A forgotten quality among Oregonians. Who would you follow today?
Since we don't elect leaders any more, we need to find the right committee. Simply building a road in Oregon requires that we have input from the public. The last great project--that was the product of leadership--was the Mount Hood Freeway project.
The project, designed by Robert Moses, would have allowed Portland to grow and service her citizens with adequate highways. For those of us who actually travel to Portland, the proposed freeway system seems like a dream from Disney's Future Land.
Understood by Robert Moses, Walt Disney's vision of tomorrow had a consonant theme: the freedom of the individual. Both Moses and Disney saw America as a future where each person would be able to afford and own a personal means of transportation. For those of us who value our independence, restrictions on transportation and ownership of a private automobile seemed antithetical to freedom.
And it is.
Having wealth means having greater independence. Having independence means having greater wealth.
The future of America is tied as much to its citizens as it is to it's transportation system. That's why the future of Oregon is so bleak. Just take a look at our Governor's transportation plan. Sometime, someone must explain to the Governor that simply requiring all of us to use food for fuel won't result in economies of scale, since ethanol is a product that won't be transported into markets by pipeline. Not only is it responsible for higher CO2 emissions, it's costing those of us required to use it twenty percent of our fuel efficiency--meaning an extra tank of gas for every previous five tanks--and forcing us to burn food as fuel...instead of fuel. Not that I'm against increasing CO2 emissions. I'm for it. If you guarantee me 2 degrees of temperature increase in 100 years, that means my great-grandchildren will have 18 degree cold days, instead of 16 degree cold days, and 98 degree hot days, instead of 96 degree hot days.
Not that they will notice the difference.
Because, the difference isn't really that great, after all. Nothing at all in comparison to the costs that your government is willing to impose on you today, for a science that is less than clear. And the costs that government want to impose on you and I are ridiculously high.
In his article, "Discounting Greenhouse Gas Effects in the Distant Future" (Gary Becker, February 4, 2007) Becker writes,
"Suppose the utility damages from global warming to generations 50 years from now are equivalent to about $2 trillion of their welfare. At a 3 percent discount rate, this major damage would be valued today at about $500 billion, while any spending today that reduces the harm to future generations would be valued dollar for dollar."
"Then with a 3 percent discount rate it would not pay to eliminate these very harmful effects on future generations if the cost were $800 billion (or more generally at least $500 billion) to largely eliminate the future harm from greenhouse gas emissions through steep taxes on emission, carbon sequestration, and other methods."
Unfortunately, no one is looking at the cost of a thing. Since the state has mandated that I buy ethanol, I'm now buying 20 percent more gasoline. As is every other person in Clatsop County. Again, what is the cost of attempting to mitigate Man Made Global Warming through Transportation Policy?
The Governor ("Kulongoski previews ‘green’ transportation plan", Portland Tribune, April 11, 2008):
"Kulongoski said the goal of the package will be to develop a transportation system that will provide energy security, and that serves people and businesses without sacrificing the environment.
"He explained it will encompass four areas: a low-carbon fuel standard; car technology improvements; reducing the amount that people drive...and improving overall efficiency of the state’s transportation system."
As near as I can tell, all we're going to do is fail to build roads and force people to buy ethanol. It's not really "four" areas, but who said Lefties could count.
So far, the state has become good at a few things. Roads that don't move people efficiently. Forcing us to buy gasoline we don't want to buy. With work, the Governor hopes to add greater impediments to the amount that people are willing to drive, and to force cars on us we don't want.
We've gotten pretty far away from the American Dream. But Lefties will tell you this is the price of "sustainability". Whatever the hell that is. I think it's "throwing in the towel". The kind of neo-Malthusianism spoken of here by Becker ("Rising Food Prices and What That Means" Becker, October 28, 2007):
"The biologist Paul Ehrlich even predicted in 1968 in the book "The Population Bomb" that hundreds of millions persons in the world would be starving by the mid-1970's because of food shortages. Of course, that absurd forecast never materialized because during the past 40 years worldwide prices for grains and most other basic foods fell relative to non-food consumer prices. This has reversed during the past couple of years, especially in 2007, as food price inflation has greatly exceeded the price increases of other consumer prices. Are the Malthusian fears finally being realized, or is this rise in food prices due to other forces?'
"My conclusion is that putting aside two major uncertainties, the Malthusian fears about rising food prices will not materialize. Food production will adapt to the growing demands from developing countries, and food prices in the future should continue their downward trend of the past century. One uncertainty that could upset this optimistic forecast relates to global warming, for food prices might rise steeply if global warming had sizable negative effects on the worldwide productivity of agricultural land. The second concerns biofuels, since food prices would also increase if sizable amounts of additional acreage continue to be diverted to production of ethanol and other biofuels in the attempt to cut down the use of fossil fuels."
The Governor is trying to leave a mark on Oregon. And, unless and until Oregonians are willing to start asking some trenchant questions, chances are, he will leave his mark. As great, if not greater, than that left by Governor Neil Goldschmidt when he cancelled the state's plan to develop real freeways for the only major metropolitan area in Oregon. When cancelled, all the land necessary for the project had been purchased by the state. Since then, Goldschmidt and his minions and successors, have divied up the prize for personal gain.
Ethanol isn't being produced for free. A lot of money has been given to friends of Governor Kulongoski to force you to buy ethanol. Next up? A transportation plan that further's the goals of cronyism in Oregon.
For the kids. For the elderly. For the teachers. Oh. I forgot. Teachers are union members.
Then, for the unions.