Pat Toomey, climate zombie is the GOP Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. When he’s not denying basic climate science, he is sharing equally fanciful views on economics. He apparently thinks bills that don’t even become laws can harm the economy, as TP reports:
The northeastern United States remains a bastion of the clean energy economy, though global warming deniers are vying to take over leadership of the state governments. Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has the story.
Mark Kleiman has a good post explaining the inevitability of Eric Holder’s stance on California’s marijuana legalization proposition, and the ambiguities as to what will actually happen if it passes.
I agree with Kevin Drum that in many ways this is the best feature of the proposition, which otherwise suffers from a number of technical flaws typical of the policymaking-by-initiative process. At the end of the day there’s a real need to revisit the underlying premise that regulating the availability of a moderately unhealthy recreational substance is something that needs to be done at the federal level. Especially given that this is a country where, in practice, police authority is overwhelmingly exercised at the state and local level I think it would make a lot of sense to decentralize policymaking on this front. But Congress isn’t going to just take up the cause for no reason, only an atmosphere of crisis would prompt action.
As ThinkProgress has reported, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a right-wing political machine. Not only is it running political ads that overwhelmingly support Republicans, but the Chamber’s 116-member board of directors also gives millions to support Republican candidates.
The Nashua Telegraph reports the U.S. Chamber’s participation in right-wing politics is now causing it to lose losing some of its local support. Jerry Mayotte, executive vice president of the Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce, announced last Friday that his group is leaving the U.S. Chamber because he does not want to be associated with the national Chamber’s political ads in favor of Republican candidates:
“We didn’t like the fact that the U.S. Chamber was supporting particular candidates,” Mayotte said. “We don’t think it’s good business practice to do so.
“We take stands on particular issues considering business, but not particular candidates.”
“I don’t believe we lose anything,” Mayotte said. “As far as I’m concerned, I could not find one positive thing to say about being involved in the U.S. Chamber.”
The Telegraph notes, “It’s still a common misunderstanding that all local chambers are connected to the national group in some way.” In fact, in New Hampshire, at least four other local chambers have distanced themselves from the national Chamber due to its participation in politics. The Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Merrimack Area Chamber of Commerce have not been a part of the national Chamber because they do not want to be associated with the U.S. Chamber’s political activity. The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce even emphasized at a local event recently that “we are not accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; we are not a member.”
In Virginia, the local Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has refused to endorse the political attack ads that the national Chamber is running in its area to defeat Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA).
As conservatives like Glenn Beck and Rand Paul try to elide the differences between the U.S. Chamber and local chambers, these local acts of defiance should serve to remind people that not all local chambers support the activities of the national group.
La Opinion denounced Proposition 23 earlier this week, recommending that voters vote no on the dangerous proposition in November. This follows a long list of newspapers that have joined with California’s leading businesses and environmental leaders to reject Proposition 23.
The newspaper cited the fact that only oil companies would benefit from Prop 23, whereas other industries, including green tech would lose. “Many would suffer for the financial gain of a few,” and not just in a business sense. La Opinion also cited the health benefits that come along with restricting greenhouse gas emissions – because of the correlation between reducing carbon emissions and other forms of air pollution.
The answer to John Holbo’s riddle is that the tax base should be oriented much more toward natural resources and consumption than it currently is. Taxing investment is in effect a way of taxing the future to pay for the present in a way that doesn’t make a ton of sense when you think about compound growth. Taxing pollution and resource-consumption is the reverse. The atmosphere, for example, has a limited capacity to absorb greenhouse gas emissions without creating dangerous consequences for the planet. So people who want to use up some of that capacity should pay for the privilege. Taxation of this sort helps bolster what will be available for future people rather than reducing it. Similarly, the land area of the United States is more or less fixed so taxing the value of land in the present doesn’t have any implications for what will be available to future people.
And more generally consumption taxes have the right feature here.
Traditionally the “left” position has been that taxing income is good because it’s progressive and that regressive consumption taxes are bad. But there’s really not much of a logistical barrier to levying a progressive tax on a consumption base. And compound economic growth is good from both a “left” and “right” perspective anyway, while for the truly vulnerable the most important thing is simply that the revenue base needs to be adequate to finance public services.