November 06, 2014
Reeling from Republicans’
election-day triumph, liberals are taking refuge anywhere they can.
Tuesday was “encouraging
… for the progressive economic agenda,” insisted
The American Prospect’s Rachel M.
Cohen, because majorities in “four red states” agreed to hike minimum
South Dakota, and Alaska did make dunderheaded choices that
are sure to boost unemployment for their low-skilled workers. But placed in
historical perspective, Cohen’s crowing is unapt. Most citizens never took --
or can’t recall much about -- Econ 101. For decades, voters have backed
minimum-wage hikes. Blue (New Jersey, California), purple (Nevada,
Ohio), and red (Arizona,
states have consistently approved increases.
the questions, measures, propositions, amendments, and initiatives put before the
public in 2014, it’s easy to find significant rejections of “progressivism.”
“public investment” suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of a tiny group of cash-poor
1 was a longshot attempt to repeal the legislature’s 2013 decision to tie
the Bay State’s
gasoline tax to inflation. Establishment opposition was massive. Construction
firms, AAA, unions, “business” organizations, editorial boards, and the state’s
organization united, in a coalition of the selfish and the clueless, to
voice their disapproval.
argued that inflation-indexing is a weaselly way to avoid accountability. If
the gas tax “needs” to be raised in the future, why not let lawmakers do so,
and then face voters? Proponents had another PR weapon: outrageous expenditures
for roads and highways. Citing a Reason Foundation analysis, a
Cape Cod lawmaker noted that for New England’s
five other states, capital, maintenance, and administration costs, per mile,
average $297,000. In Massachusetts,
the bill is $675,000.
The hapless Martha
Coakley, who would lose the governorship to a weak GOP opponent, helped demonstrate
elites’ expensive ignorance of transportation policy. Asked
in May what the state’s current gas tax was, she guessed 10¢. Coakley was
off, just a bit. It’s 24¢.
The count was
close, but Question 1 prevailed.
In Nevada, teacher-union
bosses pushed a different kind of “revenue enhancement.” Question
3, “The Education Initiative,” would have imposed a “margins tax” on
businesses. The new levy would have raises hundreds of millions of dollars
annually, to be delivered to government schools.
plebiscites are usually slam dunks. It’s nearly impossible to vanquish any proposal
pitched on behalf of “the children.” But Nevadans are probably the most
libertarian citizens in America.
The Silver State
has neither an income nor a corporate tax. And while mining thrives in rural Elko County,
metropolitan Las Vegas and Reno were hard-hit by the Great Recession.
useful, too. Glenn Cook of the Las Vegas Review-Journal offered a
scathing rejoinder to educrats’ complaint about funding “adequacy” in Nevada: “The record tax
increases of 2003 were supposed to take care of that. More than $800 million in
tax hikes sent … per-student spending soaring, from about $6,500 in 2002-03 to
almost $8,900 in 2007-08 … . The result: no significant change in achievement.”
Even Nevada’s AFL-CIO
declined to back Question 3. It got crushed.
there’s “Frankenfood.” The benefits of genetically modified organisms, enumerated
by biologist Theresa Phillips, include “increased crop yields, reduced
costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced
nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater
food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population.” As
Grace Boatright of the National Grange explained, “every independent
scientific body and government agency worldwide -- including the American
Medical Association, The National Academy of Sciences, The French Academy of
Science, The European Commission and the World Health Organization -- have
declared GMOs safe for consumption.” Regulation? The FDA orders that foods “from
genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety
requirements, as foods from traditionally bred plants.”
Moonbats believe that GMOs are scary. (Or at least, maybe, kind of, potentially
scary.) Mandatory food-product labeling has already passed the kook-left
legislatures of Vermont, Maine,
On Tuesday, forced-disclosure requirements were considered by Oregonians (Measure
92) and Coloradans (Proposition
science lost. The margin was thin in Oregon,
but decisive in Colorado.
With a previous failure in the Beaver State, and
defeats in Washington and California, professional biotech alarmists
are now 0-5 at the ballot box.
It remains to
be seen if Republicans elected this year will reclaim ground taken by the
unlimited-government lobby. But the results of initiatives suggest that Americans have not
irreversibly committed themselves to higher taxes, bigger government, and
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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