Even By Ritchie’s standards this is impressive

I am impressed by the courage of those who have taken direct action in the cause of the Extinction Rebellion. They have gone beyond talk, as the crisis facing our world requires.

But, that said, I have never been inclined to take direct action: it’s just not the way I want to change the world. I am not saying it’s wrong: far from it in fact. I think it works. But I have always felt that there have been other things for me to do. And what that has meant in the current situation is that I have had to ask myself what I might do. My answer is to suggest that we need to talk about Tax to Save The Environment (TASTE).

I have long argued that the primary purpose of tax is not to raise revenue. I wrote a whole book – The Joy of Tax – on that theme. I unashamedly recommend reading it. In it I suggested that there were six reasons for tax:

Reclaiming the money the government has spent into the economy.
Ratifying the value of money.
Reorganising the economy.
Redistributing income and wealth within the economy.
Repricing goods and services.
Raising representation in a democracy.
These are explained in more detail here.

My argument when suggesting Tax to Save The Environment falls into categories 3, 4 and 5, although with a focus on the last, and definite implications for the other groups. I stress: the aim is not to raise money. It is to use tax to change the way out society works.

And that is what is required now: a whole change to the way our society works. Since in my opinion tax is one of the most powerful tools that we have to change the way that society works, for better or worse, my contribution will be to suggest ways that tax can deliver change for the better to help save our plant. That’s what TASTE will be all about.

An example of which is:

It’s sometimes thought that tax is complex. And sometimes it is. And that’s why many people misunderstand a lot about taxation. But it does not always need to be so.

It’s my suggestion that we need to use Tax to Save the Environment (TASTE). Let me start with a simple example of something we could do now.

We now know that there is a massive problem with methane created by cattle, sheep and (to a somewhat lesser degree) goats. There is a way to address this issue in the UK. We could put VAT on all food the products that are created from them. We can do this now. VAT on food is allowed under EU law. And it would work: it would shift pricing and so reorientate people towards other products, of which there are many that are available.

I know this would be controversial: I am aware that the big problem would be around milk. The rate of tax on milk might then be open to discussion. On everything else standard rate VAT should be applied now, in my opinion.

And to ensure hardship does not result revenue raised must be matched by the allocation of additional funds to benefits.

This is simple, possible, and achievable now.

It’s the first Tax to Save The Environment. There will be more.

Actual economists have thought through this very problem. Last year’s Nobel Laureate, William Nordhaus, for example. Nick Stern in his review. In fact, damn near every economist who has considered the matter. And the vast majority of other economists agree with them. Assume that the science is right the answer is a carbon tax. What is Ritchie suggesting? Effectively, a carbon tax.

What has Ritchie said in the past?

And carbon pricing does not work. Marco Fante explains why here. The essence is simple though: renewables are cheap enough to ensure that carbon pricing is itself priced out of the market.

So the economists – or rather, the neoliberal economists that the Economist thinks to be the holders of that tile – have lost.

Apparently a carbon tax invented by Ritchie works and a carbon tax considered by every other economist does not. That’s impressive, even by the standards of the Senior Lecturer.

Who knows, maybe it’s just that he’s so damn ignorant he doesn’t know that implicit in all carbon tax proposals is that it’s levied on CO2-e, not actually upon carbon?

What do we think then?

From the comments. An idea:

Let’s offer the timber from HMS Victory to the French to rebuild Notre Dame. And start a petition on petitions.gov to ask for this.

We need the petition properly written – Steve, you want to handle that?

Centuries of aggression against the French, what better sign of peace with our EU partners than to break up the militaristic remnant to the glory of their culture etc cont. pg 94?

You, Steve, would do that better than anyone else around here.

We also then need the email addy’s of 5 people to make the petition go live.

We’ll need an 80 character heading for it. Then a wider explanation in 300 characters. And a 500 character background.

Eh? Not quite G Elfwick but could be fun.

Jeez, they’re desperate, aren’t they?

Now we know why. For the Mueller report is packed with damning proof that Trump and his team cheered on the “sweeping and systematic” Russian attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election, that they expected to “benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”, that they actively planned campaign strategy around each new release of emails hacked from Democrat headquarters by Russian intelligence, emails helpfully funnelled through WikiLeaks. (Mueller has the documents that show Julian Assange telling his acolytes as early as November 2015 that “we believe it would be much better for GOP [the Republicans] to win”.)

What’s more, Trump folk including the candidate’s eldest son met a Kremlin emissary promising dirt on Hillary Clinton; a Trump aide tried to establish a back channel to Vladimir Putin’s government; and all the while, the Trump campaign denied there was any Russian effort to meddle in US democracy. Still, none of this rose to the level of a crime for Mueller because “collusion is not a specific offense … nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law”. Mueller chose instead to set the bar so high that it was bound to be out of reach: he needed to see proof of an actual “agreement” between Trump and the Kremlin to break the law to fix the 2016 election. Absent that, Trump was off the hook of criminal misconduct.

Cheering on someone dishing your enemies is to be made a crime now is it?

And where does that leave Hillary who originally commissioned the report about the pee pee tape?

Freedland’s actual complaint being just because Trump didn’t break any laws doesn’t mean we can’t find him guilty.

Off duty behaviour isn’t off duty any more

In the messages, the disgraced Essex Police response officer referred to a “pikey killings trial” and said Asians “reproduce like 3/1 compared to us”.

The former Royal Signals soldier even described a waitress working in a London bar as a “hot black chick”, “umbongo” and “coco angel” when out with friends.

Not exactly enlightened.

Mitigation heard that he had never used the language with his police colleagues or shown any prejudice whilst serving the public.

Alston joined the force in 2013 after working as a PCSO and served in the Army Reserve for more than 10 years.

Detective Superintendent Dean Chapple, head of the Essex Police’s professional standards department, said: “PC Alston was a highly respected and capable officer however his conduct, whilst off duty and in the presence of selected friends who were not associated with policing, fell way below the standards we expect of our officers and in no way represents our values.

“All police officers are responsible for their own actions and we cannot just turn off those standards and values in policing when it suits a given environment or group.”

Eh?

Sure, what you do at work is fair game. But nattering over a pint with non-work mates – which is roughly what a WhatsApp group is – gets you canned? Don’t we think that’s delving a little too far into what should be private life?

This is also a tad extreme:

Alston failed to challenge homophobic slurs

You mean, in private life, that’s necessary? When in buggery did this become a requirement for anyone? You’re in a pub, someone says “shirtlifter”, you fail to walk over and tell ’em off and you lose your job as a thief taker? Might we not have made a societal error here?

One of you lot will know this

British oaks from some of the UK’s most famous estates could contribute towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral, following an offer from members of Historic Houses, the association for independently owned historic houses and gardens.

So far more than one hundred donor estates, including Belvoir Castle, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Scone Palace, Castle Howard, Holkham Hall and Powderham Castle have volunteered valuable trees, planted for timber centuries ago, as a gift from the UK to France for the restoration of the iconic landmark’s roof, destroyed by fire last week.

Super and why not.

So, it’s possible to find the trees. But how long does it take to cure (age, mature, what?) cut timber before you start using it as roof joists etc? I know you don’t just stick the green wood up there, but how long?

Blimey

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003.[7] Her mother is Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman and her father is actor Svante Thunberg.[8] Her grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg.[9]

In November 2018, Thunberg mentioned having been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism.[10][11] To lower her family’s carbon footprint, she insisted they become vegan and give up flying,[12] as she did herself.[13]

Erm, yes. So, extremely privileged young woman. But it’s the other stuff that worries. By definition Aspies, OCD etc are social inadequates. So we’re to run the world according to the demands of a social inadequate? Why not just hand it all over to the incels? Or doesn’t that work as they’re the wrong kind of inadequates?

So, err, Greta, how you arriving then?

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old founder of the school strikes for action against climate change, has said she hopes to join the Extinction Rebellion protests when she visits London next week.

Right.

Her arrival on Sunday

Super.

She had previously arranged to be in London after Easter

Great.

During her Easter holidays, she has been on a European speaking tour and has, so far, met Pope Francis and addressed the European parliament.

Tip top.

So, what method of transport you using to wander around Europe in your Easter hols then? And what are the emissions from your doing so?

Your emissions being unicorn farts of course, not damaging to the environment at all….

It’s odd finding out what you can’t do

I was rather surprised when I found out that I could write.

OK, that’s sounding a bit special already. What I mean is that I can put words in order and sometimes it pleases some people. Enough so that I get paid to do it often enough.

It then comes as rather a surprise to find that I can’t do what is thought to be one of the simpler forms of it.

I’ve been casting around for a little side money-maker. Yep, that sort of $5 for this and $3 for that 50 words sorta stuff. Needs to be something where there’s a consistent supply of such work. No chasing around looking for the next commission. If there’s a spare couple of hours make $40 sorta thing. Finances are such that such a side gig is nice to have floating around but isn’t actually necessary for anything at all.

So, there is such work out there. Great vast gobbets of it. It’s writing product descriptions for websites. “This refrigerator is a double door delight which will feature your kitchen. With temperature controlled drawers and……” you get the idea.

Varies between 50 words and 200 for each description. Should take 10 -15 minutes tops to do each one. $4 to $6 for each one. So, I try it out.

And I just can’t do it. It’s weird.

Part of this is that they’re being very American about it, you’ve got to write according to Strunk and White and AP style and all that. Things I don’t really know. But it’s also, I guess, that it needs 50 or 100 attempts at practising the structure for me at least, with feedback as to why it’s not working yet. But you get 3 chances and if you fail all of those then you’re excised from consideration at all.

Yeah, I know, division and specialisation of labor. It’s just odd to find out that it’s the supposedly simple stuff, the near minimum wage crap, that I can’t do.

‘Coz we’re special we are

Dame Emma Thompson joined climate protesters in London on Thursday to declare that she wants to be among those demonstrators arrested by police.

However, it has emerged that the Oscar winning British actress was photographed a day earlier arriving at Heathrow Airport after apparently flying from Los Angeles where it is believed she had been celebrating her 60th birthday.

The Extinction Rebellion group, which is calling for flights to be used only in emergencies, insisted that any flight she had taken was an “unfortunate cost in our bigger battle to save the planet”.

Obviously it’s different when the revolutionary vanguard do it….

Good point

Far from prosperity being the problem, it is the answer. It weans people off habitat-destroying dependence on burning wood, and it leads to reforestation, the creation of nature reserves and the return of wildlife. Why are wolves increasing, lions decreasing and tigers now holding their own? Because wolves live in rich countries, lions in poor countries and tigers in middle-income countries.

No doubt the Senior Lecturer will come by to prove causality to us – lions make a place poor, wolves rich.

No, not bitter about vermine

Roger Stokes says:
April 18 2019 at 8:22 am
… John McDonnell has created the same rod for his own back with Labour’s “Fiscal Credibility” rules… they appear to believe Thatcher’s dictum that…
“It is your tax which pays for government spending. The government have no money of their own. There is only tax payers money”… yet they surely aren’t stupid enough to not understand that every time the government spends it creates money and every time it taxes it destroys it…

Reply
Richard Murphy says:
April 18 2019 at 8:23 am
Don’t you believe they’re not that stupid…..

Reply

That incorrect decision still stings, doesn’t it?

Eh?

Then, advertising specifically targeted at racists.

Leave.EU paid for Facebook adverts targeted at supporters of the National Front, the BNP, Britain First and the EDL.

The number of recorded hate crimes in England and Wales spiked after the Brexit referendum. The Home Office specifically mentions the increase in xenophobic hate crimes.

We already know that Leave.EU was involved in illegal election activity, but this is a whole new level of wickedness. In any sane country this would be a national scandal and we’d be putting heads on spikes.

Persuading people not to vote for the National Front is a bad thing?

Quite amazing

Peru’s former president Alan García has died after deliberately shooting himself in the head when police tried to arrest him in connection with a multibillion-dollar Latin American corruption scandal.

“I am saddened by the death of former president Alan García,” tweeted the country’s current president, Martín Vizcarra, confirming the news. “I send my condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Earlier, García’s lawyer, Erasmo Reyna, told local media his client “took the decision to shoot himself” early on Wednesday after officers arrived at his home in the capital, Lima, to place him under preventive detention.

Peru’s interior minister, Carlos Morán, told journalists García had told police officers he was going to call his lawyer and had “shut himself in his bedroom” before a shot was heard.

The 69-year-old politician – who faced accusations of taking bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during his 2006-2011 presidency – was admitted to a nearby hospital soon after, at about 6.45am, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Before his death was confirmed Peru’s health minister, Zulema Tomás, told reporters García was in a “very serious” condition and had suffered three heart attacks from which he had been resuscitated. A 27-strong medical team, including neurosurgeons and intensive care specialists, was fighting to save the former president’s life.

Gun, head, self, not instant. But, you know, efficiency of politicians and all that.