On Monday, the Wall Street Journal editorial page took a break from denying climate change to vigorously defend parent company New Corp., which is embroiled in a brutal hacking scandal. Kevin Drum was not impressed.
“In nearly four years at the Journal, Mr. Hinton managed the paper’s return to profitability amid a terrible business climate. He did so not solely by cost-cutting but by investing in journalists when other publications were laying off hundreds.” - The aforementioned editorial.
What!? You mean that investing in the business helped to revive it? I thought it was illegal to invest new money when things were looking down. It’s funny how conservatives are okay with this when it saves their jobs, but not the jobs of millions of other Americans.
The GOP is at it again. A bill introduced by Rep. Cory Gardener (R-CO), called the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011, would “eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.” In other words, it would get rid of regulation that is preventing oil companies from drilling in protected reserves off the coast of Alaska. There is also the reluctance to let oil companies drill in new places in Alaska because of the Exxon-Valdez spill.
An aspect of this bill that I find interesting is the fact that the writer of it phrased oil drilling as “energy production opportunities.” It almost begs the question as to whether the GOP knows how terrible more drilling sounds after the cold proof of the BP spill. Plus, while this bill was written beforehand, the recent spill in the Yellowstone River doesn’t place this bill in a better light.
Then, we come to my favorite part of the bill (emphasis added):
The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Environmental Appeals Board. Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit – within six months. All appeals will go to the D.C. Circuit Court for resolution because of the national implications of oil production on the Outer Continental Shelf and the need for consistency in decision-making.
Basically, this section establishes that any appeals made against EPA regulations will fall under the jurisdiction of the D.C. Circuit Court. While this seems unimportant, this is actually the most notable part of the bill. Out of the 13 judges on the bench of this court, 9 were appointed by Republican presidents. This means that, essentially, any appeals that claim the EPA regulations are too broad, or impose too much on businesses, will prevail. Gardener says that the reason for this provision is because of the “national implications of oil production” and the “need for consistency”. This makes absolutely no sense. While there are national implications, any Federal Appeals Court would be fit to handle cases related to EPA regulations. Just because this court is situated in D.C., it carries no more weight than any other Circuit Court of Appeals. As for the second point, this “consistency” only serves to limit justice. By restricting appeals cases to only one court, there will never be any differences in interpretations of laws, possibly resulting in a bias. This is especially true with the currently conservative Supreme Court, which is the only court above a Federal Appeals Court.
“Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it.”—
Dr. Michael Parenti, author of Dirty Truths
In 1996, he made a rather concise observation which still rings painfully true today. A few examples of compassionate conservatism:
“Is the government now creating hobos?” — Rep. Dan Heller (R-Nevada)
“You know, we should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs and not take care of their own children.” — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“You know, there is an argument to be made that these extensions of unemployment benefits keep people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.” — Former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
“We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans [after Hurricane Katrina]. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” — Former Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-Louisiana)
“You gotta look people in the eye and tell ‘em they’re irresponsible and lazy… Because that’s what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period.” — FOX News host Bill O’Reilly
A fiscal contraction — some combination of tax increases (such as the expiration of the 2011 payroll tax cut) and spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit — looks to be coming soon. Given the horrendous long-run deficit projections, that sounds like the prudent thing to do. But it is not what an economy needs when it is suffering from a paucity of demand. For now, the U.S. government should be like Saint Augustine: seeking chastity, but not just yet. Because, contrary to much misleading political rhetoric, cutting government spending does not create jobs; it destroys them. (This should be obvious: How could a government kill jobs when it buys things from private companies?)