People for the West -Tucson
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Newsletter, July, 2015
The “Pause” in Global Warming Continues
by Jonathan DuHamel
Although atmospheric carbon dioxide content has continued to increase, global temperatures have no net increase for the past 18 years. This fact is an embarrassment for the climate alarmist faction.
After about 60 journal articles failed to explain the lack of warming, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) now claims there was no pause in global warming; it was all a bookkeeping error.
Ignoring physical evidence and all the journal articles about the pause, the National Climate Data Center just published a paper (Karl et al “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus”) in Science Magazine which claims that the widely reported and accepted temperature hiatus is an illusion – just an artifact of data analysis – and that the global climate never really stopped warming.
This propaganda is probably designed to bolster the next round of UN-IPCC meetings in Paris in December where the IPCC will try to convince countries to spend billions of dollars fighting climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The claim is ironic because NCDC, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is deep into data manipulation itself. A new post from the NoTricksZone shows that “Comprehensive Analysis Reveals NOAA Wrongfully Applying ‘Master Algorithm’ To Whitewash Temperature History.” The author of that post says “I caught NOAA purposefully using computer code (algorithms) to lower historic temperatures to promote present day temperatures as the warmest on record.”
That’s not the first time. In my article “The past is getting cooler” I demonstrate that published government temperature records show the 1930s getting cooler and cooler with each update of the record. This phenomenon is due to government data manipulation designed to make the present look warmer in relation to the past.
Dr. S. Fred Singer has an American Thinker article on this latest gambit by NOAA. Singer notes that “There are at least two rival data centers that may dispute the NOAA analysis:
“The Hadley Centre in England and the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).In fact, Hadley’s partner, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was the first to announce, on the BBC, the existence of a pause in global warming. Then there are also dozens of scientists who have published research papers, purporting to provide an explanation for the reported pause.”
NOAA is basing its claim on the surface temperature record which, itself, has many problems. Singer goes on to write, “Not only that, but a look at the detailed NOAA evidence shows that much depends on polar temperatures — which are mostly guessed at, for lack of good observations. If one uses the (truly global) satellite data, analyzed either by UAH or by RSS, the pause is still there, starting around 2003.” And, “the same satellite data show no warming trend from 1979 to 2000 – ignoring, of course, the exceptional super-El-Nino year of 1998.”
A long post by Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts demonstrates that all the claimed warming is due to NOAA manipulation of the data. In the same post, Dr. Judith Curry notes that NOAA use considerable gap filling of temperatures in the Arctic which ” introduces substantial error into their analysis.”
A separate article by Patrick J. Michaels, Richard S. Lindzen, and Paul C. Knappenberger notes that NOAA inappropriately adjusted ARGO buoy temperature data upwards:
“…the authors’ treatment of buoy sea-surface temperature (SST) data was guaranteed to create a warming trend. The data were adjusted upward by 0.12°C to make them “homogeneous” with the longer-running temperature records taken from engine intake channels in marine vessels. As has been acknowledged by numerous scientists, the engine intake data are clearly contaminated by heat conduction from the structure, and as such, never intended for scientific use. On the other hand, environmental monitoring is the specific purpose of the buoys. Adjusting good data upward to match bad data seems questionable, and the fact that the buoy network becomes increasingly dense in the last two decades means that this adjustment must put a warming trend in the data.”
Karl et al. eliminated the pause by a statistical flimflam manipulation of surface data from their main database, the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) and from sea surface temperature data. Karl’s contention ignores observational evidence from two satellite systems and balloon-borne radiosondes all of which show no net warming for the past 18 years.
Karl’s contention also ignores NOAA’s own data from its newer United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). Just about one year ago I wrote about the differences in these two networks: New NOAA data show cooling trend for last 10 years. The USCRN network continues to show a lack of warming. Did Karl think nobody would look?
The USCRN stations are sited well away from urban influence (urban heat island effect). These stations use state of the art instrumentation and are therefore not subject to many of the problems associated with the old USHCN network. The difference in temperatures recorded by the two networks shows that the old USHCN instruments have been overstating the temperature anywhere from +0.5°C on average, up to almost +4.0°C (+0.9°F to +7.2°F) in some locations during the summer months.
NOAA maintains a website where you can plot their data, which I did. Results from the newer USCRN stations show no net warming for 11 years. In fact, the data show a net cooling from 2005 to 2015. (NOAA has not released any USCRN data prior to 2005.) Here is the plot:
It is sad to see how science has been perverted by politics. It seems that many government scientists and academics who rely on government grants are finding ways to make the data conform to policy rather than shaping policy to fit the real data. I’m sure readers can think of a word which characterizes that practice.
“Simply put, the danger is not climate change – which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate. For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do. For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.” –Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin (Source)
There was much media hubbub on the new encyclical issued by Pope Francis. I have compiled many comments in a post on my WryHeat blog:
Comments on the Pope’s Encyclical
For the real science of climate change see:
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science
By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, lead authors/editors, Heartland Institute,
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts
By Sherwood Idso, Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, lead authors/editors,
Heartland Institute, March, 2014
Climate alarmists keep harping about polar bears; get the facts here:
Polar Bear Scientists ‘Willfully Blind To The Facts’
Leading biologist accuses polar bear scientists of systematically misleading the public
A new paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation accuses scientists of systematically misleading the public, saying that they are blaming changes in polar bear populations on global warming despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
In the paper `The Arctic Fallacy’, Dr Susan Crockford, an expert in Arctic mammals, notes that reductions in polar bear populations are clearly linked to thick spring ice, which reduces the availability of the bears’ prey. Despite this, scientists routinely blame reductions in summer ice, despite there being little evidence to support the idea: in fact years of low summer ice extent are often accompanied by big increases in bear populations. According to Dr Crockford, polar bear scientists are being `willfully blind to the facts’.
Professor Matthew Cronin of the University of Alaska, the author of the paper’s Foreword said: `The constant chorus declaring crises for high-profile wildlife is dangerous, not only to science and economics, but because we might not pay attention when real threats arise’. Full paper (pdf)
A lesson in scientific consensus: Dr. David Deming has an interesting essay about the history of determining the age of the Earth and how consensus of the best scientists was consistently wrong. Read the essay.
Here’s Why Global Warming Alarmists Don’t Talk About Greenland
by Michael Bastasch
Climate scientists, environmentalists and politicians worried about man-made global warming sounded the alarm this year when Arctic sea ice levels hit their lowest extent on record for March. Some even warned this could signal an ice-free north pole this summer, or in the near future.
But alarmists have been neglecting an inconvenient fact about the polar region: Greenland is seeing healthy levels of ice and record cold temperatures over parts of the polar island.
Northeast Greenland saw its coldest May on record since measurements started back in 1949, and the island as a whole is colder than normal. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, has also seen its coldest year on record, according to science blogger Steven Goddard.
Greenland is also seeing much less ice melt than normal, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Basically, Greenland’s ice sheet has accumulated a lot of ice, but seen little melting this year. Source
Natural laws apply everywhere in the universe except the realm of climate “science” – source unknown.
Green Energy ‘steals’ from the Biosphere
by Viv Forbes
Earth has only three significant sources of energy.
First is geothermal energy from Earth’s molten core and decaying radioactive minerals in Earth’s crust. This energy moves continents, powers volcanoes and its heat migrates towards the crust, warming the lithosphere and the deep oceans. It can be harvested successfully in favourable locations, and radioactive minerals can be extracted to provide large amounts of reliable heat for power generation.
Second is energy stored in combustible hydrocarbon minerals such as coal, oil, gas, tar sands and oil shale. These all store solar and geothermal energy collected eons ago and they are the primary energy sources supporting modern industrial societies and the vast populations dependent on them.
Third are radiation and gravitational energies from the Sun and Moon which are captured by the biosphere as heat, winds, tides, rain, rivers and in biomass such as forests, crops and animals. These are the natural “Green” energies that support all processes of life and still support a pleasant existence for some peoples.
Green zealots believe that we can and should run modern societies exclusively on “Green” energies, and they have embarked on a war on hydrocarbons. They need to be told that their green energy favourites are just stealing from the biosphere – they are not as green as they claim.
The most obvious example is the ethanol industry which takes food crops like corn, sugar and palm oil and uses heaps of water and a lot of hydrocarbon energy to convert them to ethanol alcohol which will burn in internal combustion engines, but has less energy density than petrol. Read more
While energy efficiency of major U.S. coal-fired electric plants rose, carbon dioxide emissions did, too, researchers find
By Magdalena Rost
If electric utilities can burn less coal for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced, they should also emit less carbon dioxide overall. That’s the rationale behind a proposed federal rule designed to decrease power-plant emissions by improving their energy efficiency.
But greater power-plant efficiency corresponds with more—not fewer—emissions, a team of researchers led by a University of Colorado Boulder professor has found. Among the power plants that produce 90 percent of the nation’s electricity, those that improved their energy efficiency also emitted more carbon dioxide, the researchers concluded. Read more
EPA Plan to Ban Coal Hits Major Roadblock
The EPA proposal to impose a de facto ban on new coal-fired power plants received more than two million comments from the public – but it looks like it was just one five-page comment from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) that sent EPA scrambling back to the drawing board.
The draft rule mandated the use of so-called carbon capture and storage, a technology that would inject carbon dioxide underground but which has so far proved to be little more than a white elephant experiment. To mandate this technology, the law required the EPA to prove it was “adequately demonstrated” and “commercially available.” Thanks to E&E Legal, they failed. Read more at TownHall.
The Future Isn’t Ours to Dictate
by Donna Laframboise
It is not the business of today’s politicians to decide which energy sources will be used 85 years from now.
In 1930, horse-drawn wagons were still common. That year, the first traffic lights were installed in New York City, and the first East-West crossing of the Atlantic took place via airplane. Vaccines for illness such as diphtheria, tetanus, cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis were yet to be discovered. This was a world without television, without computers, and in which telephones were definitely not portable.
How ridiculous would it have been for political leaders back in 1930 to decide how we, here in 2015, should live? In an era before large hydro electric dams and nuclear reactors, how sensible would it have been for US President Herbert Hoover, British PM Ramsay MacDonald, and German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning to decide what energy sources societies should rely on 85 years hence?
And yet, as Steven Goddard points out on his RealScience blog, the leaders of today’s G7 countries think it’s their job to make choices on behalf of future generations. They have now solemnly agreed to “phase out fossil fuel use by end of century.” What rot. What hubris.
Let us be serious. When Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Angela Merkel manage to balance their national budgets that’s a major accomplishment. The idea that younger generations, equipped with as-yet-undreamed-of technological marvels, will feel constrained by what was said at a press conference this week is plain bonkers. Source
What green vision? US forests burned to make costly UK electricity and produce more CO2
by Jo Nova
The Green movement have come full circle, from protecting forests and attacking coal, to preserving coal and destroying forests. The most interesting question for me (apart from wondering how long it can continue) is what the UK environmental movement is going to do with this. Do they care about forests? Do they care about the electricity bills inflicted on the poor? Do CO2 emissions matter?
In the UK, the Drax plant was once the largest coal fired power station. Now, thanks to £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies (and the rest) it makes electricity that is twice as expensive, produces more CO2, and apparently razes US forests to do it.
The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the UK Drax plant was paid by the British taxpayer to burn “millions of tons of wood pellets” which the company says are from ” dust and residues from sawmills”. But according to witnesses, environmentalists and workers, the wood is coming from US forests that are clear-felled to supply it. Read more
Lessons From Europe: The Recipe For A High Cost Energy System
by Steve Goreham, Daily Caller
While President Obama promotes renewable energy and members of Congress argue about energy policy, a renewable energy disaster is unfolding in Europe. Driven by a desire to halt climate change, Europe has created a high-cost energy system where everyone loses. U.S. policy leaders should learn from the debacle occurring overseas.
European energy policy today is dominated by the European Climate Change Program (ECCP), which was established by the European Community in 2000. The program called for the nations of Europe to adopt measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The goal was for Europe to collectively meet the targets of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty signed in 1997.
The ECCP was based on two assumptions. The first assumption was that changes to national energy systems were needed to fight global warming. Second, that coal, gas, and oil fuels would become more expensive, allowing renewable energy to compete. But policies to promote renewables resulted in substantially higher electricity prices for Europe.
Europe used subsidies and mandates to promote renewables. Feed-in tariffs were enacted in most nations, providing a payment to homeowners and businesses for electricity fed into the grid from solar or wind facilities. Governments paid a fixed subsidy of four to ten times the wholesale electricity price, guaranteed for up to twenty years, for generated electricity.
Electricity from renewables is also granted grid priority. Utilities are required to accept wind and solar-generated electricity as a first priority, regardless of market demand. Output from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants is scaled back or shut down when renewable output is high. Wholesale electricity prices, once driven by market demand, are today dominated by the weather. When the wind blows and the sun shines, large amounts of electricity are dumped onto the grid from wind and solar installations, forcing wholesale electricity prices negative.
Other factors added to the growing debacle. In 2011, Germany announced a complete phase out of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, closing nuclear power plants and straining the electrical system of Europe’s largest economy. In addition, Germany and France banned hydraulic fracturing, ensuring that European natural gas prices will remain high for the next decade.
Europe has created an energy system where everyone loses. Consumers, industry, traditional power plants, and even renewable energy companies are now losing. Even though wholesale electricity prices are falling, consumer electricity prices have doubled over the last ten years due to large subsidy payments to renewable companies. Nations with the largest percentage of renewable energy also have the highest electricity prices. Citizens of Spain pay 23 eurocents per kilowatt-hour, three times the U.S. price, and citizens of Germany and Denmark pay more than 25 eurocents per kilowatt-hour, four times the U.S. price.
European industrial companies are also big losers. French firms pay more than twice the U.S. electricity rate and German firms pay three times the rate. European industrial electricity rates have risen more than 50 percent since 2007, while U.S. industrial rates have been flat. European firms also pay double the U.S. price for natural gas. European chemical firms are now building plants in America to utilize low-cost ethane from shale fracking, a technology not available in Europe.
Finally, even renewable energy companies are now losing. European governments have realized that they can no longer afford the green energy revolution. Subsidies have recently been cut in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In Germany, solar employment dropped 50 percent and many renewable companies declared bankruptcy. Spain ended its feed-in tariff subsidy and placed a cap on renewable industry profits, resulting in 75,000 lost renewable jobs and a 90 percent reduction in solar installations. Read full article
If startups are bears, thermal solar startups are large bears.
by Bob Greene, Junkscience.com
The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant is operating at about 40% of design after 15 months. From Market Watch, High-tech solar projects fail to deliver
The plant is struggling to overcome some design/engineering glitches:
More cloud cover than anticipated.
More water (steam) required than anticipated.
4 times the natural gas than anticipated for morning startups.
Steam leaks from flex tubes due to turbine vibrations.
Has only achieved 40% of design output.
~3,500 birds per year incinerated.
All startups need a shake down period to find design and construction problems. Most of these are caught in the commissioning phase. New technologies have more problems than existing technologies. Is this a poor design abetted by a rush for the “free” green money? It certainly is beginning to look like the poster child for not doing thermal solar. How many more of these green boondoggles are out there?
Researchers astonished: Coral reefs thriving in a more “acidic” ocean
By Jo Nova
The researchers at Woods Hole have spent four years doing a comprehensive study at Palau Rock Islands in the far Western Pacific, where pH levels are naturally “more acidic” (which is big-government speak for less alkaline). Because of laboratory experiments Barkley et al  expected to find all kinds of detrimental effects, but instead found a diverse healthy system they describe as “thriving” with “greater coral cover” and more “species”. Read more
Trans-Pacific deal more than trade
By Scott S. Powell
Most commonsense people rightly assume that reducing trade barriers is good in and of itself. But it’s a mistake to think that the Trans-Pacific Partnership involving 11 countries plus the U.S. – that is close to being concluded after six-plus years of negotiation under the Obama administration – is primarily a free trade pact. It’s also a misstep to grant the Obama administration fast-track authority and the attendant secrecy on all details of this trade pact. The experience with Obama’s Affordable Care Act, his executive order on immigration and his ongoing nuclear agreement negotiations with Iran remind us that the devil in the details, once passed and implemented, can be harmful and problematic to correct.
TPP has beneficial objectives, such as opening up Japan’s highly restricted agricultural markets to more imports from the U.S. But, as details of the trade pact leak, we see that trade liberalization may just be a small part of TPP. Much of the agreement’s language appears to be devoted to establishing global authoritarian decision-making on environmental, energy, labor, immigration and even intellectual property policy. Read more
EPA emission standards for trucks: heavy cost, no benefit
by Jonathan DuHamel
At a cost of only $30 billion, new EPA regulations may save us from 0.0026 C of global warming by the year 2100.
According to an EPA report (971 pages) [link]: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on behalf of the Department of Transportation, are each proposing changes to our comprehensive Heavy-Duty National Program that would further reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and increase fuel efficiency for on-road heavy-duty vehicles,…”
The National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that “The Environmental Protection Agency’s second round of heavy-duty truck efficiency standards could cost more than $30 billion.” – costs that will be passed on to consumers.
“Auto manufacturers and the freight and long-haul transportation industry already understand the importance of fuel efficiency. Nearly 3 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks carry approximately 70 percent of America’s freight, consuming more than 50 billion gallons in fuel and spending more than $140 billion in diesel costs. The industry operates on razor-thin margins and plans its driving routes down to the tenth of a mile to save on fuel costs.” – Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal
The Obama administration says these new regulations are necessary to meet Obama’s carbon dioxide reduction goals.
The EPA claims “The proposed standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons…”
So, what benefit will we get for $30 billion? EPA’s own figures show no benefit to the environment and no effect on global climate.
According to the EPA report linked above, the new regulations will accomplish the following (page 6-45): “As a result of the proposal’s emissions reductions from the proposed alternative relative to the baseline case, by 2100 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is projected to be reduced by approximately 1.1 to 1.2 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026 to 0.0065°C, and global mean sea level rise is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.023 to 0.057 cm.” Wow!
Among the first things the next President should do is to issue an executive order forbidding federal agencies from regulating carbon dioxide emissions and rescind all regulations that do so.
Ozone Triggers Lying, Not Asthma
By Steve Milloy
The EPA’s claim that ozone triggers asthma in kids runs afoul of reality, and EPA knows it.
First, EPA discloses deep in documents that few people have ever read that its asthma estimates rely largely on a single study titled “Acute respiratory health effects of air pollution on children with asthma in US inner cities,” published in 2008 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Contrary to EPA’s claims, however, the study fails to correlate outdoor ozone levels with asthma symptoms in the inner-city asthmatic kids. Whether the EPA-funded researchers looked at ozone alone or in combination with other substances in the air, it could find no statistically significant correlation between ozone and asthma symptoms or breathing reductions in children pre-disposed to breathing problems. The researchers clearly admit these negative findings in the study.
The most damning evidence against EPA’s ozone-asthma claims, however, are the results of EPA’s own clinical experiments on human beings.
Since the 1990s, EPA has exposed thousands of human volunteers to very high levels of ozone under varying conditions. The human guinea pigs are placed in an air-tight chamber into which EPA researchers pump processed air containing ozone levels that can be five times higher than EPA allows in outdoor air.
These experiments can last as long as six hours, during which time the human guinea pigs may be made to exercise for 50 minutes of each hour. People experimented on have included teenagers, young adults, the elderly, asthmatics, people with metabolic syndrome and combinations of the afore-mentioned.
The reason EPA conducts these experiments is because, as it has admitted in litigation over them, “these studies help determine whether the mathematical associations between ambient (outdoor) levels of air pollutants and health effects seen in large-scale epidemiological studies are biologically plausible or not.”
So what have been the results? In a 2010 document obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, EPA told a University of North Carolina review board (where much of this research has occurred) that, “more than 6,000 volunteers have been studied without a single serious adverse event being observed.” And no asthma attacks or adverse events have been reported in EPA-conducted human experiments since 2010, either.
So neither EPA’s self-proclaimed key epidemiologic study nor its human experiments back up the ozone-asthma link. To claim otherwise is simply lying. Read more
How The EPA’s Clean Water Act Expansion Will Hurt Endangered Species
by Brian Seasholes, Daily Caller
Big problems are looming for endangered species and the landowners who harbor them due to a combination of the Environmental Protection Agency’s huge expansion of “waters of the United States” it regulates under the Clean Water Act, and efforts to expand the Endangered Species Act to encompass entire watersheds.
Under the Clean Water Act, the federal government can regulate discharge of pollutants into what are known as “navigable waters.” But over the decades the Environmental Protection Agency has expanded this to include isolated wetlands and pools of water unconnected to navigable waters, and tiny streams that can only be navigated by a toy boat, not the type of adult-sized boat for which the legislation was originally intended and common sense dictates. This regulatory expansion has caused significant hardships for many landowners who find, among other things, that low-lying areas that only hold a few inches of water when it rains, or seasonal streams that are dry for much of the year, are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act — all of which is enforced with threats of jail time and huge fines.
Now the Environmental Protection Agency has extended the regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act to encompass even more waters that are not navigable, including: irrigation ditches if any portion was dug from a watercourse that flows eventually, but not necessarily directly, into a navigable water; any watercourse or water drainage so long as it has a bank, bed and high water mark; and any water feature, including those that are not navigable, within ¾ of a mile of a so-called “jurisdictional water” as long as the feature meets any one of nine extremely broad “significant nexus” criteria. Read more
Your “Economically Friendly” Cars Are Actually Causing More Pollution
by Brooke Carlucci
So often the left entices their party with “Eco-friendly,” science savvy, earth loving phenomenons. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research just found that on a per-mile basis electric cars are on average worse for the environment when compared to their gas-powered friends.
This new study proves that subsidizing these environmental “friendly” cars should be put to a halt.
In monetary terms, electric cars are about half-a-cent worse per mile for the environment than gas-powered cars, on average. This means that if a government wants to tax a car based on how much it pollutes, electric cars should be taxed half of one cent more per mile driven than gasoline cars.
While much is dependent on where exactly the cars are driven, this finding that electric cars are on average half-a-cent worse per mile than gas-powered cars blows out the common assumption that electric cars are the “clean” thing to do. Read more (Read study abstract)
Congress Almost Always Rewards Failed Government Agencies. Here is Why
One can build a very good predictive model of government agency behavior if one assumes the main purpose of the agency is to maximize its budget and staff count. Yes, many in the organization are there because they support the agency’s public mission (e.g. protecting the environment at the EPA), but I can tell you from long experience that preservation of their staff and budget will almost always come ahead of their public mission if push comes to shove.
The way, then, to punish an agency is to take away some staff and budget. Nothing else will get their attention. Unfortunately, in most scandals where an agency proves itself to be incompetent or corrupt or both (e.g. IRS, the VA, more recently with OPM and their data breaches) the tendency is to believe the “fix” involves sending the agency more resources. Certainly the agency and its supporters will scream “lack of resources” as an excuse for any problem.
And that is how nearly every failing government agency is rewarded for their failure, rather than punished. Which is why our agencies fail so much.
Note that organizations in the private world are not immune to similar incentives. A company’s marketing staff will work hard to get more people and resources for marketing, and in good times their staff and budget may balloon. The difference is that in the private world, there is competition. Other companies are trying to sell similar products and services. And if the marketing department is screwing up a lot, or those resources spent on it are not being used productively, the company is going to lose sales and thus resources. To survive, massive changes will be made, including likely some deep cuts and large restructurings in marketing.
It is frustrating to work in corporations that seem to lurch from growth periods to cutbacks in an endless cycle. But it beats the alternative where the organization always grows and never is forced to confront the value of how it spends its resources. – Warren Meyer, Coyote Blog
Iron Law of Bureaucracy
“In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.” -Jerry Pournelle
“[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749
“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” —James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
“There is absolutely no need to reduce existing greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from that, the 2 °C limit is an ill-defined, arbitrary, and superstitious piece of quasi-religious nonsense.” – Physicist Lubos Motl (source)
“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” -President Eisenhower’s admonition (1961).
“The danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defense of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.” —Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
“A new report shows that the federal government paid almost $10 million in medicaid benefits to 200 dead people. It really helped, though. Afterwards, most of them were spry enough to vote in Chicago.” —Fred Thompson
“In America, our origins matter less than our destination, and that is what democracy is all about.” -Ronald Reagan
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