Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > Duck recognition for dummies

Thanks for your concern. ;-)
I had come to the same conclusion. My 7.53 post yesterday was intended to be my last on the subject!

Sep 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Sep 6, 2012 at 9:06 PM |BitBucket

BB, just as I was feeling inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, that we could agree to disagree about differences of opinion sincerely(?) held and show mutual respect on that basis, you are now showing distinct signs of frothing at the mouth. It is not an ideological opposition to a carbon tax but a practical opposition to an unnecessary extra tax, on top of all the others!

A tax that both retards productive economic activity and lowers ordinary people's standard of living is bad, full stop. With VAT people still have the choice whether or not to buy a particular consumer product, or to look for a cheaper alternative. A carbon tax is coercive and oppressive because most people have little choice about the amount of energy they use for their own basic needs, for lighting, heating, bathing and cooking.

As was pointed out in a report from a respected economic expert group last year (forget who they were but no connection with skeptic interests) much more CO2 mitigation could have been achieved in the EU, at much much lower cost, by forgetting about renewables and simply replacing all the old inefficient power stations with new gas-fired ones. No doubt there would have been a bonus in air quality as well. But the CAGW scam was never based on logic or common sense, but rather on blind ideology. An ideology you seem to support, BB.

Btw If you refrain from transgressing the bounds of civility, we are more likely to consider your point of view. Which I assume is what you want, isn't it?

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

And I agree with you RKS and Mike. No point in continuing if the attitude doesn't improve.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Or is it a her?
Sep 7, 2012 at 8:51 AM geronimo

If I remember, BBD once referred to Mrs BBD, so presumanbly a him.

Sep 7, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

BBD once referred to Mrs BBD, so presumanbly a him
In 2012, Martin? Not necessarily.

Sep 7, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike, I did say presumanbly (sic).

Sep 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Chris, in this thread you have so far accused me of:

- being a stooge for NGO/Greens/Gillard
- being a troll
- using old data
- frothing at the mouth

And others have accused me of

- possibly being dumb
- being an adolescent
- being an 'it' rather than a person
- taking the p**s with thread clogging nonsense

And yet you that claim I am not civil. Please point out where I transgressed.

And note that VAT is a classic 'regressive tax' - just what Mike claims of energy taxes. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Governments don't impose taxes for fun. They generally cannot even bring themselves to impose enough taxes to pay for all the things electorates demand (hence budget deficits almost everywhere). They may impose an energy tax, but the tax goes into the general kitty and is spent along with the rest. So if there are no energy taxes then the other taxes must be higher or there must be more borrowing (which must be paid back using taxes at some time). Having said that, the tax burden in Oz seems far lower than in Europe and the budget is nearly in balance.

Sep 8, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

For the record I have no problems with BBs conduct. Some with the claim of being for small government then supporting bad tax, but I guess that is a definition problem. Or even just a matter of opinion.

VAT doesn't have the frictional effect of carbon tax. When I put VAT on my invoices, the people I bill don't care as they are going to reclaim it anyway. Only the poor mug at the end, the consumer, actually pays the VAT. The rest of the chain merely collects it. Carbon taxes, on the other hand, are cumulative, even compounded. And they are going to pick up VAT on the way too. Double dip. Energy costs will affect the decision of corporations to build their factory in one country rather than another. Or to close factories. Energy cost is (my opinion) the prime determinant of prosperity. Energy costs need to be as low as possible consonant with good corporate behaviour.

Sep 8, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

BB, I was reluctant to specify, but it seemed to me that this remark in particular was laden with bovver boyish contempt:

Rhoda, same applies - deal with the reality of the actual tax level, not some longed-for ideal (ps. sounds like you are reading from Mike's copy book).

It offended me, even if Rhoda didn't take it that way herself.

Governments don't impose taxes for fun.

No, but they impose unnecessary and excessive taxes if they are poor fiscal policy managers. The Australian economy is very different from the EU's, as our wealth derives primarily from mineral/fossil fuel and agricultural product exports. We have a high population growth rate (about half natural increase and half immigration) and an infrastructure backlog of many years. We shouldn't be slavishly following misguided EU policy that is even less suitable for our own circumstances.

That being said, I am no economist and frankly find the subject somewhat boring. So I'll leave it there and wish you well in regard to this topic. I contend that while taxes are inevitable, excessive and economically harmful taxes are not.

Sep 8, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

So I will add "thug" to the list. Nice talking to you Chris.

Imagine a blank slate; no taxes exist. Add an energy tax applied to each barrel of oil, tonne of coal, cubic meter of gas etc. Companies A and B buying energy now face higher commodity prices and raise their prices accordingly. Company C that buys from A and B now faces higher input prices and raises its own prices. And as this propagtes to companies D, E, F etc, we have inflation - the price of everything is affected - and at all levels it is in companies' interests to reduce their energy intensity.

Now imagine that instead of an energy tax we raise the same amount using a tax on labour; let's call it a national insurance scheme. Companies A and B now face higher labour costs instead of higher commodity prices and again pass these costs on in their own prices. Company C (and D, E, F etc) sees higher prices on inputs. It doesn't matter that they are caused by a labour tax instead of an energy tax - either way it must set its own prices accordingly. Of course C, D, E, F etc must also pay more for their own labour. Again we have inflation - the price of everything is affected - but this time at all levels it is in companies' interests to reduce their labour intensity.

So companies minimize their energy use in one scenario and their labour use in the other. In one, high energy use is penalised and in the other high labour use. But the way the different taxes affect the economy, how they percolate down through the layers, is much the same. Can one really say that an energy tax is fundamentally different and hence to be renounced as economic heresy?

Sep 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThug (aka. BitBucket)

1 You make no mention of the effects of selective taxation further downstream.
2. You have just demonstrated that you do not know either what causes inflation or what inflation is in reality.

I was right to stop arguing with you.

Sep 8, 2012 at 6:39 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I demonstrated the equivalence of energy taxes and other taxes; I did not model the whole economy. Even though you cannot see it, I'm sure other readers will recognize that energy taxes are not fundamentally different.

'Downstream' issues, such as fuel poverty, exist and have always existed both with and without carbon taxes.

Sep 8, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Sep 8, 2012 at 11:46 PM BitBucket

'Downstream' issues, such as fuel poverty, exist and have always existed both with and without carbon taxes.

Correct, now tell me if fuel poverty has always existed, just how does the introduction of an additional tax alleviate fuel poverty? Or do you mean that fuel poverty is your aim? Because if it is, make yourself ready!

Sep 9, 2012 at 12:02 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

1 You make no mention of the effects of selective taxation further downstream.
2. You have just demonstrated that you do not know either what causes inflation or what inflation is in reality.

I was right to stop arguing with you.

Sep 8, 2012 at 6:39 PM | Mike Jackson>>>>>

I think we're of a similar generation and have seen so many different government policies and their outcomes. We also know when we're dealing with a blinkered zealot who knows just a little bit about their favourite subject and doesn't realize it.

Sep 9, 2012 at 4:01 AM | Registered CommenterRKS

One of the things that makes BH interesting is the insults. It is clear that blog denizens are unlikely to say, "you know, you have convinced me of your case...". So insults are like backhanded compliments. When readers realize that their opinion is built upon sand, they sometimes lash out in impotent rage.

Today I collected a "blinkered zealot" badge, which has given me quite a boost :-)

Sep 9, 2012 at 7:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterZealot (aka. BitBucket)

Your comparison of energy tax and labour tax would be a lot more relevant if it were referring to carbon tax as implemented. This promotes low- or zero-carbon energy sources over others, maybe more efficient. The equivalent in labour terms would be to single out sets of workers for preference, say by gender or religion or hair colour or education to favour slow or bad workers over others. It wouldn't be a good idea for workers, and it isn't for energy either. When low-carbon solutions can compete, as in cheap gas or (hypothetical) competitive nuclear, they should be preferred rather than less efficient subsidy-requiring solutions whether they meet the criterion of renewability or not. However, this theory supposes we would care more about economic progress than stupid lip-service to an unproven hypothesis which is clearly a scare. Hey, gor back to the topic.

Far too much of this thread has been devoted to criticisms of the behaviour and character of other contributors. It is a waste of time and computrons.

Sep 9, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

When readers realize that their opinion is built upon sand, they sometimes lash out in impotent rage.
Pot, meet kettle. They also tend to refuse to address the argument and choose to paint themselves as victims of some sort.

Sep 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

My opinion is that both CAGW skeptics and large government skeptics fail to attract more to their point of view because they attribute implausible motivations to their opponents. Or rather, they don’t make clear that these motivations may not be *conscious* motivations of their opponents.

Two of the most commonly attributed motivations are given in Rhoda’s head post, namely “any politician may see a chance to tax [as?] a way to more influence or advancement” and “scientists who use [CAGW] as a lever to get funding”.

Before you think me naive, I am not saying such motivations don’t exist anywhere, I am saying that:
(a) they aren’t as common as another motivation, which I think too often goes unrecognised;
(a) they aren’t as plausible to the average disinterested citizen, as people who follow climate and politics think they are. Attributing such motivations invites retorts such as BitBucket’s “governments don't impose taxes for fun” (which I agree with).

I think the common motivation that goes unrecognised is a desire to feel important or virtuous. It’s emotional immaturity. You could call it “hidden” or “crypto” narcissism, as I think it is often unrecognised even by those whom it affects. I think this is the motivation behind a lot of public spending, and also behind some climate ‘science’ (you know who I mean). On a conscious level, people are able to bring themselves to believe that they really are *doing* something important or virtuous. But there’s a subtle difference. This is because the true (selfish) motivation stops them from carefully and dispassionately considering all of the evidence. For example, in the case of many CAGW acolytes, the true motivation stops them from properly reading and considering skeptical evidence, such as Steve McIntyre’s posts, or our host’s book. In the case of politicians, the emotion stops them from considering that raising taxes to pay for something ‘useful’ takes the freedom away from taxpayers to spend it in even more useful ways.

So next time you’re trying to convince somebody that climate scientists have misbehaved, or that taxes are too high, you might do better to talk about “crypto-narcissism” (maybe people can think of a better term), and how it stops people from properly considering all of the evidence, rather than talking about the conscious seeking of more funding or power.

Just my two cents!

Sep 9, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

SJF, point taken, but i was already going too far in attributing motives to the confluence of interest. I ought to have been suggesting possible motives. The object being to show if it needed showing that a confluence can exist without a conspiracy. The other side seem to want to shift the debate into the new world order conspiracy illuminati billderberger area to avoid discussion of cui bono issues.

On why people think in a particular way, why we come to the opinions we do, my observation is that all of us who are human come to our conclusions first, fully formed, then use our intellect to justify them. If that means elevating pro evidence beyond its deserts or dismissing anti evidence without due consideration, that's what we do. We all do. Anybody who can't see that has no self-knowledge at all. For which I have no evidence, but it doesn't matter because my mind is made up.

Sep 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Rhoda, (composed before seeing you 1:42 post, but I'll go ahead and post...) in my mind you have conflated two separate ideas.

The idea of a carbon tax is to put a price on the GHG, CO2. Imposing a tax monetizes the hidden 'subsidy' (for want of a better word) of not paying for the warming effects of CO2 emissions. It does indeed have the effect of supporting less efficient means of generation. Such a tax is clearly nonsensical if you take the view that there are no such warming effects of that they do not need controlling. You and others here take that view. My little model doesn't touch on that because it is incontrovertible (if you think there is no warming etc).

The other ideas is your (collective, nothing personal) introduction of pseudo-economic arguments on the morality or efficiency of energy taxes, as taxes. I think I have shown that, as taxes, they are broadly equivalent.

Sep 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

You compared carbon tax (or more specifically energy tax) with labour tax. If you sought to prove that one is as bad as the other, consider it done. Neither are taxes at the end of the chain, which is the distinction which is arguable. It was again a false dichotomy. Now, you don't have to believe that taxes are best at the end of the chain but if you take up that argument you should not get to pick what comparisons to make out of thin air. Having said that, you may see it however you like, it seems pointless to argue because we are coming at it from very different bases. We are not going to agree.

Sep 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda


Now, you don't have to believe that taxes are best at the end of the chain but if you take up that argument you should not get to pick what comparisons to make out of thin air.

Can you suggest a more suitable comparison instead?

We are not going to agree.

Thank goodness for that! Where would be the fun?

Sep 9, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Should have added, I think my theory explains the behaviour of a lot of journalists too. Too many of them are so fond of the the idea that they are performing a worthwhile public service, for example 'championing science', or fingering the bankers as the source of all our economic woes, that they are reluctant to properly consider evidence that things aren't quite so simple. I think media bias can be explained more convincingly in these terms than as a left-wing / liberal bias, although it has that outcome.

Sep 9, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

RKS, I don't try to "hide my warmist prejudices"; they are plain to see. BTW I have already received the "blinkered zealot" badge from you so I guess I can't count that. Or maybe I should count it as, "blinkered zealot and bar" in my chestful of badges. Expecting some new ones from you in return...

Sep 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM | BitBucket>>>>>

From david-henderson-on-gwpf-reports

Argument for the sake of argument with the intention to disrupt the thread.

Even arguing it's perfectly ok to force our industries abroad causing unemployment, and force the less well off and pensioners into fuel poverty, through the implementation of politically motivated carbon taxes and resultant exorbitant fuel prices.

Yes, we know exactly where your prejudices lie and the reasons you deliberately disrupt BH threads.


Sep 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

Rhoda, nice analysis, and one I broadly agree with. But, although I regard all conspiracy theories with a jaundiced eye, there is no doubt that a segment of the save-the-world crowd are firmly wedded to the concept of supra-national government for its own sake - not least because they foresee attractive career paths for themselves in it. Indeed, the climate junketeers are already benefiting via their endless round of trips to resort towns, all expenses paid, to ponder the future of the planet.

I don't think this is driving the climate change gravy train, but it is certainly one of the first class carriages. Fortunately, the concept of national interest is not yet dead, hence the failure to sign off binding international agreements. But sometimes, it is better to travel than to arrive :).

Sep 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna