Wednesday, June 16, 2021

P&D Today

By Rich Kozlovich


The Warmers and the Wilders!

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - Eric Arthur Blair, AKA, George Orwell By Rich Kozlovich 

Once again we're seeing emotional claims the world only has seconds before it burns up.  President Biden claims: ‘Not A Joke’ — Global Warming the ‘Greatest Threat’ Facing America!  Of course there are a lot of people who think the man uttering those words represents a far greater threat to America, and the world, than anything the climate does.

Then we have Governor Inslee of Washington state who claims, We’re Just Out of Time’ on Climate, Have to Act Now:

 “We’re at the buzzer. We’ve got to take the shot. There’s no more time.” “I saw a headline that said that time is running out. Time is out. We’re at the buzzer. We’ve got to take the shot. There’s no more time. The chickens have come home to roost on carbon pollution. Our forests are burning. We have no water for our farmers, for our fish. Our kids can’t go outside in the summer because of the smoke from our burning forests. We’re just out of time. We’ve got to act.”

I've been watching and/or writing about this for almost 25 years, and the outcry "We must do something now" never stops.  No matter how many deadlines we pass and nothing happens, "we must do something now or we're doomed",  continues like a broken record.

Then there's John Kerry, Climate czar John Kerry wrong again: SD wind turbine plant to shut doors, 300 jobs lost, a so man devoted to being wrong I think it's a religious conviction for him.    He claimed the Arctic ice would be melted by 2013.  Facts and reality are really irritating aren't they? So what's he touting now?  We only have nine years left!  The fact is these misfits have been so stunningly wrong in their predictions over the last fifty years there's absolutely no reason to believe anything they say or predict.  

From claims we would see the end of oil by 1977, to a 2014 prediction we only had 500 days left before "climate chaos", and yet in contrast,  in 1970 Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared:

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."

As I have been watching this "Global Warming is the world's greatest threat" farce play out I have come to notice that the Green Movement has become broken down into two main categories over this. 

The Warmers and the Wilders.

Warmers are those who subscribe to all the fantasy that's part and parcel of Anthropogenic Climate Change. They demand dramatic changes from industrialized societies because they claim the world is at a tipping point to disaster if we don’t stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere. As David Hansen claimed in his book, “Storms of My Grandchildren” that we were facing a "sweltering Earth devoid of life”.

All of this in spite of the fact that CO2 is a naturally occurring gas that is a good thing for plants and animals, of which mankind’s total contribution is insignificant to the overall volume, especially when compared to one volcanic eruption.

Wilders is my term for those who insist that more land be devoted to wildlife, especially wildlife that may be endangered. This includes animals, plants and even bugs. They irrationally believe that every species must be saved at any cost in order for life to continue to exist. 

These modern Druids would have us believe that all life is so interconnected that the loss of one species would cause overwhelming disaster. History of course shows that this is blatant nonsense because over 95% of all species that has ever lived has gone extinct.

What I find fascinating about this is many of these people are Darwinian evolutionists and supposedly believe in survival of the fittest. Why then do they attempt to save species that are clearly biologically incompetent?  The greenies seem to continually suffer from cognitive dissonance:  Holding two diametrically opposing views in their heads at the same time and believe that both are correct?  Evolution and the Earth Goddess Gaia. 

Thomas Sowell once said that there were three questions that must be answered by those who demand change.

  1. Compared to what?
  2. At what cost?
  3. What hard evidence do you have?

I don’t think that those are unreasonable questions since most of what the greenies promote is unworkable and expensive.  Let’s take a few examples.

The greenies had always been against nuclear power. When this CO2 issue came up regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming there were some who changed their views and decided that nuclear was acceptable to save the planet.  That went over with the greenies like an act of treason, and they were promptly vilified by the rest of the green community.  At this point the Wilders and the Warmers decided to agree that nuclear always was, and will always be, evil.

Previously the greenies touted the idea that everything should be changed from nuclear, coal and oil based energy sources to natural gas. However the warmers decided that natural gas is bad because it emits CO2 into the atmosphere. So now they are all on board with the idea that nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas energy based sources are completely evil.

What about hydroelectric? No exhausts, no pollution of any kind! Good, right? Yes, if you are a Warmer. But not if you are a Wilder! You see hydroelectric alters the natural flow of rivers and changes the environment for so many fish and plants. So hydroelectric is out too.

All the greenies were absolutely in love with bio-fuels at one time. An all natural "sustainable" energy source.  Remember when that was the rallying cry when they tried to convince the world we were going to run our of oil?  Well, the Warmers thought, and many still do, biofuel is the cat’s pajamas. However, the Wilders are against it because they have discovered that everything their adversaries have been saying right along is right. Bio-fuel from food was driving up the price of food worldwide. That meant more land had to be cultivated to grow enough food to feed the world - and our gas tanks.  

This is the main social impact of bio-fuels.

So, naturally the Wilders specifically hate it because more and more land mass is being devoted to growing corn and other commodities thereby eliminating forest areas for wild animals. So,  that introduces another conflict between the Warmers and the Wilders! The Wilders have also pointed out that forests are being stripped around the world to provide organic material for cellulose based fuels. So now the  Wilders want the government subsidies stopped for biomass fuel production, and without those subsidies biomass fuel cannot exist.

Wind energy is one of the most beloved sources of energy by the Warmers. However the Wilders point out that these gigantic fans are killing birds and bats at such an alarming rate that wind energy is wreaking havoc with those populations, including endangered species, and in massively large numbers. If a small fraction of that number was killed by any traditional energy program they would be put out of business by the federal government under the Endangered Species Act.

Solar energy has been one of the great promotions of the green movement. Only it would take untold massive acreage to supply the nation with the needed energy to live our lives in the manner we have become accustomed. The Warmers are willing to do this, but the Wilders point out that this amount of acreage will disrupt far too much habitat. And naturally that will affect wildlife and of course, including way too many tortoise, some of whom are endangered.  Wow!

Something that isn’t mentioned nearly enough is that even if the world changed from traditional sources of energy, i.e., power plants, to solar and/or wind as our primary energy sources, we would still have to build and maintain traditional power plants as a back-up.   

The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. That means we will be paying for energy we don’t use in order to pay for energy we don’t need, and power plants can't just be turned on and off like a light switch.  They're always running, they have to because it takes a long time to cool down their furnaces to shut them off,  and it takes a long time to slowly take them down or bring them up to temperature in order to generate power without damaging the furnaces. That means they're always running and burning fuel for these furnaces, even if their not producing energy.

The greenies are against every known source of energy production known to mankind, so here's the conundrum for the Warmers and the Wilders.   What are their answers to Thomas Sowell's three questions?

Question:  As opposed to what?
Answer:  They are offering nothing that is better than what we have, and what they are offering is opposed by many in their own camp.
Question:  How much will it cost?
Answer:  The financial costs are completely unsustainable and the social costs are morally unsustainable.
Question:  What hard evidence do you have?
Answer:  Everything they tout ends up being so full of holes that for all practical purposes their "evidence" is a lie. 

Now these are the questions we need to be asking ourselves:

  • How long should we have wait for them to come up with a viable solution to any of these imaginary issues they're constantly caterwauling about? 
  • How long before we come to the realization that the green movement is terrific at finding fault, but they are beyond clueless when it comes to finding solutions?  Especially for imaginary problems.
  • How long will it take for us to realize that all these modern advances we've created via inexpensive and readily available energy, all of which they decry,  has been wonderful for humanity and the most advanced nations have been the most effective in dealing with environmental issues? 
  • How long before we realize that history has shown everything they offer as solutions to every green issue has left dystopia in its wake wherever their "solutions" were adopted?  And that history is incontestable.
  • How long before society realizes this isn't about the environment, it's about power and control by misanthropic left wing radicals?

These shouldn’t be difficult questions, even for the most casual observer. Their misanthropic history should make the answer to these questions axiomatic.  To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.  

Passivity leads to a policy of appeasement.
Appeasement leads to the attainment of someone else’s goals.


The Continuing Story of Tax Migration

June 14, 2021 by Dan Mitchell

The bad news is that federalism has declined in the United States as politicians in Washington have expanded the size and scope of the national government. The good news is that some federalism still exists and this means Americans have some ability to choose the type of government they prefer by “voting with their feet.”

  1. They can choose states that tax a lot and spend a lot.
  2. They can choose states with lower fiscal burdens.

You won’t be surprised to learn that people generally prefer option #2. Researchers have found a significant correlation between state fiscal policy and migration patterns. And it’s still happening.  In a column for the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, Allysia Finley and Kate LaVoie discuss some research based on IRS data about taxpayer migration patterns.

Here’s some of what they wrote.

New IRS data compiled by research outfit Wirepoints illustrate the flight from high- to low-tax states. …Retirees in the Midwest and Northeast are flocking to sunnier climes. But notably, states with no income tax (Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Wyoming) made up four of the 10 states with the largest income gains. On the other hand, five of the 10 states with the greatest income losses (NY, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, California) ranked among the top 10 states with the highest top marginal income tax rates. …Florida gained a whopping $17.7 billion in AGI including $3.4 billion from New York, $1.2 billion from California, $1.9 billion from Illinois, $1.7 billion from New Jersey and $1 billion from Connecticut. California, on the other hand, lost $8.8 billion including $1.6 billion to Texas, $1.5 billion to Nevada, $1.2 billion to Arizona and $700 million to Washington.

Here’s a very informative visual, showing the share of income that either left a state (top half of the chart) or entered a state (bottom half of the chart)..........To Read More.....

In Defense of American Democracy

In Defense of American Democracy: Andy Ngo's New Book, Cowbells at Portland State, and Scaring Powell's Bookstore by Brandon Smith, guest contributor, June 15, 2021 (posted by Mary Grabar) @ Dissident Prof.

 nomorecowbell 1

Nineteenth-century political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville declared a free press to be the most indispensable element of a functioning liberal democracy. Without the ability for journalists' thoughts and writings to be freely circulated, individuals in democratic nations may be isolated in their opinions. Yet combinations of private American citizens have attempted to stifle the dissemination of information compiled by certain journalists in order to achieve antidemocratic aims.

In between my separate stints of studying political science in community college and university, I developed a desire to gain a greater understanding of my own country's political system. I already learned to have a healthy fear of tyrannical majorities that tend to arise from pure democracies after studying James Madison's Federalist No. 10, but sought to differentiate such potentially repressive democracy from the character of American democracy as I conceptualized it. In examining Tocqueville's influential work Democracy in America, I realized America's early European settlers idealized political equality as many Americans do in the current age. However, it would take the recognition of certain liberties of its citizens for America to establish a system of political equality lest the freedom of minorities be trammeled by an overzealous majority. Tocqueville stressed the usefulness of a free press to act as a defense of oppressed members of a community through their ability to appeal to a national, or perhaps global, audience.

Tocqueville's words disturbingly seem to lack salience in America's body politic some 180 years after they were written. In my home city of Portland, Oregon, mobs have attempted to stop the sale of local journalist Andy Ngo's new book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. The book provides an in-depth look at the far-left “antifascist” movement whose constituency advocates for the abolition of capitalism, police, and the United States of America itself. Ngo's book describes the movement's mid-twentieth century European origin, its germination in Portland and the broader United States, to its establishment of so-called “autonomous zones” which law enforcement has been restricted from entering in major American cities like Seattle.

Ngo's journalistic ubiquity is on display in Unmasked, which offers his firsthand account of numerous democratically deviant acts committed in the name of opposing what their participants hold to be fascism. But as Ngo explains, “what is defined as fascism is left wide open” (pg. 8). Prior to the release of Ngo's book, one of a number of masked individuals protesting the sale of Unmasked outside popular Portland bookstore Powell's stated that it was an example of “active fascism.” They went on to contrast such a brand of fascism with that of Hitler's Mein Kampf, which, they conceded, holds historical worth.

Those who protested Powell's sale of Ngo's book attained some level of success. While Unmasked has been available from Powell's via mail order, representatives of the retailer announced that the title would not be available on the shelves of Powell's stores. Owner Emily Powell noted that the protests presented a risk to employees' safety. Like many Portland residents, I have a fondness for browsing the aisles of Powell's multiple locations for interesting reads. However, Ngo's important insight on looming political radicalism may now be missed entirely by the average Powell's browser.

Unmasked offers a fascinating glimpse into the political leanings of its author, which seem to be more in line with those of Tocqueville than anyone I would deem to be fascistic (that is, authoritarian or illiberal). As the son of South Vietnamese immigrants, Ngo is no stranger to the position of vulnerable minorities. He praises America's system of liberal democracy, which provided his family a haven of safety and stability after his parents escaped the communist takeover of their home country, where, because of their connections to the fallen South Vietnamese regime, they were subject to forced labor and communist indoctrination. Ngo's familial narrative about his parents’ escape from radical left-wing oppression helps explain how I ended up crossing paths with him at Portland State University as he covered the beat of leftist extremism in the City of Roses as a journalist.

The Cowbell Incident

In March of 2019, I attended a speaking event in PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union building featuring controversial local videographer Mike Strickland who was previously banned from campus for a two-year period after being charged with multiple gun-related offenses during a July 2016 “Don't Shoot PDX” rally in downtown Portland. I had been familiar with Strickland's work as an independent journalist and content producer for the “Laughing At Liberals” YouTube channel, which started documenting Portland far-left political activity years before Ngo reported on the beat. The Portland State College Republicans (of which I had been a member) welcomed Strickland. The multi-angled video package he presented supported his argument that he had been provoked into drawing his firearm at the rally by a group of individuals dressed in Antifa's signature “black-bloc” style (complete with black hooded sweatshirts and face coverings). The group apparently coordinated to remove Strickland from the scene of the rally outside the Multnomah County Justice Center--where Ngo would be attacked by a black-bloc clad mob roughly three years later.

Michael Strickland.jpg2222222222 2Strickland's speech was interrupted seemingly seconds after it started by the repeated clang of a cowbell sounded by a bearded heckler who introduced himself to the audience as Sawyer Bohannon. He stated that he intended to disrupt the engagement and complained that Strickland had pointed a gun at him and his comrades. Strickland identified the gentleman as the same person who shouted “Communism will win!” into a megaphone prior to his fellow protester being hit by a pickup truck crossing the Hawthorne Bridge at another memorable Portland protest in December 2017. While campus police were present during Strickland's scheduled speech, they allowed the disruption to continue. Though the heckler exerted great effort to deplatform the speaker, I stayed at the event on principle with other attendees who had come to hear Strickland voice his point-of-view. The disruption lasted for over an hour, but the audience's collective patience was sufficient to override the attempted heckler's veto and Strickland was able to complete his presentation. The cowbell-induced headache I endured would not be in vain as Ngo had been in attendance at the event and had the means to break the story of the disruption to a national audience.

Within two days of the cowbell catastrophe, I saw video footage of myself at the Strickland event featured on cable television. Laura Ingraham, host of “The Ingraham Angle” program on the Fox News Channel, welcomed Ngo and Dinesh D’Souza to her show. She criticized Portland State's handling of the disruption and discussed several other incidents of conservatives being silenced on college campuses, including D'Souza, who had been shouted down while delivering a speech at American University four months prior to the incident at PSU. I appreciate Ngo's ability to bring what seemed at the time to be a pesky nuisance amid localized political discourse to the focus of a national prime time television-viewing audience. The cowbell tale would ultimately capture the attention of America's highest office of power.

Ingraham's coverage of the communistic cow-belling mentioned then-President Donald Trump's proposal to enact an executive order designed to limit federal funding to universities that failed to uphold free speech on their campuses. Two weeks after Ingraham's broadcast with Ngo and D'Souza, Trump signed Executive Order 13864 into effect with the aim of “improving free inquiry, transparency, and accountability at colleges and universities.” Trump cited a recent violent episode at the University of California, Berkeley, in which a conservative activist was punched in the face while trying to recruit students to join an organization as an example of a campus free speech violation. He also cited Portland State's cowbell debacle. “You see the cowbell scene...That was a disgraceful thing at a school; at a university,” Trump said,  prior to the order's official implementation.

The story of the disruption I experienced may not have made it to the lips of the leader of the free world if it had not been for Ingraham showcasing Ngo's reporting. The former president's stated proclivity to regularly view Fox News programs such as Ingraham's is well known. While his executive order provides few details of how it may improve the state of free inquiry on campus, it affirms that the official policy position of the U.S. Government's executive branch is to promote open debate at colleges that receive federal research funding. Though current President Joe Biden has rescinded part of Trump's educational reform agenda via an executive order of his own, Executive Order 13864 remains unrevoked as of this writing. 

As Tocqueville suggests, it is vital to the functioning of a democratic nation that journalists retain the ability to share information with the population. Brave journalists like Andy Ngo are targeted for obvious reasons by opponents of liberal democracy. The censoring of Unmasked signals a dangerous precedent. The potential for Ngo's words to be read and considered throughout the United States is crucial for the future of democracy in America.

BrandonSmithBrandon Smith is a graduate of Portland State University with a bachelor's degree in political science and has studied under such dissident professors as Bruce Gilley and Peter Boghossian. He currently works as a certified pharmacy technician in Portland, Oregon.


Kamala Went to Guatemala for Regime Change, Not Illegal Migration

June 14, 2021 @ Sultan Knish Blog 

In March, Joe Biden announced that Kamala Harris was going "to lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle" to stem illegal "migration to our southern border".


According to Biden, "she’s the most qualified person to do it."

This confused everyone including the White House, Kamala Harris, and even the media which spent the next few months clarifying exactly what her job was and how she was going to do it.

Anonymous officials told CNN that afterward, "Harris' aides appeared to 'panic'".

At their joint press conference, Kamala Harris dubiously claimed that "we can chew gum and walk at the same time". While Texas officials demanded that she visit the border, Kamala instead vowed to focus on diplomacy with the countries the migrants were coming from.

Unlike President Trump, Biden was not going to secure the border. The border would be wide open and illegal aliens would be dispersed across the country. An agreement to keep the migrants in Mexico, Trump’s biggest immigration win, was shredded. The only plan to deal with the huge border surge was addressing the “root causes” of migration. But the only real root cause is that America is richer than Mexico and other countries south of the border.

While the Biden administration got to work making America as poor as possible, Kamala was dispatched to impose Marxist regime change on Latin America in the name of the illegal aliens.

The trip didn’t go well from the start.

Air Force Two took off and then had to come back due to a landing gear problem.

Just like in the primaries, Kamala has always had trouble sticking the landing.

"We all said a little prayer, but we’re good,” Kamala told reporters.

Kamala claims to be a black Baptist, is married to a secular Jewish man, grew up attending Hindu temples, and asked an aunt before an election, "Please pray for me, break coconuts at the temple." It’s hard to imagine what she was praying to. Probably the only one thing she believed in that has come through for her: Willie Brown.

The media told us that Kamala Harris was a member of Amos Brown's leftist Third Baptist Church. That's fine, except that the church is in San Francisco, and Kamala has lived in a Brentwood mansion, and the church is in decline due to the lack of black people in the area.

But if you can believe that Kamala is “the most qualified person” to engage in diplomacy with countries she can’t find on a map and solve their social problems, believing that she’s a devout parishioner of a church 350 miles away should be a breeze for any devout Democrat.

On the second Air Force Two, Kamala finally landed in Guatemala to jeers from an angry mob.

"We are not on the same side of the coin. It is obvious," Guatemala's President Giammattei had earlier told CBS.

After President Trump left office, Giammattei complained that, "The message changed to, 'we are going to reunite families and we are going to reunite children'" and "the very next day the coyotes here were organizing groups of children to take them to the United States."

He urged the Biden administration "to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving."

President Giammattei is a staunch law and order conservative, and if he appeared to be undermining Kamala, it was because she had spent months undermining him.

In May, Kamala met with a number of leftist opponents of Giammattei, including former Attorney General Thelma Aldana, who had targeted conservative politicians with corruption charges, before herself being charged with corruption. Instead of returning home to face those charges, she received political asylum in the United States. Her social media is full of praise for Kamala Harris’ trip to Guatemala, and her promises to end "corruption" in Guatemala.

Behind the mutual charges of corruption is a struggle between the Left and Right, with socialists and narcoterrorists on one side and military officers and free marketers on the other.

Kamala and the Biden administration are choosing to stand with the Left.

That’s not exactly surprising. Neither were the angry protesters that greeted Kamala at the airport waving banners and signs reading "Kamala, Mind Your Own Business", "Kamala, Go Home", "Kamala Trump Won", and “Kamala Stop Funding Criminals".

Those signs might have been confusing to Americans who get their news from the media bubble which left them completely unprepared to understand what was really going on.

Guatemalans saw her as prepping a leftist coup by backing leftist organizations and activists.

And they were fighting back.

Kamala Harris blamed the migrant crisis on "corruption, violence and poverty, the lack of economic opportunity, the lack of climate adaptation and climate resilience, the lack of good governance." Two of those are very obvious code words for regime change.

A few days ago it was announced that Kamala’s trip would be about “anti-corruption” efforts.

Aside from some leftist prosecutors, Guatemalans are not coming here over government corruption. But did anyone really think that Biden wanted to reduce illegal migration?

The Left is adept at killing two birds with one stone.

In this case, it’s using a border crisis to impose leftist regimes on Latin America.

Behind the anti-corruption push is a movie to restart the UN’s International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) backed by Soros activists. Most Guatemalans would prefer to be ruled by their own elected officials, not by the United Nations, Soros, or Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris quickly announced that the DOJ will create an anti-corruption task force that will provide "case-based mentoring to the Guatemalan Public Ministry, including the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI)" and "a rapid response capability to deploy U.S. prosecutors and law enforcement experts to provide mentorship to develop corruption cases."

This amounts to deploying DOJ assets to help local lefties take down conservative politicians.

That’s why Biden described Kamala as “the most qualified person to do it." Unlike much of the administration, she has a background as a prosecutor. And that’s her real job in Guatemala.

“One essential ingredient of our priorities must be to fight corruption,” Kamala Harris declared, while standing next to President Giammattei . “That has been one of our highest priorities.”

Everyone who’s seen the leaked Hunter Biden material knows how committed Willie Brown’s girlfriend is to fighting corruption. It’s been a while since there was a dirtier administration.

But fighting corruption in Latin America doesn’t have anything to do with corruption. In a thoroughly corrupt system where everyone steals and takes bribes, it means regime change.

Kamala isn’t in Guatemala to stem the flow of illegal aliens, but to impose a leftist regime. And that regime will create the crisis conditions that will lead even more migrants to come here.

It’s a win-win scenario for the Left. And a lose-lose crisis for America.

Republicans need to understand what the Guatemalan protesters jeering Kamala’s visit were telling us. The Biden administration isn’t fighting to stop illegal migration: it’s plotting to make it worse while turning over much of Latin America to Marxist narco-terrorists and Iranian allies.

If Biden and Kamala succeed, then a dozen Venezuelans will rise south of the border. And millions of illegal aliens will cross an unprotected border to overrun the United States.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.

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About Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is a journalist investigating Islamic terrorism and the Left. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center

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The Labor Shortage Is a Government-Contrived Scarcity

Richard M. Ebeling Richard M. Ebeling  – June 14, 2021 @ American Institute for Economic Research 

Not long ago, my wife and I decided to go out to our favorite Thai restaurant not far from our home in the Charleston, South Carolina area, which we had not been to for well over a year. With so many retail businesses having returned to a no-mask, no-distancing “normality,” we were looking forward to a tasty inside, sit-down meal. But when we arrived we discovered they were still only doing takeout orders because the management had not been able to find enough willing waiters to rehire. America is suffering from an apparent “labor shortage,” in spite of unemployment levels being significantly above what they were before the government-imposed lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in early 2020. 

Before these shutdown orders and restrictions on freedom of shopping were imposed by, especially, the state governments and reinforced by federal policies in March of last year, the economy-wide average unemployment rate hit a low of about 3.5 percent of the labor force in February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), something not experienced for several decades. Plus, this unemployment low had its counterpart under the subgroups of men and women, whites and blacks and Hispanics, and for adults and youths. Indeed, if the coronavirus crisis had not occurred with the accompanying government-created collapse of much of the economy, 2020 might have turned out to be an exceptionally good year in terms of many of the standard economic benchmarks. 

The BLS June 2021 report on “The Employment Situation” for the month of May showed that the overall unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent of the labor force, or still about 35 percent higher than in February 2020. And, comparably, each subgroup remains noticeably above their, respective, unemployment rates of 15 months ago. 

At the same time, the BLS’s June 2021 report on “Job Openings and Labor Turnover” stated that at the end of April, job openings for which employers were willing and able to hire stood at 9.3 million positions. But hires to fill employment slots in April totaled 6.1 million. The number of people quitting or not willing to accept work increased, especially in the food service and retail sectors, while the number of workers let go or laid off remained low. 

Unemployment Due to Government Paying People Not to Work

Clearly, to use Keynesian terms, employment in the United States is not suffering from an “aggregate demand” failure. There are plenty of job openings; it is a failure of a good number of employable people not being interested in filling the slots employers would like to fill. Why?

A number of commentators have suggested that many are still concerned about and fearful of returning to the workplace due to the potential of still catching the coronavirus and the risk of serious illness or death. Some have argued it’s because employers are too cheap; that is, they are unwilling to pay a wage high enough to draw unemployed workers back into the active labor force. The problem with this latter explanation is that it does not make clear why wage “x” at which some of these workers were willingly employed 15 months ago is now unacceptable just a little bit more than a year later, given the lost income experienced during all that time. 

However, suppose that before the coronavirus lockdowns and lost employment, a low-skilled employee was making, say, $500 a week. But now let us suppose that during the last 15 months, due to extended unemployment insurance payments and supplementary federal emergency transfers introduced during the coronavirus crisis, this person was continuing to have a government-supplied weekly income of $500, or maybe even more, say, $600. For as long as this continues, what is the incentive for him to return to the workplace for the previous salary when, instead, this individual can stay at home and be no worse or maybe even better off than working his old 40-hour week as before March of 2020? 

A few weeks ago, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) issued a report based on work and wages versus government income-transfer programs (state unemployment insurance, supplemental federal emergency insurance bonus, child care credits, earned income tax credit, and food stamps) in, for instance, the state of Florida. A person could receive up to the equivalent of a $20-an-hour wage by staying home rather than accepting available employment. 

Government Created Artificial Benefits to Not Take a Job

This, obviously, has nothing to do with a “failure of the market” in not providing jobs or from employer stinginess in the salary being offered. Government redistributive benefits have priced some workers out of the labor market by giving them more received income by not working than from accepting the employment available at more market-based wages reflecting employer estimates of those workers’ value-added contribution in various lines of production, including in the service industry.

What has been created by these government programs is a false “opportunity cost” for those in these labor categories in terms of their trade-off between work and non-work. I say “false” due to the fact that if these redistributive programs were not present, lower-skilled workers would have to weigh differently the income forgone by not accepting gainful employment versus perhaps not earning anything. Instead, for as long as these types of programs are in effect, they, basically, establish a “floor” below which more is lost by working than taking a job. 

Even if the government transfers are slightly less than the salary that would be received from working, the trade-off can still be in favor of not taking a job. Suppose someone could earn a weekly salary of that $500 versus unemployment insurance plus some of these other government redistributions that give him the equivalent of, say, $475 or $450 per week. Would it always be in every such worker’s personal interest to give up the $475 or $450 of government-supplied income to, instead, work 40 hours a week to make an extra $25 or $50 for that total of $500 of earned weekly income? Surely, for most people an extra $25 or $50 a week would not be worth foregoing the 40 hours of free time the government money enables him to enjoy. 

Limited Means to Serve Our Many Ends Require Trade-Offs

We can see, therefore, that the current “shortage” of labor is, in fact, “contrived” and not “natural.” I am using this particular terminological distinction because the cause and nature of market-based scarcity versus government-created scarcity was explained with great cogency a long time ago by the British economist, William H. Hutt (1899-1988) in a neglected essay of his on “Natural and Contrived Scarcities” (South African Journal of Economics, September 1935). (See my article, “William H. Hutt: A Centenary Appreciation”.)

Hutt reminded us that man cannot escape from the fact that he is always confronted with the need and necessity to make choices, to accept trade-offs between alternatives, and decide what he values more highly and what he values less highly. The inescapable reason for this is the scarcity of means available in their quantities and/or qualities to serve and satisfy fully all the ends, goals and purposes for which we would like to apply them.

Our time is scarce, with only twenty-four hours in a day. Our mental and physical strength is limited with which to pursue our purposes. The resources and raw materials around us that we identify as “useful things” to make the finished goods and services that we desire are limited in their amounts to produce all the consumer items for which we think them usable. 

In the free market economy, the relative scarcities of both finished consumer goods and the resources, labor and capital equipment out of which those consumer goods can be made are all registered in the form of the competitive prices at which they may be bought and sold.

If we, as consumers, demand more automobiles we may offer to pay higher prices for the greater number of cars we wish to purchase. But to produce more automobiles off the assembly line means that fewer of the scarce resources that go into the manufacture of cars – workers and their labor time, resources, raw materials, component parts, and the machinery needed – will now be available to produce other, alternative goods that could have been produced with those same means of production, instead.

The prices paid to attract those greater quantities of scarce means into the auto industry (including the additional wages to draw more workers into this sector of the market) are what economists call their “opportunity costs.” That is, the prices that need to be offered and paid that are just sufficient to attract them from an alternative employment in which they also have value in producing something else that consumers also want, but not as intensely. 

This is the reality of a world in which we are not able to have everything we want, where we want it, in the full amounts we desire. This is why, no matter how hard we try, we can never “have it all.” Trade-offs are an inescapable part of virtually every aspect of our life. 

Even when through savings, investment, innovation, and industry we succeed over time in increasing our ability to produce more of the things we wish to have, we still never have it all. It is part of the human make-up that as soon as we have successfully reached some desired goals our mind and imagination run ahead to new and different things that are, once again, not fully within our reach.  

It is like walking towards the horizon; no matter how far we go and how fast we try to get there, the horizon remains in front of us, and out of our reach. This is man’s frustration but also the stimulus for all the material and cultural achievements that we call “civilization,” which have raised humanity up from primitive subsistence existence. (See my articles, “Preserved Primitivism versus Freedom and Prosperity” and “Has Modernity Made Us Indecent?”)

The “Natural Scarcity” of Limited Means is Inescapable

In the competitive free market, the limits on how much of goods in general and the relative amounts of each within that total is possible of being produced is limited and constrained by what William H. Hutt defined as the “natural scarcities” existing in any society within any period of time. Said Hutt: 

We must conceive of a society in which there are no restrictions on the free movement, adjustment and full utilization of the productive resources in response to the dictates of consumers’ will [as expressed in their market demands for various goods and services].

Under the “natural scarcity” of things in a free market, some people may wish that more hospitals were built for the sick or more research undertaken for a cure for cancer, or more wildlife areas set aside for peaceful contemplation of the beauty of nature. But the critic has no one to blame but the free choices of his fellow citizens and even himself in actually demanding more of other things in the marketplace that prevents the necessary scarce resources and labor from being available to do more of these other desired things as well. Our own market choices and demands, and that of all of our fellow consumers in society, determine what goods will be profitable to manufacture with what combination of those “naturally” scarce resources, and, therefore, available in which relative quantities in their finished forms as purchasable goods and services. 

“Contrived Scarcities” and “Contrived Plentitudes” Caused by Government

However, the critic may not be satisfied with his own failed attempts to persuade enough of his fellow citizens to demand and spend less on these other things so more scarce resources can be freed up and used for more hospitals, medical research, and nature preserves. He may then turn to the government and its political power to get what he wants without the agreement and voluntary participation of his “preference-misguided” fellows in society. 

Hutt argued that when various individuals and special interest groups turn to the State to get what they want it brings about what he called “contrived scarcities” and “contrived plenitudes.” If the government increases taxes on the citizenry to fund the supplying of more hospitals, cancer research and wildlife areas, it creates a “contrived plenitude.” That is, an amount of these things is supplied in excess of what the market would have found profitable to supply if production had been guided by what consumers would have wanted and demanded if more of their earned income had remained in their own pockets and not been taxed away.

The amount of such “good things” as hospitals, medical research facilities, and nature areas are, in fact, out of balance – over supplied – with what a free market would have supplied of them if the determination of production in society had been left more fully to be guided by the wishes and desires of the income-earning consumers, themselves. 

On behalf of those not satisfied with the free choices of their fellow citizens and who are willing to use political compulsion to get what they want, government has intruded into and violated the “sovereignty of the consumer” to peacefully, honestly, and voluntarily decide what he wants based on his values, beliefs and desires, and to make it profitable on the competitive market for others to provide him with what he wants out of the income he has peacefully, honestly and voluntarily earned in his own role as a producer.  

But the other side of this coin is that there are “contrived scarcities” – a reduced availability – of the goods and services that those sovereign consumers would have been able to have if the greater taxes collected and spent by the government had not resulted in scarce resources and labor being drawn away from producing the goods and services those consumer/taxpayers would have spent their income on if it had not been reduced due to those higher taxes.

“Contrived Scarcities” from Import Tariffs and Price Subsidies

Such contrived scarcities take on various forms, as well, other than only the direct taxing away of people’s income. If the government imposes an import tariff or an import quota on foreign goods entering the domestic economy, the available supplies of those goods will be less; and the prices of these goods that consumers will now have to pay will be higher, as a result, than if free trade was practiced and consumers had had a wider free market choice of domestic and foreign suppliers. 

Suppose that the government starts to guarantee dairy farmers minimum prices for their produce (as the U.S. government does under its farm price-support programs). With a higher guaranteed price than the market-established price, dairy farmers would find it profitable to expand their dairy cowherds; a “contrived plentitude.” But this requires more grazing land for the increased number of cows.

The expanded grazing land will have to come from somewhere. Suppose that this land comes out of wheat growing. The wheat crops will tend to decrease, an essential ingredient in bread baking will be reduced in quantity, and the supply of wheat bread available in groceries may be less, with a resulting higher price per loaf that consumers now must pay; a “contrived scarcity.” 

Thus, government interventions such as these would abridge the market-based sovereignty of the consumers, bringing about too much of some goods being produced and too little of others being supplied. 

Difficulty of Seeing Government’s Hand in Contrived Scarcities

But the perversity from these types of “contrived scarcity” policies is that consumers often find it difficult to know whether and to what extent the supplies available and the prices paid for goods are due to market-determined “natural scarcities” and how much is due to government manipulation of quantities produced and offered on the market.

In the case of the farm price-support programs, consumers in the market end up paying no less than the government guaranteed price for dairy products, for example, since dairy farmers have no incentive to offer it for a lower price on the market since they know that any unsold surpluses at the guaranteed price will be bought up by the government at taxpayers’ expense. 

At the same time, the possible reduced wheat crops that negatively impact the supply of wheat bread and raise its price, for instance, is so many steps away from the immediate vision and understanding of the consumers of bread that it is nearly impossible for ordinary citizens to appreciate the links in the chains of government intervention that has made bread costlier and less available. Thus, the “free market” gets blamed for high or rising prices for various goods because of the apparent businessman’s “greedy profit motive” that makes him fail to produce more of what people want and desire. 

Consumers seem to be unrestricted in their choices concerning how to spend whatever after-tax income may remain in their pockets; market interactions of supply and demand seem to determine the prices that those consumers pay; and, thus, the reason for any frustrating scarcities and expensiveness of desired goods gets placed at the doorstep of “selfish” acts of profit-motivated capitalists and businessmen, in general. 

But behind the scenes the incentive, profitability and opportunity to produce goods guided by the actual demands of the consuming public have been thwarted by government taxing, pricing and regulatory policy manipulations bringing about contrived or artificial scarcities of some goods on the supply-side of the market or wasteful overproduction, or “contrived plentitudes,” of other goods not reflecting what those consumers would really want produced if the market was left free of the intervening and distorting hand of those in political power serving particular special interest groups.

Getting Government Out of the Market Can End Contrived Scarcities

While “natural scarcities” can only be reduced in the longer run through savings, investment, innovation and industry that increase the supply and improve the qualities of desired goods, in principle, “contrived scarcities” and artificial “plentitudes” can be corrected much sooner.

Or as Hutt expressed it, “Contrived scarcities, unlike natural scarcities, are not beyond the power of change by individuals and hence of a different degree of permanence: restrictions can be overcome . . . Contrived scarcities involve, then the frustration of consumers’ sovereignty; and what is usually meant when the removal of restrictions on competition is recommended is that such contrivances shall be eliminated.”

This is the current situation in the American labor market. The government’s income transfer programs such as unemployment insurance payments in general, and the “emergency” income supplements mentioned earlier, have all created a contrived scarcity that the media and others refer to as a “labor shortage.” Yes, labor in a variety of occupations and employments is in short supply, but there is nothing “natural” about it in the manner that Hutt explained a natural scarcity of limited means to serve consumer ends in a free market. 

It is “contrived” shortage of labor due to the government’s manipulation of the trade-off and opportunities costs offered to segments of the labor force through the artificial income supports that have been made available. The other side of this coin is that there has been a government-created “unemployment plentitude;” that is, an amount and level of unemployment in various occupations and lines of work more than would “naturally” exist due to ordinary and ever-occurring dynamic changes in competitive supply and demand conditions. 

A growing number of state governments have announced their decision to opt out of some of these federal “emergency” income transfer programs, meaning the financial benefit of being unemployed will decrease, and the income gains from accepting offered work in the marketplace will seem more attractive. There will remain in place enough government programs that will continue to “contrive” artificial labor scarcities and unnecessary unemployment, including minimum wage laws, small business regulations, occupational licensing restrictions, as well as others. But the type of contrived scarcities of labor created by these particular Covid-related transfers can all be gone practically overnight by simply ending them, and making market-based employment more attractive again, in comparison.  

Educating Others on Natural versus Contrived Scarcities

Finally, in more general terms, one of the tasks of friends of competitive free markets is to explain to our fellow citizens that while a “natural scarcity” of useful means to achieve our various ends is inescapable in the reality of the human circumstance, there are some scarcities of resources and desired goods that are artificial, “contrived scarcities,” precisely due to government and its interventions in the market process. 

Such contrived scarcities, in principle, could be gone tomorrow if the government’s economic policies fostering, creating and sustaining them were abolished and eliminated. The individual’s freedom of choice and action as both consumer and producer will have been more fully restored with a less intervening government. 

Free men in free markets would then be at liberty to improve their conditions without the disrupting and distorting hand of political power and special interest politicking that invariably makes many things less available and more expensive than if competitive markets were unshackled from the government policies that only succeed in making us poorer and far less free than we need to be. 

Richard M. Ebeling

Richard M. Ebeling

Richard M. Ebeling, an AIER Senior Fellow, is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ebeling lived on AIER’s campus from 2008 to 2009.

Books by Richard M. Ebeling