The misunderstandings that from time to time occur between communities and the managers of electric-lighting companies will, to my mind, disappear entirely if the relations between the two are correctly founded on the basis of public control, with corresponding protection … Read More
“We just need to become the Ben and Jerry’s of the utility world!” So said Mary Powell (pictured left), CEO and president of Green Mountain Power, as she announced in 2014 that her electric utility had just earned B Corp … Read More
Electric companies seemingly face a business “death spiral” because the 20th century rules for the electric grid make it a challenge to address stagnant energy demand and competition from energy-producing customers. The result is a utility-funded war on solar and … Read More
Almost daily we read about another apparently stiff financial penalty meted out for corporate malfeasance. This year corporations are on track to pay as much as $8 billion to resolve charges of defrauding the government, a record sum, according to … Read More
Tax Day 2012 is upon us. And given the centrality of taxes as an election issue, it would be accurate to say that Tax Year 2012 is upon us. To inform the tax debate, the Citizens for Tax Justice, one … Read More
A few months ago Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, an influential book about the crucial importance of unpredictable, unforeseen events on our financial system was asked whether the hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in Greece was … Read More
A rogue Supreme Court seems hellbent on establishing a corporate oligarchy. Congress can’t stop it. Every time Congress or state legislatures tries to curb the power of billionaires or mega corporations the Court slaps them down. Citizens United v. FEC, the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to influence elections is only the most recent step in this process. There will be more. But the shocking decision may be sufficient to galvanize a political movement that can change the rules and ensure our democracy.
We can save our country by adding eight words to the fundamental law of the land, the US Constitution. "Corporations are not persons." "Money is not speech."… Read More
Responding to criticism that President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet is composed largely of recycled Bill Clinton appointees, Obama’s close advisor David Axelrod told the New York Times, "He’s not looking for people to give him a vision. He’s going to put together an administration of people who can effectuate his vision." A few days later, after introducing his foreign policy team, Obama himself declared, "I will be responsible for the vision that this team carries out, and I expect them to implement that vision once decisions are made.”
Which leads to the inevitable question: What is Obama’s overarching vision? What is the philosophical framework that will animate his administration and guide his cabinet officers to adopt policies different from those they embraced in the past?
A few weeks ago I was at Iowa State University addressing 500 students and faculty at its engineering school. I was sharing a platform with former CIA Director Jim Woolsey. At one point, a student asked our views on the presidential candidates’ energy programs.
Iresponded that the essential difference between Obama and McCain is not in their goals as much as it is in the tools they would use to reach those goals. Obama believes in the active use of government authority; John McCain does not. McCain’s self-declared heroes, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, galvanized and led a movement whose principal thesis is that government is part of the problem, not part of the solution.