Saturday, March 12, 2011

Andrew Bolt’s dodgy fundamentals

Andrew Bolt has today posed a couple of questions about the Gillard Government’s carbon ‘pricing’ plan that I’d have liked to have seen him ask John F. Kennedy in 1962:

There are two fundamental questions journalists never ask the Kennedy administration about its mad scheme to put a man on the moon.

They’re the two questions we’d ask whether buying an Electrolux vacuum cleaner or a Pontiac.

One, how much will this cost?

Two, how well will it work?

Actually there are some further fundamental questions the average shopper would probably ask, around costs-benefits and the like.

Of course, there are technological developments and innovations that would almost certainly flow from Kennedy’s, or indeed any, grand initiative. These were unquantifiable, of course, when Kennedy announced his grand vision in 1962 but are readily identifiable today.

The thing is, of course, that Bolt’s equivalence of the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing initiative with the mundane purchase of consumer goods is utterly simplistic and, well, just plain dumb.

If he’d have put that equivalence to Jill Duggan of the European Commission’s Directorate General of Climate Action, whom he lambastes in the above column for not answering his dodgy “two fundamental questions”, she might have been able to set him straight — failing which, you’d have to think maybe she really was clueless.

Unfortunately Prime Minister Gillard probably lacks the gravitas to convincingly deliver the Kennedy line about “we do this not because it is easy, but because it is hard...”

. . . because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

And it may be recalled that Kennedy, in his election campaigning, did not categorically say he would not put a man on the moon.

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