Fraudulent Advocacy For Government Growth

I have already had two posts (here and here) on the preposterous new Census report on incomes and poverty released two weeks ago.  And then yesterday the New York Times has again given the lead position in its print edition (upper right hand corner of the front page) to a story substantially relying on figures from this same Census report.  I'll give you all three tiers of headlines:  "WITH PAY RISING, MILLIONS CLIMB OUT OF POVERTY / ECONOMIC TIPPING POINT / More and Better Jobs -- Blacks and Hispanics Gain the Most."  That's certainly good news for Hillary on the day of the first presidential debate!  And just in case you don't think that this Census report is planned as the linchpin of Hillary's campaign on issues relating to the economy, I remind you that some of its key "findings" were front and center in her personally-signed op-ed in Pravda on September 21 ("My Plan For Helping America's Poor").  

So is there any reality to the numbers in this Report, or is it all just a scam put out by the government and regurgitated by Pravda to put their collective thumb on the scale of the election?

The answer as to the government is that it is clearly a scam.  With Pravda, as usual, you are left scratching your head as to whether they are part of the fraud, or have been taken in by the government's fraud.  I'll let you decide that -- not that either alternative is good for them.

How do we know that this is a scam as respects the government?  Easy -- we just compare what they say to what we can prove that they know.  What they say is the list of principal statistics appearing at the top of the Summary in the Report:

  • Real median household income increased 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015.1 This is the first annual increase in median house- hold income since 2007.

  • The number of full-time, year- round workers increased by 2.4 million in 2015.

  • The official poverty rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2015.

  • The number of people in poverty fell by 3.5 million between 2014 and 2015. 

Now, do you detect any hint there that the lion's share of these favorable year-over-year changes may have resulted from a methodological change rather from real increases in incomes or declines in poverty?  I've done my best to look through the Report itself to find some disclosure of that.  Admittedly, there are lots of links in the Report for those interested in learning more about the methodology, and life is not long enough for me to follow all of those.  Believe me, they are also relying on most to all journalists having constraints on their time that will prevent them from getting to the bottom of this.  But then there's John Crudele of the New York Post, who had an article on September 20 titled "Census income figures are a joke -- if not fraud."  Crudele's article then had a link to this 2015 Census paper describing the details of changes to methodology that they planned to implement fully in their next report on incomes and poverty.

So let's take a look at that paper.  This is what they know.  The paper's subject is proposed changes to methodology in the surveys that generate Census's main reports on income and poverty.  And why are they undertaking these changes?

Previous research shows the ASEC [Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey] suffers from misclassification of certain types of income, general underreporting of income, and historically under-reported enrollment in means-tested government programs (Meyer et al., 2009) 

Yes, the whole idea is to correct for prior "general underreporting of income."  And by the way, there's no doubt that there is massive underreporting of income on these surveys.  For starters, there's almost no chance that anybody gives them much if any honest information on underground economic activity, which is estimated at around 10% of the economy (and far more than that among those reported to be in the lower quintiles of the income distribution).  So what are they now going to do about it?  The answer is, they propose a modest re-design of the survey, with about half a dozen changes that include follow up questions for people who refuse to answer or leave blank the answers to questions about their income, and specific follow-up questions designed to elicit more information about income from retirement accounts and from government programs.  (By the way, even with those changes, it's abundantly clear that incomes are still massively underreported, but probably a little less so.)

Now, will all of those things make a quantitative difference?  Actually, as part of this paper, they report on results of a quantitive evaluation of giving the new and old surveys to a large sample to see what difference it makes.  And the answer?  It's in Table 1!  Using the new survey form causes reported "real median income" to increase by 3.0%.

Wait a minute!  Does this mean that they absolutely know that the supposed 5.2% increase in real median incomes reported in the most recent report is actually 2.2% in real change and 3.0% in methodology change?  That's sure the way that I read it.  Of course, the difference between 5.2% growth in incomes and 2.2% is the difference between robust growth on the one hand and barely-above-stagnation on the other.

And clearly the purpose of this game is to create an appearance that disastrous government programs that in fact keep incomes down and poverty up have now suddenly worked, just in time to elect Hillary.  Don't believe me?  Let's go back to the Pravda article from yesterday:  

Government programs — like Social Security, the earned-income tax credit and food stamps — have kept tens of millions from sinking into poverty year after year. But a main driver behind the impressive 1.2 percentage point decline in the poverty rate, the largest annual drop since 1999, was that the economy finally hit a tipping point after years of steady, if lukewarm, improvement. . . .  About 43 million Americans, more than 14 million of them children, are still officially classified as poor, and countless others up and down the income ladder remain worried about their families’ financial security. But the Census Bureau’s report found that 2015 was the first year since 2008, when the economic downturn began, that the poverty rate fell significantly and incomes for most American households rose. 

Really, is it even possible to be this appallingly ignorant?  If you know anything at all about government statistics on "poverty," you know that the earned-income tax credit and food stamps do not count in the measure of poverty.  With one hundred percent certainty, those two programs have not kept one single person out of poverty, at least as measured and reported by the Census Bureau.  Pravda thinks these programs have kept "tens of millions from sinking into poverty."  Good grief!

And then, of course, Pravda takes the methodological change to mean that suddenly "pay [is] rising" and "millions [are] climb[ing] out of poverty."  All fake.  The closest thing we have to a real number (not in this report) is that GDP rose in 2015 by 2.4%.  It's above total stagnation, but barely.

More generally, we can see that we have a bureaucracy that understands its core mission to be producing numbers that support the continuation of woefully failed government programs and the ongoing growth of useless bureaucracies to run those programs.  In the off years they produce wildly underreported income numbers and inflated poverty numbers to guilt the people into supporting bigger budgets to address the problems; and then in the election years they tweak the methodology in secret to generate numbers that falsely show some sudden progress against the problems so that the candidates known to support the bureaucracy can have talking points for their campaigns.  Is it any wonder that most Americans have complete disgust with their government?

A Brief Tour Of Current New York "Economic Development" Initiatives

It's anybody's guess as to whether the subject of the economy's performance will even come up at tonight's debate.  My guess is that it will come up minimally if at all -- because the moderator will not view the subject as casting a sufficiently favorable light upon the preferred candidate.  But if it does come up, we already know that the preferred candidate is ready with her "economic development" plans, all of which involve lots more government spending to "rebuild infrastructure" and "create jobs."

To put this in context, I thought you readers might be interested in what passes for "economic development" by the state and local governments in New York.  After all, Hillary's agenda is nothing more than a nationalized version of the New York groupthink, so observing New York will give you perfect insight into what you are in for in a Hillary presidency.  The summary of the experience with New York's "economic development" efforts is (1) very large spending for minuscule (or negative) results, and (2) pervasive corruption.  Indeed, New York's experience underscores the ever-present question of whether it is even possible to engage in economic-development-through-government-handout without ending up with pervasive corruption.  You be the judge!

Affordable Housing

In New York City, the signature economic development program is "affordable housing."  I have covered this many times before (see this tag for more details than you can bear), but the summary is the highest possible government giveaway for the smallest number of beneficiaries.  For example, many thousands of residents of New York City public housing projects live in waterfront developments where apartments would have values of easily $2 million each, and up to $5 million, if they were only allowed to become part of a free market -- yet the residents are still deemed to be poor!  

In this affordable housing game, the government mostly got out of pure socialist-model government development and ownership a couple of decades ago.  Instead, in more recent years, the affordable housing has been "incentivized" by two principal methods:  (1) free handouts of the land, and (2) the so-called 421-a tax abatement program.  In the free-handout-of-land category, we have for example the now-under-construction Essex Crossing (formerly called Seward Park) on Delancey Street at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, and the new La Central project in the South Bronx.  In this model, government starts out owning the land; and instead of just selling it to the highest bidder, they request "proposals" from developers, and award the development rights based on some political criteria.  Is there any chance that this process can be free from corruption?  I wouldn't think so, although I haven't seen any recent indictments.

And then there is the 421-a tax exemption.  The basic idea is that a developer can get reduced property taxes by committing to build housing that meets criteria for "affordability."  This program actually expired at the end of 2015, and since then there has been an ongoing negotiation about its renewal, participants including the governor, legislative leaders, representatives of developers, and representatives of labor unions.  Why labor unions, you ask?  Because in New York, labor unions, by reason of political contributions, hold sufficient sway over politicians to demand that government housing subsidies only go to developments that somehow favor union labor.  The latest on these "negotiation" came to light last month.  As reported in The Real Deal on August 23:

According to a one-page proposal sent to developers and seen by the New York Times, developers would not be required to hire union contractors or pay prevailing wages in return for the tax break. But they would have to pay workers a minimum of $65 in wages and benefits for 300-unit-plus projects south of 96th Street in Manhattan and $50 in Brooklyn and Queens – $15 of which would be paid by New York State. Developers would also be required to set aside 25 or 30 percent of the units for below-market rents, the Times reported. It wasn’t immediately clear how the state would finance the wage subsidy.

You read that right -- our genius governor thinks it's a good idea for the state government to subsidize the wages of construction workers, who are making $50 to $65 per hour, to the tune of $15 per hour of taxpayer funds.  Rumor has it that he also believes in perpetual motion machines. Anyway, as of this writing, 421-a remains expired.  But the betting is that it will be revived, with a generous helping of taxpayer money to people already well in the top half of the income distribution.

The Buffalo Billion

Upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Binghamton have been hemorrhaging jobs and population for decades; and of course the "solution" proposed by our state government is not lower taxes or fewer regulations, but rather massive subsidies for favored businesses.  The governor's current baby is the "Buffalo Billion," a taxpayer "investment" of a billion dollars or so supposedly to revive that moribund town.  It turns out that $750 million of the billion got claimed by just one project, a massive factory on the site of a former steel plant, for the use of Elon Musk's Solar City venture to build solar panels.  I last wrote about this giveaway back in July, when it emerged that Musk was going to temporarily "save" the near-bankruptcy Solar City by merging it into the somewhat-less-near-bankruptcy Tesla.  I would say that there is next to zero chance of the taxpayers ever recovering any of the $750 million.

But wait -- it gets worse!  Last week came down a complaint from Preet Bharara's Southern District of New York prosecutor's office alleging pervasive bribery and kickbacks in connection with the Buffalo factory.  Here is a copy of the Criminal Complaint.  The basic allegations are that would-be contractors on the project paid large sums (in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars) to people in the governor's office and/or state-connected economic development corporations to direct the construction business their way.  Really, was there any chance that this was not going on? 

Hurricane Sandy Relief

Hurricane Sandy -- wasn't that in 2012, now almost four years ago?  Yes, but this is New York, and therefore the state is still passing out taxpayer money to "rebuild."  And to whom?  Why, to waterfront homeowners whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.  Nicole Gelinas has a piece in today's New York Post.  Example, please:

It’s bad luck, sure, to buy a house on the coast and then learn it’s vulnerable to flooding. That’s what happened to one Broad Channel resident, who told the Wall Street Journal he paid $365,000 in 2008 for his home, which the city is paying $600,000 to elevate.

As Gelinas rightly points out, two-thirds of New York City residents do not own their homes at all, much less waterfront homes.  

When the state gets the idea that it can create economic development through government handouts, this is what you get.  Can it really be any other way? 










Climate Alarmism Airheads

At the link site RealClearPolitics, when they link to one article on a topic, they often also have a link to another article giving a different or opposite perspective on the same topic.  This morning they posted a link to my article from Monday, "The 'Science' Underlying Climate Alarmism Turns Up Missing."    Sure enough, the adjacent link was to an article by uber-alarmist Bill McKibben, titled "Recalculating the Climate Math."  I thought you readers might enjoy a comparison of the two.

My post featured a new Research Report just out from a group of prominent independent scientist and mathematicians, that subjected EPA's so-called "Endangerment Finding" to rigorous validation (or invalidation) as against the best available empirical evidence from 13 different sources.  EPA's Endangerment Finding is the regulatory determination that forms the basis for the current campaign of the Obama administration to fundamentally transform the energy sector of the economy, to put coal mines and coal miners and coal power plants out of business, to reduce and restrict the use of fossil fuels, and to cost the American public hundreds of billions of dollars -- all to "save the planet."  Yet as it imposes these enormous costs, EPA somehow skipped the step of conducting any rigorous validation/invalidation exercise of the Endangerment Finding against the best available evidence.  "Science," of course, is the method by which hypotheses are proposed, and then those hypotheses are subjected to rigorous validation/invalidation tests as against the best empirical data.  After applying that method in the best tradition of science, the conclusion of the Research Report that I discussed is that EPA's Endangerment Finding has been invalidated.  

Now, a person might very reasonably want that conclusion to be subjected to meticulous scrutiny.  That's why the authors of the Report posted all of their data and methods publicly, so that anyone could take whatever potshots they want.  The key to science is reproducibility.  Maybe somebody can find other or better data that lead to a different result.  Maybe somebody can find a flaw in the math.  Maybe somebody can propose an alternative interpretation of the data under which the alarmist hypothesis survives.  Who knows?  Have at it!

And then there's McKibben's article.  Really, is there any bigger airhead in the world of climate alarmism than this guy?  As far as I can figure out, he doesn't even know what the scientific method is.  A fair description of his article is that it is pitched to college humanities majors who may have taken one basic science course in junior high school, and may have been taught about the scientific method, but have long since forgotten the part of the method that involves testing the hypothesis against the data. 

Rather than try to state the theme of McKibben's article for him, I'll quote his own words:

The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.  Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.  That’s right: If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one.    

Now, the proposition that a given amount of burning of fossil fuels and adding of CO2 to the atmosphere will lead to a given amount of global temperature rise, such as the two degrees Celsius cited by McKibben -- that's what we call in science a "hypothesis."  Mr. McKibben, can you kindly share with us the empirical data and the methodology by which this hypothesis has been quantitatively validated to the extent that it can and should now be used to justify taking hundreds of billions of dollars of assets (whose value arises out of their being able to provide cheap energy to the masses) and rendering those assets valueless? 

You will not find the answer to that question in this article.  But, McKibben claims, the answer is to be found in the "new study released Thursday"!  Here is a link to that study.  And guess what?  You won't find the answer to my question there either!  This "study" treats the relationship of CO2 ppm in the atmosphere with temperature rise as a total given, and makes no attempt to support the quantitative relationship function or tie it to empirical data of any kind.  In a chart on page 6, the report asserts that the 2 degrees C limit of temperature rise will be hit when cumulative human CO2 emissions hit about 850 gigatons.  But how do they know that?  What is the empirical basis for the quantitative relationship function that they use?  Try studying the report and see if you can find it.  After several reads, the best I can find is this on page 12:

We know from atmospheric physics that the key factor determining the extent of global warming is the cumulative amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over time. 11

Aha!!  We "know" this is true, because of "atmospheric physics"!  And that's all you'll find here.  If you want to know any more of how we got this, you'll just have to follow footnote 11.

Go all the way to the end of the report, and here is the text of footnote 11:

Temperature change is roughly proportional to total cumulative CO2 emissions (until emissions peak, and assuming smooth variations in emissions). IPCC Climate Change 2013, Working Group 1 report, sec.12.5.4, pp.1108ff,  See also Reto Knutti presentation to UNFCCC Structured Expert Dialogue 2013-15 Review, 13 November 2013, ‘Relationship between global emissions and global temperature rise’, at

Once again, it's just more ex cathedra statements without any clue as to whether or how they have been empirically validated.  Go ahead and follow the links in the footnote as well.  Here is what you will find: UN IPCC modelers treating their models (i.e., hypotheses) as proved without empirical validation of any kind.  There are no further references.  You have hit the end of the road.  That's it.

So now, in the Research Report that I discussed in my post, we have a serious rigorous effort of validation or invalidation of the climate models (as applied in EPA's Endangerment Finding).  And the result is that, once ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) effects are backed out, there is no atmospheric warming in the 13 best data sets left to be explained by the CO2 greenhouse effect.  In the report that McKibben relies on, there is no empirical validation of the key hypotheses at all, whether in the report itself or in its references.  The difference is: one is science, that is, testing of the hypothesis against the best empirical data; and the other is just argument from authority.  Hey, we're the priests here!  Of course our hypothesis is true -- we say so!  How dare you ask us to validate it empirically!

Meanwhile, all of this is fairly meaningless in terms of any possible real world effect on the climate.  The "commitment" just made by China is to cause its emissions to "peak" in 15 years; and in the meantime they plan to build hundreds of additional coal-fired power plants, far more than replacing the emissions from any that we might close.  India equally has no intention of stopping the increase in the use of coal until everyone in that country has electricity, which again will be hundreds of power plants from now.  Japan closed all of its nuclear plants after the Fukushima accident in 2012, and replaced that electricity with additional fossil fuel resources.  Most of Africa remains to be electrified.  What say you to these things, McKibben?  If just the U.S. shuts its fossil fuel resources, how does that change anything?

But yes, our President has totally signed on with the McKibben program.  So has Hillary Clinton. 

You Are Right To Be Disgusted With The Political Class: Hillary Edition

Here at the Manhattan Contrarian, I generally try to focus on policy rather than on politicians and personalities.  The basic idea is to cut through the government's endless self-promotion of itself and grubbing for bigger programs and budgets and staffs, and to look at the pervasive and inevitable failure of its efforts.  "Anti-poverty" programs that cost a trillion dollars a year without ever ameliorating poverty.  "Affordable housing" programs ("the worst possible public policy") that trap the "beneficiaries" in poverty for life.  Healthcare programs that cost hundreds of billions of annual dollars without improving either poverty status or health outcomes.  "Environmental" regulations that impose hundreds of billions of dollars of annual costs on the economy without any detectable improvements to the environment.  Plus, of course, the endless stream of fake and doctored government-issued data and statistics all carefully engineered to promote the further growth of the government and the election of the favored candidates who will promote the growth of the government.

Study this stuff enough, and you just can't help but get more and more disgusted with the political class.  These are the people who are running things.  They have to know that the "anti-poverty" programs don't ameliorate poverty.  They have to know that the "affordable housing" programs trap people in poverty for life (while making them into reliable bought votes for the ins).  They have to know that the costs of these and the other failures make all working Americans immeasurably poorer.  They have to know the major ways in which the data and statistics are fake and doctored.  Which makes these people outright frauds.  They'll say anything to get their hands on taxpayer money to be used to keep themselves and their supporters in power.  Or, maybe they don't know.  That's even worse for them!  How is it even possible to be on the inside of the government at a high level and be so willfully ignorant?

All of which brings me to Hillary Clinton's op-ed in today's New York Times, headlined "My Plan For Helping America's Poor."   This is just as bad as it gets.  In a bare 600 or so words, the Democratic candidate manages to utter virtually every significant cliche of New York Times conventional ignorance and groupthink on the subject of anti-poverty efforts.  And what is her proposal of what to do?  You guessed it:  double down on failure!  Here's how it starts:

The true measure of any society is how we take care of our children. With all of our country’s resources, no child should ever have to grow up in poverty. Yet every single night, all across America, kids go to sleep hungry or without a place to call home.  We have to do better.

Can we have any recognition that the American taxpayers are already spending a trillion dollars a year or so on these "anti-poverty" efforts?  How is it even possible to spend that much money and still have "kids go[ing] to sleep hungry or without a place to call home"?  Hey, Hillary:  you were the First Lady for eight years.  You were a U.S. Senator for eight years.  Then you were a senior member of the current administration.  Isn't it time to take ownership of the failure?  Who is to blame here, if not you?  Haven't you known all this time that the government was blowing a trillion a year of taxpayer money without making any dent in poverty?  Where has been your advocacy over the eight years of Obama's presidency to redirect some the the trillion a year of "anti-poverty" money into something that might work?  I sure haven't heard it.  

And who is this "we" throughout your article?  I get the clear impression that you're trying to guilt me and the other overly-generous taxpayers with the government's failure to spend the immense resources it has been given in any remotely effective manner.  Sorry, but it's not the taxpaying class that has been given the trillion per year and has failed to solve the problem of poverty.  It's the political class -- you and your cronies.

So let's look at a few of the specific proposals.  First, note of course that there isn't the slightest suggestion here that any of the current spending might be cut as worthless.  What, and make some of my supporters go out and get a real job?  No, instead it's all new and additional government spending and programs!

I will work with Democrats and Republicans to make a historic investment in good-paying jobs — jobs in infrastructure and manufacturing, technology and innovation, small businesses and clean energy.

All wealth comes from government spending!  Hey, it's an "investment"!  And that "clean energy" thing can pass a lot of government billions to supporters of the Clinton Foundation!

If we want to get serious about poverty, we also need a national commitment to create more affordable housing.

As long as we're going to go for bad public policy, we might as well go for the "worst possible public policy"!  So-called "affordable housing" is how you spend as much money as possible to benefit as few people as possible, while being absolutely sure that no one currently in poverty ever exits.  It's not possible, is it, for Hillary not to know that "affordable housing" subsidies don't count as income and therefore never raise a single person out of poverty?  I really don't know the answer to that.

And how to finance the new "affordable housing" initiative?  With tax credits, of course!  That will make sure that the program enriches a handful of her wealthiest supporters:

My plan would expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits in high-cost areas to increase our affordable housing supply. . . .  

And is there anywhere here any recognition that what we have done so far hasn't worked?  It's totally the opposite:

[W]e’re making progress, thanks to the hard work of the American people and President Obama. . . .   In the United States, a new report from the Census Bureau found that there were 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty in 2015 than just a year before.  Median incomes rose by 5.2 percent, the fastest growth on record. 

Yes, you knew that one was coming:  claiming that the Census Bureau's transparently fake pre-election methodological change not only fairly presents a real rise in incomes and decline in poverty, but also can be somehow attributed to policies of the Obama administration that were in fact intentionally designed to keep poverty high.  See my previous two posts on this subject here and here.

Yes, you are absolutely right to be disgusted.  


The "Science" Underlying Climate Alarmism Turns Up Missing

In the list of President Obama's favorite things to do, using government power to save the world from human-caused "climate change" has to rank at the top.  From the time of his nomination acceptance speech in June 2008 ("this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal . . ."), through all of his State of the Union addresses, and right up to the present, he has never missed an opportunity to lecture us on how atmospheric warming from our sinful "greenhouse gas" emissions is the greatest crisis facing humanity.  Just a couple of weeks ago, while on his way in Air Force One to China to "ratify" his new climate non-treaty treaty, he stopped off to make two speeches on the subject, one in Nevada and the other in Hawaii.  From the Guardian on September 1:

Obama embraced language that would not be out of place from an environmental group, calling on politicians “to be less concerned with special interests and more concerned about the judgment of future generations”. He lamented the “withering” crops in the Marshall Islands and the fact that the government of Kiribati, another low-lying Pacific nation, has purchased land in Fiji to relocate its people due to the rising seas.

And don't forget, Air Force One is two 747s, not just one.  Hey, you wouldn't want the President to go crossing the Pacific without a backup 747, now would you?  And while the President lectures us about our sins against the planet, his EPA and other agencies embark on the project to impose penance on us by forcing the closure of coal and other fossil fuel power plants, blocking pipelines, bankrupting the coal mining industry, subsidizing intermittent power sources that can't possibly run a fully operational electrical grid at reasonable cost, and multiplying our cost of electricity by an order of magnitude or so.  To save the planet!

But is there actually any scientific basis for this?  Supposedly, it's to be found in a document uttered by EPA back in December 2009, known as the "Endangerment Finding."  In said document, the geniuses at EPA purport to find that the emissions of "greenhouse gases" into the atmosphere are causing a danger to human health and welfare through the greenhouse warming mechanism.  But, you ask, is there any actual proof of that?  EPA's answer (found in the Endangerment Finding) is the "Three Lines of Evidence".  From page 47 of the Endangerment Finding's Technical Support Document:

The attribution of observed climate change to anthropogenic activities is based on multiple lines of evidence. The first line of evidence arises from the basic physical understanding of the effects of changing concentrations of GHGs, natural factors, and other human impacts on the climate system. The second line of evidence arises from indirect, historical estimates of past climate changes that suggest that the changes in global surface temperature over the last several decades are unusual (Karl et al, 2009). The third line of evidence arises from the use of computer-based climate models to simulate the likely patterns of response of the climate system to different forcing mechanisms (both natural and anthropogenic).  

But, guys, have you actually checked the empirical data to see if your "lines of evidence" stand up?  Climate skeptics have been carping for years that the serious studies that should have been done to back up the "lines of evidence" seem to be completely lacking.  And now, this morning, we get this, first appearing at the ICECAP website: "The most important assumption in EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding has been conclusively invalidated."  

The news is that a major new work of research, from a large group of top scientists and mathematicians, asserts that EPA's "lines of evidence," and thus its Endangerment Finding, have been scientifically invalidated.  Here is a relatively long quote from the summary:

On December 15, 2009, EPA issued its Green House Gas (GHG) Endangerment Finding, which has driven very significant and costly regulations beginning with CO2. Focusing primarily on the time period since 1950, EPA’s Endangerment Finding predicated on Three Lines of Evidence, claims that Higher CO2 Emissions have led to dangerously Higher Global Average Surface Temperatures.

The assumption of the existence of a “Tropical Hot Spot (THS)” is critical to all Three Lines of Evidence in EPA’s GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding.

Stated simply, first, the THS is claimed to be a fingerprint or signature of atmospheric and Global Average Surface Temperatures (GAST) warming caused by increasing GHG/CO2 concentrations[1]. The proper test for the existence of the THS in the real world is very simple. Are the slopes of the three temperature trend lines (upper & lower troposphere and surface) all positive, statistically significant and do they have the proper top down rank order?

Second, higher atmospheric CO2 and other GHGs concentrations are claimed to have been the primary cause of the claimed record setting GAST over the past 50 plus years.

Third, the THS assumption is imbedded in all of the climate models that EPA still relies upon in its policy analysis supporting, for example, its Clean Power Plan - recently put on hold by a Supreme Court Stay. These climate models are also critical to EPA’s Social Cost of Carbon estimates used to justify a multitude of regulations across many U.S. Government agencies. . . .  

These analysis results [in this Report] would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot (THS), caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world. Also critically important, even on an all-other-things-equal basis, this analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important temperature time series data analyzed.

Thus, the analysis results invalidate each of the Three Lines of Evidence in its CO2 Endangerment Finding. Once EPA’s THS assumption is invalidated, it is obvious why the climate models they claim can be relied upon, are also invalid. And, these results clearly demonstrate - 13 times in fact - that once just the ENSO impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no “record setting” warming to be concerned about. In fact, there is no ENSO-Adjusted Warming at all. These natural ENSO impacts are shown in this research to involve both changes in solar activity and the well-known 1977 Pacific Climate Shift.

So the authors of this Report, operating without government or industry funding, compiled the best available atmospheric temperature time series from 13 independent sources (satellites, balloons, buoys, and surface records), and then backed out only ENSO (i.e., El Nino/La Nina) effects.  And with that data and that sole adjustment they found: no evidence of the so-called Tropical Hot Spot that is the key to EPA's claimed "basic physical understanding" of the claimed atmospheric greenhouse warming model, plus no statistically significant atmospheric warming at all to be explained.

For those interested in all the gory technical details, here is a link to the full Executive Summary, and here is a link to the full 68 page Report, complete with zillions of charts and access to all the archived underlying data.  Note that, in great distinction to the tradition of climate "science," where hiding data from adversaries is the norm, here the authors have made all data and methods fully available.  Try to prove them wrong!

Well, back to you EPA!  Do you mean that you're trying to impose hundreds of billions of dollars of costs on the American economy and citizens and the so-called "scientific" basis for your project never existed? You'd better come up with something pretty good and quick!

Meanwhile, Hillary is saying that she supports Obama's climate agenda because she "believes in science."  Does she even know that science is a process of testing hypotheses against data, and not a set of enforced orthodox beliefs?  Don't count on it.