I no longer need to make fun of Jerry Brown’s loopy, goofy, self-spoofy views on high-speed rail because the mainstream media will do it for me, having finally figured out what a farce the bullet train is. So in assessing the self-serving barrage of buncombe coming out of the gov’s mouth in Wednesday’s State of the State speech, my focus is on the gibberish he delivered on green jobs and energy, an issue where nearly all California journalists remain comfortably in the tank for old Jer. The sources I will use to refute EGB? Not “dystopic” “declinists” like myself. Instead, I turn to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The idea that regulations can actually interfere with the economy in a bad way is dismissed by many lefties. This group includes bloggers like the Calbuzz boys, George Skelton-style print journos, and many Dem lawmakers. But isn’t it, er, unusual that whenever a left-wing interest group is hassled by regulations, a mysterious consensus suddenly forms that these particular regulations actually interfere with the economy in a bad way?
California has the second highest jobless rate of any state and has come out of the deep recession in far worse shape than America’s other megastates (Texas, New York, Florida). Is now the best time to experiment with our economy in two very risky ways, one without precedent in world history and one more conventional? Sober people would say not. But thanks to Arnold, the AB 32 experiment in forcing a huge economy to absorb much higher fuel costs than rival states and nations is about to begin. And if Jerry gets his way, we’ll see a squeeze on wealthy Californians that will force them to ponder this question: Is it really worth surrendering nearly half my income to live here? Be scared, Golden Staters, very scared. As bad as things now are, they could soon be much worse.
California’s unemployment rate has been 11 percent or higher for nearly two-and-a-half years, by far the worst extended jobless crisis since before World War II. This prompts Jerry Brown, Darrell Steinberg and John Perez to pretend to care about helping the private sector. But the truth is that in California, it’s business — or, more precisely, anti-business — as usual. This was made plain by two articles over the holiday weekend, one about the state’s eagerness to micro-regulate businesses and one about how trial lawyers legally extort money out of companies by using laws ostensibly written to protect consumers but actually written to allow trial lawyers to act like remoras.
How rich: George Skelton of the L.A. Times, the crafter and enforcer of Sacramento’s reliably wrong conventional wisdom, has some 2012 resolutions he wants California journalists to follow. George instructs his lessers about taking policy more seriously; about why the Democratic reactionaries who support policies that are objectively anti-minority are liberals, not progressives; and about journos’ need to adopt the CTA talking point that reform is a chimera, so let’s worship the broken K-12 status quo. Coming a week after an amazing Skelton column in which he said it was “hard to find anyone” who didn’t think tax hikes should be shoved down voters’ throats, this confirms the Golden State’s most influential print columnist is both 1) in the tank for the Democratic establishment, and 2) in a bubble surrounded by like-minded people who never point out obvious truths or inconvenient contrary facts.
Great news, for once, on the AB 32 front, with a Fresno federal judge blocking part of California’s 2006 law mandating a switch to cleaner but much costlier forms of energy on the grounds that it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by requiring changes in “farming and ethanol production practices in other states.” This is the same clause, of course, that offers the most hope of blocking the multilevel fiasco that is Obamacare. It’s also helping in the legal fight against California’s manmade drought. Such utility. Can we also use it to take down Donald Trump and PETA?
The San Jose Mercury News’ wonderful takedown of politicians who spouted the insane claim that the bullet train project would create 1 million jobs triggered some odd reactions. For its part, the California High-Speed Rail Authority quickly acknowledged how misleading the number was. But bullet-train defenders have drawn a line in the sand. This farcical claim isn’t really a farcical claim, and if it is, well, the people who think so are fat nerds!
The $500 million-plus in taxpayer funds that the Obama administration threw away on the doomed Solyndra green energy project in the Bay Area triggered investigations that showed Solyndra received unusual attention from the White House, with bureaucrats pressured for quick OKs to clear the way for celebratory photo opportunities for top officials. The president and his allies strongly pushed back at this narrative. Now we learn the Solyndra approach was’t just an anomaly, it was the norm: “Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.”
In the winter of 2000-01, California was caught up in a wrenching energy crisis when a flawed energy deregulation plan and a lack of power-generating capacity forced utilities to vastly overpay for energy on the spot market, to the benefit of Enron and other companies gaming the situation. Did the state learn from this and strive to protect ratepayers? Nope. In fact, it’s happening all over again — this time as an outgrowth of AB 32′s requirement that the state gradually switch to cleaner but much costlier sources of energy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech at the climate change conference last Thursday was overshadowed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s red-meat speech for green true believers, but it was a piece of work — 20 minutes or so of him telling the crowd how great he was because of AB 32 and how great they were for thinking he was great. In addressing climate change, the rest of the world doesn’t “have to have any debates — just follow California,” Arnold said. “Going green is great for the economy. It’s great for job creation.” Groan. Where are all the ballyhooed “fact check” journalists on junk like this? Shouldn’t the recent reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post finally embolden the rest of the media to hold greens to the same standards as other powerful groups?