Perhaps I should do separate posts for each of these gentlemen but what the hey, I shall just combine them. For in considering aspects of the overriding issue of climate change, there is ample room for them both.
Just a wee bit of background to set the stage. Many of us have no doubt read Orwell’s seminal work, 1984, with all its disturbing aspects of totalitarianism at full force. A world where the state’s control has reached its pinnacle. It was written way back in 1948, just 2 years before the death of its author, Eric Arthur Blair.
Next, we have the consummate huckster, Phineas T Barnum, who allegedly said,”There is a sucker born every minute.” In reality, the phrase was uttered by his competitor, Syracuse banker David Hannum. But Barnum was the founding force behind one of the world’s most famous circuses; Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. Known for showcasing such diverse acts,as songstress Jenny Lind and height challenged Tom Thumb, he was also a prolific lecturer in his own right. One of the coolest sounding , ‘The Art of Money Getting.”
On that apropos note we connect the dots to climate change with two reports. One is from Great Britain, the other from the Netherlands. Second one goes first. our Dutch friends have plans to levy a “green” road tax by the year 2012. it would be charged by the kilometer and is aimed at reducing emissions as well as traffic congestion. Worthy objectives, of course. Check out the following quote as to how it will be implemented, if passed by the Dutch parliament. ” Each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device (paid for by?) that tracks how many kilometeres are driven and when and where.This data will then be sent to a collection agency that will send out the bill.” So said the Dutch transportation ministry. Ownership and sales taxes will be eliminated and be replaced by the new levy. It will begin at 7 cents per mile and increase to 16 cents per mile by 2018. One additional odd feature to me is that taxis will be exempt. Worthy goal that will allow the government and a 3rd party to know how much you drive, where and when and charge you for doing so. Sounds like that sound fall a bit on the Orwellian side to me.
Now for the British. Upfront, i will surmise that this is more Barnumesque. Here foes. Lord Smith of Finsbury is the head of the Environment Agency. He is advocating that everyone in Great Britain be “given” a carbon allowance, by the government, I presume. people would be issued a unique number and would be required to provide that number when buying such things as fuel, airline tickets or electricity. Each month they would receive a statement to follow their balance. if the account reached zero, they would have to pay for more credits(Barnum) and that wold go to the government, I presume. frugal carbon users could do the opposite, sell their unused and make money. His position is that only those with extravagant lifestyles would be impacted. Ruth Lee is an economist with Arbuthnot Banking Group. She calls the plan “Orwellian” and maintains that it is all about control of the individual. Sure seems to have some control elements in it. Lord Smith plans to introduce his proposal at the Monday conference of the Environmental Agency.
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