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Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change 583

Posted by Soulskill
from the climate-change-is-change-we-can-believe-in dept.
astroengine writes "President Barack Obama called for 'meaningful progress' on tackling climate change in his State of the Union speech in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. While acknowledging that 'no single event makes a trend,' the President noted that the United States had been buffeted by extreme weather events that in many cases encapsulated the predictions of climate scientists. 'But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it's too late,' Obama added." Other significant statements from Obama's speech: 34,000 troops coming back from Afghanistan over the next year; new gun regulations "deserve a vote"; rewards for schools that focus on STEM education; increases in tech research; a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00/hr and tie it to inflation; and a proposal to use oil and gas revenues to fund a move away from oil and gas,
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Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change

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  • More drone deaths (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:18AM (#42882383)
    GITMO will remain open, more spending - yep, hope and change.
  • Re:Excellent. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:22AM (#42882413)

    They're just proposals. Merely ideas spoken out loud.

  • by darjen (879890) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:25AM (#42882437)

    I've been reading Slashdot for over 10 years, and there has been politics ever since I remember. Nerds care about this stuff too.

  • Re:More drone deaths (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:57AM (#42882715)
    Do you remember what happened when he actually tried to close it? Congress refused to let it happen. The only way he's going to get the detention camp closed is if he orders the release of all the prisoners.
  • Re:More drone deaths (Score:4, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:03AM (#42882791) Homepage Journal
    ...which is what he should do, given the dubious legality of the prison camp to begin with. And yes, there will be people pointing the finger at him, but he has at least three excellent come back arguments:

    1. Congress has had years to do something about this and has refused to act.

    2. The camp is unconstitutional.

    3. The camp does more harm than good.

    The problem is we have a President who prefers to appear to be a wimpy appeaser of right wing extremists than be an actual liberal.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:04AM (#42882797) Homepage

    But aren't minimum wage increases one of the (albeit small) contributors to inflation?

    Some economists think that average wage increases are the primary cause of inflation, some think that price increases in important commodities are the primary cause of inflation. If you're in the first camp, then the importance of a minimum wage increase depends on what percentage of workers make minimum wage, which in the US is about 1% of all workers. If you're in the second camp, then the minimum wage increase has no effect on prices.

    And as such, wouldn't tying minimum wage increases to inflation create a circular reference of sorts?

    Of sorts, but the effects would probably vary a lot based on what industries we're talking about. The risk is this: The increase in pay leads to an increase in the price of, say, hamburgers, which leads to inflation, which leads to an increase in pay, in a vicious cycle. The alternative is that the increase in pay leads to decreased profits for McDonalds Inc shareholders, which has no effects on inflation whatsoever.

  • Re:Get on with it! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:19AM (#42882975)

    Alternatively you can obstruct him at every turn and show that you are hypocrites that talk democracy and freedom

    So, what you are proposing is that Congressmen prove that they are in favor of democracy by voting the opposite of the way their constituents elected them to vote and that they are in favor of freedom by voting to support a man who believes that the government can order you to act against your religious beliefs?
    Considering that polls consistently show that more U.S. citizens oppose Obama's policies than support them, I am not sure how you get the idea that voting for his policies represents democracy in action.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@ p ... r e trograde.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:20AM (#42882987)

    How are you going to compete when some guy in China can do your job for less than the US poverty level?

    Trade Tariffs.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:28AM (#42883087) Homepage Journal

    "Nobody has lost a job in the US because someone else could do the job in another country for less."

    Hrmm. Obviously, you've never worked in IT.

    I know hundreds of people who were removed from their positions because someone on the other side of the planet could do the same job (actually, they did the job much worse, but apparently that's irrelevant compared to cost) for less than half the price, plus, they aren't being employed as an "employee" so, no health care, matching 401k contributions, or any of that other nonsense that makes a regular employee so expensive.

  • Re:Get on with it! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:49AM (#42883345) Homepage

    People of his mien come once a generation FFS.

    Charismatic yet devious and subversive "leaders" that flaunt the very laws they're supposed to uphold and amass fervent followers and know what's best for everyone? Yeah, I know who fit that bill [bbc.co.uk] for my parent's generation.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:18AM (#42883691) Homepage Journal

    The budget was balanced and had a surplus in 1999 and 2000 (I think in 2001 too but I can't find the information). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_United_States_federal_budget [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_United_States_federal_budget [wikipedia.org]

    Look a little closer. There was a claimed "surplus" for one year, yet there was also an increase in debt. How? Because it was kind of faked.

  • by tilante (2547392) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:28AM (#42883819)

    ... except for that whole part about promising a large increase in military spending, which is already more than half of the US government's discretionary (i.e., not required by law) spending. And he was also wanting to lower tax rates while supposedly closing loopholes, for what he claimed would be a net near-zero change to tax revenues.

    As for the banning guns part, it's funny how the Republicans thought those gun bans were just fine when it was Reagan who proposed them.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:44AM (#42884003) Journal
    When even the left calls you on your claim of "transparency" [motherjones.com] you know that's a bogus argument...
  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:01PM (#42884231) Journal

    Yeah, god forbid Congress set our tax levels back up to the high rates of the Ronald Reagan era. That Reagan dude was clearly a fucking socialist.

    Tax revenue is more than just marginal tax rates - it also includes deductions. For example, consider the "hey day" of high marginal rates, the late 50s, back when the top marginal rates were 90%+ - and we ran an actual surplus (which has not happened since 1957).

    In constant 2011 dollars, federal tax receipts in 1957 were $3200 per person.

    Today, with the "much lower" marginal rates, federal tax receipts in 2011 were $6600 per person.

    We're collecting over twice the revenue per capita - in constant dollars - now, with huge deficits, versus in 1957 when we had actual surpluses (and paid down the debt). We had many, many more deductions back in the high marginal tax rate days than we do today, allowing for a much lower level of actual taxation (less than 50% effective of what we pay today).

    The problem is not - NOT - revenue. It is spending. The Federal Government is spending over 3 TIMES more per capita, in constant dollars, than it did back in those high-marginal rate days. We have a massive spending (and scope of activity) problem, NOT a revenue problem.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:05PM (#42884293) Journal

    The budget was balanced and had a surplus in 1999 and 2000 (I think in 2001 too but I can't find the information). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_United_States_federal_budget [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_United_States_federal_budget [wikipedia.org]

    The last time we had a REAL surplus (not just something on paper) - a surplus where the Federal Government received more revenue than it spent - was in 1957. Source [treasurydirect.gov].

    The referenced Wiki pages are for projected, on-budget spending surpluses - not overall. It's like you balance your own personal budget by ignoring your spending on your car, or mortgage interest... Take all Federal spending together, though, and we have not had a real, cash-basis surplus since 1957, in the Eisenhower Administration.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:09PM (#42884357) Journal

    Of course, Bush grew the federal deficit by more than twice what Obama has...

    Citation needed. The last Bush deficit - FY2008 - was $461 billion. FY2009 was signed by President Obama [wikipedia.org] and had a $1.4 trillion deficit. Since then, every year (not budget - there hasn't been one for 3+ years) has seen more than $1 trillion in deficit spending. The actual facts are that President Obama more than tripled the worst President Bush deficit - and has seen those deficits hold over his entire first term.

  • by tilante (2547392) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:46PM (#42884825)
    You might want to read that article again. I didn't say that Reagan passed a ban. As the article you linked states, Reagan supported both the 1993 'Brady Bill' (aiming to create a national background check and mandatory waiting period) and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Indeed, the article you linked calls that a "180-degree turnaround" from his earlier stance on gun control.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @01:57PM (#42885549)

    Whenever Republicans complain about how raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans will lead to economic collapse, I think of this table showing the historical rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States#History_of_top_rates

    From 1965 through 1980, if you made $200,000 (around $500,000 - $1.4 million in today's money) or more you paid 70% income tax. (Think that's bad? Check out how much people making $200,000 or more paid in the late 1940's.) Now, many people making $400,000 or more are complaining about going from 35% to 39.6%. I know that nobody likes taxes going up, but compared to the historical rate this is still very low.

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