First, the economy
. Last Thursday at the office I listened to an alarming lunchtime presentation from two very good economists (Vince Reinhart and Des Lachman) arguing about whether the U.S. and global economy is heading for total catastrophe or merely disaster over the next few years, complete with the Woody Allen gag about hoping we have the wisdom to choose wisely. Then I went back to my desk to see that the stock market had suddenly plunged 1,000 points, and thought--"Gee, I didn't realize we were webcasting that panel!"
Now this morning's paper brings news of the $1 trillion bailout of Europe engineered in haste over the weekend. Wall Street loves bailouts; I note that as of this early morning writing time, stock market futures are way up. I wonder if the market will hold up all day. I'm doubtful.
The Supreme Court. So it's going to be Elena Kagan. A solid pick from Obama's point of view, and I expect she will be confirmed fairly easily. I think she may be overrated in her ability to swing Justice Kennedy, and may represent another botched pick in the fullness of time, like Sotomayor. But it is increasingly apparent that in the Obama administration, the Supreme Court may as well have a sign up: White men need not apply. What must someone of Cass Sustein's stature think about this state of things?
The Utah Senate. So Sen. Bob Bennett has been shown the door by the state GOP, with a strong shove from the Tea Partiers, for his heresy of cavorting with Democrats on health care and voting for the TARP program. Perhaps unfair on both counts, but on the other hand conservatives are right to have lingering disappointment with Republican profligacy in the Bush years, and some new blood is not a bad thing. What is more noteworthy is the media reaction. The Bennett ouster is taken as another sign of the dubious dominance of the extreme right wing, don'tchaknow, and obviously bad for America. This precious line might have more credibility if the media mavens had made the symmetrical point about the left netroots ganging up on Joe Lieberman in 2008 for not toeing the leftist line, or for Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln right now, facing a challenge from the left for her reluctance about the Obama agenda. If anyone in the MSM made this point about either of those instances I missed it.
Finally, climate. The Wall Street Journal gives me a nice shout-out in its editorial this morning about the decline in CO2 emissions last year, an artifact of the recession, and goes on to mention the meaning of the Obama/Congressional target of an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2050:
Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute estimates that the last time U.S. emissions were that low, William Howard Taft was President. On a per capita basis, the U.S. population of 420 million projected for 2050 would be held to the same overall emissions as the 40 million Americans in 1875.
Now, one coda about this factoid is that I have been pointing this out for more than two years now, both in print and in testimony before several congressional committees. Normally the climate campaigners challenge any claim or fact contrary to the climate narrative, but no one has challenged my conclusion. Typically the climate campaigners change the subject. Must be an inconvenient truth.