From Robert Reich’s blog:
A basic economic principle is government ought to tax what we want to discourage, and not tax what we want to encourage.
For example, if we want less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should tax carbon polluters. On the other hand, if we want more students from lower-income families to be able to afford college, we shouldn’t put a tax on student loans.
Read his post here.
Econ4′s James Boyce writes that we need better measures of economic well-being, better public policies, and better language:
We need to move beyond the stale “pro-growth” versus “anti-growth” rhetoric of the past. It’s time to raise a new banner: Grow the good and shrink the bad.
Read more here.
Econ4′s James Boyce on how to translate good principles into good practice:
Five years ago, this picture appeared in report titled Nation Under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep. It depicts what would happen – and this week, did happen – as a result of a 3-meter rise in sea levels in New York City:
Was superstorm Sandy a preview of what sea level rise will bring—permanently—to New York and other coastal cities by century’s end?
Read about it here.
Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) writes on winners and losers in U.S. energy policy:
It is not about whether government is picking winners and losers, because clearly government has been doing just that for years, with the fossil fuel and nuclear industries being the big winners. What is necessary to reverse global warming and create jobs is that we pick the right winners – the technologies that will transform our energy system and protect the environment.
Read his take here.
Big Chem is worried about your health – excuse me, worried about you worrying about your health – writes Nicholas Kristof in today’s Times:
Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat.
Read about the cancer lobby’s effort to suppress the National Institutes of Health’s updated Report on Carcinogens here.
Bill McKibben breaks down the “new math” of global warming:
We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn….
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
Read it here.
In his ode to the “Free Market,” Dr. Doug Hendron sings:
Well, there’s something that makes me wanna jump and shout
It seems everybody’s always talking about
The free market, as if it’s just a fact
But you know it ain’t free if it destroys your habitat
Dr. Doug wields his musical scalpel here.
Stephen Colbert finds common ground between liberals and conservatives: blame immigrants for climate change.
Peter Barnes, author of Capitalism 3.0, writes for onthecommons.org:
Why don’t we pay everyone some non-labor income — you know, the kind of money that flows disproportionally to the rich? I’m not talking about redistribution here, I’m talking about paying dividends to equity owners in good old capitalist fashion. Except that the equity owners in question aren’t owners of private wealth, they’re owners of common wealth. Which is to say, all of us.
One state—Alaska—already does this. The Alaska Permanent Fund uses revenue from state oil leases to invest in stocks, bonds and similar assets, and from those investments pays equal dividends to every resident. Since 1980, these dividends have ranged from $1,000 to $2,000 per year per person, including children (meaning that they’ve reached up to $8,000 per year for households of four). It’s therefore no accident that, compared to other states, Alaska has the third highest median income and the second highest income equality.
Alaska’s model can be extended to any state or nation, whether or not they have oil. Imagine an American Permanent Fund that pays dividends to all Americans, one person, one share. A major source of revenue could be clean air, nature’s gift to us all. Polluters have been freely dumping ever-increasing amounts of gunk into our air, contributing to ill-health, acid rain and climate change. But what if we required polluters to bid for and pay for permits to pollute our air, and decreased the number of permits every year? Pollution would decrease, and as it did, pollution prices would rise. Less pollution would yield more revenue. Over time, trillions of dollars would be available for dividends.
Read his piece here.