, albeit with robust social insurance programs and concomitantly high middle class taxes. Politically, they continue to move rightward.

     Nordic countries are able to adopt vigorous social programs only because of highly successful capitalist, market economies that produce wealth, combined with their acceptance of high middle class taxes. Socialism never has created anywhere near the degree of wealth necessary for a Scandinavian level of social benefits. Sweden is not prosperous because of socialism; it is prosperous because it survived socialism!

     Scandinavian countries are considered economic successes; however, they don’t compare favorably with America. If Sweden were a US state, it would be among the very poorest alongside Mississippi. In terms of purchasing power, Sweden is 30% more expensive than America. In Denmark, the top 10% control 80% of the wealth, a higher percentage than in the USA and not exactly a socialist paradigm of equality.

     Following are the four principal truths we should take away from the economic experience of Scandinavian countries – Bernie and Hillary take note.

1. They are not prosperous because of socialism. They tried socialism; it proved to be a monumental failure economically and socially; the people, understanding this, thoroughly rejected and repudiated it and replaced it with a capitalist, market economy.

2. The only possible way to generate the wealth to afford extensive social programs as found in Sweden, Denmark and Norway is from a relatively unfettered capitalist, market economy. Socialism has never produced a successful economy.

3. The only way to pay for the social programs is through ultra high taxes on the middle class – 20 percentage points higher than in the USA. The taxes always must fall on the middle class because there never are enough rich people to pay for it all.

4. The Scandinavian model only works in small, homogeneous populations with deeply shared and ingrained values, social and cultural cohesion, and a middle class willing to accept extraordinarily high rates of taxation. It can’t be emulated in the USA.


The next MLLG post on May 1st begins our five-part series: Inequality in America

Truths About Tax Inversions

Obama’s attack on tax inversions is nothing but liberal anti-business class warfare
and demagoguery that caters to widespread ignorance and causes economic harm.
By: George Noga – April 17, 2016

     A goal of the new MLLG blog is to be more responsive to current issues; in that spirit, this post addresses corporate tax inversions (such as the Pfizer-Allergan merger stymied by the Obama justice department) with a perspective you will not encounter elsewhere. Upcoming posts will focus on the $15 minimum wage and inequality in America including a comparison with Nordic countries – Sweden and Denmark.

     A tax inversion is the relocation of a US corporation’s headquarters to a lower tax nation (usually via merger with a foreign company) so that it “inverts”, i.e. becomes a foreign corporation for US tax purposes. The benefits to the inverting company are twofold: first, tax on income earned abroad is payable at the much lower foreign rate; second, foreign profits can be returned to the US without further taxation. Following are the principal truths you should know about corporate tax inversions.

  1. Tax inversions are an imaginary enemy! Progressives can’t solve real problems facing America such as terrorism, economic growth or failed schools. Instead, they pander to their base and to low-information voters by conjuring imaginary enemies such as tax inversions, climate change, institutional racism, campus rape culture, inequality and war on women. Yes, it’s really that simple.
  2. Corporations don’t bear the tax burden. Taxes may be collected from businesses but the burden (those who ultimately pay the tax) falls on all Americans via higher prices as corporate taxes are passed on to consumers. Business taxation is misdirection intended to beguile voters into accepting higher overall taxes.
  3. Taxation intentionally is opaque. Politicians make taxation opaque so Americans are fleeced with as little push-back as possible. It’s always in taxpayers’ interest for taxes to be direct and transparent. Liberals instead disguise tax collections, always preferring borrowing or stealthy tax increases to cutting spending or raising taxes directly. That’s why they strongly prefer business taxes.
  4. Inversions can be beneficial. Following an inversion, cash can be brought back to the US without added tax and invested to create American jobs. The increased productivity from this investment helps all Americans in the long run.
  5. The rule of law has been abandoned. In its place is retroactive, capricious, ad hoc and arbitrary imposition of political power. It is precisely this imperative of political dogma over the rule of law that is responsible for the economic malaise of the past seven years, creating slow economic growth and tiny wage gains.
  6. Inversions can be ended quickly and easily. The US corporate tax rate is the highest in the world at 41% (35% federal, 6% state). Everyone agrees it should be lowered and the $2+ trillion overseas should come home. A political solution is low hanging fruit; however, President Obama sees more value politically in keeping the issue alive for continued class warfare and demagoguery.

     As long as liberals remain in control, trillions of dollars will remain offshore and working Americans will continue to suffer low growth and wage stagnation. All this damage accrues solely because Obama chooses to flog imaginary enemies for perceived political gain while failing to deal with the real problems facing America.


The next post is April 24th and begins our series: Inequality in America.

Hypocrisy of Jefferson-Jackson Day

Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners are now being held. The hypocrisy

in its honoring of slaveholders and genocidal Indian fighters is too rich to ignore.

By: George Noga – April 10, 2016 

   Although this posting has Democrats in its cross-hairs, I am obliged to repeat that our MLLG blog is non-partisan. We disdain both major political parties. Our lodestar is the same as our name, i.e. more liberty and less government. Sometimes however, hypocrisy is so glaring it cries out for attention; this is one of those times.

    The Democratic Party’s annual gig is the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, so named  because they regard Jefferson and Jackson as the founders of the Democratic Party. To say it is pregnant with hypocrisy is an understatement. Let’s review the historical record of Jefferson and Jackson as it pertains to slavery and Native Americans.

  • Both Jefferson and Jackson owned slaves. Jefferson was the only founder and president who did not free his slaves – even upon his death.
  • The cruelty of Jackson’s Indian removal policy (“The Trail of Tears“) is legion and remains an enduring stain on American national honor.
  • Jackson was ruthless in the Creek War and in later wars against the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws and Seminoles. His nickname was “Indian killer“.
  • Jackson was in command while his troops butchered Indian women and children following battles or massacres; some called it (and still call it) genocide.
  • Jackson was an aggressive defender of slavery; this was in sharp contrast to Washington, Madison and Monroe all of whom regarded it as a moral evil.
  • Jackson supported the spread of slavery to the territories and he once publicly called opponents of slavery “monsters“.

    Contrast the above with recent events where obsequious Democrats caterwauled over perceived transgressions regarding confederate flags on license plates or flying on state capitol grounds – which incidentally were first put there by Democrat governors. Unctuous Democrat leaders used terms such as bigotry, racism and oppression while calling for boycotts of any events held in South Carolina or any other offending state.  

    Republicans have their annual event, the Lincoln-Douglass Day Dinner, named after Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Imagine if the Republicans’ annual dinner was called the Custer-Duke Day Dinner after George Custer and David Duke? The yowling and mewling of Democrats and their media sycophants would be incessant.  

    Democrats are considering a name change but can’t find prominent Americans of Democratic persuasion to use in place of Jefferson and Jackson. It seems they consider all potential historical figures imperfect and can’t find even one who passes through every politically correct filter extant. They may just abandon people’s names altogether and go with something anodyne like the “Fairness and Equality Day Dinner”.

    Since all historical figures now are imperfect to progressives, where does it all end? Can we judge a person as a whole giving credit for accomplishments while being less judgmental about flaws that were not considered as such contemporaneously but only now in today’s uber-correct political atmosphere? If the present trend continues there will be no statues or portraits left standing or hanging anywhere in America.  

    For now, let’s simply savor the juicy hypocrisy of the most politically correct and intolerant group in America naming its greatest honor for unreformed slaveholders, racists, genocidal Indian fighters and the perpetrator of the infamous Trail of Tears.  

The True Cost of Public Schools

Public schools spend as much or more per student than even the most elite
and expensive private schools. This post presents a fair and correct analysis.
By: George Noga – April 1, 2016

   This is not an April Fool although teachers unions and school administrators (“educrats”) wish it were. It is a fair comparison of spending between elite private schools and public schools. It compares Trinity Prep and Lake Highland Prep to a typical Orange County, Florida public high school. Note: Trinity and Lake Highland are the creme de la creme of elite Central Florida preparatory schools offering small classes, top notch facilities, individual attention and every possible tool for success.

   The all-inclusive (books, transportation, etc.) cost of attending Trinity and Lake Highland currently is $19,000. The spending per student from the Orange County education budget is $11,000; however, that figure fails to include education spending elsewhere in the county budget and off the budget. It does not include federal funds (average 10%), grants from governments and other organizations (5% estimate) and funds paid by parents and students (5% estimate). These items increase public school spending by $2,200 per student to $13,200 – but wait – we are only getting started.

   There is other off budget spending including: (1) proceeds from bonds and other debt; (2) health care including retirees; (3) pensions; and (4) debt service on school and/or mixed purpose bonds. The county budget does not break out these items; therefore, estimates are necessary. A fair guess is this spending adds another $2,200 or 20%, raising the spending to $15,400 per public school student. Note: A CATO Institute national study found public schools spend an additional 44% that is not contained directly in the education budget; herein we have added 40% which is less than the CATO average.

   There is even more chicanery in public school budgets; they artificially inflate the number of students to make their numbers appear better. They accomplish this by counting students who may attend as few as one class per year. For an apples-to-apples comparison, we must decrease the number of students 12%. This raises the spending of public schools to $17,500 per equivalent student. Finally, high schools on average spend at least 10% more per student than lower grades. This final adjustment raises the per student spending of Orange County public high schools to $19,250.

   There you have it! Public high schools spend about the same or even slightly more per student than the most elite private schools; they spend more than double that of the top Catholic high school in the area and 300+% more than the average private school.

   It is not accidental that no human being knows the true spending on public schools. Educrats and unions intentionally make the data as opaque as possible to prevent anyone from doing what I tried in this post. This is similar to Lynx buses which have intentionally painted over windows so citizens can’t see how empty they really are.

   We need independent audits of county public school systems so citizens will know the true amount of spending. Until that happens (phat chance) I stand behind my analysis that public schools spend about the same per student as the most elite private schools. Ponder the ramifications. Every student now attending public school could have an education equivalent to the most elite, exclusive and expensive private school. School choice truly is the civil rights issue of our lifetime and that is no April Fool!


The next post on April 10 pillories Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners.

Bottled Water and Socialism

A simple bottle of water, available in stores for under a dollar, proves why
communism, socialism and all command economies are doomed to failure.
By: George Noga – March 27, 2016

       In the 1970s still water began to be offered for sale in the USA in single serving sizes. I knew sparkling water had been sold for some time and there was a market for bottled water in parts of the world where the tap water was not safe or of poor quality. But I thought “Who in America would pay for single serving still water when safe, good quality water runs Scott free out of faucets, water fountains and coolers?

     I am trained in economics and like to consider myself as reasonably bright, possessing integrity and motivated to make the best possible decisions to serve my fellow man. Yet, if I were a 1970s era government planner, I would have prevented our economy’s scarce resources from being used to produce and distribute bottled water.

     I would have been dead wrong! Today, bottled water is the second largest beverage sold – ahead of both milk and beer. In 2014, 11 billion gallons ($25 billion) were sold in just the USA – equal to 34 gallons per American and this ranked the US as only 10th in the world. This was true despite its cost of around $1 for 500 milliliters which works out to $7 per gallon – nearly three times the price of gasoline.

     Education, training in economics, smarts and logic coupled with the very best of intentions would have proved incapable of discerning the preferences of my fellow citizens, the ambitions and creativity of entrepreneurs and the behavior of consumers armed with a free choice. If I had been the chief government planner in the 1970s, there would be no bottled water available for sale today in the USA.

     Yet, despite a government apparatchik being as totally wrong as I would have been about bottled water, no one ever would have known about my mistake because  no one could possibly have known what would happen with free people in a free market. And it isn’t just bottled water. There would be no copy machines or personal computers; IBM originally estimated the world market was for only 5,000 copiers and under 100 personal computers. There would be no internet as the cognoscenti of the time believed it would only be used by government and universities.

     The humble bottle of water we now take for granted proves all forms of socialism and command economies are frauds and conversely proves why free markets work.


The next post will be on April 1st; readers may think it is an April fool, but it isn’t!

EPA Carbon Regulations: Science or Religion

The EPA carbon mandate costs America over $200 billion to achieve a
reduction in temperature of 2.35 ten-thousandths of one degree per year.
By: George Noga – March 20, 2016

    The EPA enacted, and President Obama enthusiastically touted, new regulations on carbon emissions targeting coal burning power generation. The regulations phase in between now and 2030. This post contains the numbers – which you are not likely to read anywhere else – behind the regulations. Note: The US Supreme Court recently stayed the regulations until after the matter is adjudicated in the appellate court.

    The US uses 18% of the world’s energy of which 36% is coal generated. Thus the US uses 6.5% (18% times 36%) of global coal power. However, absent new regulation, America’s reliance on coal is falling rapidly; over the next 15 years (the length of the EPA regulation phase in) it will be less that 5% of global coal power generation.

    The EPA mandates a 32% decrease in carbon emissions by 2030. A cut of 32% of 5% is equal to a reduction of 1.6% – or one-tenth of one percent per year between now and 2030. The regulation reduces temperature by less than two-hundredths of one degree Celsius by the year 2100. During the phase-in period of the regulation, China alone will add far more coal burning capacity than the US takes out of service. Despite virtually non-existent benefits, the costs to achieve them are astronomical.

    The American coal industry is savaged, big swaths of our country economically devastated, 300,000 jobs destroyed and economic growth stifled. The initial compliance costs are $50 billion and then $10 billion of ongoing costs per year and increasing every year thereafter ad infinitum. Every American household and business will pay much, much more for energy with working people and the poor, i.e. those who Obama claims to be looking out for, the most severely impacted.

    For any American president to invoke such an extreme measure by executive fiat, one would have to believe the horrendous sacrifices being demanded of the American people are justified by the results attained, i.e. the costs bear at least some relationship to the putative benefits. Yet as shown herein, the costs are real, onerous and immediate while the benefits are  microscopic, uncertain and remote. Reductions of carbon of .1% (one part per thousand) per year and in temperature of .02 degrees by 2100 (2.35 ten-thousandths of one degree) per year are so small as to defy measurement.

    Obama is demanding extraordinary sacrifices without benefits; yet that is not the most absurd part of this American tragedy. The pinnacle of absurdity is that these sacrifices are being imposed, not in the name of science, but in the name of climate religion. There is no evidence warming is significantly anthropogenic or even harmful, while there is much evidence (see March 6th MLLG posting) to the contrary.

    This is another instance of liberal elitists impoverishing millions of working Americans solely in obeisance to their unscientific, politically climate religion.


Next up is a compelling juxtaposition between bottled water and socialism.

Pope Francis Enters the Twilight Zone

When Pope Francis strays from religion, he is eminently fallible; he has erred

about clergy child abuse, climate change, capitalism, economics and Trump.

By: George Noga – March 13, 2016

  As an observant Catholic for much of my life, I take no pleasure in chronicling the recent pratfalls of the pontiff, which have been too numerous to ignore. The most egregious is his shameful re-characterization of the priest sex scandal as “child abuse” which now replaces “pedophilia” as the Holy See’s descriptor of choice. What actually happened was neither child abuse nor pedophilia as Pope Francis well understands.

  Only 3% of the clergy sexual assaults were pedophilia, i.e. involved prepubescents; 97% of the victims were older; ipso facto, the scandal could not be pedophilia. Child abuse is a gender-neutral, catchall term connoting non sexual forms of abuse. In the priest sex scandal, the only abuse was sexual and it was not gender neutral. Overall, sexual assault victims overwhelmingly are female; in the church scandal, the victims were 80% male. Therefore, the scandal could not possibly be considered child abuse.

   Okay, so what really was the scandal and why does it matter so much the pope dissembled to such a preposterous extent? Pure and simple, the scandal is homosexual abuse of young males. The church, abetted by the media, injected the polemical straw men (pedophilia, child abuse) solely to palliate and obfuscate. The motive was in part political correctness; but the greater motive was to avoid dealing with the 900 pound gorilla in the room, i.e. the increasingly dominant homosexual culture of the church.

   Independent studies estimate priests at over 50% gay with a higher percentage for younger priests. Some seminaries are so militantly gay, they drive out heterosexual seminarians. Pope Francis knows this truth full well but he either will not or cannot change the culture; instead, he disingenuously changes the name of the problem.

   Pope Francis imbibes the climate change kool-aid. At the UN, he pleaded for immediate action and blamed the problem on capitalism’s “selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity.” He forgot the worst environmental degradation in Earth’s history resulted from socialism in the USSR and is now being cleaned up by those selfish capitalists. Only rich countries can afford to protect the environment.

“A poor child in an African slum doesn’t need a solar panel.”

   He doesn’t get that squandering trillions for uncertain, infinitesimal benefits means we cannot spend it to alleviate suffering from unsafe water, malnutrition and lack of electricity and medicine. A poor child in an African slum does not need a solar panel! Pope Francis undoubtedly is well-intentioned but we all know where that road leads.

   Economics is Pope Francis’s real blind spot. He believes capitalism makes people rich by exploiting the poor. Unfortunately for the pontiff, even the most cursory look around the world confirms the dead opposite to be true. The poorest people under capitalism in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea are light years better off than those in socialist sinecures like Venezuela, Cuba or even Francis’s native Argentina. Capitalism has lifted one billion people out of poverty in China and India.

   This brings us to Trump. Is building a wall unchristian? Is the USA unchristian for creating great wealth amidst liberty and becoming a magnet for people everywhere? Or are Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela unchristian for creating great poverty, stifling  liberty, fomenting civil unrest and making life so miserable their people flee from their homes?

   There is a pattern in the pope’s pratfalls. He has a socialistic, Utopian world view that is demonstrably contrary to how world really works – especially the world of economics. Pope Francis needs to stick to his knitting to avoid further embarrassments.


The next post dissects recent EPA carbon regulations in a manner not found elsewhere.

 

Ultimate Climate Change Primer

If you believe global warming is man-made to any significant extent, then
reading this post should forever change the way you look at climate change.
By: George Noga – March 6, 2016

      Our first ever posting in 2007 was about climate change and we have written about it more often than any other topic. This post updates our position based on the latest science buttressed by logic. Earth has been in a secular, solar-caused warming pattern for 150 years; it is a normal part of alternate warming and cooling cycles throughout history. Nevertheless, it is possible, perhaps even likely, that recent increases in atmospheric CO2 have contributed to warming in some small and inconsequential way.

    Evidence warming primarily is nonanthropogenic continues to mount. Recent science (now being peer reviewed) shows CO2 feedback is not amplified 300% as per the computer models but instead is dampened 50% – a decrease in warming due to CO2 of 600%. Following are the top ten things you should know about global warming.

  1. The most compelling proof of solar causation is temperatures throughout our solar system. Since 1970, NASA has documented warming on our moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Triton, Pluto, Titan, Enceladus, Dysnomia and Eris. Much of this warming has a similar pattern to Earth’s. There is not one instance of observed non warming in our solar system. This evidence is so powerful it led me in 2007 to conclude that warming is solar caused and not man-made.
  2. There has been no observed warming (net of El Nino) for at least 18 years; this emphatically devastates the hockey-stick computer models predicting disaster.
  3. Earth’s temperatures fit a secular warming pattern with increases in fits and starts, pauses for long periods and even intervals of cooling as in the 1970s and perhaps again in the 2020s. No CO2 based computer models fit the pattern.
  4. Climate models have not been updated for decades because it is impossible for them to incorporate the actual results of the past 18 years. They have no answers for the simple reason that temperature changes cannot be explained by CO2.
  5. There is scientific agreement that a doubling of CO2 should cause a rise of about 1 degree by 2100. However, there is no agreement CO2 feedback is amplified (increased) by a factor of 3 per the computer models. Instead of a 300% increase, there is a 50% decrease in feedback. This means computer models are wrong by 600% and temperature gain due to CO2 should be only .5 degrees by 2100.
  6. Per the UNIPCC, the warming expected by 2100 is a net benefit to mankind. Moreover, their oft quoted summaries are written by politicians, not scientists.
  7. Science is not settled; it never is settled. Government funding of studies outstrips funding from all other sources by 3,000 to 1; you get what you pay for. If the science is truly settled, why won’t any scientist or politician agree to debate?
  8. Even if the worst scenario were to be believed, the best response is to spend scarce resources to ameliorate the effects of warming if and when it occurs rather than squander trillions today on infinitesimal reductions in temperature.
  9. Humanity’s best strategy is to maximize economic growth to have the most possible resources available in the future. Instead, we are choking economic growth by lavishing money on political feel-good initiatives that have no impact.
  10. The precautionary principle is being grotesquely misapplied. Warmists insist we spend trillions willy-nilly today to perhaps save lives in the future. But squandering trillions now will result in certain death for millions of poor people from lack of funds for clean water, electricity and disease eradication.

   Thus, affluent liberal elitists are condemning tens of millions in the third world to death solely in obeisance to their unscientific, politically motivated climate religion.

   We will continue to address climate change on these pages; this was but a beginning.


The next post addresses the many recent pratfalls of Pope Francis.

If the Election Goes to the House of Representatives

What happens if the presidential election goes to the House of Representatives?
You could be in for a surprise; the process may not work the way you believe.
By: George Noga – March 2, 2016

      MLLG is providing this post as a service to our readers. It is way too early to speculate about the outcome of the election; however, the possibility of a third (or fourth) party candidate is much greater this year. Michael Bloomberg is poised to enter the race and to spend billions of his own money under a variety of scenarios such as a Trump nomination or a Clinton indictment or medical crisis. Trump could run if denied the Republican nomination. There are some other plausible scenarios as well.

    Most Americans know if no candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College, the election goes to the House of Representatives (“House”). Once the election goes to the House however, the process operates much differently than is generally believed. You may want to print this post and retain it for future reference just in case.

    In early January 2017 in a joint session of the new Congress, the President of the Senate opens the Electoral College ballots; tellers count them; and the results are announced by state in alphabetic order. If there is no majority, the Twelfth Amendment prescribes what happens. The House must choose among the top three receiving votes in the Electoral College – the 12th Amendment says this is to be done “immediately”.

    Each state gets one vote regardless of size; Wyoming counts the same as California. To be elected president, the winner must receive 26 votes. Under a rule of the House (not a Constitutional provision) a majority of each state’s delegation must vote for one candidate. Florida has 27 house members; a majority of 14 is needed for Florida’s vote to count. There are 7 states with only one house member (AK, DE, MT, ND, SD, VT and WY); how they vote determines their entire state. If there is no majority (a tie for example) that state’s vote is not recorded. The process continues as long as necessary.

    Meanwhile, the Senate chooses the vice president from the two highest vote getters for vice president. Each senator gets one vote and a majority of 51 is needed for election. There is no requirement that the Senate coordinate its vote with the House and it is possible the president and vice president could be from different parties. Note: The 12th Amendment requires a quorum of two-thirds of the Senate to be present before voting for vice president; thus, any party with 34 senators could prevent a vote.

    The term for President Obama and Vice President Biden ends at noon on January 20, 2017. If the House has not acted by that time but the Senate has, then the Senate’s choice for vice president becomes Acting President. If neither the House nor the Senate has acted by January 20, then the Speaker of the House becomes Acting President with the President Pro Tempore of the Senate next in line.

    The president has been elected only once before under the 12th Amendment. In 1824, a four way election between Andrew Jackson, John Quincey Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay left Jackson 32 votes short of an electoral college majority. Clay threw his support to Adams and on the first ballot Adams received 13 votes of the 25 states then extant – giving him a bare majority and the presidency.

    The next time you find yourself in a conversation and someone brings up the possibility of the 2016 election going to the House, you will be loaded for bear.


 The next post on March 6th revisits our favorite topic – climate change.