El Segundo city manager Doug Willmore didn’t know who he was messing with.
In January, 2012 the L.A. Times reported that El Segundo, home to a huge Chevron refinery, was considering raising the oil giant’s taxes to help meet the demands of a growing town. Refineries around the state pay far higher taxes to their local governments than Chevron does – which is why Willmore figured the proposal made sense.
Chevron’s El Segundo tax bill is $5 million, far less than other cities receive from their refineries. Torrance got $9.8 million from Exxon Mobil and Carson got $10.2 million from BP. Chevron paid $15.4 million to Richmond for its Northern California facility.
Chevron, of course, wants to hold on to its growing profits and is fighting hard against any tax increase. When the proposal first came forward Chevron reacted with disbelief that the proposal would be made public before they knew about it.
It’s about 6 p.m. and I’m speed-walking to the Seventh and Figueroa Red Line stop to make sure I catch the train after work. At 6:10, the train promptly arrives at the platform and I’m home in 12 minutes. Fortunately, I never have to think twice about hopping on that train or worry about whether the train will shut down or collapse. I also have a convenient alternative to sitting in traffic, and while riding the train I feel secure knowing that our subway system was safely built by skilled hands thanks to government investment in our transit system.
But with the state of the economy and all the talk about the decline of our infrastructure in the United States, I wonder if I have taken what public transportation we have for granted. Then I say to myself, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.” (Pun may or may not be intended.)
Here in Los Angeles,
(Note: Brian Beutler’s post first appeared on Talking Points Memo. Frying Pan News presents it here as a snapshot of the Congressional fight over the future of America’s social safety net and does not intend it to be an endorsement of one political party or criticism of another.)
The GOP’s accession to reality on the payroll tax cut is being cast as a key victory for Democrats and President Obama. Republicans caved, the payroll tax will almost certainly be renewed, and the economy won’t take a tough hit just as the recovery’s beginning to accelerate.
But it also reveals a flaw — a potentially huge flaw — in the conservative movement’s generational strategy to roll back the federal safety net.
These might sound like two wildly disparate issues, but they’re actually variations on a years-long theme.
“Creative destruction” has been widely invoked again since Newt Gingrich began attacking Mitt Romney’s record at the private-equity firm, Bain Capital. Of course, the term is a perennial favorite with business writers. But in response to Gingrich’s attacks, Romney and his allies have insisted that Bain exemplifies “creative destruction,” the closely-linked glory and pain of unfettered capitalism.
“Creative destruction,” the concept, however, carries a more mixed message than many of Romney’s defenders may think. In fact, it points to deep problems that face conservatives whenever they argue that ordinary people should look past the ugly and brutal side of economic life. The phrase was first used by the Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, in his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. It referred to a phenomenon Schumpeter had been writing about for decades, a process bound up with entrepreneurship and innovation.
Entrepreneurs, Schumpeter argued, were no ordinary businesspeople. Entrepreneurs were visionaries,
It seems inevitable that national coverage of the Occupy movement has been dying down. The sporadic stories I read are of arrests of occupiers in different cities, but I surmise that this too will eventually become old hat in the media and we will soon settle our attentions wholeheartedly on the presidential election, which in my opinion is a real shame.
I’ve grown weary of our gerrymandered elections. For a country that holds freedom of choice so dear to American life, I find it odd and disheartening that we are really only given two parties to choose from. The consumer in me gets depressed every election cycle. It’s akin to going to Ben and Jerry’s and being told that you can only have chocolate or vanilla.
My sincere hope is that this year the narrative is different. I am pinning my hopes on the Occupy movement to resurrect itself to the national news media and overshadow our fixed-choice election for the presidency.