Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rent Control is Bad: A shocking admission from the WaPo Editorial Board

The Washington Post editorial board, which is politically Left enough to make Elizabeth Warren's heart race with joy, made a shocking admission in September:  The economists are right: Rent control is bad
RENT CONTROL is back. Economists have long criticized government price controls on apartments, a concept that had its first moment in the 1920s and that some cities reintroduced in a modified form in the 1970s. Now, decades later, California and Oregon are moving forward with statewide rent-control laws. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made a national rent-control standard the centerpiece of his sprawling new housing plan.

The economists are right, and the populists are wrong. Rent-control laws can be good for some privileged beneficiaries, who are often not the people who really need help. But they are bad for many others.

For example, a March study from a group of Stanford University researchers shows that San Francisco’s rent-stabilization efforts failed. It’s true that the policy kept some residents’ rents lower. But landlords responded by converting their buildings into condos they could sell or business properties they could lease without rent-control restrictions — or by demolishing their old buildings and replacing them with new ones that did not qualify for rent stabilization. Effects such as these drove down the supply of rental housing and, therefore, drove up rents across the city — by 5.1 percent.
Note that last paragraph.  Driving down the supply of rental housing increases prices.  Supply and demand are real, y'all.  Clutch the pearls. 

Fixing the problem is also a supply and demand issue.  You increase supply.  In California, red tape and environmental craziness limit new construction.  It's time to streamline that.  There's sufficient demand for builders to make a tremendous number of new, well-build housing.  Policy is holding them back and inflating rental prices.  Fix that and rent control can die along with other well-intentioned but terrible ideas.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Why PG&E has to deny millions of Californians power

Pacific Gas and Electric and Governor Newsom are lying to the public, betting on short memories to try and cover up a mess they created.

After a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, the San Francisco Chronicle published this article:  PG&E diverted safety money for profit, bonuses

"Pacific Gas and Electric Co. diverted more than $100 million in gas safety and operations money collected from customers over a 15-year period and spent it for other purposes, including profit for stockholders and bonuses for executives, according to a pair of state-ordered reports released Thursday."

Note the date:  January 13, 2012.  That's more than 6 years before the Camp Fire.  PG&E had a lot of time to replace aging, failing infrastructure, but they didn't.

Area resident Jeff Greeson pointed out, "Something to ponder: the towers that failed last November that started the Camp Fire were built in 1919, so they were 99 years old. The first alternator to produce AC power was built in 1832. That means the time between the discovery of AC power and the construction of those towers was actually shorter than the time between their construction and failure."

California Governor Newsom tried to blame Climate Change.  Then due to public outrage, he tried to blame PG&E.  PG&E is still trying to blame Climate Change.

The truth is that the California Public Utilities Commission, dominated by California Democrats is equally at fault with PG&E for the disasters PG&E's terrible maintenance has caused.  The California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, is responsible for overseeing public utilities in California, as the name suggests.  They're supposed to make sure utilities, which often have a government-granted monopoly on delivery of some services, act in a responsible, ethical manner.

The CPUC has let PG&E raise rates and use the money for profit for years.  This is an egregious example of the objectionable phenomenon of private profit, public risk.  The only explanation anyone can come up with is that PG&E treats CPUC members really, really well.  Possibly illegally well, but without proof to back those allegations those are just rumors.  Still, no one can think of another reason that despite knowing about PG&E diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in safety and operations money to profit, leading to the San Bruno explosion and the Camp Fire, the CPUC really didn't do anything to change how PG&E was operating.  The outrage fades, people forget and it's business as usual for a corrupt commission and a corrupt utility.  The Governor who appoints CPUC members and has been part of the party in charge of the CPUC for decades did nothing of any significance to fix the problem.

Now, after years of neglect, PG&E's solution is to cut power to customers in the most technologically-advanced State in the U.S.  Most of Mexico has more reliable power.  Tornado Alley has more reliable power.  The only places with less reliable power are Venezuela and North Korea.

Mark Twain once said, "To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals."**

The truth of that statement could not be more evident than in California today.  So, Californians, if you want safe, reliable power, maybe stop voting for the same party over and over again.  Political parties aren't football teams, and you don't have to be a life-long fan.  Kick the current party out of office in California to remind them who is in charge.  When the other party starts showing similar signs of corruption, kick them out.  Or even better yet, keep them balanced, near the loss of their power so they have to cater to voters and switch the party of the governor now and again.

**Autobiographical dictation, 24 January 1906. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 (University of California Press, 2010)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

What the data tells us

I haven't posted on global warming in a long time.  The satellite data had me convinced:  global warming is real.  The extent that it's anthropogenic and what we can do about it is up for debate.  The tipping point for me was the satellite data because we'd known for many years that the surface data was manipulated both in collection and analysis.  We knew the models didn't accurately predict real world outcomes.  So, from a scientific perspective, those weren't reliable.

Satellite data is reliable, however.  Right up until it turns out that's been manipulated, too.  I've linked a video and I'll embed it below:

So, that's a problem, scientifically.  Corruption of data, especially on purpose, isn't scientific, because science is about honest discovery of the truth in an open manner everyone can review and come to thee same conclusion about.  The constant lies and false predictions have pretty heavily jaded me against the claims of the global warming alarmists.  After I had ironically warmed to their side of things, this information turned it back around for me.  I don't trust the data manipulated by activists, from the hockey stick graph to the corruption of satellite data.

We need real, unbiased research to find out the absolute truth on this issue.  Somehow we need to remove the big money and political motivations so the average person can work with reality instead of ideological fiction.