• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Economic Freedom Will Save the Earth

    The New York City sightseeing company Gray Line is promoting an “Earth Week” package of day trips that includes visits to “green spots” like the botanical gardens and flower shopping at Chelsea Market. The fact that these tours will be taken on buses running on fossil fuels does not sit well with the first Earth Day national coordinator Denis Hayes who tells The New York Times what he thinks of such green consumerism: “This ridiculous perverted marketing has cheapened the concept of what is really green. It is tragic.”

    The left in this country has always considered it “tragic” when people make money in this country, and the plight of the earth is just one of many justifications they have used over the years to demonize free markets. Back in the 70s, President Barack Obama’s Director for Science and Technology Policy John Holdren even came up with a formula to measure capitalism’s evil impact on the environment: I=PAT, which means that environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied by technology. Thus according to the left, protecting the planet requires fewer people, less wealth and simpler technology. But this is just flat wrong. In fact, studies clearly show that important indicators of environmental quality actually improve as incomes and levels of consumption go up.

    But this begs the question: what are the best policies that promote economic growth? Economic freedom. New research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows — over the last 40 years — a strong connection between the worldwide march toward greater economic freedom and the massive reduction in poverty. And our own Index of Economic Freedom demonstrates empirically that today’s successful economies are not necessarily geographically large or richly blessed with natural resources. Instead, the proven path to stimulating economic growth is to advance economic freedom by promoting policies that generate a virtuous cycle of innovation, vibrant economic expansion, and more opportunities for people.

    Specifically, the expansion of trade and the protection of property rights are fundamental to ensuring economic growth and environmental improvement. A recent study from the World Bank reports that freer trade is “a key factor in helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.” And assigning clear property rights for natural resources like the world’s fisheries have proven environmental gain.

    But while the government is essential in opening up trade and protecting property rights, further regulations are unnecessary and often prove harmful. For example, our air and water were already improving before the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Meanwhile the Endangered Species Act has actually created perverse incentives for land owners to destroy or degrade their own land before a government-protected animal moves in and renders it economically useless.

    And then there is the left’s push for economy-killing energy taxes. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has found that cap-and-tax legislation pending in Congress would cost the average family-of-four almost $3,000 per year, cause 2.5 million net job losses by 2035, and a produce a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) loss of $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035. Losing that $9.4 trillion to appease the fragile sensibilities of the enviro-left – now that would be tragic.

    Quick Hits:

    • Despite studies showing the state’s teacher pension system is underfunded by almost $100 billion, the California School Employees Assn. says, “It is our opinion that pension systems are not in dire straits.”
    • According to a new CNN poll, while a majority of Americans expect President Obama to appoint a liberal to the Supreme Court, only one in four want that to happen.
    • President Barack Obama confirmed Wednesday that he considers a new value-added tax on Americans an acceptable option to pay for runaway government spending.
    • United Auto Worker-owned Chrysler reported it lost $3.8 billion through the end of last year.
    • The amount of money spent on lobbying by the “alternative” energy sector has increased by a factor of 12 since 1998.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: Economic Freedom Will Save the Earth

    1. Bernard P. Giroux, S says:

      The most dangerous people in America today are radical environmentalists, right behind the Constitution bashing liberals who support Obama.

    2. William Downey, JD L says:

      If it is preverted to make money on green, then what does that say about those who invest in projects related to sustainability, those who a environemtal and sustainability advisors?

    3. Ed McGill says:

      The misuse of the expression " begs the question" as was done in this article is irritating. It has been common practice to misuse this expression and it shows a lack of education among the educated, writers and editors alike.


    4. Iris of Islip, NY says:

      Holdren is kidding about the technology, right?? Has he ever set foot in a place without the technology that we possess? Try going to poor villages that heat with charcoal or coal and look at the dust from this the next morning. Check out the 3rd World cities that have no emissions standards on the old dilapidated cars, trucks, or buses they drive. You can't even breathe, let alone see. (Remember LA in former years?) Go to Nairobi and see what the poor do with their sewage… they gather plastic bags and use them to dispose of the sewage by throwing it over a fence or beside the road.

      Is this what the Obama Administration and Holdren want? I guess so. They can then dictate from their Ivory Towers and use their magic wands to tap the Serfs on the head and ask them to fan them because they are hot. Unbelievable!

    5. Duncan Druhl says:

      …and you thought the threat from the Luddites was merely a Scottish affair! Motivations change, as in from fear of losing jobs in the industrial age to modern envy and empty-ego arrogance in this secular statist age, but the overall pattern is the same. It was so when the reformation meant that the 'smarter' Gentile serfs could team with the nobility to oust the Jews from their businesses, lands, and assets.

      In the end it is merely another power grab, extending the stranglehold on us all by the tyranny of government unleashed – as it appears we are on the verge of that nightmare scenario. Resistance, though, is not futile.

    6. Giles says:

      People everywhere are making concerted efforts to protect our earth. Our town has several recycling drops for paper, plastics, those nefarious plastic shopping bags, many people carry their own bags to the store more and more, finding it convenient to have their own bags and contributing to using less products that do not break down when tossed into landfills or cause pollution if burned. People spend hours walking the rural roadsides collecting aluminum cans, their per hour compensation isn't much but the fact that these cans are picked up and taken to recycle bins proves citizens of this country are already doing what government would and is striving to "force" us to do. When the government suggests something that is even a good idea, many people instantly become cautious and cynical because bottom line we know it won't be for the benefit of the land but for the benefit of the government coffers, their track record is proof enough to warrant that suspicion. There are people who still throw things out on the road while driving, they can learn, their peers will let them know this is not acceptable and there are already laws in place that when enforced discourage littering. The camping motto: "Pack it in, pack it out, leave everything better than it was when you arrived." We don't need cap and trade, our air and water is already greatly improved and will continue to do so. Those industries find out quickly that to stay in business they must make prudent decisions across the board. If a law must be passed to make someone choose right, then a liberty will be removed in the dictatorial theme of force.

    7. Turner, Massachusett says:

      The only "thing" that can save our economy is God, otherwise it is over:

      14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

      or we will get this:

      14"They will say, 'The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.' Revelation 18:14

    8. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      Are Progressives behind all these special interests groups and use the naivete of idealists to further their quest to destroy free market economies? Progressves use every opportunity and excuse, created by them or not, to further their march towards World Socialism. They use every method of propaganda to hide their intent. The poor dupes who swallow their outpourings are the danger in a democracy. When an ignorant majority can be manipulated as we've seen with the election of Obama, and the likes of Pelosi and Reid et al, evil people can do their dirty deeds "with permission."

      I wonder who are the real masters of Obama who raised him and from whom he gets his marching orders?

      No one should ever want to live in their "Brave New World"!

    9. Rich Buckley says:

      The great debate surrounding earth day politics will be relegated below the greater debate for human liberty and freedom. It's only intuitive but I think the next election will be about liberty and its preservation.

    10. Susanna, Kansas says:

      How crazy is it to think throwing money at Mother Earth is going to make her happy?! She's going to have her mood changes and the environMENTALists just need to deal with it!

      All this is – is another way to siphon money from all of us and just where the Sam is it going?!! I am disgusted beyond the pale.

    11. Doug, Virginia City, says:

      Sounds like President Barack Obama's Director for Science and Technology Policy John Holdren was promoting the elimination of technology and wealth, which would kill off a majority of the world's population. Then he would be happy.

      In the 60's, "experts" predicted a global oil shortage crisis in the next 40-50 years and every 10 years or so they would push out the crisis another 10-20 years. In 1970, earth day "experts" predicted global cooling, world-wide starvation and an ice age in 40 years. Now the "experts" are predicting global warming. Science fiction writers have a far better chance of semi-accurate predictions than any of the "experts".

      I guess we should all become hunter-gatherers again and cower in caves.

    12. David, Grand Rapids, says:

      "important indicators of environmental quality actually improve as incomes and levels of consumption go up."

      This kind of thinking is dead wrong and it offends people who need to understand the truth. While indicators may show this correlation, consumption isn't the reason that incomes go up and the environment improves in societies with free markets.

      If you want to make your point, then make it very carefully and clearly so people can understand what you are saying and believe it with their whole heart.

      The reason for improved incomes and much better environmental quality in free markets is due to the opportunities available to all people. Economic freedom unleashes the creative power of individuals to develop better PRODUCTS that benefit everyone. What we need are better solutions and products, which are the result of more choices to select from, not consumption. This happens when SMALL companies and individuals create new things.

      Less economic freedom does just the opposite because it reduces the reward for people who provide better products than their competitors.

      That said, there is a role for government in protecting the environment. It should be based on the understanding that free markets and the work of individuals, not groups of people, are the best way to provide better environmental quality, more equality and a higher standard of living for everyone.

    13. Dave, Provo, UT says:

      Just a note: Always check out your links and found your link to effect of the Endangered species Act sent my to President Obama's earth day message which does not describe how the ESA causes land owners to degrade their property.

    14. KB Hahn, PA says:

      The Statists cannot achieve their goal of total control if there remain any who are economically independent. Plain. And. Simple. Therefore, those of us who continue to make every attempt to live economically independent of the government (never mind actually try to improve our financial lot) must be [a] silenced, and ultimately [b] eliminated.

      This "administration" will never respond to the kind of thoughtful encouragement offered by the Heritage Foundation, or anyone else, to pursue sound economics geared toward entrepreneurial growth, because to do so would defeat their ultimate purpose of destroying the United States and usurping total control.

    15. George Kitchens says:

      Have you been able to get data from the soon to be proposed Energy Bill sponsored by Graham, Kerry and Boxer? Will it have similar impacts when compaired to the Waxman Bill?

    16. bigdave, Ocala says:

      Is there NO END to this DEMOCRAT/PROGRESSIVE inspired NONSENSE?! Oh yes, we are supposed to thank the dictator-in-chief: Dear Obama, I personally would like to thank, no lets change that to ADMONISH, you and people like you, all past demorats, for DESTROYING THE BLACK FAMILY UNIT in this country! You ignorant rats have IMPUNED the likes of BILL COSBY who has told nothing but the TRUTH, and you have the unmitigated gall to PRAISE the likes of CHE GUEVERA, who wanted all black people killed, however, they(black folks) are not worth a bullet, acording to him. I see some of your black kids wearing CHE shirts!! The demorats managed to convince black Americans that there was no place for them to work, nothing to aspire to, because of RASCIST WHITEY, and demorats are their only hope. Of course, socialists are great at making PROMISES…LIES ACTUALLY because they NEVER DELIVER! Their only goal is POWER and CONTROL over the MASSES! YOU, as an INDIVIDUAL mean NOTHING TO THEM…yet EVERYTHING to conservatives! Thats why liberals are against "torture"! They do not care if a few million people are blown up! Its just less people to be concerned with, less folks on health care and there is NO PERSON, just people!!! ZERO VALUE!!! The socialist way! CONSERVATIVES MUST UNITE UNDER THE HERITAGE BANNER, BECOME ENLIGHTENED WITH WHAT SOCIALISTS ARE DOING TO THIS COUNTRY. IT IS TIME SOCIALISM IS STOMPED OUT FOR GOOD!

    17. Robert Edwards, Phoe says:

      Herutage Foundation: Would you make an analysis statement of the status of the legal pursuit to prove or disprove the birth requirement to hold the office of president. Also, why would Obama spend so much money to prevent truthful disclosure, and what is the status of any legal action to disprove his right to hold the office. Also, if it is found Obama is disqualified to be president, …then what transpires, and does Obama have any criminal jeopardy for his actions if he is disqualified.

      There are many comments on this issue over the internet and perhaps you could sort out the facts for Herigage readers, and also give us your thoughts on the potential course the country would take if it were proven Obama is disqualified.. This is a hot issue. Thanks.

    18. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      No, it won't. Obama won't allow economic freedom. He wants the classic socialist/

      fascist/communist command economy. That worked well between 1917 and 1991. Didn't it?

    19. Barb Ramirez, Vermil says:

      The "Save the Planet" government is working hard to see that the U.N. Agenda 21 is being used to take away our private property, so they can force us into what are called "Sustainable Villages" where they can monitor and control our every move.This environmental stuff has little to do with saving the planet, the goal is communist control of us, and the public is not smart enough to know what is really going on.

      Go to http://www.FreedomAdvocates.org and order the booklet called "Understanding Sustainable Development-Agenda 21." You will be amazed at how much of this has already infiltrated our federal,state AND local governments! The booklet will help you identify these plans in your own community and up the line, and shows you how to fight them.

      I also would like to see an article on here addressing WHY our federal government has formed a MILITARY GROUP of individuals to have oversight of our CHILDREN ?? Go to http://www.missionreadiness.org ..Since when are we to have military forces directing our CHILDREN?? They are working on passing a bill to regulate our kid's diets, because most of them are too fat to join the military.???

    20. Don, Raleigh, NC says:

      It would be interesting to survey those who strongly support environmental, save the earth legislation and regulation with particular emphasis on education, profession/career, income, age, parameters that would be relevant towards motivation. I would guess that most would be in a position where they would experience little if any of the unintended consequences of their well intentioned passion for all things natural. I would also guess that they are all more impressed with the intellectual credentials of their gurus than with the practical, down and dirty realities of the free market, competitive, industrial, Capitalist world that is largely responsible for the economic miracle of America and the lifestyle they are able to enjoy. Instead of shackling the goose that laid their golden egg, far better to apply their no doubt considerable intellect to what the free market can achieve by replacing their well intentioned obstructionism with active participation. Stop the whining and pitch in to solve the problems we all face with solutions acceptable to all; perhaps with just a teeny weeny bit of compromise all around. If you're unfamiliar with the idea it's called "problem solving." Sorry but we're not going back to the "Little House on the Prairie," we're going forward dragging you kicking and screaming or standing hand in hand; your choice.

    21. Chuckwagonchuckie2u, says:

      Yup, Uncle Al Gore saw an opportunity to tax the air we breathe which is all a part of big money and the political elites to create a problem and solve it with more tax and more power for them.

      Over consumption of natural resources in any industry is a constant when messing with the Environment. Unless there are regulations and limits imposed the greedy will destroy even the seed crops of nature.

      As a young person I enjoyed the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hearing relatives discuss fishing in front of their houses. Those days are gone along with the fish. Allowing the Cat Food Manufacturers to dredge for bait fish removed the base food chain of larger predator fish we enjoyed catching.

      The Oil Rigs now dotting across the Gulf of Mexico certainly has contributed to the recreational and commercial fishing industry along with the oil extracted. Thus a win win for all concerned. However the Recreational and Commercial Fisheries should recognize there are limits even to the daily catch provided to their clients. If not they are destroying their own industry via over consumption.

    22. David, Grand Rapids, says:

      While there are many truths in this article I believe you have missed an opportunity to present the subject of Earth Day in a way that would help people understand the connection between economics and the environment.

      One important example presented in nature is diversity and specialization–animals and plants with unique characteristics for adaptation.

      Economics is no different. We need diversity and specialization in people and products. The more variety and the more specialization, the better for everyone.

      This is why we need economic freedom more than ever. People who don't have it are suffering around the world.

      When governments intervene to help one group they do it at the expense of economic freedom for all individuals. This reduces diversity and specialization of products, services and people. It creates poverty and suffering.

      Get with the program! Focusing on consumption, higher incomes and economic growth is the last thing people need to hear about on any day, let alone on Earth Day.

      You need to meet nature loving, and people-loving people at a level they can understand and appreciate.

    23. Pingback: Happy Lenin, uh, Earth Day.

    24. Judith in Michigan says:

      Economic Freedom may save the Earth, but it would devastate the Progressive movement. Absolutism would not be possilbe if people, and society as a whole, had control over their own lives. That must never be permited, under ANY circumstances.

    25. bigdave, Ocala says:

      Unions coupled with democrat regulations and taxes(by people who know NOTHING of running companies much less working for one) have destroyed the greatest producing country in the world! Now, the dictator-in-chief obama(little brains equals a little o) threatens to plunge the knife deeper and then twist it with his moronic CAP AND TRADE! Don't think UNIONS DESTROY COMPANIES? General Motors. Chrysler Corp. Anyone who wants a UNION is a complete IDIOT! A UNION is SOCIALISM on display! IMPLOSION IS GUARUNTEED! Uh, by the way you union folks…whose name is on your PAYROLL CHECKS?! Does it say UNION anywhere?! Thats what I thought. You should all be ashamed. Your Companies and Corporations are disappearing RAPIDLY. Hey clueless obama, everyone can not work for the government! I know this is a surprise to you.

    26. Billie says:

      What are we? We are human beings. We adapt to nature. Catastrophic increment weather is not created by mankind. Unless of course someone is creating some kind of mechanism to cause, lets say tornadoes, since they can be created? Can volcanoe eruptions be triggered intentionally?

      Look what this government is doing. It is destroying the beautiful freedom this world and the people of, have ever known. Economic freedom will save the earth and they defy it.

    27. ONTIME says:

      If you think that earning a living thru your own incentive is something to be to be ashamed of then your in the wrong country, Captialism and the free market built this country and it will continue to do so in the future. Poor people do not make enough money to hire you and help you become a person of substance and being rich is not to be frowned on but looked upon as a goal, it's called freedom of choice.

    28. Robert Reynolds, Tuc says:

      Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is bringing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against the EPA's ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant. This ruling had the potential of totally disrupting our economy with its enforcement efforts. The EPA even planned going door to door inspecting homes. If the home didn't pass their rigid criteria for energy efficiency, the owner had to fix it or he couldn't live in it, rent it or sell it!! That is the most brazen and stupid bureaucratic ruling I have ever heard of. Coupling that with the scientific fact that CO2 is no more a pollutant than oxygen. Plants must have CO2 to grow just like animals need oxygen to live. Humans and all other animals would starve without CO2. All this stupid EPA and their Green cohorts need to find the real villain of this piece is to just look in a mirror. In 2008 our Senate was considering a bill that would have committed the USA to the Green sponsored Kyoto Protocols, setting severe limits on the production of CO2. Over 30,000 US scientists, signed a petition, including me, that there was no scientific evidence that CO2 had a significant effect on the global climate. The Senate did not pass the bill. In the fall of 2009 CEI reported that after our Gov't had funded climate scientists with over $30 billion in research grants, there was not a shred of "empirical evidence that man made CO2 has a significant effect on the global climate." That is the strongest possible scientific conclusion that CO2 is a noncombattant in this science war. This scenario is a perfect fit for Shakespear's play "Much ado about nothing."

    29. Dave, Colorado says:

      All of this impact data is interesting….what would be compelling to read about would be the republican strategy to stop this madness before we all go down….but i'm losing faith in our republican politicians to have the balls to stand up and do the right thing….they seem only to have the will to do the easy thing…where is the leadership on the right?????

    30. Jack Ajolo P.C.,Hi says:

      Listened to Mr.Mark Levin last night. He played a recording from the late George Carlin making fun @ enviromentalist. Funny but so true! Where are we headed? We need to KEEP AMERICA , AMERICA!!!!!!!!

    31. Terry Canaan says:

      "In the 60’s, “experts” predicted a global oil shortage crisis in the next 40-50 years and every 10 years or so they would push out the crisis another 10-20 years. In 1970, earth day “experts” predicted global cooling"

      No, they didn't. The American Meteorological Society surveyed published papers between 1965 and 1970 and found a whopping 7 articles arguing for global cooling. Those 7 articles accounted for only 12% of all citations in other papers — meaning it wasn't a very influential position.

      This idea that climate scientists can't make up their minds between global warming and global cooling is just another falsehood pushed by people making insane amounts of money polluting.

    32. ckirkland says:

      We do need some very, very strong leadership in the Republican party. This is such a scary time and as a veteran and a senior I can only say keep fighting to get this administration out and support those candidates who are true conservative Rupblicans and believe in the constitution no matter what state they are running in. How could people not see what Obama had in mind for all of us. He wasn't using code words he said exactly what he wanted to do to this wonderful country.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.