Libertarian Party of Colorado blog: ‘Fart Tax coming soon, and I am not pulling your leg (or finger!)’

Posted on the Libertarian Party of Colorado blog by Severin Schneider:

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering rules that could cost Colorado ranchers millions of dollars each year.

The agency is reviewing a Supreme Court decision that classified carbon dioxide and methane as air pollutants. While much of the ruling covered only the automobile industry, the final rules from the EPA could cover all industries — including cattle, pigs, sheep and horses.

Any rancher with more than 100 head of cattle could be charged between $80 and $100 a head for methane and carbon dioxide production. Colorado’s ranchers could pay $240 million in federal taxes. The cost to the dairy industry would be $20 million and pork producers would pay $17 million each year.

http://www.csbj.com/story.cfm?ID=20614

Before we had millions of cattle roaming the great plains, we had millions of buffalo, and long before that dinosaurs, all wandering around destroying the atmosphere untaxed! Where were these busy body bureaucrats back then?

The real question is what is the goal of this tax? It is a punishment tax, so is the goal to punish farmers? Or is it to punish people who eat meat? How are they going to measure if the tax was a success? Will the government charge themselves for the herds of elk and buffalo in national parks? This whole idea seems really wacky, especially to those of us who are not convinced that global warming is a threat, or that it is man made.

Even if you believe in man made global warming and believe that a sin tax on emissions is a good idea, can emissions from a cow or a pig be considered man made? Can someone who believes this tax is a good idea explain why?

42 thoughts on “Libertarian Party of Colorado blog: ‘Fart Tax coming soon, and I am not pulling your leg (or finger!)’

  1. paulie cannoli Post author

    You should make a counterargument rather than just saying someone is an idiot, which does not give anyone a reason to change their mind. The post asks some questions. Maybe the writer meant them to be rhetorical, or maybe not, but you could answer them. Also, the author’s name is in the post.

  2. JimDavidson

    The main question is: how many tax collectors would get killed trying to collect this tax?

    Americans are basically dimwits when it comes to tax resistance. Oh! They cry, oh, the government is being mean to us again, and collecting taxes from us.

    When the Transitional National Governments (something like 18 since 1991) have tried to collect taxes in Somalia, the tax collectors end up dead. There have been actual street battles between extremely well armed merchants and the Somali national military (such as it is) over whether the fiat paper money the soldiers were paid would be accepted by the merchants in their shops. (The verdict: no, it would not be accepted.)

    In fact, Somalis are known to kill census takers on the general principle that a census is used to find things to tax. Americans receive census documents at their homes and patiently answer all kinds of scurrilous questions, then send the documents back fully filled out.

    It is this culture of obedience, pushed on people from the time they enter public school, that makes Americans look like fools. It is not the rare essay about how a new tax might be foolishly applied that is idiotic, Ross. It is your willingness to pay endless taxes in the name of state religion that is the true idiocy.

  3. paulie cannoli Post author

    The main question is: how many tax collectors would get killed trying to collect this tax?

    Well, one thing about a tax directed specifically at ranchers: they own plenty of land where to bury the bodies.

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    When the Transitional National Governments (something like 18 since 1991) have tried to collect taxes in Somalia, the tax collectors end up dead. There have been actual street battles between extremely well armed merchants and the Somali national military (such as it is) over whether the fiat paper money the soldiers were paid would be accepted by the merchants in their shops. (The verdict: no, it would not be accepted.)

    Obvious cultural difference. Americans used to be that way once.


    In fact, Somalis are known to kill census takers on the general principle that a census is used to find things to tax. Americans receive census documents at their homes and patiently answer all kinds of scurrilous questions, then send the documents back fully filled out.

    Not everyone. I use them for toilet paper.

  5. JimDavidson

    Obviously not all cows are raised in feed lots. Many ranchers raise cattle on grass. This seems especially true of cattle ranches in Western states.

    I find the claim that cattle evolved to eat grass and “are not made to eat” grains to be extraordinary. I wonder if Mr. Levin has any evidence that cattle don’t have, say, teeth which accommodate the eating of grain. (Did they evolve, or were they made? I don’t mind either way, but it is a sort of amusing contrast in what you wrote.) Don’t cows have the ability to digest grains? Wouldn’t cattle find grains growing wild in many parts of the world?

    Wouldn’t buffalo have found and consumed parts of wild grains in the vast prairies of the Old West?

    The questions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming are many and varied, and among them is the matter of whether or not the government is the best agency for funding studies to establish the direction and extent of climate change, whether the government is the best tool for use in managing resources, whether the government is even competent at allocating resources to meet a challenge of such magnitude, if it exists. These questions don’t seem to come up for Mr. Levin, at least in his comment. But they come up for many of us who are called upon to pay taxes to address this manufactured crisis.

    Let me state, then, my views. I think the government funded studies are largely suspect. Many problems with the data and the climate models have been found. Even Y2K errors were involved in some of the data sets. Global warming catastrophism has become a state established religion, in contravention of the First Amendment.

    I well remember the news magazines of the 1970s which proclaimed a new era of global cooling to match the short term data of that period, and also blamed mankind. It was a high level of particulates in the atmosphere to blame for global cooling, and we had to have new laws to reduce particulate emissions.

    In my view, the government agencies involved in monitoring, taxing, and regulating emissions do so for the benefit of the large corporations that seek barriers to entry from competitors. It is for the benefit of Ford and GM and Chrysler that the emissions control devices added to the Smart Car made its fuel efficiency a fraction of what it is in Europe. Indeed, where are the 60 mile per gallon automobiles that were available briefly in the late 1970s? Why aren’t there VW Rabbit diesels available, along with dozens of competitors, making 60 mpg or better? Why, because the Big Three auto makers don’t want to produce such things, or pay the royalties to the patent holders who invented such engines.

    The government can never manage the economy to find a market clearing price. If price discovery is better left to a free market, how many other important things could be found faster, cheaper, and better, with a free market?

    With the nationalist socialist scum who run the country, we may never know. When one contemplates the effusion of blood involved in resisting tyranny, it is hard not to be very sad.

    In Somalia, since 1991, tax collectors have been very short lived. Somalis do not allow taxes to be collected. They simply kill the tax collectors. They also don’t allow census takers to live, on the general principle that a census is meant to find things to tax. I wonder if America would be a better place to live if some features of Somali culture were adopted over here.

    It is one thing to say that the tax collector is my neighbor and I should be nice. It is quite another to say that the tax collector should get to live when you consider the vast effusion of blood the war machine generates from those collected taxes.

    Posted to LPCO blog by: Jim Davidson | December 28, 2008 at 12:10 PM

  6. Ross Levin

    Jim’s comment was in response to my original one:

    The way cows are raised in feedlots causes a lot of methane emissions. They are fed grain, which they are not made to eat. They have evolved to eat grass. This causes more farting and therefore more methane emissions.

    And these cows wouldn’t be here if humans didn’t raise them. Therefore the emissions wouldn’t be there if humans weren’t raising the cows, and the emissions are caused by humans.

    Posted by: Ross Levin | December 28, 2008 at 09:04 AM

  7. Ross Levin

    And I posted this in response:

    Jim, I don’t know about wild buffalo but domestic cows have evolved to eat grass. They do have trouble digesting the grain and that’s why they have the farting problems. It would be similar (although not exactly the same) to humans living on an all grass diet. We would have trouble because we’re not ruminants.

    Even if cows are raised on ranches before they go off to the feedlot (upwards of 85% of America’s cows are raised this way), they are raised in a way that depletes the soil and causes emissions from their burping. Now, I’m not sure about the burping thing because I’ve only heard it once or twice and not from entirely reputable sources, but that’s just what I’ve heard. There are different ways to raise cows, like management intensive grazing, that rebuild the soil, encourage forest growth, and are better for the health of the cows, even if they still produce some methane.

    I think part of the idea behind this tax would also be to discourage excessive meat consumption, which is really rampant in this country. No one would be hurt if one or two beef meals were sacrificed a week by everyone in the country. In fact, it would do a great service to the environment.

    As for the legitimacy of manmade global warming, I’ve got to trust the experts on this one. I am in no position to make an authoritative judgment on the matter. I don’t know nearly enough, so I’m trusting the information that is out there.

    Posted by: Ross Levin | December 28, 2008 at 01:13 PM

  8. JimDavidson

    It is delightful and amusing to me that you are eager for a tax to change my consumption of beef. Here’s an idea. Why don’t you eat what you like to eat, and leave me alone?

    Or, here’s another thought. Why don’t you come to my home with your plans to change my eating habits. Then I can kill you for your aggression against me, chop up your body, and ship it to your family members in pieces.

    Your idea of using the government to change my eating habits is disgusting. Delegating aggression is not any less aggressive. It is just a lot more timid.

  9. JimDavidson

    You trust the experts who tell you that there is global warming. Why don’t you also trust the experts who say that there is not? There is a diversity of opinion, much of it informed, on the topic. You seem determined to take up a position based on “information that is out there” which you choose based on your existing bias.

    You might want to read the Satanic Gasses book by that guy from Cato.org. Or not.

  10. JimDavidson

    Depletes the soil. Whose soil is it? The soil of the ranchers whose land is used to raise the cattle? Or is it your soil?

    I think you should mind your own business.

  11. Ross Levin

    The problem with you eating what you eat and me eating what I’ll eat is that everyone’s diet affects everyone else.

    And are you threatening me?

  12. JimDavidson

    Threatening to defend myself? How amusing.

    Yes, I am threatening to use up to deadly force if you appear at my home and make demands about my diet. I would see that as aggression. Yes, I have the freedom, and the tools, and the training, to use up to deadly force to defend myself as I see fit. If you think that’s a threat, take it to the government you fawn over.

    The problem with me eating what I choose is that you can’t stand for me to have freedom over my body, my money, and my property. My body is not your property, you filthy socialist thug, and if you attempt to control what I put into it, with drug laws, or with taxes, or with any other delegated force, I reserve the option to come after you directly and personally for this aggression.

    You may think that you have the option to have the government do your dirty work for you and get away without penalty. I am not in agreement.

    If you don’t like my flatulence, or the flatulence of the animals that I eat, too bad. I defy you to do anything meaningful about it. If you attack me, yes, I am prepared to kill you to defend myself. Perhaps you should not advocate force in pursuing your socialist objectives.

  13. mattc

    “You may think that you have the option to have the government do your dirty work for you and get away without penalty. I am not in agreement.”

    So you have the right to kill anyone who ever voted for a tax increase or voted to restrict your behavior in any way whatsoever?

  14. Steven R Linnabary

    Do tax collectors still exist? I never see any.

    Uh, LJ, try not filing your 1040 this year. You WILL see tax collectors (though not for 2-3 years, they ARE slow and lazy).

    PEACE

  15. Ross Levin

    Jim, I don’t appreciate your threatening tone, hypothetical or not. And I don’t appreciate the insults.

    Ignoring that, don’t I have the right to clean air and health? And if the mass consumption of meat is infringing upon those rights, then do I not have the right to act?

  16. Steven R Linnabary

    While it might seem as though the mass consumption of meat is infringing on some hypothetical right, that is not what we are talking about.

    I think we can agree that western raised beef is mostly range fed (or grasses fed). It is only the feedlots (where beef is fattened for market) and the new factory farms that are the problem.

    It would seem to me that the methane from these sources is a new resource of energy that hasn’t been tapped, yet.

    So your question sounds to me as if you want to tax a resource out of existence BEFORE we have found an economical way to extract it.

    PEACE

  17. Ross Levin

    Western ranches raise cattle that go to feedlots. Chances are, unless you’ve intentionally sought out beef that was on a pasture from birth till slaughter, you’re eating feedlot/factory farm meat.

  18. Michael Seebeck

    OK, time to throw on a pair of hats. One is from my Iowa farming aunts and uncles, watching cattle and hogs grow in the Midwest, and the other from my Colorado time watching cattle grow in the West.

    Methane emissions from cattle happen from improper or poor quality food. While cattle can eat grain, or can be fed junk in a feedlot (which can include things like recycled animal by-products, manure, and other things that would make you vomit!), they are best suited for grass. Most gassy cows come from overgrazed areas in the Midwest, meaning that the farmers aren’t rotating the herds among the fields correctly, or from being grazed on scrubland run by the BLM in the West–government land, little good feed for them, and usually for a free or ridiculously underpriced rent. Some ranchers do graze their cattle on solely their own land, but again they face the same problems of feed quality.

    The solution to this whole mess is actually simpler than a “Fart Tax” or whatever the fools at the EPA are planning. The solution is to cut down on the gas emissions of the cows, and that is done by getting their digestion straight, and that starts with better food and intestinal balance in the gut flora. IOW, the ranchers need to take better care of their steers and get them better quality food and health care, and the result is they will get better quality beef and milk on the back end. Most conventional beef these days that isn’t grass-fed and -finished is pure junk.

    This is not a government issue, nor should it be. The care of the herd is the responsibility of the rancher to produce a quality product, and the consumer to demand it. The problem on the consumer end is that since most of the food in the food supply is of poor quality, they don’t know what good quality is anymore, so they don’t demand better. Instead we get tasteless food devoid of nutrition sans “enrichment”. The suppliers take advantage of that ignorance to cut corners and produce crappy products, but nobody demands better, so they get away with it.

    The solution is to have the consumer demand better. But will they?

  19. paulie cannoli Post author

    The suppliers take advantage of that ignorance to cut corners and produce crappy products, but nobody demands better, so they get away with it.

    I think that is what happens when most people get used to leaving quality control/assessment to an artificial government quasi-monopoly.

  20. Michael Seebeck

    Actually, paulie, that’s part of it. The other part of it is that the demise of the small family farm in favor of Big Agriculture’s corporate megafarms has also caused the quality drop. It’s not surprising that the rise in the corporate megafarms coincided with the changing of USDA standards to what the consumer *thinks* is stricter but in actuality was looser for those megafarms from waivers–classic tilting of the playing fields.

  21. paulie cannoli Post author

    There’s a lot of agribusiness corporate welfare and other government policies which are driving the switch away from family farms to megafarms.

  22. Jerry S.

    FRAUD*FRAUD*FRAUD

    In a report titled The First Global Revolution, pg. 115, (1991) published by the Club of Rome, a globalist think tank, we find the following statement: ‘In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself’.”

    WEATHER CHANNEL Founder – Al Gore is a FRAUD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B05xnnVjJk

    Al Gore sued by over 30.000 Scientists for fraud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfHW7KR33IQ

    More Scientists don’t see CO2 as temperature driver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztvxGbH8Mqw

  23. Michael Seebeck

    Paulie, absolutely. The only reason my Iowa kin was able to fight it and still survive to this day was that their farms were paid for in full back in the late 1800s and have been passed down ever since.

  24. Ross Levin

    Michael – I agree with you wholeheartedly on almost everything. I’m just not sure about government intervention.

    I mean, I’m doing my part – I buy local, grassfed beef from small family farms. A lot of my meat and veggies are bought from a farm down the road from me.

  25. JimDavidson

    I thought eating beef was bad, Ross. Weren’t you just telling us that above?

    And how do you know the cows aren’t sneaking some grain when you aren’t looking? Have you been monitoring their farts? Really?

  26. JimDavidson

    @26 I don’t like your threatening tone either, young man. You have threatened to have the government take away my beef from right out of my mouth. I’m not happy with your idea that you can threaten to have the government beat me up and take my property, and that’s okay because, after all, your hands are clean. But, somehow, when I point out that I have the freedom to defend myself, you take it as a threatening tone.

    So, here’s my proposal. Resent it. Resent what I say, Ross. Resent it, and hate it. Be disgruntled because you want to be able to say that the government should come to my home and regulate what I eat. Be unhappy because you want the government to tax the things I want to consume, and I view that as aggressive, initiatory force on your part.

    The instant you advocate that the government act against me, along with the instant that you pay taxes for them to do so, you are advocating initiatory force. I say that you have no right to do so.

    Then we come to “don’t I have the right to clean air and health”? Do you happen to own them? Then they are yours by right.

    Do you want to have the government attack me to provide them? Then, no, you have no right to them.

    You have no right to health care provided by enslaving doctors. You have no right to clean air taken from my property. You have the right to pursue happiness, but you have not the right to happiness stolen from another.

  27. FreedBirdy

    It sounded to me like Ross was calling for vegetarian diet – but that wouldn’t work, it would just shift the methane production from the steers to the humans!

  28. Trent Hill

    Environmental solutions come about most often through the free-market. Today the Hero from the hit TV show “Heroes” was on a commercial in Best-Buy. I knew him to be an environmentalist, so I stopped and watched. He simply advised that coffee cups are not environmentally friendly and that reusable ones are. He further noted that if you bring your mugs to coffee shops, in most cases you get a discount–so its cheaper AND eco-friendly. THIS is how the free-market can help things. Walter Block’s book on the subject is superb.

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