Instead of doing the simple, obvious thing... we turn to politics.
Amen: The idea that climate change will be sufficiently undeniable and sufficiently harsh to ever spur the public to demand effective action by the world's governments is implausible. Climate change will continue with little effective effort made to mitigate its impact, what small effort we make will come from an absolute necessity to adapt in the face of geophysic and/or economic catastrophe. And when such a calamitous situation arises, it will be too late. Nothing we can do now can prevent the climate disasters of the next 50 years – they are already “baked in”. And as those 50 years draw to a close, 7+ billion humans will still be burning whatever they can to provide for their short-term needs. To expect otherwise is to ignore the essence of human existence. Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Priorities: I'd trust those who say we can't afford Social Security if they also said we can't afford the Defense budget. The problems are not economic, they are political. We have the communal will to kill, but not to heal and nurture. And we ought to think about that before we go blundering off to another Great Adventure in the Middle East.
Food Fight: The Senate's version of the Farm Bill would trim $4 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade, and the Republican House is calling for a $20 billion cut. No one is arguing that the people who will get cut don't need to eat, but the claim is we cannot afford to feed them. Imagine, the richest nation the world has ever seen cannot afford to feed its unemployed, its homeless, its citizens. But in 2011 the top 1 percent of Americans had a combined income of about $1.4 trillion, not counting capital gains. Let's count the capital gains and then let's raise their tax rate by 1/7th of 1%. That alone would cover the food stamps and leave lots left over to create a few jobs.
What If.... The recovery has progressed to the point we have only 3 unemployed workers for every job opening... If there are masses of unemployed workers and lots of slack in the economy, wouldn't giving the unmonied some money drive up demand and create a few jobs without any increase in inflation?
Bad And Badder: An epidemic of coffee-rust disease in Central America threatens the incomes of hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers and the morning Java of millions of coffee addicts in the developed world with crop losses approaching 50%. And we call it 'java' because an outbreak of a similar rust in 19th century Sri Lanka lead to the planting new coffee plantations in Indonesia. On the Island of Java.
Payday Loans: The interest rate on student loans is set to double on July 1st, to 6.8%. The government is charging banks 0.75% for funds (the discount rate). The banks ruined the economy, the students may just save it. Do the banks really need to double their profits on the close to $1 trillion in student loans? What's wrong with this picture?
Status Quo: The world's nations have repeatedly agreed we must cut our CO2 emissions enough to limit global warming to 2ºC or less by 2100. They have also tacitly agreed to pretend they were cutting their emissions, and not to notice that we are happily on our way to at least 4º of warming... and that well before 2100.
Well, Sure... “There is no clear evidence that the growth in the scale and complexity of the financial system in the rich developed world over the last 20 to 30 years has driven increased growth or stability... The financial sector’s gains have been more in the form of economic rents — basically something for nothing — than the return to greater economic value."
Porn O'Graph: Pull up a chair...
The Parting Shot:
Venus Looking Glass, Triodanis perfoliata