CEI Today: House vote on NSA spying, California granting Big Labor protections, and the "social cost of carbon"
NSA SPYING - RYAN RADIA
A free-market coalition today urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote yes on Reps. Justin Amash and John Conyers' amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 2397). This amendment [defeated 205-217 Wednesday evening] would defund the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs insofar as they target individuals who are not suspected of involvement in any national security threat.
BIG LABOR IN CALIFORNIA - TREY KOVACS
California is going where only two other progressive bastions—Maryland and Illinois—have gone before in terms of providing unions with special privileges. If Assembly Bill 729 passes the Senate, communications between union representatives and their members will receive the equivalent protected status as that of attorney-client, physician-patient, and psychotherapist-patient privileges.
COST OF CARBON - MARLO LEWIS
Climate activists increasingly invoke "social cost of carbon" estimates to justify the imposition of carbon taxes, fuel economy mandates, Soviet-style production quota for wind farms, fracking bans, and other interventions to rig the marketplace against reliable, affordable, fossil energy. They speak as if SCC estimates disclose an objective reality like the boiling point of water or the specific gravity of iron. In fact, SCC estimates are assumption-driven hocus-pocus or, as my colleague Myron Ebell prefers to say, “hogwash.”
Even if scrupulously based on the best science and economics, social cost of carbon analyses would still ignore the social benefits — the positive externalities — of affordable, reliable, carbon-based energy. Consequently, such analyses turn a blind eye to the social costs — the adverse effects on public health and welfare – of the economic losses imposed by carbon mitigation schemes.