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A new theory of budgeting

26 Oct 2022 | OP ED Watch

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, aka Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, Rhodes Scholar graduate of Harvard and Oxford where incredibly he studied economics, along with politics and philosophy, recently intoned that “A lot of Americans could be saving a lot of money by owning an EV, but only if they could afford it.” At least when Stompin’ Tom Connors sang in “The Consumer” about how we’ll “Save a lot of money spending money we don’t got” he was being sarcastic. We’re thinking Buttigieg’s theory could be applied widely, such as telling people who can’t afford energy how much they’d be saving if only they could afford it. Which might come as a relief to a group of BBC viewers who recently lamented “The topic of conversation at my baby group… is how we are going to keep our homes warm to keep our babies warm this winter”. They can buy extra blankets with all the money they’re saving.

The quote was from the BBC’s “Question Time” and it added “This #bbcqt audience feels we are witnessing a level of poverty “we didn’t think existed anymore””. As with the Just Stop Oil nits complaining that people can’t afford to heat their homes or even a bowl of soup because of fossil fuels when the real problem is a shortage of fossil fuels, it is extraordinary to see people like those at the BBC who are militantly against cheap affordable energy now lamenting the effects of its absence while failing with world-class obtuseness to see the connection.

The questioner actually said “it’s a level of poverty like Gordon Brown said that we didn’t think existed any more” before the money quote and “that should not be a topic of conversation in this country in this day and age” after it. No indeed. And it wouldn’t be if people like Gordon Brown had not made it one by their deliberate suppression of fossil fuels and their replacement of them with renewables they did not realize would be expensive and unreliable.

The person who brought this story to our attention added that “The BBC campaigned long and hard to keep fossil fuels in ground, so don’t even think about feigning sympathy for these poor people.” But here we beg to differ. We do not think the BBC or its constituent human parts are feigning sympathy any more than the politicians are. Rather, like the politicians, they are genuinely baffled by the connection between lack of conventional energy and people being cold and hungry.

They are baffled partly because they do not live in a mental world of tradeoffs at all. And they are baffled partly because they did truly believed renewables are now cheaper and more effective than lumbering dinosaur fossil fuels, and they still do, like so many people indignantly lecturing us on social media.

Consider this news story from the Guardian in late September: “Keir Starmer will pledge to deliver a new era of economic growth and permanently lower energy bills by turning the UK into an independent green ‘superpower’ before 2030, through a massive expansion of wind and solar energy. Announcing details of the plan exclusively to the Observer, the Labour leader says he will double the amount of onshore wind, triple solar and more than quadruple offshore wind power, ‘re-industrialising’ the country to create a zero carbon, self-sufficient electricity system, by the end of this decade.”

Keir Starmer, for those who do not follow the intricacies of British politics, is actually Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB KC. But don’t get the wrong idea. He’s a callus-handed man of the people distinguished lawyer and leader of the far-left Labour Party whose apprenticeship included being “a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists in East Surrey” while attending an exclusive private school albeit on scholarship. He then became a barrister and a “bencher” at the Middle Temple while, again, editing a magazine called “Socialist Alternatives”. (Wikipedia also claims that on being appointed head of the Crown Prosecution Service by Baroness Scotland of Asthal, he “was considered to be bringing a focus on human rights into the legal system” though it doesn’t say what clowns considered him to be engaged in such a novelty in the land of Magna Carta.)

The point is, he is an intelligent, energetic person who was educated in an elite school, then the University of Leeds, then Oxford largely through his own bootstrap efforts. So if he can believe in this nonsense, along with the three-person Guardian team who wrote this puff opinion piece labeled news, equipped with degrees in Social Studies and more, why shouldn’t the busy activists at the BBC find it plausible? After all:

“Starmer says the move – far more ambitious than any green policy advanced by the Tories and the most far-reaching of his leadership so far – would release the British people from the mercy of “dictators” such as Russian president Vladimir Putin over energy bills. It would also, he says, cut hundreds of pounds off annual household energy bills “for good”, create up to half a million UK jobs, and make this country the first to have a zero-emission power system.”

Naturally the authors brought their famous hard-boiled skepticism to the issue, declaring that the rival Tory plan was evil rubbish: “Yesterday thinktanks and leading economists said the Conservative plan would mainly help the richest and benefit the more prosperous south of England, rather than provide assistance to struggling households and parts of the country which are more deprived. It also spooked the financial markets.” And for that dispassionate perspective on which readers depend, they interviewed Labour Party activists who felt that the Starmer plan was a real winner:

“Party aides said history showed Labour was at its best and most successful when it captured a sense of ‘modernity and the future’, as in 1964 when Harold Wilson became prime minister with a vision to create a new Britain in the ‘white heat’ of ‘scientific revolution’.”

Never mind that Wilson’s glorious vision led to decades of stagnation only broken when Margaret Thatcher took power. Revolution, man!

4 comments on “A new theory of budgeting”

  1. I lived through Wilson and his legacy, and hope to God I don't have to live through Starmer's. He's a slightly older, duller and less photogenic copy of Trudeau, but with the same bovine certainty which no amount of factual inconvenience can overcome. Also, Starmer is not sure if a woman has a penis. Not an intellect that is fit for the real world.

  2. "Rather, like the politicians, they are genuinely baffled by the connection between lack of conventional energy and people being cold and hungry." I very much doubt it. The connection is too obvious. They see it, they simply refuse to admit it because it would be an admission of error and failure. Once the deception, the hoax, has been started, it must to be defended and perpetuated no matter how implausible it becomes. You see the same dynamic at play with the SNC-Lavalin hoax ("I did not pressure the attorney general"), and the N.S. mass shooting inquiry ("I did not intervene in the conduct of the investigation"): once the lie is told, it must be told and retold even if irrefutable recorded evidence surfaces that exposes the initial lie. That's the very definition of a hoax.

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