Review board would make city inclusive
As part of the larger Morgantown community, we are excited about the proposed Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board for our city. We see this as a proactive way to increase the trust between our police and the people of Morgantown. This trust will benefit the police, as their effectiveness relies on the trust of the people they serve. It will affect ordinary citizens, as we benefit from a strong and confident police force.
It especially affects all marginalized communities, who are most likely to feel mistrust of both the police and the current internal review system. People are very unlikely to bring an active complaint within the current structure, which is all handled internally by the same police force that may or may not be at fault. Having a review board made up of trained civilians will allow folks a place to bring their concerns regarding the actions of the police. In turn, it will give both citizens and the police an opportunity to be heard, and for mediation to resolve disputes and thereby increase the effectiveness of the police force.
We ask all the people in Morgantown to embrace this forward-thinking step. We urge the city council to pass this resolution as another step towards making Morgantown an even more “Welcoming and Inclusive Community.”
Abolishing income tax is believing in time travel
Recently, our governor came up with the idea of decreasing the income tax by increasing the sales tax. Our Legislature seems agreeable. A sales tax is a flat rate; the billionaire pays as much tax on an item as the person just getting by. The current income tax is progressive, and those with higher incomes pay more. Even I, economics-challenged as I am, can see who benefits from such a change in the revenue source: The billionaire, not the person just getting by.
In proceeding down this path, our leaders will be ignoring both past events and present studies. In Kansas, then-Gov. Sam Brownback signed a similar bill. It led to the collapse of the state economy and public works, including roads and schools. It also led to the lowest growth rate in the nation and a $350-million budget shortfall.
Now Mississippi has a similar plan. In this case, however, their university’s Research Center economists report that Gov. Reeves’s proposal would decrease Mississippi’s total revenue each year, totaling $1.745 billion by 2035. Jobs would decrease by 1%, and real GDP by $709 million; the population would decline by 1.1%, and real personal income by 1.2%. These predictions have caused the Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Mississippi Economic Council to ask for at least a temporary halt to the plan.
The mantra that falling tax rates will trickle down and miraculously lead to prosperity for persons just getting by is the so-called Laffer Curve. It was later disowned by Laffer himself. As Esquire’s Charles Pierce writes, “If you’re willing to believe that cutting taxes [for the billionaires] raises more tax revenue, you’re well on your way to believing in time-travelling …”
So, Friends of Coal, you have a decision to make. Are you friends of the coal owners, or friends of the coal miners?
Need someone to shrink debt, not increase it
There is a great contrast between two officials. I have often taken my history students to tour Friendship Hill (Albert Gallatin’s mansion.) As the secretary of the treasury, Albert Gallatin retired much of our national debt. On the other hand, in just a few weeks, President Biden has increased our nation’s debt by $1.9 trillion. We need another Albert Gallatin.
WSJ editorial misleads on Texas power outages
As a reader of The Dominion Post, I am pleased that Greer Industries CEO John Raese pays for advertisements in the newspaper. However, I was surprised that Mr. Raese put his company’s hard-earned money into printing, on multiple days, the same Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article claiming the recent Texas power calamity was due to “Texas’s overreliance on wind power.” The article goes on to say, “Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%.”
This view of Texas’ problems has been widely discredited. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has information on hourly electricity generation that provides interesting insight into this issue.
The rolling blackouts started at 1:30 a.m. Feb. 16. Between 1 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the total electricity reached its lowest point in the day, the total energy put into the Texas grid dropped from 58.7 GWh to 41.9 GWh. During that time, electricity from wind dropped 3.0 GWh, natural gas was down 14.8 GWh, coal was down 3.1 GWh, nuclear was down 1.3 GWh and solar had increased 2.8 GWh.
Thus, although the loss of the wind contribution was important, it was only one-fifth of the drop from natural gas and coal combined.
Averaged over all of January 2021, wind provided only 26% of Texas’ needs. This is different from the WSJ claim that Texas relies on wind for 42% of its energy.
Texas’ problems appear to stem from deregulating and privatizing their electricity market without considering that electricity reliability is a basic need. Reliability costs money, and industry was happy to ignore this aim without a directive from the state. Indeed, Texas had similar rolling blackouts due to cold weather in 2011. Subsequent analysis of that event identified the same problems that seem to have occurred last month, yet the regulatory solutions suggested at the time were ignored.
In view of the apparent unreliability of the WSJ editorial page, Mr. Raese may wish to consult alternative new sources.
Who does it better? Gates or Thunberg?
Who would you have teach about avoiding climate change, Greta Thunberg or Bill Gates? Greta is known for her speech at the UN, while Gates has just come out with a book, “How to avoid a climate disaster.”
We know that Greta traveled from Sweden to New York City by train and a solar and wind powered sailboat. Her arrival in New York electrified me, because she showed that low carbon transportation was possible. It wasn’t impossible to imagine this solution scaling up, although, admittedly, most people want to get to Europe or Asia and back more quickly, not less so. Her feat rankled conservative opinion writers, who wanted her to fly, because she was jarringly concerned about this climate thing.
Gates, however, admits he flies his private jet and flies it a lot. To his credit, in his brilliance, he sees everything we do as part of systems, all of which lead to carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere, fueling climate change. He says when you are going to zero emissions, you can’t ignore any of the steps in the carbon cycle. I heartily agree with and admire this insight.
His heart is in the right place. Bill McKibben says it right in the New York Times: “First things first — much respect to Bill Gates for his membership in the select club of ultra-billionaires not actively attempting to flee Earth and colonize Mars.”
McKibben criticizes Gates for underestimating renewable energy and not being harsh enough on politicians. But flying a private jet is also a big deal, even when every effort is made to offset the carbon. Most people don’t have the financial means to offset their carbon footprints.
In other words, just paying others to clean up after you isn’t scalable or sustainable. The utilitarian principle says our choices must be aimed to do the most good for the most people. So if Gates is flying medicine and equipment around the world, and he flies as part of helping those people, it is justifiable to a person on a carbon budget.
Could this be the reality of our future?
This is not referring to Democrats or Republicans. It’s for Americans.
Imagine no fossil fuels, no oil or gasoline. Then what do we use to fight a war with, without the above? All our fighting military equipment, trillions of dollars worth, will be useless.
Are we going to have commercial jets’ and military planes’ wings covered with solar panels? Are we going to install wind turbines on battlefields to supply power for our military vehicles that will be covered by solar panels for power? Aircraft carriers with decks now covered with solar panels — no airplanes, just the ships — no longer able to carry fighter planes. Have all military vehicles electrically or battery-powered. Just try keeping good batteries in your flashlight.
Somebody in government needs trained — not the coal miners or pipeline workers.