Lightning Round: Carbon Pricing, Also Known as "Taxation."

  • Bradford Plumer's response to Jim Manzi on climate change addresses my No. 1 complaint about conservatives who, while not denying climate change is real, think the threat is exaggerated. The do-nothing analysis is that the economic impact of pricing carbon or curbing emissions will be so great that it will be worse than doing nothing. Plumer goes into the technical reasons why we should be skeptical about this position, but I want to note that Manzi shows little interest in the non-economic consequences of climate change -- it's just one big Econ 101 puzzle to be solved.
  • Color me unpersuaded that we ought to sympathize with David Brooks because he had the bad judgment to write in a format that isn't his forte. Likewise with the argument that Brooks is among some dying breed of reasonable and calm commentators in the age of 24-7 cable shouting matches. Judge Brooks by his work, which is occasionally insightful, but more often than not ignorant and oddly unopinionated for an opinion column, as today's attempt to understand stimulus economics demonstrates.
  • I'm not clear why Jonathan Bernstein thinks Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon was the right call. He says that "the trial of Richard Nixon would, in fact, have consumed the nation" and that "the nation deserved a functioning political system, and the pardon helped that to happen." But this feels a bit like the defenses of the Supreme Court intervention during the 2000 elections: Stop the recount -- lest the nation devolve into anarchy.
  • I've long suspected that conservative pundits like George Will secretly desire to be the power behind the throne, and to that end they wind up supporting anti-intellectual politicians like George Bush or conspiratorial populists like Sharron Angle whom they can flatter in public and privately hold them in contempt. Either that or Will doesn't care if lunatics are elected to the Senate as long as they're Republican.
  • Holiday Remainders: The best evidence yet that the Tea Partiers are just right-wing Republicans in costume; adventures in useless opinion polling; I don't get what's so difficult to understand about opinion journalists writing purely analytical reported pieces that are stripped of partisan conclusions; remember, government workers don't count as employed and don't deserve a living wage; I think we can all agree that those at the bottom of the economic ladder should shoulder the burden of economic recovery; my general policy is to assume that anything Mitt Romney says is pure BS; I'm so old I can remember when Russ Feingold was the darling of the liberal blogosphere; and do marijuana ballot initiatives help Democrats win elections?

--Mori Dinauer