Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Climate Change: The Greatest-Ever Conspiracy Against The Taxpayer

James Delingpole:

Here is an edited version of a speech on this subject I gave last week to the World Taxpayers’ Associations in Berlin.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen; Guten Abend meine Damen und Herren. May I say how grateful I am to Staffan Wennberg and the World Taxpayers Associations for inviting me to speak in Berlin. This is my first time here since 1978.
I was a schoolboy then. I learned my first German: “Was trinken wir? Schultheiss Bier.” Now I’m grown up and married with children even older than I was then. Yesterday I went on a tour and I couldn’t help noticing there seem to have been one or two changes.
When I last came I have to confess that the Wall was the highlight of my trip. So echt Cold War. So Spy Who Came In From The Cold!
I remember taking the U-bahn underneath the wall, passing through the East German side, and seeing empty grey platforms where the train never stopped, and lurking in the shadows grim looking guards with machine guns.
And you know how they say: “If you’re not a communist by the time you’re 18 then you’re heartless and if you’re not a capitalist by the time you’re 40 then you’re brainless.”?
Well I’m afraid I skipped that first stage and went straight to the second. All it took was that little glimpse of East Germany – a place so horrible that if you tried to escape they would shoot you with machine guns – to give me an abiding preference for free markets. Small Government. And low taxes.
Low taxes. To many of us here, I suspect, it seems so obvious why low taxes are a desirable thing.
We know, as Bastiat says: “The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”
We’ve seen the performance of low-tax economies like Singapore and Hong Kong and compared it to the performance over the years of high-tax economies like Cuba, North Korea or France. And drawn the obvious conclusions.
It’s obvious to us. The evidence supports it. Why isn’t it obvious to the rest of the world?
Well one of the big problems I think is that over the years taxation has acquired a moral dimension it never had originally.
When bad King John sent his tax collectors round 13th century England, everyone knew it was to fund his unpopular wars with France. No one said as they handed over their hard-earned groats:”Well at least it’s going to make a better society.”
But today you hear it a lot. You hear people say things like “I don’t mind paying a bit extra in tax if it gives us a better health service.”
Celebrities who try to reduce their taxes in complicated offshore schemes are pilloried in the newspaper.
Companies like Google, Starbucks and Amazon which avoid paying taxes find themselves boycotted and the subject of angry campaigns on Twitter.
There’s an idea abroad that if you don’t pay your taxes you’re not being clever and canny – as you would have been considered in John’s day. Rather you’re shirking your moral duty to create a better world.
Well I disagree with this. I couldn’t disagree with it more strongly.
I believe that far from being a moral force for good, taxes are – almost invariably – a force for greed, corruption, profligacy and waste.
As PJ O’Rourke once noted:
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
Nowhere is this truer in the field of the environment which, I sincerely believe – and I’ve been doing a lot of research into this – must count among the biggest wastes of tax money in the history of the world.
Last year Climate Change Business Journal – calculated that the total annual spend on the climate change industry is $1.5 trillion a year.
All those carbon traders, climate researchers, renewables and biofuels experts, environment correspondents, professors of climate science at the University of East Anglia and the Potsdam Institute, sustainability officers on local councils, and so on, add up the cost of their grants and salaries – and $1.5 trillion per year is the ballpark figure you reach.
So what does $1.5 trillion look like in a global economic context?
Well, it’s roughly the amount we spend every year on the online shopping industry.
$1.5 trillion on the global warming industry; $1.5 trillion on the online shopping industry.
But there’s a key difference between these two industries.
One exists to provide buyers and sellers what they want – to their mutual benefit; the other is a sham.

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