Monday, July 13, 2009

We need campaign finance reform

I’m opposed to the Cap-and-Trade scheme making its way through Congress as the Waxman-Markey bill. I strongly support greenhouse gas reductions but the 1,400 page Waxman-Markey bill is a corporate boondoggle that only Wall Street traders and speculators could love.

My preference is for a Carbon Tax with 100 percent dividend refunded directly to citizens on a per capita basis. This is simple to administer, revenue neutral for the government, would flow through to all activities and industries, and provides appropriate incentives and market signals. Those who pollute less than average would actually be subsidized by those who pollute more than average. While this is a simple solution, you can count on Washington to overlook this in favor of their lobbyist ridden legislation.

My strong opposition to Cap-and-Trade is due to the fact that I don’t think it goes far enough and we don’t have time to waste on half measures. It’s a scam that is going to transfer billions of dollars to speculators and polluters and because it fails to accomplish much, other countries don’t see the US response as meaningful or credible. As Dr. James Hansen points out in his recent entry on The Huffington Post, this measure will create a decade or more delay before we’ll get another chance to create an economically and ecologically sound climate change policy.

I have the same sick feeling about health care reform. While the best shot at getting a comprehensive, affordable and universal health insurance plan is HR676 (Single Payer Health Care system), it isn’t even being discussed due to the pervasive influence of corporate lobbyists. My fear is we adopt some weak and ineffective system that sets back real reform another decade or two.

I’ve been a Single-Payer supporter since I first learned about the idea of universal health care back in 1991. I’ve been waiting 18 years now. I’d love to see the US solve this problem but we won’t get there if we allow corporate lobbyists to set the agenda like we have with carbon.

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