What follows is a discussion of various unrelated topics. The common thread though, is that they raise public policy questions for our Nation.
Climate Change. The most important debate concerning climate change taking place amongst scientists is the question of the issue of climate sensitivity and how much warming would take place if there was a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by man.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will produce an answer to this question in its 5th assessment report this year. Previous reports have all been revised due to significant errors in methodology and quality of the data used. The bottom line is, most of the climate models are flawed.
For example, based on better data, we now know the rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse gas causing it to warm is actually quite modest. The fact is, global temperatures are currently no higher than they were 16 years ago.
Even given the IPCC's most aggressive scenario, the global temperature rise of greenhouse gases by 2100 is likely to be no more than 1% F.
As many people agree, climate models are known to poorly simulate cloud cover. This is critical to making any real prediction as to the future.
As a nation and as a participant in the international discussion, we need to be careful in drawing massive public policy conclusions when the data upon which those conclusions are drawn is so questionable as to its validity.
As always, patience is a virtue.
American Primary Education. American school children continue to lag far behind the children of our major competitive nations in both math and science based on international achievement exams, when comparing 2007 results to those of 2011. Students in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Finland along with several other nation states out-performed us in tests of US fourth and eighth grade students in the International Mathematics & Science Study.
While it is clear as a nation we have made progress especially in the states of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Colorado, a blue ribbon panel of the Council on Foreign Relations called our results a serious national security issue.
In spite of much disagreement from the education establishment, Mitchell Chester, commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education in Massachusetts credited his state's outstanding results to an overall policy change which included setting high standards for curriculum and administering rigorous exams. Every state and the federal bureaucracy should pay attention to not only these results but to the advice from commissioner Chester.
Economic Progress: Poland vs. United States. When communism fell in Europe, Leszek Balcerowicz pioneered what he described as shock therapy to slay hyper inflation and build a free market. As Poland's economic crisis manager, in the late 1990s he jammed a debt ceiling into his country's constitution and his hard money policy as Poland's central banker created policies which avoided the credit boom we as Americans experienced and likewise the economic bust.
Poland was the only country in the European Union to avoid a recession in 2009 and has continued to be the fasted growing EU economy since.
Mr. Balcerowicz has sided with the head of Germany's Bundesbank as the sole dissenters on the EU's bond buying scheme, a plan modeled after our own Federal Reserve's plan called quantitative easing. He hypothesizes based on facts going as far back as the 19th century, industrial economies recover best with no or limited governmental intervention.
Mr. Balcerowicz has recently published a series of essays entitled: Discovering Freedom. He strongly suggests that one does not need to read modern economists' works to understand what is happening today. He further suggests the economists and historians such as Adam Smith, F.A. Hayak, and Alexis d'Tocqueville tell you all you need to know. He further quotes the principal author of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would ever be necessary.” He further suggests that the U.S. Tea Party has excellent instincts. They are for limited government, James Madison would love them and they are classic and traditional American thinkers.
Lynn Mueller is a veteran Republican campaign consultant who has joined Swatzel Strategies. His bi-monthly column in the Georgetown Times focuses on economics and politics.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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