As I've noted from time to time, I don't consider myself a Democrat, but I wouldn't mind voting for one. I don't know if I am the swing voter that Senator Obama needs most in the general election. But I can say that he does himself no favors in my estimation by appeasing Senator Clinton after her performance last evening. Some reactions from those well to the Left of me:
Dana Milbank: "In Defeat, Clinton Gracioiusly Pretends to Win"
Ezra Klein: "She Doesn't Accept"
Matthew Yglesias: "Clintons Speech"
As often happens, I think Brendan Nyhan sums it up pretty well in "Hillary: For Hillary:"
The climate change debate began in ernest in the Senate yesterday afternoon. Few are questioning the science anymore; the earth is warming. The question is how best to control carbon emissions to reduce future global warming?
We economists usually recommend a carbon tax as the best way to go as Andrew eloquently explained on NPR last night. We like that fact that the tax is explicit, not hidden, that it is efficient, minimizing collateral damage to the economy, and that it is effective, raising the price of greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging alternatives.
I kid my friends that "I formulated three carbon taxes for Bob Dole back in the early 1980's that are still in his filing cabinet." I'd be very surprised if the former Senate Finance Chair really kept them, but the fact that they were formulated at all shows that Senate leaders, then as now, were fully aware of of the advantages of a carbon tax. That none of those proposals saw the light of day is conclusive evidence that:
Political leaders don't want
I was on NPR's Marketplace this evening with a commentary titled, "We need a carbon tax on gasoline." Here's the teaser:
Can you put a price on pollution? That's the question Congress takes up this week as they begin debate on the Climate Security Act of 2008. The legislation would enact a cap-and-trade system, whereby large polluters would buy and sell emission permits.
Commentator and economist Andrew Samwick has taken a look at his carbon output and his family's. He says if we're serious about cleaning up our act, we should consider a straight tax on carbon.
In a nutshell, while it is true that the largest part of our emissions come from automobiles, plenty still come from heating our homes and traveling by air. The more emission reduction we can get at the thermostat and in the air, the less we need to squeeze out of automobiles.
Here's this week's "Fiscal Fitness" column from Roll Call.
Hey, Scott. Bob Dole Did theSame Thing to Me
As far as I know, Scott McClellan and I only have one thing in common: Bob Dole has attacked us both.
Dole’s attack on McClellan occurred last week when he sent an e-mail to the former White House press secretary to express his unhappiness about his tell-all book. Dole, a Kansas Republican who served as Senate Majority Leader, never said anything in the book was wrong. He simply implied that, because of his character, McClellan's opinion wasn't worth reading.
Quite a bit of the housing stock in the urban areas of New England consists of triple-decker, multifamily buildings. Mark Jewell of the Assoicated Press writes that the slump in the housing market is taking its toll there, as well:
LOWELL, Mass.—When Osman and Rose Bangura bought a two-family home three years ago at the peak of a housing boom, they saw a good investment in the $400,000 colonial, just a quarter-mile from the Merrimack River and the renovated 19th century textile mills now helping to fuel Lowell's rebirth.
For a couple years, they lived upstairs while rent from a downstairs tenant helped cut hundreds of dollars off the monthly payment they would have faced if they'd bought a single-family home.
But, like many owners of southern New England's nearly 320,000 two- and three-family homes, the Banguras ran into trouble. Their monthly payment on a pair of adjustable rate mortgages jumped from about $2,900 last summer to nearly $4,200 -- out of reach for a couple with $50,000 in annual income, supplemented by $1,150 in monthly rent from their tenant, a single mother of two children.
Similar stories are playing out across the densely packed cities and pricey housing markets of southern New England, where generations have found older two- and three-family properties more affordable routes to home ownership than single-families.