26 October 2018   Leave a comment

About 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that human activity since the Industrial Revolution is responsible for the warming.  But most Americans seem to be unaware of that consensus.   Yale University and George Mason University have conducted polls on American views and their findings suggest that most Americans do not really know much about the scientific evidence on the issue of global warming.  Among some of their findings:

  • Only about one in seven Americans (15%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.
  • About six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in five (21%) are “very worried” about it – nearly twice the proportion that were “very worried” in March 2015.
  • Six in ten Americans are “interested” in global warming (62%). Fewer feel “disgusted” (47%) or “helpless” (45%). Only about four in ten are “hopeful” (41%).
  • About six in ten Americans (61%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and three in ten think weather is being affected “a lot” (29%).

It seems clear that more work needs to done educating many about the issue.

 

The US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018–perhaps the highest growth rate of any of the developed economies in the world.  Interestingly, however, the rate would have been higher if the US had not imposed tariffs during the year.  According to Business Insider:

“GDP rose at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter. But the contribution of net exports of goods and services — the measure of how much trade added or subtracted to GDP growth — was a dismal -1.78 percentage points.

  • It was the largest negative contribution to GDP growth for trade in 33 years; in the second quarter of 1985, trade subtracted 1.91 points.
  • In other words, if trade were a net neutral, neither adding to nor subtracting from GDP growth, third-quarter GDP growth would have been a dynamite 5.3%.
  • If trade had matched its average contribution since 2015, a 0.33-point drag, GDP growth would have come in at 5%.”

Reuters also notes that some producers increased their inventories with imports priced before the tariffs took effect which will affect growth in the future:   “Excluding the effects of trade and inventories, GDP grew at a 3.1 percent rate in the third quarter compared to a 4.0 percent pace in April-June.”

 

The role of money in US politics is difficult to assess, but there is little question that it plays an important role.  The Washington Post has a fascinating article on 11 donors who collectively gave $1 billion to Political Action Committees (PAC) over the last few years.  Individuals are limited in how much they can contribute to specific candidates, but PACs are not allowed to endorse candidates even though they can endorse specific policies espoused by candidates.   According to the Post the donors are:

“The largest super-PAC contributors are casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and physician Miriam Adelson, the married couple who have given $287 million to conservative super PACs, records show.

“In second place behind the Adelsons is Steyer, who has given $213.8 million. He is followed by Bloomberg ($123.4 million), Democratic media executive Fred Eychaner ($68 million), Democratic hedge-fund executive Donald Sussman ($62.9 million), Republican shipping-supplies magnate Richard Uihlein ($59.9 million), Democratic hedge-fund founder James Simons and his wife, Marilyn ($57.9 million), Republican hedge-fund executive Paul Singer ($41.9 million), Republican hedge-fund executive Robert Mercer ($40.9 million), Soros ($39.4 million) and Republican backer and TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts ($38.4 million).”

The total amounts are huge, but correlating the money to specific candidates or policies is a difficult task, although, in the case of the Adelsons, there is little question that US policy toward Israel in the Trump Administration has moved closer to the Adelson preferred position.

 

Posted October 26, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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