Taking a closer look at the full costs of energy acquisition and dissipation
I really enjoyed reading this article because over the summer it was fun to follow the health care reform and read about all the opposition to it. This reform in the article would definitely create as much opposition as the health care reform. I completely agree with the notion that hurting the economy is the actual problem with a reform like this. However the author seems to think that it actually wouldn’t hurt the economy as much as people would like. I can’t say that I agree with him entirely, to most families an extra $160 a year won’t be an issue; however, that extra $160 from families in the lower class is actually going to be really hard on them. That’s why I think it could possibly work better if a reform such as this one could wait until the recession is over. Thanks for sharing the article!
I also enjoyed reading this article and I agree with what Caki is saying. $160 a year is a lot of money for a low income family. I also take issue with the author's bashing of the opposition. While I personally don't yet have a side in this debate, I can say that nothing wil be done if people on the left are going to hold up Glen Beck as the average republican. The author shows his party colors very clealy in this article and wastes a lot of time talking about how crazy he thinks Glen Beck is. As long as our nations political discourse is so sharply divided along party lines we aren't going to get anything done as a country and we will sit here burning away our environment until there is nothing left. We need to come together and find some commonality in the fact that we must all live here on this earth, regardless of our political leanings.
The claims presented by Paul Krugman are a bit unfair and prejudiced. I do not think many people are denying the fact that global warming exists or that something needs to be done about climate change. Discussion in the Senate about passing the Waxman-Markley Act certainly puts us on the right track, however the concerns that people have are valid. Kruger tries to dismiss the ideas of the opposition as he bashes them in this article. People are afraid of change and for a country that is so dependent on the use of coal and fossil fuels; they just want something they are familiar with. Also like Caki said, trying to finance such a bill in the middle of a recession is probably not the best idea. Granted I believe climate change is a very important matter to keep in our minds, I just don’t think that everyone can afford it. If a family cannot afford to pay $160 a month for health issuance, why would they want to spend that money on trying to prevent climate change? By no means am I trying to say that climate change is unimportant because it is, but I too believe that the concerns with change are also noteworthy.
I find articles like these very refreshing after listening to debates and debates over climate change. It does always seem that one side is attempting to come face to face with the issue, while the other side shoots down any proposals with ironically, their own untruths and exaggerations. Political party affiliation, is another component of our culture that one not only falls into but can also me manipulated by. A decision potentially relying strongly on what a person values. Statistics do show certain religions tending to be affiliated with one party or the other. As the author points out, if the value is the economy, then ultimately a change in climate policy would be beneficial.
While Krugman does speak of the cost of the Waxman-Markey bill on the average family, Krugman cites this evidence to discredit the popular belief that any energy bill will further exacerbate our already troubling economy. While, yes, $160 a month may be a more substantial burden to many low-income families, Krugman stresses the importance of considering the actual economic consequences of an energy bill for the ENTIRE nation. Large corporations with lobbying power do not care about the low-income family that cannot afford to bear the costs of an extra $160 a month; they care about having to pay the actual price of energy as opposed to passing off these unwanted costs to others (i.e. the environment, future generations.) Krugman concludes that what is necessary in order to lay the proper groundwork for a dialogue concerning climate change, is for current myths (specifically concerning the economic side of things) to be dispelled.
Although the author showed admirable conviction to a cause he clearly believes whole-heartedly in, I found the article a little harsh. Not knowing enough about the issue or the details of the Waxman-Markley Act, I cannot fairly say whether I think it will take a significant toll on our economy. However, I do not think that $160 is an amount of money to scoff at for families below the poverty line (a rather good percentage of American families). All in all I think the author should have angled the article more softly. He displayed the extremeties of the left side of the issue, and then bashed the far right, going as far as to call them liars. I think an article filled more with fact and reasoning would be more effective to sway a nuetral person, rather than one outlining the extremeites of both parties.
Judging from the wording of the article, it seems to draw a line in the sand with the raging conservatives on one side and the "smart" liberals on the other. The tone makes me think that anyone who would take anything from this article would not have much to glean as it is, while the eyes the author is trying to open would dismiss it, simply due to the way it sounds. Can an article like this really do more then preach to the choir? Though, some action toward enlightening others is certainly better none. An interesting read none the less; are his economics sound in your opinion professor?
To answer Scotty's question - his economics are more than sound - he is one of the best economists in the world and he won the Nobel last year for his contributions to trade theory. Krugman is an unapologetic liberal, but his economic analysis is the result of incredibly rigorous science.
I also enjoyed this article immensely, but I actually disagree with most of the comments criticizing the author. I don't think he was harsh at all. I think he was realistic. Instead of angling his rhetoric softly, he communicated the urgency of the issue. Perhaps I’m pessimistic (or realistic), but I don’t believe the legislative debate for climate legislation will be any smoother or more intellectually mature than the health care debate has been. I think it will continue to be ammunition in a partisan war, as politicians worry about reelection. Congress, especially the Senate, is so polarized now, it would be nearly impossible to come to some true bipartisan agreement. The fact that any politician could claim that climate change doesn’t exist or lacks sufficient evidence is laughable at best. Saying that this legislation will destroy the economy sounds like a more plausible argument but seems no different than the exaggerated propoganda of the health care debate used to build opposition. OF COURSE this legislation will come with a cost. Everything does. At the same time this legislation is about more than personal benefits and costs. I also don’t think $160 a year per family is drastic. The author specifies that average families would take on this level of costs. I might be misinterpreting this, but I didn’t take that to mean low-income families. He never outright said anything about families below the poverty line. Plus, these same families will just inevitably pay even more down the line as we pass the costs on. I know I’d rather pay the price of a postage stamp a day now. This connects to a common theme among society that we talk about in class all the time. Nobody is eager to incur immediate costs upfront for future benefits long-term, but we need to for our own sake and for the environment’s sake.
I feel like Krugman does have very strong views, not necessarily correct or incorrect. He brings to perspective the effects of the line between parties in creating an environmental reform. He also mentions how this line is becoming deeper and deeper as centrists choose sides. Despite the fact that his economics are sound, economic analysis is futile so long as politicians are more concerned with solely their party's promotion. Regardless, I do agree with previous comments that $160 a year could be very costly for families below the poverty line; however, this cost is only likely to increase as conditions worsen. It seems best to carry the burden of cost now rather than later.
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