#169 How Green Policies Impoverish the Poor

#169 How Green Policies Impoverish the Poor | The Christian Economist

Christians are called to care for the poor, but there are 5 “Green Policies” that are making them poorer.

“I don’t think we can count on people living an impoverished lifestyle as a solution to climate change,” Bill Gates said recently.  Oh, so climate change policies DO call on people to have impoverished lives.  Thanks to Mr. Gates for being honest about it. I guess that’s consistent with the following statement from the World Economic Forum, “You will own nothing, and you will be happy.”

Today’s podcast explains five ways in which the poor will become impoverished by green policies. 


GMO Bans

The poor spend a higher percentage of their income on food than the rich do.  Thus, increases in food prices are especially painful for the poor. 

Genetically Modified Organisms increase the production of food, thereby lowering the cost.  Just about everything you’ve put in your mouth, your entire life, has been modified in some way.  You’ve probably sat through multiple sermons about Adam and Eve eating the apple when the pastor told you how beautiful and tempting it was.  Well, God may have MADE it seem more palatable to those first two, but have you ever seen an apple that was not hybridized in some way?  It’s not pretty.  I’m more familiar with tomatoes because I spend a lot of resources growing them in my garden.  But I mow over wild tomatoes in the pasture.  Compared to hybrid tomatoes, the wild ones are stunted little runts that look bad and taste worse.  “Natural apples” – if you want to use that phrase – are not desirable.

We took the grandkids to a stock show last weekend.  The purpose of the contest is to produce the best animal in the show: Cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, and even rabbits were on display.  Shows like this have gone on since the beginning of time.  They’re trying to determine the best breed of animal.  And some of them were impressive, by the way.  I talked to the owners of a couple of different steers.  Those animals are essentially a square of beef.  Really impressive.  One of the owners – a 12-year-old girl, earned second place and was hoping her steer would bring $3,000 in the auction.  Why does society reward the best cow, sheep, and goat?  Because God made the world perfect, but then human desires changed as a result of the fall.  Since then, we have sought to improve the food source. 

While GMO is a leap to another TYPE of improvement, it represents risks and returns, as is true of all endeavors.  I’ve often stood in front of my class and re-enacted the scene from Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevya says, “On one hand…..BUT, on the other hand.”   GMOs are in that category, like just about every other endeavor in our lives: There is risk and return.  The return is lower food costs for the poor.  The risk is that a plague of some kind will wipe out the entire crop, killing every last corn stalk.  Of course, it COULD happen.

Yes, there’s a risk, but ON THE OTHER HAND, the return is lower food costs.  Ginger and I stumbled into a protest against GMOs in Vancouver a few years ago.  I always notice the demographics of a group I’m in, especially when they’re vocal and are surrounding me.  They all seemed to be middle-aged, wealthy women.  THEY could afford higher food costs.  I think it’s worth noticing, they didn’t convince any poor people to join them.  I was reminded of Psalm 41:1 which reads, “Blessed is he who considers the poor.” 


Gas Stoves

Those bureaucratic fools in California and New York just never take a day off.  Now, they’re mandating the elimination of gas stoves.  What’s wrong with giving people a choice?  It’s markets like gas vs electric that have produced the best systems for cooking your food.  But this crowd does not seem to like markets, where people get to vote with their purchases.  California and Washington have limited the use of gas stoves in new homes, achieving these bans through changes in building codes rather than new legislation. They’re happier when political bureaucrats make decisions for the group.  Talk about a threat to democracy!  “Demo” means “all” and “cracy” means “rule.”  Markets are democratic because “all get to rule” via the market.  If you purposely strangle the gas stove market, the electric stove monopoly is quite happy about it. 

Ryan Morgan, writing in the Epoch Times, reports that Rob Ortt, the Republican minority leader in the New York State Senate, has argued that new legislation banning gas stoves will harm everyday consumers but won’t meaningfully reduce carbon emissions. Ortt said in an interview with Fox News. “It is going to increase people’s utility rates in the state of New York, it is going to decrease energy reliability in the state of New York, and it will do nothing to fight climate change.”  Leviticus 25:35 reads, “If one of your brethren becomes poor and falls into poverty, then you shall help him.” The state of New York is not helping.


Renewable Power

Kelly Sloan from the Centennial think tank at Colorado Christian has predicted that if the United States keeps going down the path of scaling back on domestic production of traditional energy – that is, fossil fuels and nuclear power – Americans will see an increase in fuel prices.

Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Conglomerate.  He was quoted as saying, “Wind and solar power are cheaper.”  Oh, then the governmental agencies should be able to just stand by and allow renewables to take over the market.  Recent expenditures by the government seem to indicate the opposite.   If they WERE cheaper, governmental entities would be taxing them, instead of giving them subsidies.  Obviously, electricity from wind and solar is more expensive. 

And there’s always some exercise of power involved in these deals.  JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon claimed that governments may need to seize private property for the creation of more green and conventional energy production sites, according to a letter to shareholders published.  Again: If they were brave enough to just let the market work, this would all be fine.  But, they can’t resist the temptation to use power.


Electric Vehicles

The average cost of an electric vehicle is $58,000, compared to about $40,000 for gas-powered vehicles.  So they are purchased only by the rich, while the taxes that provide for the subsidies are paid by the poor, so it’s a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.  The average income of electric vehicle buyers is $140,000, twice the US average.

The terribly misnamed Inflation Reduction Act provided subsidies for electric vehicle manufacturers and those who supply the batteries for the cars.  Matter of fact, the poorest city dwellers don’t own cars at all, they ride public transportation.  So what justice is there in forcibly taxing the folks who will never buy an EV, to negatively redistribute the wealth to the rich folks who buy electric vehicles? 

The Congressional Budget Office in August 2022 estimated the cost of these incentives at $391 billion in ten years.  However, a report this month from Goldman Sachs estimates that the true cost could be closer to $1.2 trillion.

Most poor people who DO buy cars, buy from the used market.  The used market for EVs is very slim, because of two effects: First, it’s a new technology, so not many exist.  And second, once the batteries are used up, the vehicle retains very little of its value.  And mandating the replacement of gas vehicles with electric, will drive UP the cost of used gas cars, which the poor buy.  



Here we go again: Let’s take a food product like corn, and use it to make ethanol that can be used as a fuel source for automobiles.  Corn farmers love the idea because it drives up the revenue they receive from their products.  The poor are not crazy about it, because it drives up the cost of corn, which is a food cost for them.  I know, you’re only picturing a can of corn.  But corn and corn syrup are used in many food products: From pancake syrup to the pancakes themselves.  From corn starch in breakfast cereals to corn that is eaten by cattle to produce beef.

So, thanks to the ethanol program, the poor pay more for their food.  According to two separate analyses by the University of California–Davis economists and a Heritage Foundation economist, the ethanol mandate accounts for an increase in corn prices of somewhere between 30 and 68 percent.  The kerosene that has to be burned to turn corn into ethanol is not even my point today.  It’s a very inefficient use of resources.

Paul wrote to the Galatians in Chapter 2, verse 20: “We should remember the poor.”  These policies harm the poor.




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