CA Election 2010 - Proposition 23

I need to get moving on finishing up these posts. 4 more propositions to do, and then I still need to actually look at candidates.

Prop 23 is an attempt to indefinitely postpone implementing the air pollution control law enacted in 2006. The idea is that companies won't need to worry about changing their environmental impact until unemployment drops below 5.5% for at least 4 straight quarters.

At face value it might seem like a reasonable position if you believe that allowing companies to pollute is an effective way to create jobs. However, the secret exposed by the state-provided analysis is that since 1970 there has only been ~30 quarters of unemployment below 5.5% which occurred during 3 separate time periods separated by several years each (cumulatively, ~18% of the quarters since 1970).

Since 1970, the record low of unemployment looks to have been about 5% according to the graph. So this proposition basically says, "We'll promise to stop polluting the next time things are going absolutely perfect—as good as the peak of the dot-com bubble, and as good as the peak of the housing bubble." I don't really see that as an acceptable compromise.

Had they put forth the idea of postponing until unemployment dropped below the average of the last 40 years (which appears to be around 7.5-8.0%) maybe we'd have something to talk about. But this just looks like big companies trying to make an end run around the law.

It seems like every time there are new regulations on an industry companies within that industry cry about how it's going to destroy them. Yet, every time, they seem to find a new way to make record profits within 5 years. I'm not buying the idea that these air pollution control laws are going to destroy any industries. I'm quite confident they'll find ways of abiding by the new regulations and still be profitable. Not only keeping the companies wealthy, but also providing cleaner air for everyone.

I plan to vote against proposition 23.