Three things on the NYT editorial/op-ed pages that pissed me off
Three things on the back pages of today's NYT A-section show that we have as much to do on task 2 as task 1:
1. The energy bill doesn't increase fuel economy standards. According to this DailyKos story, the Democratic proposals to do so were withdrawn for fear of causing the consensus on the bill to collapse:
Pelosi in a statement said she supported requiring automakers to make more fuel efficient vehicles but that the issue was deferred "in the interest of promotingBoo hiss. Didn't these folks see An Inconvenient Truth? I am so tired of the lobbying (i.e. whining) of the American auto industry, and of that industry using American workers as human shields to avoid any kind of increase in fuel efficiency. America must find a less environmentally destructive way to indulge our obsession with size. Oil usage and global climate change are matters of national security, and the state has a compelling interest to intervene if corporations and individuals continue to make dumb, self-destructive and other-destructive decisions with global ramifications. If you want to drink yourself to death or join a weird cult or watch TV all day long, that's a private matter (though no private decision is completely devoid of public ramifications). But unless you come up with a method to confine global warming to yourself alone, this is something where that hand of regulation must intervene.
passage of a consensus energy bill."
2. Charles Schumer defending a lower tax-rate for hedge fund managers. Uck. These are some of the most obscenely rich folk on the planet. They can pay the same damn rate as the rest of us, thank you very much. But they give a lot of money to Democrats, apparently. This is why large numbers of small donations from folks like you and me are important: we have to wean our party off of special interest money as much as possible if we want them to really represent our interests.
3. Farm subsidies. Nicholas D. Kristof owns some forest in Oregon and gets paid not to farm it:
I grew up on a sheep and cherry farm here in Yamhill, Ore., and still have some timberland outside of town. Every year I get paid $588 not to farm it, under the Conservation Reserve Program.
That’s right: taxpayers are subsidizing a New York columnist not to plant crops in a forest in Oregon.
And the Democratic House passed a bill that continues this and other forms of ridiculousness. The saddest thing here is that the Bush administration actually proposed limiting these handouts (the majority of which go to huge commercial conglomerates producing crops that are turned into less healthy foods and/or artificially depress prices to the point where farmers in developing nations can't make a profit), but the Democrats resisted:
President Bush had sought to place a ceiling on payments to any farmer of $200,000 per year, but the Democratic leaders have set it at $1 million ($2 million for a couple). Any time the Democrats find themselves fighting on behalf of fat cats, against a Republican White House that says enough is enough, it’s time for the donkey to kick itself in the head.I never thought I'd find myself siding with the Bush administration against Democrats on something, but if this is true the administration is right to try to cut back these subsidies. No doubt the Bush administration would simply like to give the money to Republican cronies rather than Democratic cronies, but that doesn't change the fact that these farm subsidies are some of the most egregious forms of government waste and special interest pandering. Away with them!