Next week Australia's Parliament is set to pass a carbon tax that has proven so divisive it may bring down the Labor-Green government. By setting a low price on carbon, returning the money raised to industry and consumers, and relying so heavily on offsets, the legislation is further proof of the iron law of climate policy. A better way forward would be for Australia to impose a modest fee on coal mining and use the money to support its advanced manufacturing industries and innovation to make clean energy cheap. Below is our take on the legislation in Australia's news magazine, Crikey. read more »
Chan Koonchung’s chilling science fiction novel The Fat Years — already an underground sensation in China — will be published in the U.S. January 2012. The book, first published in Hong Kong in 2009, is partly so chilling because it reveals a scenario that is all too plausible. Set in 2013, it takes place after a second financial crisis (euros, anyone?) that all but destroys the Anglo-American economies and ushers in “China’s golden age of ascendancy.”
The nation that leads the world in The Fat Years is less bleakly dystopian than the Stalinist state portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984 or the biologically controlled society of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Yet it is supremely authoritarian — harassing and even executing the rare dissident and putting drugs in the water supply to inflate a sense of well-being among the masses. read more »
With its vote on September 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee ended the rail boosters’ hopes of getting a meaningful appropriation for high-speed rail in the new (FY 2012) fiscal year. It probably also dealt a decisive death blow to President Obama’s loopy goal of "giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail." read more »
AEG's downtown stadium in Los Angeles isn't just a playground for really big guys or just another site for really rich guys to consume conspicuously in luxury boxes. If you believe the chorus of hype, Farmers Field also grows good jobs, solves the city's debt crisis, transforms downtown Los Angeles into a nicer version of Manhattan, and builds strong bodies eight ways. It may even cure cancer.
But the downtown stadium - if it's built - isn't going to be particularly "green" in ways that matter. read more »
The October 29, 2009 issue of Time Magazine had an article titled “Why California is America’s Future.” I sure hope not. California is fast becoming a post-industrial hell for almost everyone except the gentry class, their best servants, and the public sector.
We only need a few numbers to demonstrate that California is clearly on the wrong track: read more »
Republican primary front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are each basing a large part of their campaigns on their economic track records. So who is better when it comes to jobs and the economy — Romney or Perry?
Let’s put each of their states under the microscope to see what the data says. In this exercise we will use Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool, to help us see the ins and outs of the Massachusetts and Texas economies. read more »
The Republican victory in New York City’s ninth congressional district Sept. 13 — in a special election to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner — shocked the nation. But more important, it also could have signaled the end of the idea, propagated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of New York’s future as a “luxury product.” read more »
Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential nomination race bragging about the job creation record of Texas during his term as his primary pitch to a nation starved for jobs. This triggered a flurry of debate on whether or not Texas is really all Perry claims for it. But while there is certainly nuance in numbers, and Texas doesn't win on every single measure, on the whole it seems indisputable that Texas did very, very well during the 2000s. read more »
To President Barack Obama and many other Democrats, Europe continues to exercise something of a fatal attraction. The “European dream” embraced by these politicians — as well as by many pundits, academics and policy analysts — usually consists of an America governed by an expanded bureaucracy, connected by high-speed trains and following a tough green energy policy.
One hopes that the current crisis gripping the E.U. will give even the most devoted Europhiles pause about the wisdom of such mimicry. Yet the deadliest European disease the U.S. must avoid is that of persistent demographic decline. read more »
The Obama administration’s belated attempt to address the looming employment crisis — after three years focused largely on reviving Wall Street, redoing health care and creating a “green” economy — reflects not only ineptitude but a deeper crisis of what is best understood as the “gentry presidency.”
Unlike previous Democratic presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama’s base primarily lies not with the working and middle classes, who would have demanded effective job action, but with the rising power of the post-industrial castes read more »