Thursday, 26 January 2017

Purblind Folly

An Entirely Unpredictable Outcome

Sometimes--more often than we would care to acknowledge--Western politicians prove themselves to be dumber than a sack of hammers.  We are left shaking our heads at the monumental foolishness of our leaders.  There has been one such example recently in Northern Ireland.  
A green energy scandal that is saw people heating empty buildings just to collect government grants could cost British taxpayers more than £1 billion.  The UK Treasury faces a huge bill after spending on Northern Ireland’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) went out of control, with businesses installing otherwise useless biomass heaters just to profit from the scheme.  [Nick Hallett, Breitbart News]
In basic macro-economics a universal axiom is that what you pay for, you are likely to get more of. When governments offer subsidies in the attempt to steer an electorate into a certain course of action--otherwise known as the Great Bribe--the end result is a bull market in the particular commodity or practice supposedly being expunged.  Human beings have a notorious tendency to maximise their utility.  If the government offers  ("free") money, let's have it big time.

None of this is rocket science.  Human beings are self-interested, and if some idiotic government is willing to pay a bounty on dead snakes, the unintended consequence is likely to be an explosion of the snake population.  Consumers and economic "actors" will maximise their utility by rearing and raising snakes to get the bounty.  Such motivation and human action rarely are factored in to the social equation by reckless politicians.  And so it has happened in Northern Ireland.

The RHI was championed by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster back in 2012 when she was minister in charge of business and enterprise. There are now calls for her to resign over the fiasco.  The scheme was supposed to cost £25 million in its first five years, but will now likely be closer to £1.15 billion over 20 years. Around £660 million will have to be funded by taxpayers in the rest of the UK after ministers failed to cap costs, The Times reports.

Under the scheme, businesses could receive £160 for every £100 they spent on biomass fuels such as wood pellets. As businesses realised the profits they could make, there was a huge uptake and costs soon went out of control.
Doubtless Foster, driven by utopian greenist millennialism, never considered the entirely predictable outcome that her taxpayer-funded-subsidy of offering a "profit" from installing useless biomass heaters would be exploited to the max by canny Irish punters.  One suspects that millenialist Greenism played a part in Foster's profound stupidity.  Something so good and pure as fighting the good fight against global warming would never be exploited for personal gain on the part of the voters.  No-one would be that "evil" would they?
Finally, a whistle-blower exposed how businesses were purchasing biomass boilers just to collect the grant. One farmer in particular expected to make £1 million heating an empty shed, while another person hoped to make £1.5 million heating empty factories.  A similar scheme exists in the rest of the UK, but with much stricter spending controls. Northern Ireland’s Auditor-General, Kieran Donnelly, calculates that under that scheme a business could receive £192,000 over 20 years if it runs a boiler all year round. A similar business in Northern Ireland, however, could get £860,000.

Such is the outrage over the scandal that Mrs Foster’s political future is now in doubt. She survived a no-confidence motion last month, but new letters have come to light showing how she encouraged banks to “look favourably” on loan applications.
The damage that global warming utopianism has done to mankind is beyond calculation.  When combined with the ignorance and folly of millennialist politicians attempting to save us from ourselves, the costs and damage are beyond rational count.  

No comments: