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  • Pitting Redistributionist Against Environmentalist

    Posted by Shannon Love on April 28th, 2011 (All posts by )

    David Foster’s post on the cost to industry of EPA overreach gave me an idea of how to pit one group of Leftists against another group of Leftists.

    The upper-class, white, environmentalist Leftists might not care if Shell lost 4 billion (with a b) dollars when forced to shelve their exploration plans in Alaska but I wonder if, say, an African-American redistributionist Leftist struggling to find funding for urban social-welfare programs might care about all the Federal tax revenues lost when Shell is forced by the environmentalist to forego the profits they would have made pumping the oil.

    If Shell was going to spend $4 billion in development, then they planned to make at least twice that in profits. With the 35% US corporate tax rate, the means that the Federal government alone just lost $1.5 billion in tax revenues. That’s a bit simplistic of a calculation but nevertheless once you take into account the loss of income and social security taxes from the jobs that won’t be created, the EPA’s actions just cost the government a lot of tax revenues.

    Leftists who base their politics on redistribution have to eventually become sensitive to the cumulative effect of the shutdown of economic activity in the name of extreme environmental protection. It’s one thing for a Leftists to say, “Yea! We cost the oil companies a lot of profit!” and another to say, “Hey, we just reduced the amount of money the government has to redistribute by billions of dollars!”

    Perhaps, we need to sneak a bill through that requires the Government Accounting Office to calculate how much tax revenues all these EPA stunts cost. If we can get Leftists to start thinking of environmental restrictions as costing Leftists themselves money for their pet projects, we might be able to shutdown support for extreme environmentalism among the remaining Leftists who care more about people than trees.


    11 Responses to “Pitting Redistributionist Against Environmentalist”

    1. John Burgess Says:

      I don’t think that would be a persuasive argument. ‘Everyone knows that big corporations don’t pay taxes.’ Especially ‘everyone’ on the left knows this.

    2. cjm Says:

      because leftists are so rational.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Any grit we can toss in their gears is all for the good.

    4. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      Mark Perry at Carpe Diem reports Exxon’s Q1 2011 results:

      === ===
      Dwarfing Exxon’s first quarter profits of $10.65 billion, are the total taxes paid or collected around the world by Exxon from January to March, which totaled $26.2 billion and include: a) $8 billion in income taxes, b) $10.3 billion in sales-based taxes, and c) $10.3 billion for all other taxes including property taxes, etc.
      === ===

    5. Shannon Love Says:


      Exxon should run adds about that.

    6. cjm Says:

      it would be nice to get them to tear each other apart, but they are so damn irrational it’s impossible to move them in predictble manner. luckily the drying up of government money is causing internecine effects.

      interesting parallels between leftists and body fat. leftists are a by product of afflunce and are the equivalent of metbolic syndrome (the product of overly abundant food). lean times will reduce their numbers and influence.

    7. Shannon Love Says:


      You’d be surprised how “rational” people get when you threaten their gravy train.

    8. aaron Says:

      Hmm… What could exxon do in the US to generate taxable income? Hmmm.

    9. aaron Says:

      My idea is to role protectionism, energy independence, anti-speculator, and anti-global warming all into one policy:

      Commodities will come down when we have the prospect of a good solid recovery. That will happen when the US has a solid, aggressive energy policy.

      We need to stop tilting at windmills (they are not economical and only profitable for manufacturer/sellers).

      We need to drill the Gulf, the coasts, ANWAR, and the Arctic. And, build some fracking distribution infrastructure.

      Concerns about the arctic are silly. Likely, there is more natural gas than oil there. Horizon like spill worries will soon prove to be unfounded. The oil may be heavier and the temps reduce evaporation, but the gulf spill proved dispersants. The bacteria that process oil are most efficient in cool waters and high pressures. Even if the temps are too low for the gulf bacteria, certainly the arctic has its own share of seepage. It must have bacteria suited for its environment, otherwise there’d be a bunch of oil just below the ice.

      The argument that we shouldn’t drill because we don’t have enough oil to reduce prices is a pitiful strawman. So what? That’s a good thing. Every barrel we produce increases GDP by the price, it also increases GDP a second time by reducing imports by the price. This is all before even considering multiplier effects.

      In the meantime, while we are waiting for US production to come online, we should institute a carbon tax in the form of a tax on long positions in Oil. A tax rate which increases with the purchase price, and ends in 2-3 years (when US production begins coming online). There is a natural bias against the short side of commodity futures. A small tax would help balance things out. We need more down-side speculation. Of course, all the revenue should go to transportation or energy distribution infrastructure.

      Also, don’t underestimate the signaling power of an aggressive US energy policy. When we hoard, how can we expect less of other producers. If we stop hoarding and announce that we must take advantage of our resources before alternatives collapse the price, the rise in other producers’ capacity and efficiency may well be fantastic.

    10. aaron Says:

      Shannon Love Says:

      April 29th, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Exxon should run adds about that.”

      With occasional whispers of “who is John Galt?” from extras, just to piss the right people off.

    11. James A Donald Says:

      You under estimate the extent to which leftists are centrally directed. Redistributionists do not really care about redistribution – observe how Stalin and Castro cheerfully showed their foreign friends savage inequality, and their foreign friends loved it.

      Similarly, Environmentalists would be entirely happy to destroy the environment if that was an effective means of killing as many humans as possible. Observe how whenever an alternative energy system actually works, for example the Severn barrage, environmentalists always find reasons for opposing it.