Wednesday, September 20, 2006

For close to a year, I've been writing about -- for lack of a better phrase -- the New Federalism, namely states increasingly taking on the needed actions required to address problems that the federal government is either shirking or working against.

This NY Times article offers proof that such bold initiatives can and have worked. Proof that state by state, this country can be transformed into a better place, without the help or will of our federal leaders.

Kevin Drum writes the following about this article:
Actually, as the accompanying graph shows, it's [California] per capita electricity usage that's remained flat while it's increased 50% in the rest of the country. If you look at total per capita energy use, it's actually declined since 1970 (compared to a modest increase in the rest of the country). At the same time, smog levels in Southern California have been substantially reduced. And do you know why? Largely because California has passed laws forcing it to happen.

Of course, we all know the result, don't we? As the Republican Party and the corporate community are so fond of declaring, regulation like this inevitably leads to economic disaster. Businesses fail, incomes drop, and the economy goes into a tailspin. It's nothing short of a disaster.

And yet, the predictable screeching of the corporate community, delivered on pretty much an annual basis, appears to have been wrong. California's economy has been doing just fine during the decades we've pursued these policies. Imagine that.

Anyway, it's a good article, and goes to show the kinds of things we could be doing nationwide if conservative politicians could put their Chicken Little campaign contributors on hold for a few minutes and take a look at how it's possible to cut energy use dramatically — and reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers — without ruining the economy.

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