[ExI] climate change et alia

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sun May 8 20:16:50 UTC 2016

On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 10:50 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>
> What do Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, climate change have in
> (you could probably add to this list)
> All of them share this:  nothing currently going on with them is dire and
> fixing right away.  All are long term problems.

That's a good point.

> The people we elect seem focused on short term problems, because they are
the ones
> their voters can relate to.  Tell someone we are 20 trillion dollars in
debt and I think it
> is likely he will say "So what?"  Climate change will bring significant
problems in the
> year 2030.  "So what?  I'll probably be dead by then."

You might want to choose a different year there, perhaps 02100. I hope and
believe most people living now will be alive in 02030 -- <14 years away --
but I'm not so sure about 02100 -- almost 84 years away. This doesn't,
however, undercut your point.

I think people now do try to link global warming to current problems, such
as droughts, the rash of hot summers, and severe storms. So they do try to
make it seem as if the impact is nearer or even now and, presumably, that
changes taken now can have more a immediate impact... More immediate than,
say, something we might only noticed in the 02060s.

> Current money goes to fix current problems, regardless of what long term
thing it has
> be taken from.  My state keeps an emergency fund which is raided every
year despite
> their being no emergency.  We are acting as is hurricane Katrina never

Such funds are too tempting. It's kind of like I heard one time that a
certain city wanted to cut costs by cutting the fire department staff
because they don't really do anything but wait and train until they're
needed. :/

> I have no idea how to fix this.  You'd have to change human brains.

I think having many of these things under government control or provision
creates problems because adjustments are only made via the political
process and the whole thing becomes ever more fragile. For instance, with
the health industry, government intervention over the last century or more
has only helped to drive up costs and increase the layers of bureaucracy.
Despite this, there have been some improvements, but nothing like in more
free areas of the economy. (Some of the improvements, too, have been
spillover effects of the freer parts of the economy.)

> Or, start a war with China.  Always proven to stimulate the economy, and
we can then
> declare our debts to them null and void!

Starting a war with China is very unlikely. I gather you're joking, but...
the problem wouldn't be that US government debt could just be defaulted on
-- that can be done now sans war -- but that the market for future debt
will dry up. The outcome could be not getting any foreign -- not just
Chinese -- buyers for US government debt for some time afterward. Who would
loan to the US government given that it might use war to nullify the debt?
That would limit the US government to either domestic borrowers, more
aggressive inflation, or raising taxes. (Actually, simply defaulting now
might not be so bad since these other means have more restraints on them
than foreign borrowers.)


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