Daily Archives: April 5, 2015

As ye sow, so shall ye reap

Return to Eden

Return to Eden

California drought “ushers in a new era”

That’s not actually true; California, especially the portion from San Francisco south, has been a desert for thousands of years, but the state’s policies on water use are a primary source of its current woes.

This is part of it: The scorching of California

For 50 years, the state transferred surface water from northern California to the Central Valley through the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Given these vast and ambitious initiatives, Californians didn’t worry much about the occasional one- or two-year drought or the steady growth in population. The postwar, can-do mentality resulted in a brilliantly engineered water system, far ahead of its time, that brought canal water daily from the 30 percent of the state where rain and snow were plentiful—mostly north of Sacramento as well as from the Sierra Nevada Mountains—to the lower, western, and warmer 70 percent of the state, where people preferred to work, farm, and live…..

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four- or five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States…..

Water is to California as coal is to Kentucky—yet its use is being curtailed by those least affected, if affected at all, by the consequences of their advocacy. But environmentalists, who for 40 years worked to undermine the prudent expansion of the state’s water infrastructure, have a rendezvous with those consequences soon. No reservoir water is left for them to divert—none for the reintroduction of their pet salmon, none for the Delta smelt. Their one hope is to claim possession of the water in the ground once they’ve exhausted what was above it. Redistribution, not expansion of supplies, is the liberal creed for water, just as it is for wealth.

And then there’s the economic explanation, explained by Megan McArdle: 

California’s problem is not that it doesn’t have enough water to support its population. Rather, the problem is that its population uses more water than it has to. And the reason people do this is that water in California is seriously underpriced, as Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok notes. While the new emergency rules do include provisions for local utilities to raise rates, that would still leave water in the state ludicrously mispriced. According to Tabarrok, the average household in San Diego pays less than 80 cents a day for the 150 gallons of water it uses. This is less than my two-person household pays for considerably less water usage, in an area where rainfall is so plentiful that the neighborhood next door to me has a recurrent flooding problem.

The country as a whole will survive: we’ll import more vegetables from Mexico, California farmers will return to the mid-west, and California will revert to its natural state. pleasing the environmentalists no end, until they, too have to leave. One question I haven’t seen addressed yet is the fate of the state’s immigrant farm workers; will they go back south of the border when there are no more jobs, or migrate to the cities to add to the welfare rolls? I guess we’ll find out.

 

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The NYT explains the soaring cost of college

Signing ious, signing way their future

Signing IOUs on the fist day of school

Well not their editors, of course, but at least they were willing to publish a rational viewpoint. I’m astonished.

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

 [A]  major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

Solution: slash government subsidies, establish a low ratio of administrators to professors, and let students discharge their debts in bankruptcy, with a partial charge-back to their universities; that’ll learn ’em.

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I’m not sure why this is something to boast about but then, he’s probably got his eye on senate seat

Bounced on his head as an infant, Dannel Malloy remembers (or the woman on the right just chest-butted hm)

Bounced on his head as an infant, Dannel Malloy remembers
(or the woman on the right just chest-butted him)

Malloy proud of his uber liberal views.

Now in his second term, Malloy, a Democrat, is using a megaphone to increase the volume on a progressive issues.

It’s no surprise that Malloy’s disses have gotten him national attention.

Malloy is burnishing his profile in a bellicose and unapologetic way that has progressives fawning and critics groaning that he is grandstanding to divert attention from a staggering state deficit. Malloy’s visibility is expected to increase as the calendar approaches 2016, when both national parties will clash over the presidency and Malloy takes the reins of the Democratic Governors Association.

For his part, Malloy is relishing the limelight, with BuzzFeed referring to him as the Democrats’ loudest attack dog in the recent profile that outlined his spat with Jindal.

The two have sparred since February 2014, when Malloy admonished Jindal over the minimum wage during a joint news conference of governors outside the White House.

John Kleinhans, executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, said Malloy’s priorities are misplaced regarding the affairs of Indiana when they should be focused on the projected $2 billion, two-year budget deficit.

“I think Gov. Malloy would be better suited trying to fix Connecticut’s collapsing economy and looming deficit rather than raising his national profile for the Democratic Governors Association,” Kleinhans said. “Maybe it’s time he consider moving. I know a lot of Connecticut taxpayers who would gladly help him pack.”

I think Malloy’s assessment of other governor could best be applied to himself, with the exception of the initial proposition:

“The reality is the governor’s not a stupid man, but he’s done stupid things.”

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