Policy choices in time of crises

This is an excerpt from Bloomberg’s Morning Joe:

Citizens need to recognize that Federal government has the power to mitigate economic crises to a greater extent. I ask why are our leaders in Washington choosing austerity over charity? Read Joe’s take on Federal response to crises.

“Something people should understand about the current U.S. economic crisis is that it is in large part a policy choice.

People joining food lines all around the country is the result of a policy choice not to supply laid off workers with more income, or easy enough access to income from the government. The spiraling number of small businesses closing up shop is the result of a policy choice to cap the level of payroll support, turning the program into a de facto lottery. The wave of state and local austerity we’re already seeing (Los Angeles is the latest) is due to a policy choice, not to include ample money for municipal funding in any of the emergency spending bills that we’ve seen so far. Of course, the social distancing demands create an exceptionally difficult and disruptive situation for everyone, but the attendant level of economic devastation that this has caused was a choice. The federal government isn’t anywhere close to exhausting its fiscal capabilities to supply the private, state and local sectors with replacement income for the duration of the public health emergency.

The reasons behind these choices are different and complex. However the economist JW Mason nailed one aspect of it in a blog post, writing: “It seems like one of the deepest lessons of the crisis is that a system organized around the threat of withholding people’s subsistence will deeply resist measures to guarantee it, even when particular circumstances make that necessary for the survival of the system itself.” Tomorrow another 4.5 million initial jobless claims are expected to be reported.”

David Brooks: The urban backlash against the populist backlash – The Salt Lake Tribune

https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2019/11/22/david-brooks-urban/

The populist backlash came in different forms in different parts of the world. In Central and Eastern Europe it came in the form of nationalist strongmen — Victor Orban, Vladimir Putin, the Law and Justice party in Poland. In Latin America it came in the form of the Pink Tide — a group of left-wing economic populists like Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. In the Anglosphere it was white ethnic nationalism of Donald Trump and Brexit. In the Middle East it was Muslim fundamentalism. In China it was the increasing authoritarianism of Xi Jinping. In India it was the Hindu nationalism of Narendra Modi.

David Brooks

Thank you Hyatt

“Hyatt is the latest international hotel brand to ditch travel-sized toiletries from its rooms, following Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Group and Marriott International.

Portable tubes of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel will be replaced with bulk-sized toiletries across Hyatt’s global chain of 220,000 rooms beginning in June 2021. The changes will affect Hyatt’s 900 hotels worldwide, encompassing 20 brands, including Park Hyatt, Hyatt Place and the Andaz.

“Plastic pollution is a global issue, and we hope our efforts will motivate guests, customers and, indeed, ourselves to think more critically about our use of plastic,” Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt, said in a press release.”

It takes everybody working together to reduce plastics….why all the packaging? Ever since Tylenol scare back in the 1980s, companies have gone packaging crazy…time to ease up on Plastics. Buying local is a starting point…

New Mexico May Become Temporary Storage Site For Nuclear Waste : NPR

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/11/709600915/new-mexico-is-divided-over-the-perfect-site-to-store-nation-s-nuclear-waste

“In 1982 Congress got involved, passing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which called for the development of repositories for the nation’s high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel.

Five years later, it narrowed those efforts, focusing on a single area 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas: Yucca Mountain.

The federal government has spent billions of dollars assessing the viability of a deep underground storage facility there. For decades, Yucca looked like the destination for nuclear waste.”

Call for Congress to act on this urgent issue.

Opinion | The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/opinion/college-board-sat-ap.html

Every student needs to understand that, as Coleman put it, “our country was argued into existence — and that is the first thing that binds us — but also has some of the tensions that divide us. So we thought, ‘What can we do to help replace the jeering with productive conversation?’”

Thomas Friedman

A 75-Ton Chain Once Stretched Across the Hudson River to Stop the British and Protect the Hudson Valley – Hudson Valley Magazine – February 2018 – Poughkeepsie, NY

http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/February-2018/West-Point-American-Revolution-Hudson-River-Great-Chain/

Love a river story:

Gen. George Washington needed a great idea. He got it from an English-born patriot named Thomas Machin.

Machin knew water. He had been an apprentice canal builder in England, and, as a captain in an artillery company he was called by Washington to help defend the river at the Hudson Highlands. The river was narrow there, and since ancient times armies had placed sharpened logs, scuttled ships, and other debris in a narrows to block passage. But here the river was too deep. Machin had his a-ha moment: Why not forge an iron chain and float it across the river, anchoring it at either shore?

Most Endangered Rivers Victory: Washington’s Skykomish River | American Rivers

https://www.americanrivers.org/2018/04/most-endangered-rivers-victory-washingtons-skykomish-river/

“This week, after seven years of opposition to a hydropower proposal put forth by the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) for the South Fork Skykomish River, local activists, tribes, paddlers, river recreationists, and anglers got some good news at the April 10 SnoPUD meeting, when the SnoPUD commission and staff agreed to cancel the Sunset Falls hydropower project and request the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to close the docket on the current application.

Finally! Falls would have been reduced to a trickle if hydro project approved.

Lake Ontario: Property owners updated on funding

https://www.wnypapers.com/news/article/featured/2018/04/21/132346/lake-ontario-property-owners-updated-on-funding

Problem was, officials assigned to dole out the funding soon realized the damage totals of claims filed far exceeded the $45 million total the state initially allocated, Welch said.
“Wouldn’t you know (it), that funding was $45-50 million short,” he said.
In response, after months of delay, state officials with the governor’s office began to allocate additional monies this year, Welch said. First came a combined state Assembly-Senate $10 million funding allocation in January, followed by an additional $40 million this spring as the state budget process moved along, bringing the entire total to more than $90 million – the amount initially requested, Welch pointed out.
“With the extra $50 million, it should cover everyone’s expenses. (So) what’s the issue (as to the delays)?” he asked.

Look like IJC could rectify this somehow with the state of NY.

2 gallons of radioactive nuclear waste done; 56M gallons to go | The Columbian

http://www.columbian.com/news/2018/may/16/2-gallons-of-radioactive-nuclear-waste-done-56m-gallons-to-go/

“It’s a big deal,” said Dawn Wellman, sector manager for environmental health and remediation at the national lab in Richland. “At a scaled version we have done what they will do at full scale at Hanford.”

The vitrification plant — or Waste Treatment Plant — at the Hanford nuclear reservation has been under construction since 2002, with a court-ordered deadline of 2023 to start treating some of the 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in underground tanks.

Much of the waste, which is left from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program, is planned to be vitrified, or turned into a solid glass form for disposal.”