Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia

by Robert Felix

History of climate gets ‘erased’ online.

“A Wikipedia trustee and a Wikipedian In Residence have been editing the online encyclopedia on behalf of PR clients,” says this article on cnet.com. “Add the discovery of an SEO business run on the side, and this tempest is out of its teapot.”

This latest scandal brings to mind the Wikipedia administrator accused of re-writing more than 5,000 Wikipedia entries in order to spread the global warming message.

“History of climate gets ‘erased’ online,” shouted the headline on wnd.com.
“More than 5,000 entries rewritten to hype global-warming agenda”

Here are excerpts from that article:

“A new report reveals a British scientist and Wikipedia administrator rewrote climate history, editing more than 5,000 unique articles in the online encyclopedia to cover traces of a medieval warming period – something Climategate scientists saw as a major roadblock in the effort to spread the global warming message.

Recently hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit expose a plot to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period, a 400-year era that began around A.D. 1000, the Financial Post’s Lawrence Solomon reports.

The warming period is said to have improved agriculture and increased life spans, but scientists at the center of the Climategate e-mail scandal believed the era undermined their goal of spreading concern about global warming as it pertains to today’s climate.

Instead, the group created a website called RealClimate.org.

The RealClimate.org team consisted of Schmidt, Mike Mann, Eric Steig, William Connolley, Stefan Rahmstorf, Ray Bradley, Amy Clement, Rasmus Benestad and Caspar Ammann.

Solomon revealed that Connolley, one man in the nine-member team who is a U.K. scientist, a software engineer and Green Party activist, took control of Wikipedia’s entries to see that any trace of the true climate history would be erased.

Beginning in February 2003, Connolley rewrote Wikipedia entries on global warming, the greenhouse effect, the instrumental temperature record, the urban heat island, on climate models and on global cooling, according to the report. In February, he began editing the Little Ice Age. By August, he began to rewrite history without the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned to the hockey-stick chart.

Through his role as a Wikipedia administrator, Connolley is said to have created or rewritten 5,428 unique Wikipedia entries.

“When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it – more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand,” Solomon wrote. “When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred – over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions.”

Through his control of the Wikipedia pages, Connolley is said to have “turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.”

See entire article.

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Obama Campaign Redesigns American Flag

By Todd Starnes

The Obama campaign is now selling copies of an American flag painting that replaces the 50 stars in a blue field with the president’s campaign logo. Critics are calling the artwork creepy and unAmerican.

“Our Stripes: Flag Print” is being promoted on the Obama campaign website. The screen print is designed by Ross Bruggink and Dan Olson.

The Obama campaign tweeted an explanation of the poster early this morning: “A poster to say there are no red states or blue states, only the United States.”
The limited-edition print costs $35.

President Obama’s version of the American flag.

Another painting resembled an outline of the continental US. The “Our Stripes: Country Print” was designed to look like an American flag, too. Like the other painting, the stars representing the 50 states were removed and replaced with Obama’s campaign logo.

Reaction on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook has been overwhelmingly negative.
“This is so offensive,” one reader wrote. “I don’t know why I’m shocked, but I am. This stoops to new lows.”
Another reader offered this assessment: “Once again, very shameful. This is a disgrace.
“And just what was wrong with the flag with the stars and stripes?” a Facebook reader wondered. “Why must Obama create his own flag?”

The United States of Obama?

“A good number of my family, including me and my twin sons, have served under the flag,” another wrote. “This is so far beyond insulting. I can’t imagine anyone who considers themself a patriot voting for Obama. Who does he think he is?”

Both prints are available online at http://www.barackobama.com. You can also purchase Obama yoga pants, Obama martini glasses, and coffee mugs emblazoned with President Obama’s fake birth certificate.

Todd is the author of Dispatches From Bitter America — endorsed by Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee. Click here to get your copy.

President Obama is AWOL on the biggest issue of all

By L. Brent Bozell III

Thursday’s jobless numbers and Wednesday’s CBO report are beyond ominous and present a direct challenge to the rationale for Barack Obama’s presidency.

Before President Obama took office, he vilified President Bush for adding $4 trillion to our nation’s debt as “unpatriotic.” If Bush’s spending over the course of two terms was “unpatriotic,” Obama adding nearly $5.3 trillion to the national debt in half this time is not only “unpatriotic,” it’s also hypocritical. It displays an utter disregard for financial health of this country.

Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half by 2012, but instead has increased spending so rapidly that our nation has surpassed the $16 trillion threshold. He and his ObamaClones in the Senate continue to call for even more
liberal deficit spending.

Senate Democrats have enabled Obama by refusing to produce a budget for over three years. This is a complete dereliction of duty on the part of Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Senate is mandated to produce a budget but has failed to do so for almost the entire time Obama has been in office.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia expressed rare honesty in saying he was at a loss to explain why his fellow Democrats have gone along with this. The former governor even said if he had done this while governor of his state, he would’ve been impeached.

It’s an absolute disgrace that the last time the Senate passed a budget was on April 29, 2009. Since this resolution—which aimed to cut the deficit by two-thirds by 2014—the deficit has increased by $4.8 trillion.
Obama and his enablers in the Senate refuse to do their jobs and idly stand by as our nation teeters on the fiscal cliff. The American people not only deserve to know how the politicians in Washington are spending their tax dollars, they also deserve representatives who do the job they were elected to do.
Do we need more evidence that Obama doesn’t take fiscal responsibility seriously? His last budget proposal was shot down by both Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress: 414-0 in the House of Representatives and 99-0 in the Senate. When was the last time—if ever—you had a national, unanimous repudiation of this magnitude?

Both Obama and Reid must be held accountable for failing to do their jobs. The same goes for other enablers in the Senate such as Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – all of whom are up for re-election this year.

Additionally, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is running for the Senate in Virginia, and he has continually supported all of Obama’s policies which have driven our country deeper in debt. Mr. Kaine needs to answer for this if he wants the voters to support him. He is not exempt.
Obama declared that Stimulus One (a trillion dollars of taxpayer money) would get the economy back on track. It was a miserable failure. When that didn’t work, he threw more tax dollars at more failed projects in Stimulus Two.

Back in February 2009, Obama said that as president he would be held accountable. He said that if the economy didn’t recover in three years, his presidency would be a “one-term proposition.”
Come November, the American people will remember Obama’s proclamation. They will also remember that this administration has engaged in the most reckless deficit spending in history which has grown the federal debt over $16 trillion.

At some point, the public’s patience will wear out unless Obama changes his spending ways and both he and his party begin to take this problem seriously. Don’t bet on this. You’ll be as successful as Obama and the Democrats have been lately.

Brent Bozell is chairman and CEO of ForAmerica.org, the largest online conservative army in America with 2.5 million supporters.

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Nissan and Obama Green Policy Integrity at Stake in Leaf Owners’ Battery Test

Submitted by Paul Chesser on Tue, 09/18/2012 – 09:26

In what looks like an attempt to avoid a potentially costly and disastrous recall of its taxpayer-funded electric vehicles, Nissan has dismissed the concerns of its Leaf customers in Arizona and other hot states by claiming the apparent loss of battery capacity is “normal.”

Owners of the company’s dismal selling plug-in have banded together to collectively test their vehicles and see just how “normal” their loss of “bars” on their power indicators are.

Over the weekend twelve Leaf owners – led by EV advocate and Leaf owner Tony Williams – were to conduct an extended range test in Phoenix, according to the Web site Green Car Reports. In July NLPC reported that Nissan has been dealing with complaints from mostly Southwestern U.S. owners of the Leaf, who say their vehicles have lost range capacity, which were publicized on the discussion board Web site MyNissanLeaf.com. Carla Bailo, a Nissan official in charge of research and development, said at the time said the capacity loss could be normal “depending on the method and frequency of charging.” And GCR said that VP Andy Palmer attributed the problems to a “faulty battery level display.”

The owners with lost “bars” are skeptical.

“Following a set route,” GCR reported, “Williams and his team of volunteer Leaf owners will test real-world ranges of 12 Nissan Leafs with two or more missing capacity bars, to see if those with fewer capacity bars lit travel as far as those without any indicated capacity loss.”

The test would determine whether it’s simply the display at fault. Nissan claimed it is investigating the problem, but obviously not to the satisfaction of the Phoenix-area owners. In a letter to Leaf drivers that was posted on the MyNissanLeaf message board, Bailo clearly wrote in language intended to avoid a public relations disaster. She emphasized the number of Leafs affected with the capacity loss represented “a very small fraction” and were limited to cars with high mileage or in “unique operating situations” (like desert heat?). She added that lithium-ion battery loss “exhibits a higher loss of capacity early in life” with the rate of loss diminishing over time.

You can imagine the lawyers breathing over her shoulder as she types.

At stake is not the simple replacement of a few cars in the desert. Instead nearly the entire reputation of the company, CEO Carlos Ghosn, and President Obama’s green-energy stimulus policy stands to undergo enormous public ridicule if the Leaf is shown to be another functional failure (like Fisker’s Karma, which has had at least two recalls). So far American taxpayers have been forced to “invest” $1.4 billion, via a Recovery Act loan guarantee, in a Japanese car company to build an unproven, impractical, expensive vehicle at a revamped Tennessee manufacturing plant.

How much of a dud is the Leaf? Only 4,228 were sold this year through August, a month in which only 685 were delivered in the U.S. DigitalTrends.com says the latter figure represents a 50-percent decline from last year. Nissan’s stated sales goal for the Leaf was 20,000 for the year, which is not going to happen short of the Obama administration paying local and state governments to buy them. At its current pace sales will not even match last year’s 9,674 number, and might not even reach the 2011 sales of the better-known Chevy Volt, which was 7,671.

The indifference exhibited by the car-buying public – especially considering the federal government grants $7,500 in tax credits (with some states adding more) per vehicle to purchasers – is catastrophic. The Tennessee plant will be refurbished to produce up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 battery packs per year. Ghosn has said the problem with sales has been supply, and that Nissan expects sales to double once the Tennessee plant is operational. This was supposed to create up to 1,300 new “green” jobs.

Have you heard any news reports about pent up, unsatisfied demand for the Leaf?

The reports out of the Southwest will only intensify the public’s rejection of the Leaf. But heat isn’t the car’s only problem. As NLPC reported in January, even moderately cold temperatures and hilly terrain greatly diminish the Leaf’s range from Nissan’s stated claims of 100 miles to a charge. During the holidays last year a strong advocate for electric cars, Stephen Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, drove his Leaf from Knoxville, Tenn. to Nashville – a trip that took him six hours and required four recharging stops. The same jaunt in a gas-powered vehicle normally takes less than three hours.

That revelation followed earlier reports from Southern California, in which journalist Rob Eshman told of his experiences in which he almost never exceeded 60 miles on a charge in his Leaf, all while developing a deep mistrust of his battery charge readings. His Nissan dealer told him his air conditioner would use about 30 percent more power, but Eshman said “it’s more like 50.” He now calls the vehicle “my 2011 Nissan Solyndra.”

And then there was the experience of Consumer Reports reviewer Liza Barth, whose use of a loaner Leaf in the New York area last November detailed a weekend of range anxiety. She had little confidence she could reach destinations and return home on trips beyond the corner store, and she allowed her toes and fingers to “freeze” for fear the car’s heater would use too much power. Meanwhile in CR’s formal test review of the Leaf, the magazine noted a “high-pitched whine” sound at higher speeds, “and to some of us, we found it really, really annoying.”

I wonder if it’s anything like the whine Nissan is hearing from customers in hot climates like the Southwest, or from owners up north when it gets really cold and they need their car heater. Or those who live in hilly or mountainous areas, who need the extra power to drive up inclines.

At $1.4 billion for this fiasco, taxpayers ought to make the whining for Nissan and the Obama administration unbearable.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, an aggregator of North Carolina news.

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No sign of life in RGGI Auctions

By Grant Bosse On September 10, 2012

(NEW YORK, NY) For the ninth consecutive time, the price for carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative failed to rise above the floor price. The 17th Quarterly Auction held by the nine-state emissions compact generated nearly $47.5 million, but over a third of the allowances went unsold as demand has remained weak for well over two years.

Fossil fuel power plants in the nine remaining states will need to secure allowances for every ton of CO2 they emit over the next three years. The slow economy has reduced demand for electricity in the Northeast, and power producers have replaced carbon-dense coal with natural gas, which released less CO2 per kilowatt. The result of these pressures is a large drop in carbon emissions unrelated to the four year old greenhouse gas cap and trade program.

This dip in demand has also caused the secondary market for RGGI allowances to collapse. Last week’s 17th Auction was the first time that no one besides the power producers themselves purchased any RGGI allowances. Overall, 88% of the allowances sold have gone directly to power plants, leaving little if any available on the secondary market.

Last week, RGGI offered nearly 38 million allowances, but sold just 24.5 million. The clearing price of $1.93 per ton was set as a minimum by RGGI. The clearing price has not risen above this mandated floor since June of 2010.

New Hampshire’s share of last week’s auction amounted to just over a million allowances, generating $2 million. Auction proceeds will be put in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund, which the Public Utilities Commission uses to make grants for energy efficiency and sustainable energy projects. Since signing onto RGGI in 2008, New Hampshire has received almost $40.8 million from the program. Under New Hampshire law, power companies may pass on the cost of complying with RGGI to their electric customers.

No More Solyndra’s

Dear Friend of Energy,

Just over a year ago, we witnessed the bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra, at a loss of more than $500 million to the U.S. taxpayer. This week Congress has a chance to begin rolling back the policies that led to this kind of fraud.

Click here to tell your Representative to vote Yes on “No More Solyndras!”

The Solyndra debacle happened because the Administration loaned Solyndra more than half a billion dollars, despite numerous red flags that the company was headed toward bankruptcy. Within two years, Solyndra collapsed. Congress is currently trying to rein in an overzealous Administration trying to pick energy winners and losers using taxpayer dollars.

This Friday, Congress will vote on the “No More Solyndras Act”. The bill phases out the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program that created Solyndra and other failures like Abound Solar and Nevada Geothermal (click here to learn more about these companies), which have done little more than reward the Administration’s cronies using the hard earned tax dollars Washington takes from us.

Tell your Representative that enough is enough–No More Solyndras!

This is not a Republican problem. This is not a Democrat problem. This is a Washington problem. The Bush Administration created the DOE’s loan guarantee program and the Obama Administration has used it to direct billions of dollars to politically-favored technologies and companies. The Solyndra failure and ensuing loss of taxpayer dollars shows that the federal government should get out of the loan guarantee game once and for all.

Congress has a good chance to end these wasteful subsidies: call your Representative and tell them to vote Yes on the “No More Solyndras” bill to eliminate taxpayer-funded subsidies that distort energy markets and hide the real cost of renewable energy from American consumers.

Sincerely,

Tom Pyle, President

American Energy Alliance

P.S. Click here and take two minutes to view our video about the Solyndra scandal. I’m sure you will be just as outraged at I am about the misuse of our taxpayer dollars.

Anyone paying attention to the facts instead of the distractions

Beneath the surface of Friday’s jobs report lies the reality of just how disastrous the Obama economy truly is.

Consider the following 11 economic facts:

1. When you include the underutilized labor figure with the eight million Americans who have lost hope altogether and stopped looking for a job, real unemployment now stands at just under 19 percent.

2. If the labor force were the same as when President Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate reported on Friday would be 11.2 percent.

3. A record 88,921,000 Americans are no longer in the labor force. To be included in that figure, an individual must be over 16 years of age, a civilian, not in a mental hospital or nursing home, and have stopped hunting for a job for at least four weeks.

4. The average American lost 40 percent of their wealth from 2007 to 2010.

5. Every fifth man in America is out of work.

6. One out of two Americans are now low-income or below the poverty line.

7. Over the past four years, 400,000 food stamp recipients a month have been added to the welfare dole.

8. In 2006-2007, 90 percent of college graduates landed jobs. Under Obama, just 56 percent find work after college.

9. A gallon of gasoline cost $1.84 when Obama entered office. Today, a gallon of gas costs $3.77.

10. Every fourth home mortgage in America is underwater.

11. Under Obama, healthcare costs have skyrocketed 18.9 percent.

The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Mr. Obama leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney 49 to 45 percent.

AP Factcheck: DNC Speakers Embellish Obama Record, Mislead on Romney

AP Factcheck: DNC Speakers Embellish Obama Record, Mislead on RomneySpeakers at the Democratic National Convention portrayed President Barack Obama’s presidency in glowing terms Tuesday evening, but many left out important details or embellished his record.

Others mischaracterized programs backed by Republican challenger Mitt Romney and GOP running mate Paul Ryan.

Obama’s landmark health care overhaul, which Republicans lacerated at their convention last week, and his job-creation performance were among the initiatives burnished the most.

First Lady Michelle Obama was the main draw and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro the keynoter, but more than four dozen other speakers made presentations.

Among the mischaracterizations:

SAN ANTONIO MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO: “Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition our president took action. And now we’ve seen 4.5 million new jobs.”

THE FACTS: While that figure has become a White House talking point, it’s only part of the story. It’s a cherry-picked number that refers just to private sector jobs created in the last 29 months, from the trough of the recession through July. Governments — especially state and local ones — have continued shedding jobs.

The economy lost 8.8 million jobs from the time employment peaked in January 2008 until it hit bottom in February 2010. Between then and this July — the most recent month for which there are figures — just 4 million jobs have been recovered. Never since World War II has the economy been so slow to recover all the jobs lost in a downturn.

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HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: “Instead of sending your checks to your insurance companies, your insurance companies are sending a check to you. …If you already have health insurance you like, you can keep it.”

THE FACTS: Under the new health care law, insurers must issue rebates if they fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums — Sebelius incorrectly said 50 percent — collected on medical care and quality improvement. But mostly it’s the employer, not the worker, who gets the check.

The Obama administration says that about 13 million people will benefit from health insurance rebates averaging $151 per household. But the number of families actually getting a check will be much smaller, experts say.

For one thing, employers can plow all the rebate money — including the worker’s share — back into improving the company’s health plan. For example, they could reduce the premium for the following year.

Employers typically pay 82 percent of the premium for a worker, and 72 percent for a family plan.

Most workers and their families are covered by job-based health insurance, and the new law does not stop employers from changing their plans from year to year, as they do now.

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SEBELIUS: “So instead of the Medicare guarantee, Republicans would give seniors a voucher that limits what’s covered.”

THE FACTS: She left out crucial details in describing the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. It would not apply to the nearly 50 million current Medicare recipients but to future retirees who would join the program starting in 2023. Current beneficiaries could remain in the traditional program, while new retirees would get a fixed payment from the government that could be used either to purchase a private insurance plan or a new government program modeled on traditional Medicare.

Romney and Ryan say they have no intention of limiting medical care for seniors — only restraining the growth of costs. And traditional Medicare also has its limits. It does not cover everything. Long-term care is not covered, only limited nursing home stays. And most must seniors pay out-of-pocket for dental care unless they have private insurance that covers it. Medicare has copayments and annual deductibles, and that’s also a form of limiting coverage.

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SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID: “We can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns like his father did…. Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share. His word? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both.”

THE FACTS: Reid has challenged Romney on his tax returns before, but this time Reid omitted an earlier charge that over the past decade, there were some years when Romney paid no taxes — an uncorroborated claim that Romney insists is false.

Romney has released just one tax return, from 2010 and says he’ll release his 2011 return once it’s finished. He has steadfastly declined to make more than two years available.

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CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: “I remember when the president received a report that the auto industry had a few weeks before collapse… And because (he) made the right choice, over one million Americans are still working today.”

THE FACTS: Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff at the time, makes it sound like Obama was the one who saved General Motors and Chrysler. (Ford never applied for federal help). But, actually, the auto bailout program was started by President Bush, then extended and expanded by Obama.

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REID: “We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions.”

FORMER OHIO GOV. TED STRICKLAND: “Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps.”

WOMEN’S EQUALITY ACTIVIST LILY LEDBETTER: “…doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars.”

THE FACTS: These are references to a $3 million account that Mitt Romney held for several years in a bank in Switzerland and investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. A trustee handling Romney’s blind trust said that the Swiss account was active from 2003 until it was closed in 2010. The trustee said the account had been opened for “diversification.” Romney still has active investment funds based in the Caymans, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland and other foreign sites.

Read more on Newsmax.com: AP Factcheck: DNC Speakers Embellish Obama Record, Mislead on Romney

Green and democrat war on the poor and middle class

By Robert Zubrin

The Democratic party used to care about poor and working people.

In a nearly full-page op-ed appearing in the business section of the August 25 New York Times, Cornell professor Robert H. Frank lays out the new green agenda for tax policy.

According to Professor Frank, stopping global warming may require carbon taxes of about $300 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, and by implementing such taxes, we can also balance the federal budget. “If such a tax were phased in,” Frank says, “the prices of goods would rise gradually in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide their production or use entailed. The price of gasoline, for example, would slowly rise by somewhat less than $3 per gallon. Motorists in many countries already pay that much more than Americans do, and they seem to have adapted by driving substantially more efficient vehicles. . . . many budget experts agree that federal budgets simply can’t be balanced with spending cuts alone. We’ll also need substantial additional revenue, most of which could be generated by a carbon tax.”

In addition to increasing the cost of American goods through carbon taxes, Frank recommends jacking up the price of imports through carbon tariffs, and he suggests that the U.S. government use such tariffs to force other nations to impose carbon taxes on their own citizens. “Some people argue that a carbon tax would do little good unless it were also adopted by China and other big polluters,” Frank says. “It’s a fair point. But access to the American market is a potent bargaining chip. The United States could seek approval to tax imported goods in proportion to their carbon dioxide emissions if exporting countries failed to enact carbon taxes at home.”

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Let us consider the effects of this policy. A ton of carbon dioxide contains 248 kilograms of carbon, so a tax of $300 per ton of CO2 would be equivalent to taxing carbon at a rate of $1.21 per kg. Since there are about 2.5 kg of carbon in a gallon of gasoline, this would increase the cost of a gallon of gas by $3.02 per gallon, or just a little more than Frank says. The average American driver uses about 730 gallons of gasoline per year, so this tax would represent a cost of about $2,200 per driver. This would be a serious hit for the average American worker, whose before-tax income is about $45,000 per year, and devastating to those making less than this. But let us consider the effects on the economy as a whole.
The United States economy currently uses about 2.3 trillion kilograms of carbon per year, comprising 1 trillion kg in its coal, 0.8 trillion kg in its oil, and 0.5 trillion kg in its natural gas. Taxing this at Frank’s recommended rate of $1.21 per kg would therefore raise $2.78 trillion, somewhat more than the $2.3 trillion that the federal government raises through the current tax system (assuming that the carbon tax did not crash the economy, which it probably would, but we’ll leave that aside for now).

But what would the effect on prices be? Currently, western bituminous low-sulfur coal has a cost of $0.01 per kg at the mine, or $0.03 delivered to most users. Coal is about 90 percent carbon by weight. The green tax would thus multiply the cost of coal by nearly a factor of 40. A thousand cubic feet of natural gas contains about 18 kg of carbon. Taxing its carbon at a rate of $1.21 per kg would thus increase the price of a thousand cubic feet of natural gas from its current level of $2.50 to about $24.30, a tenfold increase. A barrel of oil contains about 110 kg of carbon. The green tax would thus hike the price Americans pay for oil by $133 per barrel over the world price (i.e., to about $230 per barrel today). As coal and natural gas provide the energy to produce not only the bulk of the nation’s electric power, but also most of its steel, aluminum, fertilizer, pesticides, food, plastics, electronics, glass, and many other products, and as oil provides the fuel to transport them, the cost of all of these would soar as well.

So who ends up paying? Under America’s current tax system, the top 5 percent of income earners pay 59 percent of all federal income taxes, the next 45 percent pay 39 percent, and the bottom half pays next to nothing. But because basic commodities such as food, electricity, and fuel are bought in similar amounts per capita regardless of income (i.e., a working-class family living on $30,000 per year in Harlem uses about the same amount of electricity and food as the family of a money manager living on $30 million per year on Park Avenue; and rural Americans, of whatever class, spend much more on gasoline than either), the $2.78 trillion green tax would be spread nearly evenly on all Americans, not as a fixed “flat tax” percentage of income, but as a fixed cost regardless of income.

Divided evenly among 300 million Americans, the green tax works out to a burden of $9,270 imposed on every man, woman, and child. While this would be a pittance for the most affluent Americans, it would take away 40 percent of the total income of a family of four supported by two wage earners making the average U.S. salary of $45,000 each, and it would be a virtually fatal burden for the poor.

The Obama campaign is currently banging the class-warfare drum, demanding that taxes on those making over $250,000 a year be raised by about 4 percent. Assuming no ill effects on the economy, this measure would raise $80 billion in revenue for the federal government, which conceivably might use as much as half of it, or $40 billion, in various programs that transfer part of their funds to lower-income people. “He pays less. You pay more,” say the president’s ads, promising largesse to the masses from the pockets of the rich. At the same time, however, green ideologues on whose ideas Obama’s energy policies are based are putting forth a proposal that would double the tax burden on the lower-earning 95 percent of the American public, with the poorest 50 percent being hit for a full $1.3 trillion of the increase.

But that’s not all. Because the green tax targets carbon, rather than income, it would act as a dirigiste economic policy favoring businesses that make money trading in paper instruments over those that produce real value through industry, agriculture, transport, mining, and construction. This would impoverish society overall, once again hurting the vulnerable the most, and would destroy tens of millions of blue-collar jobs.

Was ever a more regressive tax policy proposed? And has anyone ever demanded that the United States launch a trade war to force other countries to impose such oppressive policies on their own people, most of whom can afford them even less? There was a time when the Democratic party concerned itself with the needs of poor and working people. Alas, those times are past.

The green tax plan is a declaration of war on the poor.

— Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a fellow with the Center for Security Policy, and the author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil. His latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, was recently published by Encounter Books.