Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The New York Times had an editorial in today's paper about how to reduce gas consumption in a time when its price is falling. Their thinking goes that as soon as the recession ends, folks will go right back out and start buying gas guzzlers again--apparently even if the Big 3 fail, Toyota will fill the demand for SUVs and the like. We'll all be right back where we started, and fuel-efficiency will take a back seat yet again. Their answer? Tax it:
Who will buy all the fuel-efficient cars that Detroit carmakers are supposed to make?
The danger is that too few will, especially if gasoline prices remain low. Therefore, it might be time for the president-elect and Congress to think seriously about imposing a gas tax or similar levy to keep gas prices up after the economy recovers from recession.
...This also would serve as a signal to American automakers and American drivers that the era of cheap gasoline is not going to last.
That'll teach those selfish consumers not to use so much gas!
Look, I totally agree that we have to encourage drivers to use less gas. The problem with a tax is that not everyone has the option of waiting for a bus or hopping on the metro. In places like the Southside, public transit is virtually nonexistent and it is very common for people to commute 60-100+ miles round-trip every day just to find work. Moving is often impractical, and will become even more so as a result of the mortgage meltdown. Moreover, such workers and families often cannot afford to buy a new car--if you're a victim of multiple factory closings and you're swimming in debt from years of paycuts and missed bonuses, you drive what you can afford, and you keep driving it until the wheels fall off. A national gas tax would be a betrayal of small towns and rural communities all across America. Not only is that bad policy, it's morally unconscionable.
Instead, let's tax gas guzzlers at the source (Deep breaths, Jim Gilmore). Put a hefty fee on the low-mileage cars and trucks currently on the market, and enact stringent environmental and MPG guidelines for newer cars. The money earned could be put toward tax credits for fuel-efficient cars or used in infrastructure projects. The stimulus package could also address this issue--if you trade in your old SUV, the federal stimulus package will match, up to a reasonable limit, your down-payment on a cleaner vehicle. It sure beats taxing people who can't afford it and throwing money at Wall Street.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
- It won't happen. And if it does, there will almost certainly be a primary battle. There are too many other Republicans who could run in this district--Del. Rob Bell (R-58 - Albemarle, Nelson) and Sen. Robert Hurt (R-19 - Danville, Campbell, Franklin) are the two strongest candidates that come to mind. The 5th District GOP has over a year for Goode loyalties to wane, and they'll be gunning hard for this seat in two years. My guess is they'll want a fresh new face who can build the party and run a competitive race. Given the lackluster campaign he ran (his support came from long-time loyalists, including many "Goode Democrats," not a persuasive message) and the amount of support he lost (more on that below), it's not Virgil.
- Even if he were to get the nomination, he would have a much-diminished base of support even among Republicans. Goode's negativity turned a lot of people off; since the election, we've heard many accounts of people who had voted for him at every stage of his career--regardless of party affiliation--giving up on him because of his TV ads and debate performances. Couple that with resentment over a costly recount that didn't even come close to changing the outcome, and his political capital is currently in the red. On top of all this, Tom ran a positive, ideas-oriented campaign and is currently winning over influentials and community leaders who did not support him initially. Which brings me to this:
- Sign him up. If Goode can get the 5th District GOP on board, it probably means he'll have many of the same people running his campaign. That means no ground game, weak messaging and extreme negativity. Also, good luck fundraising as a defeated incumbent from what was perceived to be a safe district, even in 2008. If Tom does his job in Congress and runs a good campaign, he'll be able to weather Goode part 2.
- Goode is politically savvy enough to know all of this, and he'll play a supporting role in 2010 and beyond.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"We've heard stories of children on Fridays going through trash cans and getting cookies, whatever they could put in their pockets, and when they're confronted by teachers asking what are they doing, they say if I don't do this me and my brothers/sisters won't have any food at all," said Adkins.If you notice in the accompanying video, the reporter holds up a massive stack of referrals from the Martinsville City school system, noting that demand is set to increase as Henry County begins requesting the same service for their students. This story is not only appalling on a moral level, but also a chilling déjà vu--it reminds me of the girl from my grandmother's kindergarten class who cried because she was hungry and it was her brother's day to eat. As far as these kids are concerned, this is not a "downturn," a "correction," or even a "recession." This is poverty.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
“It sounds like the U.A.W. blew it up,” said Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana.
Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee and a leading critic of the auto bailout proposal, said: “We’re hoping that the Democrats will continue to negotiate but I think we have reached a point that labor has got to give. If they want a bill they can get one.”