Paris, Trade and Economic Nationalism

Tonight President Trump tweeted that he will announce his decision with regard to the Paris Climate Accord (PCA) tomorrow at 3pm. And based on earlier reports, more than likely renewed Never Trumper hyperventilation will commence upon the announcement of America’s exit.

An exit from the PCA is smack in line with the Bannon/Breitbart “Economic Nationalist” policy framework, akin to renegotiating NAFTA and pulling out of the TPP. And while I abhor the trade policy leg of the Economic Nationalist framework – as it is heavily guided by ideology, not economic reality – I believe that an exit from the PCA is *likely* very smart policy, grounded in economic reality. (I say “likely” because I am an outside observer with limited access to PCA details.)

Any policy as vast as trade agreements such as NAFTA can always be improved; so I fully support Secretary Ross’s efforts to reform the nitty-gritty of America’s trade agreements. But Trump’s criticism of American trade deficits with specific countries is – on the surface – complete nonsense, as global trade surpluses and deficits are merely accounting identities within an intricate global web of economic and financial transactions. It is decidedly anti-America First to oppose fair free trade, as every single American has benefited enormously from the massive expansion of global trade over the past several decades. Technological innovation has contributed to the decline of American manufacturing to a far greater extent than global trade.

To conclude on trade: I personally believe Trump gets this; and, rightly or wrongly, is merely using tough talk against Germany’s massive trade surplus with the US as a talking point to get the Germans to the negotiating table. His actions to-date simply do not line up even 50% of the way with the harsh anti-trade framework of Economic Nationalists.

The Paris Climate Accord, on the other hand, is smack in line with the disgustingly arrogant, elitist, “you didn’t build that”-anti-business economic policy framework of the Obama/Merkel-led global liberal order. And it is precisely this type of policy that the 2016 global populist revolt was targeting…not free trade, which unfortunately has been caught in the crossfire.

Signing the PCA without a single shard of official Congressional approval, former President Obama locked the United States into a global pact with material economic consequences. A global pact that is based on scientific forecasts for global temperatures to rise by a couple of degrees, and sea levels to rise by a couple of feet…over the course of decades.

Yes, the climate is changing. Yes, the earth is warming. Yes, we must seek cleaner, more efficient energy sources and uses. But the fact that a cabal of global political elites can lock developed economies into a global pact without a single “net economic benefit” data point indicating why this agreement is in each country’s best interest is utterly appalling. It’s disgusting.

As I have outlined on these pages, Climate Change should be the ultimate bipartisan issue. The federal government is in perfect position to make long term investments in clean, efficient energy generation until those sources can generate a free market-required ROI on a standalone basis; and those investments can be made while the federal government keeps its mitts off of the free market. In other words, for example, stop forcing traditional car companies to produce cars with 50 MPG, and invest heavily behind electric and battery technology until those technologies force traditional car companies to either produce 50 MPG cars or shutter business.

My point is this: What is the net economic benefit of forcing 10 coal plants shut say 10 years prematurely, when factoring in the cost of the climate changing by a specified amount over that time? I don’t know; but that’s the type of analysis I would like to see from the “experts” in charge.

Climateers’ vehement opposition to the “fracking” technology and pipeline infrastructure necessary for the natural gas production that has driven a material reduction in US CO2 emission since 2005; and the lack of large-scale nuclear power generation investment in Germany and the US only exacerbate the frustration of a political Independent such as myself. Clearly, jobs and individuals’ economic well-being are merely sideshows to this global charade.

Michael Jackson liked to talk about protecting the planet. Why? Because it is one of the safest, easiest, heart-warming topics available to voters. Who doesn’t support preservation and protection of the earth? With America’s (likely) exit from the Paris Climate Accord, my sincerest hope is that we can begin to move in a policy direction that would please both Michael Jackson and Charles Koch.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Mr. Coal Miner,

You know those coastal liberal elites that live, err, on the water? In 20 years they may no longer be able to do so if the ocean rises by another foot. Would you please be so kind to give up your job 10 years before it may be displaced by natural gas power generation, in order to contribute to the slowing of the rise of the ocean, so that the coastal liberal elites can continue living in their ocean-side primary and secondary homes?



Former President Obama and Chancellor Merkel

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