[FoRK] A choice of nightmares

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Sun Aug 31 12:13:42 PDT 2008

On Aug 31, 2008, at 11:31 AM, geege schuman wrote:
> So you don't mind that McCain doesn't show much of an interest in  
> developing
> alternate energy sources, evidence reinforced by his choice of  
> running mate.

There are billions of dollars of private capital flowing into  
alternative energy development, so the only support that industry  
needs is for the Federal (and State) government to get out of the  
way.  Alternative energy development, to the extent it has been  
bottlenecked, has been stymied by environmental and NIMBY lobbies  
using the power of government to impede development, and that is not  
something I expect to change with a Democrat sitting in the Oval  
Office (and may not change with a Republican sitting there either).   
Still, I am not sure what you want the Federal government to do here  
beyond making mouth noises.

On the other hand, the Federal government *has* aggressively impeded  
hydrocarbon development in the US, so it kind of makes sense to have a  
policy that addresses that mess whether or not you agree with it.   
There is a low return obsessing about relative non-problems (like  
alternative energy R&D), while ignoring areas where small changes can  
make a huge difference (like gas and oil exploration in the US).  The  
problems are not lack of money or people, so throwing more of those at  
the issue will largely be a waste.

> And under the current Bush tax cuts, we've seen growth slow to a  
> creep.

That implied causality is pretty damn tenuous.  A much stronger  
argument could be made that the tax cuts are the reason there was any  
growth at all.  Not so much the income tax cuts, but the capital gains  
cuts that made capital investment very attractive at a time when not a  
lot of capital investment was going on because the returns were poor.   
Bush probably purchased a million jobs with that.  Cutting the  
dividend taxes to match was good for structural reform reasons, but  
the beneficial impact of that is likely much more diffuse.

> Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing
> ground on Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even  
> the ones
> supported by reds, don't want to see it happen.

Yeah, that's an issue I wish would die because it is generates way  
more attention than it deserves and distracts from issues that  
matter.  And I mean "matter" in the sense that they are not settled  
issues for most political purposes.  Gun control, at least at the  
Federal level, is the same way -- a hot potato in a political minima  
that no one is really interested in revisiting.  Time to move on to  
more useful topics.  Other topics, like gay marriage and drug  
decriminalization, are slowly changing under their own inertia toward  
more socially liberal positions and little will be gained by dragging  
out the single-issue extremists on both sides of those issues.

Other topics, like economics and environmental policy, are worth  
discussing in some detail but they only have time for sound-bite  
coverage after going through the litany of single-issue talking points  
that are a waste of time.


J. Andrew Rogers

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