The right-wing effort to derail Biden’s conservation plan, explained

“These arguments seem to assume that, to hit the 30 percent goal, the federal government will forbid access to public land, seize private property, and ignore the conservation benefit of working lands that are managed with biodiversity in mind.

But as far as we know, that’s not what the government is proposing, according to Collin O’Mara, the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This is the furthest from a land grab,” O’Mara said. “There’s nothing proposed that affects private property rights.”

On public lands, which are far more expansive in the West, the Interior Department may continue to restrict access to extractive industries, said Weiss, of the Center for Western Priorities. In late January, the Biden administration paused new oil and gas leasing on federal lands.

But those restrictions are unlikely to target working lands, said Weiss and O’Mara. On the contrary, 30 by 30 is likely to open up more federal land to recreational activities, and even make them more productive through restoration and better management, they added. Just last month, the Interior Department announced a proposal for the largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities in US history. (The Interior Department declined to comment for this story.)

When it comes to private lands, the government has made it clear that any conservation efforts will be voluntary for the landowner. “The government rarely uses eminent domain,” Weiss said. (A notable exception would be the Trump administration, Weiss added, which seized private property to build the US-Mexico border wall, though outcry from conservatives was absent then. “That is the biggest irony here,” he said.)”

More Than 300 Manufacturers Just Asked Biden To Repeal Trump’s Steel Tariffs as Prices Skyrocket

“Steel prices are surging and American manufacturing is paying the price—literally, thanks in part to the ongoing consequences of former President Donald Trump’s tariffs, which President Joe Biden has not removed.”

Great Moments in Unintended Consequences (Vol. 3)

“The Year: 1992
The Problem: Nude dancing is degrading to women and ruining the moral fabric of Alberta, Canada.

The Solution: Establish a one-meter buffer zone between patrons and dancers.

Sounds like total buzzkill! With puritanical intentions. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that dancers earn most of their money in the form of tips, and dollar bills don’t fly through the air very well. Thus, the measure designed to protect dancers from degrading treatment resulted in “the loonie toss”—a creepy ritual where naked women are pelted with Canadian one-dollar coins, which are known as loonies.

Way to make the ladies feel special, Alberta.”

Chinese Immigrants in the Deep South Struggle and Thrive in PBS Documentary

“Lou’s failure to send for his son was caused not by deadbeat-dad indifference but the vagaries of the viciously racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the only immigration law in American history to target a particular ethnicity by name. The Exclusion Act made it nearly impossible for Chinese workers to bring their wives and kids to America. Charles Chiu became eligible to emigrate to the United States only with his father’s death.

And the absence of his family had left terrible scars on Lou. In a letter to one of his American friends who had been drafted during World War II, Lou noted that the man’s kids were doing fine and added: “As you know, I always love children … It’s really too bad that I can’t have my kids with me, I’d be willing to give everything that I got and plus 20 years of my life to have them with me now.””

https://reason.com/2021/05/07/chinese-immigrants-in-the-deep-south-struggle-and-thrive-in-pbs-documentary/

Will Biden’s ’30 by 30′ Conservation Plan Protect Both Property Rights and Wild Landscapes?

“the Biden administration released a report, “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” that outlines the ambitious goal of “conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” The administration’s “30 by 30″ proposal is consonant with ongoing negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a multilateral treaty which the U.S. has signed but not ratified. The treaty aims to preserve sites of particular importance for biodiversity through the implementation of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. These measures would help cover at least 30 percent of land and sea areas, with at least 10 percent under strict protection.”

“Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) CEO Brian Yablonski observed that President Joe Biden’s earlier 30 by 30 executive order “references conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters, not protecting or preserving. The word conserve implies multiple and sustainable uses, not locking up land. This means managed and working lands should count.”

The 30 by 30 report does, at least rhetorically, endorse this view.”

“The report further observes that the administration’s 30 percent conservation and restoration goal will be advanced by “providing incentives for voluntary conservation practices,” as this “rewards ranchers and farmers for being good stewards of working lands, waters, and wildlife habitat.””

Delivered to Danger

“As of February 19, 2021, there are at least 1,544 publicly reported cases of murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, and other violent assaults against asylum seekers and migrants forced to return to Mexico by the Trump Administration”

“These figures are likely only the tip of the iceberg, as the vast majority of the more than 68,000 individuals already returned to Mexico have not been interviewed by reporters or human rights researchers, let alone spoken to an attorney.”

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/remain-mexico

How to fix unemployment insurance, explained by the Senate’s money man

“robust as the response was, the crisis exposed the fragility of the UI system. Technically, America’s process for handling unemployment claims was built on antiquated computer systems (some written in COBOL, a language largely abandoned in the 1980s), and millions of workers endured weeks of delays in getting their benefits.

So a major priority for Congress in 2021 has to be reforming the UI system: improving its functionality and making it more generous.”

Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Confuses Costs for Benefits

“Thanks to the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which mandates that all infrastructure projects receiving federal funding pay “prevailing” (generally union) wages, organized labor has been getting a piece of the action for nearly a century. This requirement raises labor costs by as much as 22 percent, according to an analysis by Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute.

The president’s insistence that he’ll sign off on a contract only if it’s with “an American company with American products all the way down the line and American workers” will raise costs even further. Existing “Buy American” provisions are a well-established driver of transportation project costs.

A 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service found that buying American steel costs around twice as much as importing it from China. Requiring road builders to use pricier domestic steel raised the cost of highway construction by about $2 billion from 2009 to 2011, back when then–Vice President Biden was overseeing the spending of stimulus dollars on infrastructure projects.

If the president’s goal were truly to “build, baby, build,” he would be making every effort to pare back regulations that raise the labor and material costs of federal infrastructure projects. Instead, Biden wants to double down on those rules.”

How Republicans Lost Interest in Fighting Big Spending

“The party has changed and would much rather talk about the border than the budget, and cancellations than Congressional Budget Office scores. Of course, no Republicans will vote for Biden’s proposals and all will strenuously object, but that his plans won’t engender the fierce reaction they would have 10 years ago is yet another way in which the Overton window has shifted on deficit spending.

What happened to the GOP? The short answer is Donald Trump.

Beginning in the 2016 primaries, he demonstrated in vivid fashion that as the GOP coalition had become older and more working class, it didn’t care as much about spending restraint or entitlement reform as the party’s leaders had presumed.”

Why some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress want to bring back a tax break for the rich

“In their 2017 tax bill, Republicans partially closed a tax loophole that mainly affected higher-income people in high-tax areas — i.e., relatively well-off people in blue states. They capped the state and local tax deduction (SALT) people can take when calculating their federal income tax at $10,000. People can still deduct state and local taxes from their federal tax bill, but only up to that point.

Many Democrats — namely, those from states such as New York, New Jersey, and California — want to repeal the SALT deduction cap and go back to the old regime, where people could deduct all (or at least more) of their state and local taxes. They argue the cap unfairly drives up their constituents’ tax bills, might keep their states from implementing more progressive tax regimes on high-income people, and was a vindictive move by the GOP in the first place.”

“But some Democrats, Republicans, and economists are saying hold the phone.

“The vast majority of the benefits of repealing the SALT cap would go to the people at the very top. It would also be costly — and for that amount, we could finance much more worthy efforts to support American families and workers. We can say we are for a progressive tax code and for fighting inequality, or we can support the SALT deduction, but it is really hard to do both,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in a statement to Vox. When the Senate took up a vote on whether to repeal the SALT cap in December 2019, he was the only Democrat to vote against it.”