Trump’s Imaginary World Without Climate Change and With Growth

Trump’s Imaginary World Without Climate Change and With Growth

In today’s news talk before Trump’s cabinet meeting, Trump self-praised himself for economic growth, and made wishful future projections with his tax cuts. But he did this in an imaginary world without climate change.

I am not claiming that climate change caused or enhanced the rare and disastrous floods in the Gulf, and in the Caribbean. But they are indicative of what will be more common in frequency and intensity with further warming. The causes of these storms are still being studied. What may continue is the increased vulnerability of the coastal cities if they do not rebuild with wisdom to lower vulnerability. There is no evidence so far that developers who control the cities, or the federal government which controls federal funds, are doing anything but rebuilding with the same vulnerabilities.

So here is what Trump said. Our GDP has grown by 3.3%. But without the storms, it would have grown by 4%. The economic figures may be true, that is not my field. But the extreme loss of growth by the storms is part of the real world that will exist with climate change and extremely poor business oriented adaptability. Bragging about your achievements in an imaginary world without climate change is prime evidence of a kind of mental instability. It also is why Trump can deny climate science and climate change, because that doesn’t fit into Trump’s paradise where those things do not exist, and he will never measure his lack of success by considering the costs of climate change. His success will be ensured by obtaining massive backing by fossil fuel polluters.

His new tax bill allows hazard losses from floods and hurricanes in the largest Republican states of Texas and Florida to be deductible, but does not cover fire losses covering drought-caused fires in the largest and Democratic state of California.  Today, this has become the most important issue in Southern California.

Trump also said that GDP growth could be 4%, 5%, or even 6% with his tax cut bill. He said that a 1% increase in GDP would increase the economy by $1.5 trillion dollars (over ten years I presume), and add 10 million jobs (over ten years, I presume, or a average of a million jobs gained for each year).

The number of US employed is a relatively constant 160 million.  Present 4.1% unemployment would be 6.6 million.

First of all, where are the workers going to come from? Immigration is being cut from a million a year to half a million a year. 11 million illegals are being deported, many of whom are working. 13 million Americans will be priced out of health care, which tends to lead to more disabled and fewer workers. The tax bill also burdens graduate students in private universities with their tuition waivers that will drop their salaries by a quarter. This will cause many to drop out, and we will lose industries based on their innovations and discoveries.

The vast majority of economists and official tax analyses institutes show that the Trump tax bill will dig a 10 year debt of $1.5 trillion, but the offset from growth would only be as much as $0.4 trillion, and very likely only $0.0 trillion.  On a yearly average, the debt accrued will be $0.15 trillion.

There is no predicted 1% GDP growth of $1.5 trillion with $0.3 trillion in new corporate taxes, or 2% GDP growth of $3.0 trillion, or 3% GDP growth of $4.5 trillion, over ten years.

For comparison, the US GDP in 2016 was $18.6 trillion. It’s ten year cumulation would be $186 trillion.  But I can fairly well conclude that a 1% GDP increase would be $1.86 trillion in a year.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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