President Trump Is Secretly On My Side

Michael Cain

Michael is a systems analyst, with a taste for obscure applied math. He's interested in energy supplies, the urban/rural divide, regional political differences in the US, and map-like things. Bicycling, and fencing (with swords, that is) act as stress relief.

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18 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    He is an East Coast elite, of course he’s mostly concerned with the Eastern half.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    It seems The Wall is quite popular in Arizona in places other than next to it. For once, NIMBYism works in favor of my preferred policy.Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    It is not right that California can set its own rules and no other state can. Either every state can set their own rules, or all rules must be in line with federal rules.

    (See also, sports book gambling)Report

    • Patrick in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think this very much should depend upon what rules we’re talking about.

      One of my consistent gripes about our system of government is that our layered system is not aligned to any consistent set of principles and problem domains.

      There’s nothing wrong with the idea of reducing the principle agent problem by having different layers of governance tackle different sorts of problems.

      We have a serious issue with different layers of governance all tackling the same sorts of problems and tromping all over each others’ feet.

      This problem is exacerbated by the fact that each layer would rather tell the other layers what to do coupled with how to spend their revenue. I would mind layer-overreach a lot less if when layers told each other what to do they also packaged it with the appropriate funds.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Patrick says:

        Certainly this was one of my concerns when I was a staffer for a state legislature. One of the things the entire staff worked hard at was to identify potential conflicts between state/federal laws, or between state/local responsibilities. The legislators tended to listen to us on the state/federal things because the feds encourage conformance with big sticks/carrots. Not so much on the state/local thing, where conflicts were much more likely to be driven by some special interest group looking for a better deal*.

        Some amount of overlap seems inevitable. There’s a national interest in clean air — but California needs tougher auto emission standards to achieve a particular goal than most other places. The original arrangement was a compromise brokered by Congress: (a) modest emission limits nationally, (b) tougher local limits for California, and (c) the (then) very important auto industry agreeing that they could meet two different standards as long as the exception was a market as big as California.

        * Building codes are a local matter here, except for schools. The big school districts that span multiple local jurisdictions grew tired of having two cities interpret a phrase in the code like “adequately reinforced” to mean two quite different things. They lobbied to make the Dept of Labor responsible for enforcing building codes for schools state-wide. Of course, after doing that the legislature never funded the activity properly, which eventually led to a scandal and a new school that had to be razed because the contractor’s corner-cutting made it unsafe (and unfixable).Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Of course, after doing that the legislature never funded the activity properly

          There’s a constitutional amendment for ya.Report

          • Part of the problem is that school construction — particularly expansions and maintenance — is highly seasonal: the district wants all of the work done over the summer, after school is out in the spring and before it starts again in the fall. If the Dept of Labor staffs for that load, there’s a group of engineers sitting idle for nine months. If they staff assuming the work load is spread uniformly over the year, the group can’t possibly do all of the plan certification and on-site inspections necessary in the summer. Hiring the work done is much more expensive than doing it in house.Report

    • Nevermoor in reply to Kolohe says:

      It’s just not true that California can set its own rules and no other state can.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Nevermoor says:

        Even the EPA describes it that way: California may set tougher emission standards than the feds; other states may choose to follow the California standards or the federal standards.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

          There’s a specific carve-out for auto emissions only for California, due to the fact that prior to the Clear Air Act California had already been dealing with ridiculous levels of smog. They argued — and Congress agreed — that the geography of the Los Angeles basin meant that the nationwide standard wasn’t nearly strict enough to prevent problems in LA.

          It’s pretty unusual, but when the Clean Air act came out, California was already regulating all of that (including tailpipe emissions) in an attempt to get rid of a serious smog problem, so I can understand the waiver — both why California sought it and Congress granted it.

          And that’s why California can set tougher emissions, because the LA basin basically traps pollution like nobody’s business. (Which is, in fact, true).Report

          • Doctor Jay in reply to Morat20 says:

            The South Bay has similar geography and a similar problem as well.Report

            • Geography, with emissions trapped by mountains, is a problem throughout the Southwest. The south end of California’s Central Valley has gotten really bad. Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City all sit in bowls. The northern part of Colorado’s urban Front Range from Denver up to Fort Collins is confined on three sides; the fourth side gets closed by “backdoor” cold fronts that approach from the east, and by the Denver cyclone effect.Report

          • Nevermoor in reply to Morat20 says:

            Right. That’s all I was trying to convey (in substantially less detail). There’s one CA carve out (and other states can select either strict CA rules or loose federal rules).

            Other than that one law, however, it’s more like school textbooks where there are essentially two standards that have emerged (CA and Texas) so other states basically follow one or the other, but it’s a matter of market power (and willingness-to-lead) not anything unfair.Report

  4. Mike Dwyer says:

    I’ve been watching the Sage Grouse issue closely. Such a dumb move. And we had such high hopes for Sec. Zienke.Report