Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sen. Carl Levin - Communication and Response


About 2 weeks ago, I sent a letter and attachments along with a CD to Sen. Carl Levin of my home state, Michigan.

Sen. Levin Global Warming Issues.pdf

I received this form letter which pretty much shows that neither the senator nor the staff read the material I sent... big surprise!

Dear Mr. Hall:

Thank you for contacting me regarding global warming. I am glad you shared your concerns with me.

There is a consensus among scientists that global warming is occurring, that human activity is causing it, and that we need to act now for the sake of future generations. However, there has been no consensus in the United States about what we should do to stop global warming.

In February 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is made up of hundreds of scientists from over 100 countries, including the U.S., released a report which predicts that if we do not make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the Earth's average temperature would very likely increase between 3.2 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit and sea levels would likely rise between 7 and 23 inches during this century.

Climate change is a global problem, and it requires a global solution. The most important action that would tackle global warming is to create an effective and enforceable international treaty that binds all nations to reduce greenhouse gases, including developing countries such as China and India. Although the U.S. is currently the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China and India are polluting more and more each year. China, for example, is opening up a new coal-fired power plant every 7 to 10 days. By 2014, China will be emitting more greenhouse gas emissions than the United States. Without actions to limit greenhouse gases worldwide, nothing we do in the United States will really matter. One way to enforce such a treaty would be to allow countries to reject products from other countries that are not on board with greenhouse gas emissions reduction limits. We should also insist that international development agencies the U.S. helps to fund, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the USAID, not support countries that violate international agreements in global warming.

Proposals that mandate greenhouse gas emission limits in the U.S. alone would create an incentive for U.S. businesses to move their facilities, and the jobs that go with them, to other countries that do not have costly environmental standards. The United States must take a leadership role in addressing climate change, but our actions need to move us in the right direction by addressing all sectors of the economy, not by simply shifting industries, jobs, and emissions to another part of the world. By working with industry leaders to achieve new technology breakthroughs, we will help create jobs and spur our economy as well. With significant investments in research and development, public-private partnerships and incentives for manufacturers to invest in new technologies, we can make great technological leaps in hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles and dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions not only here, but around the world.

It is critical that we take steps equal to the environmental challenge at hand and that do not needlessly hurt the economy. This type of global, comprehensive approach is the way to address this very real problem of global warming.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Carl Levin
Well, Sen. Levin, I guess that means we will be insisting that the Chinese build nuclear-powered electricity-generating plants. And will we be doing the same to replace the 50%+ of our electricity generated by coal?

It's amazing how quickly government can turn the opinions of some scientists into billions of dollars of costs for all of us... without considering what other scientists are saying. Still, at least he is saying that the whole world needs to be involved... whether anyone really needs to or not.

The real problem is the word "consensus". There may be a consensus among marketing managers or art critics or politicians... somewhat of an agreement... but I like to think that scientists should "agree" ... not somewhat agree. That" somewhat" part is just a little too loose for scientific accuracy.

Scientific fact is not based on democratic principles. Prove it or lose it.

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)