Whose idea was it to push bullet trains? Rahm Emanuel's doctor brother. I feel ill.

"The Escape Artists," the new book about the Obama administration's economic policy-making, has an amazing story about who's responsible for the decision to dump tens of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money into bullet-train debacles. One Chris Reed, writing at Cal Watchdog, has all the details. The key passage from "Escape Artists" is here: In December [2008], the economic team dutifully prepared a list of drab but high-bang-for-your-buck outlays to [Rahm] Emanuel. The list included … $20 billion to repair existing roads and bridges, $5 billion to repair public housing units and another $5 billion to upgrade sewage treatment facilities. … Emanuel’s brother, Ezekiel, a doctor who was joining the administration as a health care adviser, happened to be staying with the future chief of staff when the list arrived via fax. “There’s nothing that really gets my heart racing,” the brother later complained. “What would get your heart racing?” Rahm Emanuel asked glumly. “I don’t know. How about high-speed rail -- getting from New York to D.C. in 90 minutes?” Within days, some $20 billion in high-speed rail investments had immaculately materialized on the list. Are you kidding me? The Obama administration’s obsession with high-speed rail began as a way to get Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s heart racing? This is at the root of the president’s determination to trick/bully California and other states into building immense boondoggles by providing them initial billions until the projects became too big to fail? I feel ill. Also check out One Chris Reed's article for an amazing story from "Escape Artists" about green jobs. Obama knew you couldn't build an economic recovery on them, but he went ahead and lied about it anyways.  

Arnold's self-loving ode: It's revealing what he omits -- and what he includes

After Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher got national attention for self-righteously quitting the GOP to pursue the San Diego mayor's seat as an independent, it was inevitable that Arnold Schwarzenegger would write an L.A. Times op-ed patting himself on the back for being a constructive non-Neanderthal maverick Republican. Years before he was fine-tuning the constructive maverick narrative for Fletcher, political guru Matt David was doing it for John McCain,  Arnold and Jon Huntsman. But the problem for Schwarzenegger is what he leaves out of his op-ed -- his assault on the Sacramento establishment from 2003-2005 -- and what he leaves in -- implied championing of three of the left's biggest boondoggles: Obamacare, green jobs and the bullet train. If I were Fletcher, I'm not sure I'd want to be linked to Arnold. The uncomfortable truth for Schwarzenegger, Fletcher and anyone who promotes the "both sides are to blame" narrative in California is that one side has almost the power, so of course it is primarily to blame for where California finds itself. Arnold understood this from when he ran in the 2003 recall to his special election wipeout in 2005. California would have become a far saner state if Arnold had prevailed in 2005, with teacher tenure reform, a state budget straightjacket and an indirect limit on union power through "paycheck protection" over automatic deduction of union dues from public employee paychecks. But Arnold didn't prevail. And immediately afterwards, he began flailing around in the most awkward, overt legacy hunt of any politician I have ever seen. This is reflected in his onanistic L.A. Times' op-ed over the weekend. What does he knock conformist Republicans for? A thoughtful, defensible position would have been for opposing any broad changes in the tax code that might have raised taxes for some but would have promoted overall economic growth. Instead, Arnold gets on his high horse with Republicans for not going along with three of the biggest boondoggles of the modern political era: Some Republicans today aren't even willing to have conversations about protecting the environment, investing in the infrastructure America needs or improving healthcare. The first part is a reference to the green jobs boondoggle, the second to the bullet train and the third to Obamacare. It is not a partisan assertion to say that independent folks looking at all three have run away screaming over their horrible cost-to-benefit ratios. But Arnold doesn't care. He had the vision thing in spades, yunno? He wants to remind us he was for the green-jobs-will-save-us-all fantasy before Obama and Jerry Brown. That he was for the bullet train fantasy before Obama and Brown. And that between Mitt Romney and Obama, he sought the same sort of mandatory health insurance program for all Californians -- only to be thwarted by that most unlikely voice of reason, Don Perata! What's funniest of all is the way that people not in San Diego describe what's going on in San Diego. Like the NYT's David Brooks, Arnold tried to depict Fletcher as having been rebuffed by rigid GOP reactionaries, contrary to Ronald Reagan's desire for a "welcoming, open and diverse Republican Party." Two months ago, Republicans in the city of San Diego's central committee had three choices to endorse for mayor. One was Fletcher, a handsome war hero married to a Bush 43 staffer, someone with cute young kids, someone championed by former San Diego war hero-turned-mayor-and-then-governor Pete Wilson and someone whose biggest legislative accomplishment was passing a complex new law on sex offenders that was broadly if not accurately seen as a standard tough-on-crime crackdown. One was Bonnie Dumanis, the tough-on-crime San Diego district attorney who had the support of incumbent Republican mayor Jerry Sanders. She is gay, of which Bill O'Reilly, who likes to call her "Mrs. Dumanis," seems unaware. The third Republican mayoral candidate --  and the one whose victory with the city central committee led to Fletcher's quitting the party -- is Carl DeMaio -- a gay libertarian whose retail political skills are often found lacking and whose ties to San Diego are slim. So which young Republican politician's journey to the party's endorsement is more likely -- Fletcher's or DeMaio's? If you said the latter, I look forward to you naming all the other young gay libertarians whom California Republicans have rallied around. If you said the former, plainly, you're drinking the Matt David Kool-Aid. But Arnold, of course, isn't a drinker of the Kool-Aid. Since his 2005 special election wipeout, he's been a dispenser of the Kool-Aid, of the idea that Republicans share much of the blame for our local/state woes. In a state where 97 percent of the power rests with Democrats, that's nearly as ridiculous as blaming the dissidents in Pyongyang for North Korea's woes.      

What Arnold’s memoirs need: A chapter on his betrayal of California

Smart new essay in Cal Watchdog: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s offbeat request last week on his Facebook page for the public to tell him what to write about in his pending memoirs got the result he wanted: lots of attention. “More than 2,000 people responded: Talk about bodybuilding, your childhood and your time on movie sets, they wrote,” said an account in the Sacramento Bee. “Talk about politics. And sex.” But the former governor’s upcoming book is unlikely to truthfully detail perhaps the most profound and far-reaching action of Schwarzenegger’s life: his decision to betray Californians and saddle their economy with a permanent burden because of his determination to be remembered as a green icon. Whole thing here. The author, Chris Reed, well, I barely know where to begin. He's bounced back nicely after a rough 2008. His Aussie venture seems to be going well. But the teaching gig didn't work out.

Bullet train's cruel charade: getting up the hopes of Orange County's dopes

I roared with laughter when I saw the alert saying the geniuses at the California High-Speed Rail Authority had changed their minds and added a direct Orange County line back to their revised business plan. All that praise for being realistic and for bringing the mythical cost down to $68 billion and the kudos from Sen. Feinstein for smartly avoiding construction in crowded urban areas? Never mind. It's back to the selling of the bullet train as political pork once again. Yo, Edmund G. "Jerry" -- thanks for the guffaws. That extra layer of spectacle and silliness you've added to this mess since going all-in last year? It's been a treat! But there is a downside here. For at least four reasons -- starting with the new theory about the CTA semi-coming to the rescue that I debuted Wednesday -- I doubt the bullet train comes close to getting built. So what is the point of promising people in Orange County something that they of course will never get? I know, I know -- political kabuki requires all Dem hands on board, etc. This is President Obama's grand vision! We mustn't let him down! But at a very basic level, it's kind of cruel. They're taunting the rail cultists in Orange County who are actually dumb enough to believe they'll ever have a 200-mph train regularly paying their area a visit. These people are already doomed to troubled lives -- stunted cognition and congenital naivete are not a recipe for personal and professional success. Now they're being led on by political con men. How mean can the CHSRA get? Sheesh. Success has a dozen fathers, and defeat is an orphan. I understand that. But we need to have one person to blame most of all for the bullet-train insanity, and there's only one candidate: Arnold. The guy who got elected in 2003 on the grounds that he would bring fiscal conservative smarts and basic common sense to Sacramento -- and who was skeptical about the bullet train his first four years on the job -- ended up as a key proponent for the bullet train in 2008, leading the campaign for Proposition 1A. The measure narrowly won. Thanks for nothing, Arnold. It was amazing to watch Arnold shift into legacy mode after getting thumped in the 2005 special election. It wasn't just the bullet train and AB 32. People forget that he tried to bring Romneycare/Obamacare to California throughout 2007 and actually got it through the Assembly, only to have Don Perata and Senate Dems point out there was no money at all to pay for it. I've never seen a more desperate, frantic hunt for a legacy. It yielded two mega-fiascos in AB 32 and the bullet train. But at least it allows Arnold to circumnavigate the globe to the huzzahs of green true believers. If you live in California and aren't a rail or green cultist, hisses are more in order.

The CTA's pending good deed: It's going to kill the bullet train

This Chris Reed fella, writing in the L.A. Daily News, has some good news about the California High-Speed Rail Authority: Why would the [California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers] turn on their normal allies and oppose plans for the bullet train? Because of the growing evidence that Gov. Jerry Brown thinks the only plausible way to fund the project is with the fees that heavy industries pay for the right to pollute under AB 32, the state's landmark 2006 anti-global warming law. The state Legislative Analyst's Office expects the fees from the "cap and trade" system to generate billions of dollars annually -- perhaps as much as $14 billion by 2015. There are plenty of legal precedents that appear to limit how the fees can be used. Since they are gathered to help fight pollution and reduce global warming, state finance officials say the fees must be spent for that purpose. But anyone who expects this argument to inhibit the CTA and the CFT from trying to get their hands on this immense new revenue source is hopelessly naive. .... Lawmakers in Sacramento won't get in the unions' way. Why would they start behaving honestly and ethically now? Read the whole column here. There is a very basic and obvious ploy that the CTA and CFT can use to grab AB 32 fees. Good column. I could read that guy all day and never get tired of his whining.  

When will lies about jobs make 'green' a synonym for dishonesty?

Here's my latest column for Cal Watchdog: Just as red and blue have become associated with Republicans and Democrats, respectively, because of Election Night maps, will green someday become a synonym for fraud and dishonesty? After listening to Jerry Brown's two years of lies, prevarications and fantasies about "green jobs," I hope so. It would be semantic justice. What brings this to mind is the latest fusillade of flapdoodle from Gov. Brown and his aides. On Friday, speaking in Goleta at The Wall Street Journal's annual ECO:nomics conference, Brown offered warm words for himself. The governor praised the governor for the governor's determination to revive California's rotten economy by creating vast numbers of green jobs. It was all a recycling of the rhetoric Brown has offered since securing the Democratic nomination for governor in early 2010: A commitment to renewable energy will create more than 500,000 jobs and get Californians working again! Message: Jerry cares! But in an environmentally responsible way! But two years later, there is simply no evidence of a green economic revolution in the Golden State. Unemployment remains among the worst in the nation. Meanwhile, a new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report waterboards the assumption that California is a green jobs powerhouse, saying the state is about average in green employment. Yes, "clean tech," as it's known in San Diego, has proven to be a modest economic engine, and in fact it's quite plausible that revolutionary energy technologies could emerge from a lab somewhere in California. But serious economists and business analysts, as opposed to Brown, predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, acknowledge that green energy will never be a mass employer akin to the auto, steel or aviation industries. A 2010 study by the respected McKinsey consulting group warned governments not to assume "green" jobs would ever be more than a niche in the economy akin to semiconductor manufacturing. Even the leftist Brookings Institution, in a 2011 study, warned of unrealistic expectations and said "green" jobs grew more slowly than general employment from 2003 to 2010. These studies and basic data on jobs and growth prompted a remarkable news analysis last summer in The New York Times that said Brown's green jobs forecast and President Barack Obama's promise of 5 million new green jobs nationally appeared to be a "pipe dream." Alas, the cuts in the newsroom budgets of the Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times appear to have included their subscriptions to The New York Times. Even as reporters for both of the state's most powerful newspapers finally have figured out that another putatively green initiative -- the bullet train -- is a fiasco, they continue to enthusiastically print the governor's green balderdash. You'd think coverage of an "ECO:nomics" conference that featured a governor congratulating himself on green job creation might bother to include some relevant facts, such as the Brookings Institution's discovery that there were actually fewer green jobs in Silicon Valley in 2010 than 2003. But no. L.A. Times reporter Ricardo Garcia didn't think it was relevant in his Friday account. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee's David Siders did manage to allow some real-world events to flavor his Saturday story about Brown's grand plans for solar power, noting the vast problems facing a proposed solar plant in Blythe that the governor just last year predicted would be a "really big" boost to jobs and growth. But Siders -- a naif who wrote a puff piece about the bullet train CEO just two weeks before the incompetent rail official was forced to resign -- also included in his March 24 article a paragraph of spin from a Brown official that had me roaring with laughter. "In theory, the fact that we're having failures is actually a sign that the market's working – that we have some comfort because there's a lot of people out there, and out of this the best projects will probably emerge," said Michael Picker, a senior adviser to Brown on renewable energy. The bad news? Hey, it's actually good news. What the market is saying, of course, is that it's still got profound doubts about the practicality and cost of renewable energy -- even with the billions of dollars thrown at it by the Obama administration, even with promises of future subsidies, even with regulatory relief not granted to less sainted industries. Did Siders bother to cite the McKinsey or Brookings reports? Did he look at all the various factors The New York Times cited in pronouncing green jobs a "pipe dream"? Did he note that there is in fact an energy jobs boom going on right now -- but, as The New York Times reports, it's in fossil fuels? Nope. He let Brown's aide depict green failure as green success. Only in California, global headquarters for the cult that is environmentalism, could coverage of green energy be so half-assed that I would yearn for it to be outsourced to The New York Times.

Odds cap-and-trade fees will be spent prudently: 1 quadrillion to 1

The Legislative Analyst's Office is required to pretend as if Sacramento is not a place where public policy debates usually revolve around the question of how to best disguise the fact that just about everything state government does is dedicated to protecting the interests of public employees. That's why I got such a kick out of the LAO's earnest exhortation Thursday that the up to $14 billion a year that will be forthcoming from AB 32 cap-and-trade fees be spent in a thoughtful manner. Are you kidding me, LAO? This is California! That is not an option! Let's parse the L.A. Times report on the LAO's analysis. Times' reporting is in italics. Gov. Brown ...: suggested spending $1 billion of the money generated by the first (pollution rights) auction, scheduled for August, on renewable energy development and infrastructure. He also wants to put about $500 million toward the state's general fund and has spoken about using future revenues to help finance a controversial high-speed rail line linking Los Angeles and the Bay Area. LOL. Brown sees the money as an all-purpose kitty to help his preferred initiatives. What a naif. It's far more likely to go to public employee compensation, one way or the other, including being used to put off otherwise-inevitable pension reductions. Business groups contend that the money should be returned to companies who have to pay higher fees to meet California's new emissions requirements. The Air Resources Board, which designed the cap-and-trade program, has proposed returning the money to consumers to compensate them for possibly higher energy prices. It'd ludicrous to think the Legislature will suddenly start caring about the burdens it places on the private sector. It's 90 percent as ludicrous to think that the Legislature will suddenly start caring about the needy. The funds are primarily going to public employee compensation, one way or the other. But what's most ludicrous of all is the Times' reporter's reference to "possibly higher energy prices." Is Nicholas Riccardi angling for a job with CARB or NRDC or the Sierra Club? It takes a stunning level of deceit or stupidity to pretend AB 32 isn't a lock to force energy prices up. The legislative analyst's report raises red flags for Brown. It warns that the amount of money generated by the program will fluctuate wildly from year to year. "This means that they may be more appropriately used for one-time or short-term, purposes rather than for the support of ongoing programs or tax reductions," it states. So does the LAO really think that the revenue volatility issue matters to Brown when he's on record for months as supporting a budget "fix" that adds to the volatility problem by increasing taxes on the very rich? LOL. The LAO should get out more. The report also cautioned that the state can only legally spend the money on easing the impact of greenhouse gases -- or muster a two-thirds vote of legislators to spend it elsewhere. "Appropriate uses of the revenues for mitigation purposes could potentially include expenditures on energy and water-use efficiency programs, alternative fuel programs and investments in renewable energy projects," the report states. Anyone who believes that legal obstacles to diverting the extra revenue to public employee compensation will matter are fools. This is California. The Legislature's primary function is to act as the tax collector for the union state. I'd love to see what sort of report on this or many other issues that Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor would put out if he were pumped full of truth potion and amphetamines. Mac? How about it?

First unions, now greens, use state's poor as political props

When will the media finally figure out that the most powerful groups on the California left -- public employees and environmentalists -- use poor people as political props to get their way? Deny teachers their raises based on seniority and accumulation of meaningless graduate credits and you're "punishing the kids" -- no matter what the facts are. Get in the way of climate change policies? Then you're a heartless cad who doesn't realize that "low-income communities in California are more vulnerable to climate change-related health risks." But what about the huge likelihood that AB 32's main effect will be to impoverish poor people? Instead of prompting the rest of the world to follow California's lead in switching to cleaner but costlier energy, the geniuses in Sacramento are on the brink of punishing the needy -- all so rich greens in West L.A. and the Bay Area can feel good about their purity. Great, just great. Remember, the preliminary estimate of the impact of AB 32 on the state's three big utilities was that the electricity costs they pass on to consumers would go up by at least 41 percent to 60 percent by 2020. Given how much of poor families' income is eaten up by energy costs, especially in hotter inland areas, this is a body blow to millions of struggling Californians. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the amount Americans spent on household electricity is already at a 15-year high, and in California, it's going to dramatically spike higher. Then also remember that it wasn't a right-wing "climate denier" who warned of the huge economic risk of a unilateral shift to costlier energy. It was U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who told Congress in 2009 that if the U.S. undertook such a shift but its trading partners didn't, the U.S. should launch a trade war. Here in California, however, with the aid of a clueless media that might as well be a paid wing of the NRDC, Chu's warning is never discussed. Pass the Green Kool-Aid! Not only will AB 32 not hurt the economy, it will trigger a job boom! Don't you understand? Higher energy prices are intrinsically a good thing! (Someone better tell the federal Energy Information Administration this is the case. It says higher energy prices are a drag on the economy, slowing growth and prompting inflation. Duh.) Now I certainly understand the argument that poor people suffer disproportionately because of pollution's effects, and I concede that sure, there are some sincere greens who are deeply motivated by this fact. But when the policies that green groups muscle into place create a man-made drought and depression in the Central Valley, drive off dozens of companies, discourage business expansion and give California the second highest unemployment rate of any state, their sincerity is unimportant. They're hurting people to save snail darters and to feel good about their worldwide leadership on global warming, even though this leadership has no practical effect on global warming. But will the media of the Golden State ever point out this disconnect between the social justice rhetoric of the left and the practical effect of the policies of the left? Nah. Life in the green tank is good, evidently. And just think of all the dirty looks you'd get in the newsroom if you dared to point out that AB 32's main effect is going to be making poor people's lives more difficult. I used to think it was just economic illiteracy and the inadequacy of a liberal arts education that led so many journalists to believe that broadly higher energy prices not borne by our economic competitors will somehow be good for California's economy. But maybe peer pressure is the key to this epic parade of stupidity. The cool guys and gals believe the green gibberish. Hey, it must be true!  

Is California cap-and-trade dead? What it looks like to someone paying close attention

Like 99.9 percent of the California media, I'm not keeping all that good tabs on the implementation of AB 32's cap-and-trade system under which companies will buy and sell their pollution rights as part of the state's forced shift to cleaner but costlier energy. I may have written about it Sunday partly to make fun of Jerry, but that doesn't mean I'm an expert. So what does California's implementation look like to someone who understands the issues? It looks stalled -- maybe permanently. This is from the respected SoberLook.com economics web site: With the collapse of the CCX carbon credit trading, the only viable market based program for carbon emissions reduction has been developed at a state level in California. In conjunction with Cap and Trade, California implemented a law called California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Recently however Judge Lawrence O’Neill issued an injunction to stop LCFS from proceeding as planned. The sticking point seems to be the discriminatory nature of the program against power generated outside the state that is viewed as hampering interstate commerce. This is why such programs are difficult to implement at the state level vs. nationally.
Judge O’Neill: "California is attempting to stop leakage of GHG emissions by treating electricity generated outside of the state differently than electricity generated inside its border. This discriminates against interstate commerce.”
Legal experts now believe that this injunction will also derail California's Cap and Trade program.
Marten Law: With respect to electricity, the cap-and-trade program imposes requirements on emissions of fossil fuel-based generation in California, requiring an allowance to be submitted for each ton of regulated GHG emissions in California. In order to avoid leakage of emissions to other states, California has imposed an allowance requirement on imported electricity representing the emissions of GHGs imputed to such electricity.
California Air Resources Board who sponsored these initiatives will appeal the LCFS injunction, but for now the whole program has been put on hold. My impression had been there were setbacks, but nothing big. This makes it seem like there are fundamental problems with one state trying to set up the sort of energy policy that should be developed at the federal level and, as a result, coming up with something that violates interstate commerce laws. It may be bureaucratic and idiosyncratic, but this feels like good news, which is welcome. Hat tip to the awesome MarginalRevolution.com site.

Jerry said WHAT about high-speed rail? It's time to revive the Gov. Moonbeam label

Three months ago, Jerry Brown was winning praise from state journos for naming savvy people to the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority who were much more honest about the numbers and the project in general, especially this guy. This had Sacramento speculating he was setting the stage for the bullet train's demise, as this new honesty produced a jaw-dropping new $98 billion cost estimate for a statewide system that didn't even reach San Diego or Sacramento. Now Jerry is mocking the cost estimate as too high and saying the proceeds from cap-and-trade will help pay for the bullet train. Has Jerry been smoking PCP? Is this a first sign that we're about to witness our governor's ugly public descent into senescence? One way or the other, this much it's obvious: It's time to revive Gov. Moonbeam as a nickname. Unless this is some sort of freaky iPhone 5 Zen triangulation, Jerry appears to have lost his mind. As I have written before, at a fundamental level, the gov hasn't figured out that the biggest problem with the bullet train isn't that it's been poorly managed. It's an immense flop because it was built on BS. In 2008, Proposition 1A, which provided $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the project, was marketed relentlessly with myths and exaggerations and falsehoods. When examined, the rail project ... ... has been trashed by independent experts for years for deceitful estimates of ridership, project cost, ticket cost, job creation and pollution reduction, and for the inability of its staff to craft a legal business plan that avoids future taxpayer operating subsidies. So now it's January 2012, and after three years of experts exposing all manner of bullet train lies, what does Jerry Brown want to do to revive the project? Start a fresh round of lies. "It's not going to be $100 billion," the Democratic governor said on ABC 7's Eyewitness Newsmakers program. "That's way off."
You see, Jerry knows best. When it comes to evaluating this complex project with a million moving parts, he knows more than the engineers working on the construction plan. He knows more than the industry experts on the peer review panel. He knows more the state auditor, the state legislative analyst and the University of California's Institute for Transportation. And after he's done fixing the bullet train, Jerry Brown will use his all-encompassing genius to cure the common cold and end male-pattern baldness. But the ludicrousness of his comments to ABC-7 go beyond his offering himself up as Jerry Brown: Ultimate Engineer. The idea of using AB 32 cap-and-trade funds to pay for the bullet train hasn't been fully explained, but the linkage is almost certainly based on the old lies about the bullet train's alleged hugely beneficial environmental effects, which built off the nutty idea that the bullet train amounted to mass transit that would move millions of people out of their cars on a daily basis. This was one of the most egregious of all the lies used to sell the bullet train in 2008: the assertion that when it was completed, it would carry 117 million passengers a year. That's exactly four and a half times the number of people that Amtrak carries per year, and it operates 500 stations with 22,000 miles of track in 46 states. Only ridership of that preposterously exaggerated a level can produce anything like the old Prop. 1A claims for pollution reduction. And as for the idea that the bullet train was mass transit, last fall at a joint interview I participated in, Tom Umberg, the chair of the bullet train board, and Roelof Van Ark, the rail authority CEO, specifically disavowed that claim. Later they were pushed out, with Brown pal Dan Richard brought in to save the day and bring new honesty, allegedly, to the project. Now it turns out the Umberg and Van Ark wouldn't have fit in with the new iteration of the bullet train, because the governor has decided to re-embrace the old policy of lying about it through his teeth, and them saying the project wasn't mass transit just wouldn't have meshed. Finally, I've been waiting for years to see what Sacramento did with the billions of dollars in cap-and-trade fees that will roll in if AB 32 is allowed to proceed even though its original rationale is now preposterous and demonstrably false. (No, it didn't inspire the rest of the world to copy California by forcing residents to accept a broad switch to cleaner but costlier energy.) I remember a discussion with former Schwarzenegger adviser David Crane and other fans of AB 32 about the fact that higher energy costs are going to be much harder on poor people than the middle class or rich. I was told, no, the cap-and-trade fees would be used to insulate them from the economic pain caused by the regressive effects of higher energy costs. And I snickered. Yeah, sure, that's who is going to benefit. Yeah, sure. I always assumed cap-and-trade billions would be diverted to government employees' compensation instead of to poor people. Now, hilariously enough, the governor wants the billions to go for a boondoggle transportation project of the sort favored by wealthy suburbanites and rail cultists. The poor people who could desperately use either buses or relief from sharply higher energy costs just around the corer? Bleep 'em. Jerry Brown's got a vision!