Adam Eran: Vedantam suggests education, rather than confrontation, is what gets us beyond prejudice. The Obama presidential run ignored the obviously bigotry coming from his opponent’s proxies, and suggested, without recrimination, that we give Obama a chance. That tactic, not Reverend Wright’s understandable anger, was what worked.
Adam Eran: Consume-atives proclaim we should cut something but seldom propose anything specific. The plan is for bankruptcy court to sort that out, rather than making consume-atives a target for blame. “Take 10% off the top” is another, meaningless Republican proposal in recent budget negotiations. What does that mean, though? Let 10% of the prisoners out? Only treat 90% of the sewage?
Adam Eran: A recent U.N. study found that raising livestock caused more climate change than all human transportation combined. Currently U.S. agriculture is not even “solar.” We burn ten calories of petroleum to produce one calorie of food.
Adam Eran: The acute problem of the Gulf oil spill makes the cost of corruption-afflicted government front page news. Lax Federal offshore drilling oversight under Bush 43 has cost us dearly. However, our society’s vulnerability to any trouble with this critical resource should also remind us of the chronic problem: peak oil.
Adam Eran: Tax cuts caused the current budget deficit, not crazy spending. Local government revenues fell 57% after Proposition 13. Even more egregious, the consume-atives™ (they do not conserve), now complain that State funding for local governments to fill that revenue hole meddles too much in local affairs.
Adam Eran: Appropriately for April Fool’s, Republican California Assemblyman Roger Niello’s editorial appears in the Sacramento Bee protesting California’s public policy response to climate change (AB32). As evidence that AB32 is misguided, he cites the discredited Varshney study and the similiarly biased California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) oil-industry-funded study of AB32.
Adam Eran: When the nation’s most trusted newsman is Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, it’s no surprise that sensible debate about public policy is at least hard to find. Lately, however, such policy debates have become positively surreal.
Adam Eran: The one thing we don’t want to do is subsidize even more petroleum consumption. If we gave oil producers a special tax break (like the “depletion allowance”), or paid for the military protection for those increasingly important overseas oilfields, gas would be artificially cheaper at the pump, and we would have abandoned the “magic of the marketplace” for crony captalism, where a few favored interests get the lion’s share of public policy benefit.
Adam Eran: Niello apparently believes government’s taxes, spending and regulations never produce any real benefit; they only kill jobs. Never mind that better regulation would have prevented the sub-prime meltdown that has sent our economy into a tailspin, or that taxes have been cut for the last 30 years without any unusual upturn in the economy.
Adam Eran: Bill George, the press secretary for Congressman Tom McClintock protests that in some previous editorials, I’ve maligned his boss with “utterly preposterous charges.” Unfortunately, I’ve done my homework, and Mr. George’s specific answers are either wrong, or misleading.
Adam Eran: Niello’s hearing is yet another bit of evidence that, no matter what the facts, the Republican narrative remains constant: We must reduce taxes and regulation, even if lack of effective regulation produced the current less-than-optimum outcome. And although “deficits don’t matter,” no matter how low they are, taxes are too high, especially on the wealthy.
Adam Eran: As usual, McClintock ignores the actual biggest expansion in history. That occurred after the Clinton administration balanced the federal budget by raising the top rates a mere 3%. Neo-cons like McClintock, and Newt Gingrich gravely prophesied economic doom following these tax hikes, but again, as usual, history contradicts them.
Today, as I left the market, a paid signature gatherer asked me to endorse cutting state spending. I asked her if she knew that, after adjusting for inflation and population, California’s state spending has grown insignificantly in the past two decades. The state’s deficits exist because we reduced taxes, starting with proposition 13.