Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for June, 2009

Cap’n Trade and Energy Potpourri

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 30, 2009

With thanks to the King County Republican Party for providing a web site on:

H.R. 2454: 2009-2010 American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

Want to see a nightmare in print? On the below web site, you can read a summary of the bill or if you have several days, the full bill.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2454&tab=summary

…and to Sound Politics readers for the next two:

The below You Tube video would be funny if the message wasn’t so serious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si-htSSHxsE

It takes a little time to gather the input data but this web site and the Wall Street Journal give the lie to the claim that Cap and Trade will cost “cost average family only $175 per year.”

http://www.taxfoundation.org/capandtrade

…and from a former Navy shipmate:

Who said Republicans are the party of “No” that have no proposals of their own?

http://www.gop.gov/energy

The Heritage Foundation has several good reports on this post’s subject, here’s one:

http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/tst062309a.cfm

..and finally, some clearfogblog posts on the subject:

We Need an Energy Policy Now

Carbon Credits Gone Wild

Carbon Tax

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

Carbon Tax

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 30, 2009

In a June 30, 2009 Seattle Times opinion piece, Seattle economist Bruce Flory and Todd Myers from the Washington Policy Council proposed replacing the state property tax with a carbon tax. Such a tax would reduce the use of carbon-based fuels by making them more expensive. Leaving aside the controversy over climate change, benefits would include cleaner air, reduced reliance on imported petroleum products and it avoids the fraud prone Cap and Trade system. Additionally, in theory at least, the carbon tax would be revenue neutral to the government.

But nothing is ever perfect especially when it comes to taxes. A carbon tax is straight- forward and more transparent than Cap and Trade but less so than a property tax. Yes, thirty cents a gallon gas tax increase and elimination of the state portion of property tax is clear but things get a little murky when it comes to the costs of other carbon using products and services. How much will the price of airline tickets, Fed Ex deliveries, utility bills and plastic products rise as business passes on the effect of a new tax? Taxes affect economic behavior. Buy gas in Oregon, less flights requiring in state refueling, businesses locating out of state are all possible unintended consequences. A carbon tax reminds one of sin taxes. Government spends money discouraging smoking while at the same time increasing dependence on tobacco tax revenue.

Saving the environment and energy independence are goals of the war on carbon. It seeks to force development of alterative energy sources by making carbon energy prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, new kinds energy could be years away and potentially costly. Electric cars will stress electricity supply. Replacing gasoline with hydrogen would require a huge infrastructure investment. Will a massive new tax move research and development forward faster or just provide another pot of gold for legislatures to slowly siphon off to other pet projects?

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

Joint Strike Fighter Video

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 19, 2009

Boeing lost the competition, plane too ugly some say, for the Joint Strike Fighter to Lockheed Martin. But the below video from subcontractor Northrop Grumman on the JSF radar system, sales propaganda or not, is impressive plus the plane is cool too.

Northrup Grumman JSF Video

See “Military” under “All Categories” on the left of page for related posts.

Posted in Military | 1 Comment »

Tobacco Regulation and Taxes

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 15, 2009

President Obama will sign the new law regulating tobacco products. If successful, the long-term effect will be a dramatic reduction in cigarette smoking. This is good news for those with health, air pollution and litter concerns. But, and there is always a “but”, the minuses, almost all economic, are significant. Tobacco farmers, manufacturing, distribution and sales workers will all lose their livelihood. Government, especially the states, will drop mega bucks in tobacco tax revenue, almost $15 billion in 2006 for the states.

Not a problem for the Feds, they’ll just print or borrow money to fill the gap. States, however, which generally must balance their budgets, will have to pass new taxes or reduce spending (unlikely) to make up for lost tobacco taxes. Since sin taxes on booze and gambling are already high, don’t be surprised if legalizing and taxing recreational drugs like marijuana is proposed as a tobacco tax replacement. Libertarians and anti War on Drugs folks would be supportive. Liberal politicians would like it. A zoned out populace would be more malleable in the hands of the Nanny State. Winners all around, yes indeed, don’t be surprised.

Posted in State & Local | 2 Comments »

Concern for Her Son

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 15, 2009

A mother wrote to the president of the college where her son was about to enroll.

Dear Sir,

My son will be attending your institution this Fall. I request that you take a personal interest in the selection of his roommate. It should be someone who does not use foul language or tell off color jokes. He should not smoke, drink, do drugs or chase girls. You see, I am concerned about the influence of college life since this will be his first time away from home except for three years in the Marine Corps."

Posted in Humor | Leave a Comment »

Hutchison’s Ploy

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 9, 2009

The race for King County Executive is now non-partisan because the voters said so but no one is fooled. Of the five leading candidates two are sitting Democrat members of the King County Council (Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips) and two are Democrat members of the state legislature (Senator Fred Jarrett and Representative Ross Hunter). The fifth candidate with a chance to win is Susan Hutchison. Seeking her first elective office, she is a known Republican. That may surprise some Seattle liberals who think anyone who is a journalist (she once anchored KIRO TV news) and a civic leader particularly in the arts could be anything but a Democrat.

Three major election changes will be in play in this years run to replace Executive Ron Sims, the newly appointed Obama administration bureaucrat. First, the Primary Election has been moved from mid September to August 18, 2009. The two candidates who emerge from the primary will have about four extra weeks to make their case to the voters. This is probably a positive change. Such is not the case for the other two election changes, the Top Two Primary and non-partisan elections for King County offices. The Top Two Primary, approved by voters in 2004 and upheld by the courts, was first used in elections for state offices in 2008. Under this system, one may still be identified by party on the primary ballot but only the top two vote getters, regardless of party, advance to the General Election. Last year, King County voters removed the party preference by passing Initiative 26 making King County elected offices non-partisan. Minor parties are effectively eliminated, the two major parties are weakened and voters lose one measure of a candidate’s political philosophy. Like the new rules or not, campaign strategies will be different in 2009.

Hutchison has finessed her way out of the first series of candidate forums leaving the floor to the Democrats. Her obvious ploy is to let the four Democrats split up the Democratic vote while she slips in under the radar to the General Election. If she can quietly energize and hold the Republican voters in the primary, her strategy has a reasonable chance of success. But former State Representative Toby Nixon, a solid Republican, has endorsed Republican turned Democrat Fred Jarrett. What is the old adage? “The best laid plans of mice and ‘political candidates’ oft go awry.”

Posted in State & Local | 1 Comment »

Abortion and You

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 9, 2009

President Obama at Notre Dame repeated the call for abortion to be safe, legal and rare. Rush Limbaugh mused if there is nothing wrong with abortion, why should we care if it is rare? An abortion doctor in Kansas is gunned down while attending church, an eye for an eye according to the more extreme pro lifers. The issue has divided the nation since before Roe vs Wade put the Supreme Court’s seal of approval on the practice. For America, some call abortion, after slavery, the great moral issue of our nation. Yet most people, unless they have faced an unintended pregnancy or have been moved by a religious or social cause, don’t give abortion much thought.

Where do you stand? Read the ten statements below and mark each one Yes (I agree) or No (I don’t agree). But before you begin, do you consider yourself pro-life, pro-choice or not sure? Now the ten statements:

1. Life begins at conception. Therefore abortion is murder and
never justified.

2. If bringing a fetus to term would likely kill the mother,
abortion is justified.

3. Pregnancies resulting from rape or incest may be aborted.

4. Abortion is acceptable if tests show the fetus to be mentally
or physically deformed.

5. Abortion is a reasonable backup if a tubal ligation or
vasectomy fails.

6. Abortion is acceptable if another child would force a family
into poverty.

7. A single woman gets pregnant. Rather than allow a moment
of passion to potentially affect her future life, she should be
able to choose abortion.

8. Abortion should be an option if another child would notably
lower a family or couple’s standard of living or delay
retirement plans.

9. “We always wanted a girl (boy) so there is nothing wrong
with aborting a fetus of the undesired sex.”

10. It doesn’t make any difference what anyone thinks; it’s the
woman who bears the consequences of giving birth or
aborting. The choice is up to her.

Review your ten answers. Are you now pro-life, pro-choice or not sure?

Posted in Other | 2 Comments »

 
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