Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why I Support Federalism

Our federal republic was set up with the states as independent entities for a reason. It's been described as a laboratory of democracy--states can try their own solutions to problems, for example, to experiment with what works. Some states, like California or Massachusetts, may try strong government control, while other states, like Wyoming or Colorado, might be more libertarian in approach.

If one state happens upon a solution that works, other states can feel free to copy that plan--keeping in mind, of course, that one size might not fit all, that what works in one state with one type of people might not work in another state with another type of people.

In theory, no state would copy a failing program. But President Obama is embarking on a national program that looks much like California's failing program:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.

The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases.

The President also appears intent on copying Massachusetts' failing health care program as well.

And what do we call doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Update: So who should I believe? The Wall Street Journal (link above), or Lori from the Green Picks blog?

The economic stimulus plan approved by the House allocates over $100 billion for green projects. While there is sure to be political back and forth in the coming days, one thing is certain, no matter what the ultimate outcome: We're going to be hearing a lot more about "green collar" jobs...

And, it turns out that what's good for the environment is going to be good for America's workforce. A reportfrom the University of Amherst Massachusetts says that a $100 billion investment in green programs would create about two million jobs over two years. About 750,000 green jobs already exist, according to a 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors' report.


Ellen K said...

Your statement mirrors my concerns exactly. President Obama has stated that he intends to move toward social and political programs that are the spitting image of the failed policies of California. Whereas now, at least, businesses and individuals have the option of moving to another state where they haven't yet embarked on Nanny State Socialism, what do we do when it's implemented as a national mandate? I doubt Canada will welcome us with open arms and forget Mexico entirely? I have actually thought about the possibility of Chile or Australia or New Zealand. Maybe we should all be checking out our options.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> And what do we call doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

If you've never seen the genuine article you can call it insanity but you'd be wrong. Whatever liberals may be "nuts" isn't one of the descriptives that fits.

"Spoiled rich kids" might better describe them but that's not a form of mental illness. Self-indulgence and irresponsibility are a more accurate description and explanation.

Ellen K said...

Allen, I would agree with that. They are often the upper crust, well educated and socially insulated groups that not only think, but know they are superior to say someone educated in Montana. That flies in the face of the philosophy of a republic. And while spending an additional ten thousand for a "green" vehicle or an additional $35K on a "green" house isn't a big deal to them, it means quite alot to those of us in the flyover states. Somehow we have to make our voices heard. Write your rep and call in/write into papers and nationally based blogs. Our silence will kill us because they will not stop until polling says they must.