May 27, 2008

The Political Charade that is Cap & Trade

The WSJ editorial on the Warner - Lieberman carbon emissions control bill is 'must' reading for any thinking American. To think that we would even consider throttling back our economy for a meaningless gesture reveals how politicians think. Their power has subsumed their common sense...

Global warming cannot be controlled by man. We are far better off spending resources ameliorating any short term effects rather that deluding ourselves into thinking Americans are 'in control' of the climate.

The Kyoto Protocol was a farce. This is worse. I expect better from Joe Lieberman.

May 11, 2008

Party Like It’s 2008 - New York Times (by Frank Rich)

While I often disagree with Frank Rich, this piece is a very incisive analysis of this year's political realities missed by many pundits and cable talking heads. An excerpt follows, but the whole column is worth reading.

"...For five years boomers have been asking, “Why are the kids not in the streets screaming about the war the way we were?” The simple answer: no draft. But as Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais show in “Millennial Makeover,” their book about the post-1982 American generation, that energy has been plowed into quieter social activism and grand-scale social networking, often linked on the same Web page. The millennials’ bottom-up digital superstructure was there to be mined, for an amalgam of political organizing, fund-raising and fun, and Mr. Obama’s camp knew how to work it. The part of the press that can’t tell the difference between Facebook and, say, AOL, was too busy salivating over the Clintons’ vintage 1990s roster of fat-cat donors to hear the major earthquake rumbling underground.

Party Like It’s 2008 - New York Times

May 9, 2008

Vermont Chamber of Commerce- Legislative Summary

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has stated the following at the close of the 2008 session. I have inserted my comments within theirs.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce began the 2008 legislative session with hopes that important issues confronting Vermont businesses would be addressed, and that the legislators would enact:
· Meaningful workers' compensation reform
· A lessening of the tax burden
· An improvement in the cost of doing business in the state
· Housing Incentives
· Solutions to the shortfall in the transportation fund

While the issues of workers' compensation and housing were addressed by the legislature, the legislation that was produced, falls far short of the actual needs of the state and businesses. [Absolutely correct!] Furthermore, while there were several budget cuts, work on serious government spending reductions was left behind. [The present Legislature does not have the stomach for serious reduction in the budget.]

It is widely known that Vermont faces substantial and difficult financial choices in the near future. The shortfalls in: Medicaid funding, transportation infrastructure, and anticipated shortfalls in the education fund all require a need for hundreds of millions of dollars [Where is the leadership in the executive or Legislative branch to really get serious. It seems elections are more important that the welfare of Vermont].

The focus this past session was on increasing revenue for the state. While Vermont has a tax problem, [Vermont has no rational tax policy; every funding scheme seems to be ad hoc.] the state has an equally harmful spending problem [Vermont's legislative culture for the past few years has been to 'find revenue' rather than deal with the issues that can help us to have a health economy].

  The actions of state government do not take place in a bubble, and tough decisions must be made - soon [The Legislature missed an opportunity last session to deal with real issues].  It is imperative that the decisions bring with them a heavy dose of public program prioritization and spending cuts, if Vermont's business climate is to improve in the years to come. [Absolutely correct; we need to elect legislators who understand and believe this in their bellies.]

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce appreciates the effort made by the Administration and Legislators, and we realize that it is not an easy job to balance the wishes of all groups. We look forward to implementing the good work that was done this year and will continue to advocate for businesses, with the reduction in government spending at the forefront. [Palaver and salve will not help the cultural and ideological problem. Different legislators are needed]

May 4, 2008

The Cognitive Age - New York Times

David Brooks continues to display the keen insights that many other commentators miss. As he points out, the free flow of capital and information worldwide is inherently responsible for the phenomenon we call 'globalization,' Sure, countries like China and India have an advantage of cheaper labor, but more importantly, they are absorbing and capitalizing on the notion that education and creativity lead to economic growth.

They struggle, too, with the cultural and political upheavals that the new wealth creates. I believe they will continue to do so. But the U.S. must embrace the reality that if we squander our young people or ourselves by embracing the Hollywood or TV entertainment beast or allow our education system to founder on the shoals of bureaucracy we will quickly become second rate among the world's nations.

"The central process driving this is not globalization. It’s the skills revolution. We’re moving into a more demanding cognitive age. In order to thrive, people are compelled to become better at absorbing, processing and combining information. This is happening in localized and globalized sectors, and it would be happening even if you tore up every free trade deal ever inked.

The globalization paradigm emphasizes the fact that information can now travel 15,000 miles in an instant. But the most important part of information’s journey is the last few inches — the space between a person’s eyes or ears and the various regions of the brain. Does the individual have the capacity to understand the information? Does he or she have the training to exploit it? Are there cultural assumptions that distort the way it is perceived?

...If you understand that you are living at the beginning of a cognitive age, you’re focusing on the real source of prosperity and understand that your anxiety is not being caused by a foreigner."

The Cognitive Age - New York Times