Poverty Reduction on a World Wide Scale

poverty reduction

Another graphical look at the amazing reduction in extreme world poverty, which dropped form 44% to less than 10% between 1981 and 2015 according to World Bank data (via Our World in Data/Max Roser). To put that 78% reduction in world poverty into perspective, consider that it took many thousands of years to go from close to 100% of the world living in extreme poverty to only 44% in 1981, and then only 34 years to go from 44% to less than 10%. As Larry Kudlow reminds us, “Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity,” and it’s market forces that have lifted more people out of poverty than any government program or initiative from the United Nations, World Bank or International Monetary Fund. (Emphasis mine)

HT Mark Perry

Earth Day – Walter Williams Style

Walter Williams comes in with his unique brand of information on Earth Day.  I attempted to color-code this so you differentiate the various chicken little scenarios:

Each year, Earth Day is accompanied by predictions of doom. Let’s take a look at past predictions to determine just how much confidence we can have in today’s environmentalists’ predictions…

In International Wildlife (July 1975), Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” In Science News (1975), C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization is reported as saying, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

In 2000, climate researcher David Viner told The Independent, a British newspaper, that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” In the following years, the U.K. saw some of its largest snowfalls and lowest temperatures since records started being kept in 1914.

In 1970, ecologist Kenneth Watt told a Swarthmore College audience: “The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990 but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Erroneous predictions didn’t start with Earth Day. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey said that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is that as of 2014, we had 2.47 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, which should last about a century.

Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda. Environmental activist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. … Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong … we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Earth Day – Celebrate it for the Opposite Reason it was Created!

From Mark Perry (again):

Every year on Earth Day we learn how bad humanity’s economic development is for the health of the planet, but maybe that is the wrong message. Maybe we should instead reflect on how human progress, especially through the use of fossil fuels, has actually made our environment cleaner, greener and healthier. Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress explains in the video below why we should love and celebrate fossil fuels on Earth Day.

Earth Day 2017 – A Retrospective of Past Predictions

polar bears on iceMark Perry points out that it’s the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, and gives us “18 examples of spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970.”  Here are my favorites:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

13. Paul Ehrlich …warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil.

I chose them primarily because they had the conviction necessary to give a time frame for their predictions.  Instead of leaving themselves some wiggle room, they felt strongly enough to say, “By this date, this will happen!”  Pretty ballsy, but dead wrong.

Finally, It was not hard to choose my favorite one.  It was the last one on the list (emphasis by me):

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

So in my lifetime, these nut-jobs have gone from 1) predicting the world will end due to the earth cooling to 2) believing the world will end due to global warming.  And the youngsters today wonder why we scoff at the idea of global warming.

(Late) Tax Day Post II

Years ago ago I read something somewhere that said any of the following three things would create a tax revolt in this country:

  • Move tax day and election day to the same day.
  • Eliminate tax withholding from paychecks so everyone had to write a check each month for their tax liability.
  • Make congress do their own tax return with no help.  I’ll add this – audit everyone of them every year.

(Late) Tax Day Post

Mark Perry had a great post regarding all things tax related.  Some highlights:

There were only four pages in the original 1040 form, including: two pages of worksheets, the actual one-page 1040 form above, and only one page of instructions,view all four pages here. In contrast, just the current 1040 instructions for 2016, without any forms, runs 106 pages.

Individual federal income tax rates started at 1% in 1913, and the maximum marginal income tax rate was only 7% on incomes above $500,000 (more than $12 million in today’s dollars)…


The amount of time spent for income tax compliance – 6.1 billion hours – would be the equivalent of more than 3 million Americans working full-time, year-round (or 2.1% of total US payrolls of 145.9 million). By way of comparison, the federal government currently employs 2.8 million full-time workers, and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest private employer, currently employs 2.2 million workers worldwide and 1.3 million workers in the US (both full-time and part-time)….



TaxProgressivity. And just how progressive is the US federal income tax system? Very, very progressive, see the chart above showing average effective tax rates by various income groups in 2014 (most recent year available).


In 2014, the top 1% earned 20.6% of the total income reported to the IRS and paid 39.4% of all federal income taxes collected ($543 billion). The bottom 95% of US taxpayers earned 64% of total income (almost three times as much as the top 1%) and paid only 40.5% of the total income taxes collected ($550 billion). So once again, to the 1.395 million taxpayers in the top 1%, I say “Thank You” for paying almost as much in federal income taxes in 2013 as the 132.6 million taxpayers in the bottom 95% by income.