One of the latest talking points from the left is that President Trump is so unhinged that he should be removed from office by the processes of the Constitution's 25th Amendment. (That Amendment, adopted in 1967, provides for the Vice President to take over as Acting President whenever the Vice President and "a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments" inform Congress that the President "is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.") For myself, I'm struggling to figure out exactly what about Trump's activities is so crazy. You may disagree with Trump about plenty of things, from Obamacare reform to tax reform to immigration policy to rolling back environmental regulations to cutting discretionary government spending -- but plenty of perfectly sane people think that these things are good ideas, and even necessary.
Now, can we look at a few things that are definitely 100 percent certifiably crazy? I'm talking of course about proposals that the Democratic governors and Democrat-controlled legislatures are implementing, or trying to implement, in California and New York.
Start with California. In September 2016 California's legislature passed, and Governor ("Moonbeam") Brown signed, a law that they call out there SB-32. SB-32 requires that there be a reduction of "greenhouse gas" emissions in California to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. At one time in my life I would have thought that 2030 was impossibly far away; but it's now only about 12 1/2 years, and for these purposes that is not very far at all.
Larry Hamlin has a big write-up on SB-32 and its consequences today at Watts Up With That. We all know that California has been on a big push during the whole 27 years since 1990 to replace fossil fuels with "renewables" and to force big-time energy conservation on the citizenry. They have covered the hillsides with wind turbines, and the valleys with solar collectors. So how much of the 40% reduction have they accomplished so far? The answer is, less than none. According to this chart appearing in Hamlin's post, California's emissions for the latest year given (2014) were actually marginally above the 1990 level:
But don't worry, we're going to get started on this tomorrow, and emissions are going to fall off a cliff starting in 2020! And how exactly are they planning to accomplish these reductions? The answer, according to Hamlin's analysis of statements from state authorities, is "massive regulatory and policy change[s]," aka a vast regime of coercion. Oh, and by the way, they haven't yet figured out what exactly that coercion is going to consist of:
[E]xtraordinary admissions are noted from the state's leaders about the complete lack of knowledge, expertise and experience of the state government needed to achieve these escalated emissions goals. . . .
All of this, mind you, to achieve a reduction in world CO2 emissions of a small fraction of 1%, even as China, India, Africa, et al., race forward with hundreds of new coal power plants. It is as safe a bet as you could make that the emissions reductions mandated by SB-32 will never take place. But how much will the lives of Californians be disrupted in the meantime? This is seriously insane.
But is it as insane as what is going on in New York? New York has two entries in today's insanity sweepstakes.
First, from our illustrious Governor Cuomo (in his latest State of the State Report), we know that, like California, we must “double down by investing in the fight against dirty fossil fuels," not to mention the equally critical battle against "fracked gas from neighboring states.” And how exactly are we going to do that? The funny thing is, the one big, real energy action on the part of the Governor that is going to have a dramatic impact on emissions seems to be taking us in the opposite direction. I'm talking, of course, about the impending forced closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. According Robert Bryce in a recent piece in the City Journal, Indian Point has a capacity of 2083 MW; it provides something around 30% of the power for New York City. And how exactly is New York going to replace all that power without a big increase in CO2 emissions? Bryce points to a report put out by something called Synapse Energy Economics at the behest of green groups Riverkeeper and NRDC, promoting what Bryce calls the "fictions" that renewables and conservation can take up all the slack:
[Synapse] published a report last week repeating the same shopworn claims that the Green Left has been making for years: namely, that we don’t need coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear energy, and that virtually all our energy needs can be supplied by renewable energy and greater efficiency. The report . . . makes three grievous errors: it ignores one of the gas-fired plants now being built, it greatly exaggerates the potential for energy efficiency, and it makes no mention of the backlash against wind energy in New York.
Meanwhile, another report from something called Environmental Progress (nuclear energy boosters) predicts that the closing of Indian Point will lead to New York's greenhouse gas emissions going up by an astounding 29%. Which side do you want to bet on? As a clue, there is a huge new natural gas plant -- about 2/3 the capacity of Indian Point -- about to begin construction in the Town of Dover, about 80 miles North of New York City.
Can we top even that one? Yes! According to this post on Reason Hit-and-Run on May 17, the New York State Assembly has now passed, by a vote of 87-38, a bill providing for so-called "single payer" health care. The bill now goes to the State Senate, where this article at Common Dreams reports it is within a vote or two of having enough support to get passed. According to Reason, the estimated annual cost of the proposed new healthcare system will be some $91 billion -- a figure well in excess of the entire annual take of all state taxes in New York, which are expected to generate only $82 billion by the time this healthcare law would take effect in 2019. And New York already has tax rates that are at or near the very highest rates of any state in the country. Moreover, the entire $82 billion is already committed to other purposes. So where to get a fresh, new $91 billion per year?
To pay for the single-payer system, Friedman suggested that New York create a new tax on dividends, interest, and capital gains that would range from 9 percent to 16 percent, depending on how much investment income an individual reports, and a new payroll tax that would similarly range from 9 percent to 16 percent depending on an individual's income.
In short, there will be a far-more-than-doubling of all already-near-highest-in-the-country income-related taxes. No problem! (By the way, those measures wouldn't raise nearly enough money to pay for this, but really, when you are at this level of progressive fantasy, why not just pretend?)
So, folks, keep in mind that this is what the left has in mind for you if and when they take control of the presidency and Congress. And they say that Donald Trump is insane!