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Free Minds & Free Markets

In the Age of Trump, Liberals Have Rediscovered the Value of Federalism

California might end up asking conservative judges to strike down federal rules for vehicle emissions.

Could California's liberal Democratic attorney general end up asking conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the federal Clean Air Act as an unconstitutional infringement on states' rights?

It sure looks as though things are headed in that direction.

Anti-pollution laws—particularly the standards for automobile emissions—are the latest area where, because of the Trump administration, the left is discovering anew the advantages of devolving authority to state and local governments.

When we last peeked in on the emerging left-right potential alliance against an overly broad interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it had to do with Justice Clarence Thomas and Senator Elizabeth Warren pushing back against federal regulation of marijuana. Thomas and Warren both had a hard time seeing how the Constitution's grant of power to Congress to regulate commerce "among the several states" extended to preventing the small-scale cultivation or consumption of marijuana within a single state.

Auto emissions became the newest and perhaps the most heated front in the federalism fight earlier this month when the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a "Make Cars Great Again" proposal. Part of that plan involves withdrawing a waiver the federal government had granted in 2013 that had allowed California to impose stricter emissions standards on new cars sold in the Golden State.

Why, you might wonder, does California even need to ask permission from Washington to impose such stricter standards? Why can't the state simply impose them on its own, without begging Washington for an okay?

The federal government's position is that the answer is the Clean Air Act. In 1967, when, because of Civil Rights, popular belief in the moral and practical efficacy of the expansion of federal power was at a high point, Congress passed what it called the National Emissions Standard Act. As it currently reads, the law contains a prohibition on the states: "No State or any political subdivision thereof shall adopt or attempt to enforce any standard relating to the control of emissions from new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines subject to this part. No State shall require certification, inspection, or any other approval relating to the control of emissions from any new motor vehicle or new motor vehicle engine as condition precedent to the initial retail sale, titling (if any), or registration of such motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine, or equipment."

There's a provision for a waiver to be granted under certain limited circumstances, but even so, the prohibition on the states is a pretty bold assertion of federal power. The Trump administration's intent to use that power has Californians across the political spectrum ticked off.

The former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, issued astatement saying, "I am sick and tired of these fake conservatives who believe in states' rights to make their own policies — as long as the state policy is to pollute more. If you want to clean up your air, they throw federalism right out the window."

"California Attorney General Xavier Becerra should fight for the state's right to combat air pollution," the San Jose Mercury News said in an editorial.

California's U.S. Senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, joined by 32 other senators, last week introduced a resolution "defending state authority under the Clean Air Act to protect their citizens from harmful air pollution." The resolution says Congress supports policies that will "recognize the rights and importance of the States in cooperative federalism to set and follow stronger vehicle emissions standards under the Clean Air Act if they so choose." Among those joining the Harris-Feinstein resolution are the Senate Democratic leader, Charles Schumer, and the independent socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

When Schumer, Sanders, and Schwarzenegger are all talking about "the rights…of the states," it's an interesting situation.

Some advocates reject the states' rights argument. Limiting California's waiver is "not a violation of federalism principles; it simply prevents unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento from dictating what kinds of cars the rest of America drives," writes Kenny Stein, the policy director of the Institute for Energy Research. Stein is a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas.

"Cars are sold in a national market and between travel and people relocating, cars move between states millions of times a year. It is not feasible for individual states to have separate standards for cars. Constitutionally, this is a clear matter of interstate commerce," Stein writes.

Practical answers to many of these federalism questions often avoid any principled or consistent rule-based system about what gets decided in Washington and what gets decided at the state level. Instead, they depend on which party is in power at what level at a particular time, and what they want. Whether the issue is abortion, gun control, marijuana, gay marriage, health insurance, or automobile emissions, politicians of both parties and plenty of voters, too, prize certain policy outcomes. Whether that outcome is imposed from Washington or from a state capital is a lesser concern.

That's too bad, because the Constitutional set-up, delegating limited and enumerated powers to the federal government while reserving the rest, in the Tenth Amendment, to the states and the people, has a certain genius to it. That genius has a way of making itself discovered when one doesn't agree with how things are going in Washington. But it is there all the time, no matter who is in power.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of JFK, Conservative.

Photo Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • John||

    It is not practical for car makers to make different cars for different states. So, they are going to make one model of car that meets the strictest standard. That way it can be sold everywhere. So, this isn't federalism. This is a few states making the decision for the rest of the states. It is the opposite of federalism. And it is exactly the situation that the federal government should be making the decision.

    So, liberals are not embracing federalism here. The author of this piece either doesn't know anything about his subject or does and is just lying. Either way, it is a sorry effort.

  • ||

    This is a few states making the decision for the rest of the states. It is the opposite of federalism. And it is exactly the situation that the federal government should be making the decision.

    Yup. Federalism is all the states or federated entities sharing power roughly equally and/or exchanging votes. One or two states petitioning or dictating to the top and that dictate getting pushed to the other states isn't Federalism.

    Cars moving between states are not Los Angeles' smog/pollution problem.

  • Happy Chandler||

    When it was just California having the CA emissions, there were many cars that were sold in CA versions and 49 state versions. Since then, 13 states and DC have adopted the California emissions rules, so they are winning in the marketplace.

    The differences in making a car CA legal to federally legal are generally easy to implement, I think it was mostly auxiliary cats and engine programming.

  • Just Say'n||

    "so they are winning in the marketplace."

    LOL- more governments instituting laws means you are winning in the "market place"

  • Just Say'n||

    "More cities have instituted onerous bans against straws and plastic bags. They're winning in the market place"

    - Chandler Bing

  • Just Say'n||

    You know Monica never loved you, right?

  • Happy Chandler||

    Fine. The laboratories of democracy. More voters are signing on to the California rules.

    Great semantic victory.

    Marketplace of ideas. Whatever.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Fine. All the people who love rules to enforce "good ideas" can move to areas within 100 miles of the left and right coasts, and leave the rest of us alone.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "More voters are signing on to the California rules."

    No voters are signing on for anything. These are rules forced on the public by unelected bureaucrats.

    You really are just a slaver progtard, aren't you? Not the slightest sense of market economics or any concept of individual freedom.

  • Devastator||

    People voted for the people who choose the bureaucrats so in essence they selected them.

  • Sheriff Bart||

    You obviously have no idea what a market is...well, a free one, anyway...

  • Violent Sociopath||

    Since then, 13 states and DC have adopted the California emissions rules, so they are winning in the marketplace.

    That you imagine the adoption of these rules has anything at all to do with markets is a perfect illustration of why nobody here takes you even slightly seriously.

  • JesseAz||

    13 out of 50 is winning? Must be liberals math. You're just the dumbass kid in the class with a peanut allergy ruining glorious nuts for everyone else.

  • MarkLastname||

    Not necessarily: if a state makes up 10% of the car market, then if complying with that state's regulations would increase costs enough reduce profit margins by more than 10%, manufacturers would just stop selling there.

    And the result would likely be a lot of noncompliance with manufacturers indirectly capturing some of the state's market through used cars from other states getting sold there. Unless this state intends to treat emission compliance as draconian as hard drugs, I doubt they'd be able to keep the market from the rest of the country from seeping in.

  • The Last American Hero||

    It's pretty simple - in order to register your car, you have to pass an emissions test.

  • David Nolan||

    Even in deep red Idaho.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Cool story.

    Now do Texas and school textbooks.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Cool story.

    Now do California and school textbooks. FTFY

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'm not the one complaining that a large state regulations products sold within it's own borders is an attack on federalism, that's John.

    I'm just pointing out an example of the same that I expect John is okay with.

  • Devastator||

    Republicans ignore Texas short changing how important and horrible slavery was and how important creationism and skywizards are. So Escher has a point.

  • David Nolan||

    Lest we forget, Texas also seceded from Mexico, first, when Mexico banned slavery (before we did).

  • DarrenM||

    So, it's better if the federal government mandates rules nationwide just so you won't face the possibility of having to purchase a car with emissions standards you don't like.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, it's better that the federal government exercise the legitimate purpose of the Commerce Clause so staes can't engage in interstate economic warfare.

  • JesseAz||

    If it wasn't for idiot liberals you wouldn't have expiration dates on bottled water. Think about that in the corner.

  • Agammamon||

    Why is it economic warfare when its something we don't like and perfectly good and desirable when it is (national level gun permit reciprocity)?

    Federalism comes with good and not-so-good. If we're going to run to the Federal government every time one of the not-so-good things come up then we may as well get rid of federalism.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Because there are times when national level laws make sense, and times when state level laws make sense, and the left always seeks the course that leaves them with the most power, control and cash and leaves the people 'better off' in a manner similar to Venezuelans.

    National carry reciprocity makes sense because we don't enforce internal borders--we don't even mark them. That means it's possible for someone to wander from a state where they can carry into a state where they cannot without knowing.

    Emissions standards work the same way.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, it *is*. Which is why they do it. Now, at some point, it becomes impractical - once you have to make a different car for x number of different states. But one car for CA and one for the rest of the country is not impractical. Hell, they do it for motorcycles and ATVs *right now* - and those are far lower production volume items than cars.

    In any case, 'impractical for business to do' is not justification for the Federal government to step in.

    Are we to now have Federal gun control because CA wants something different than the rest of us? Because what happens if the Federal government takes CA's standard as the national one?

  • Flinch||

    I have to agree that any apparent embrace of federalism is wishful thinking - the left [running California] fell into it backwards with a mantra of "resist" more likely, and all this will be dropped and forgotten the moment another democrat becomes president as they rush to cement an emperor in place. We probably don't need to even examine any condition of ignorance or lying because the left's degree of remaining unhinged suggests that two important stumbling blocks to reality obstruct their path: facts are "mean", and opposition is "evil" as they view the current political landscape. Guys like Acosta, Cuomo, etc. show how mental they've become. I miss real liberals: there are scant few left in the progressive circles of the democrat/media complex, and you could at least talk to them and enjoy a beer while disagreeing on most things.
    The bigger story is something most the nation was unaware of: the federal government was helping California drive up the cost of living with a waiver, allowing them to perpetuate their own special set of standards helping to kill the middle class there. The higher sticker price of cars leveraged sales tax revenues up at point of purchase, which [per the tradition of roughly following bluebook values] also causes higher "registration fees" at the DMV. Those are high enough they represent a fraud in and of itself, unless they use $600/hr lawyers to process paperwork there - it really is a property tax on balance, not a fee.

  • David Nolan||

    Conservatives rage at liberals for hypocrisy on federalism, as the right-wing excuse for ... hypocrisy on federalism!

    Left - Right = Zero

  • John||

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....uting-mob/

    Gang of rich white people attack a black woman screaming "down with white supremacy".

  • Just Say'n||

    White liberals are the biggest bigots today

  • Happy Chandler||

    I know! That's way worse than the guy who shot up a black church. She had her breakfast interrupted!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Clearly, she forgot to check her white privilege.

  • Eddy||

    I think Happy Chandler think he's scored a point, since to him the Charleston shooter is on same "side" as the black woman.

  • Eddy||

    He also seems to think that if only the Antifa had been at the church they'd have stopped the shooting. Probably with their megaphones.

  • DarrenM||

    Well, you have to admit the protesters would probably have been so annoying the shooter would have shot them first, which would have meant fewer bullets to use on someone else.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    So.....win-win?

  • Happy Chandler||

    Point was made that white liberals are the biggest racist because they yelled at a black woman who supports other racists.

    Counterpoint made that shooting black people for going to church is worse racism.

    Reading. It's not hard.

  • Just Say'n||

    White liberals are the biggest racists because they attack any minority that doesn't abide by their dogmatic faith. The same doesn't work in reverse.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Right. No white man has been called a race traitor. I forgot about that fact.

    Are you mad because a handful of people don't give her a race based pass, and treat her like any other person supporting racist people? Why are you playing identity politics?

  • Eddy||

    So which racist person is she supporting, and what makes him racist, so I know what not to do in order to avoid black-clad non-fascists screaming at me through bullhorns at restaurants?

  • Eddy||

    I love how "not getting confronted by a threatening, chanting, mob" becomes "getting a pass."

  • Happy Chandler||

    They said it was racism. That meant that they thought people were mean to her because of her race.

    Her race had nothing to do with it. Plenty of white people have gotten that treatment.

    Therefore they must think that black people should get a pass.

  • Happy Chandler||

    A text message from the former field director at the place she works:

    "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story."

  • Happy Chandler||

    Also, they had this guy working for them.

  • Happy Chandler||

    This girl replaced the hate black people person.

  • Happy Chandler||

    She works for an organization that totally isn't racist, but just happened to coincidentally hire a bunch of people who totally aren't racist but have said racist things in private and public.

    She's a huckster, in it for fun and profit, and has been since she proposed socialautopsy.com

  • lap83||

    You've really convinced everyone that screaming at a black woman who is trying to eat breakfast is A-OK

  • Agammamon||

    She works for the New York Times?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    But would have been OK if the shooter was black.

  • Sheriff Bart||

    Evidently Kirk ordered all power to the deflector shields...

  • MarkLastname||

    Which was nothing compared to Nat Turner's rebellion.

    See how idiotic playing the 'something worse also happened that's not relevant' game is?

  • ||

    That's way worse than the guy who shot up a black church.

    Emanuel Kidega Samson?

  • Happy Chandler||

    Also possibly more racist than the people who were mean to Ms. Owens. Who were supposed to be the most racist people ever.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Well, no.

    If you read it it, it doesn't necessarily refer to them.

    It says "White liberals are the biggest bigots today."

    It's talking about you, Hap. You.

  • David Nolan||

    White liberals are the biggest bigots today

    So, it was liberals who initiated all that vicious violence in Charlottesville!!!!

    The initial assault, Charlottesvile-- Nazis and white supremacists attacking peaceful protesters with clubs
    "Alt-Left" standing peacefully, no visible clubs or bats.
    Alt-Right Facsists/Racists crash into them en masse, swinging clubs.
    Fascists are carrying the same shields as cops in riot gear. The motherfuckers CAME for violence
    Shame on Trump and the party who defends him
    Giving aid and comfort to the enemy is ... treason

    These are Nazis, Racists and Jew-Haters. Ivanka and Jerod are Jewish.
    Trump threw his own daughter under a bus, playing to the very worst in his base SHAMEFUL.

    But hell, what's undeniable proof that it's white conservatives. And our President is a total psycho.

  • Tony||

    Do you ever read real journalism? Or just stuff where descriptors such as "left-wing lunatics" gets past the editor?

  • MarkLastname||

    An educated leftist like yourself surely knows his post-structuralist theory and therefore that the distinction between 'real' and 'fake' journalism is an arbitrary distinction conferred by the cultural dominance of particular institutions.

    It's interesting though how, after lefties obtained dominance in institutions like the media and academia, they suddenly dropped the Foucault and Goffman and such and became radical foundatonalist authoritarians who knelt before institutions they once deconstructed like Catholics before the college of cardinals, decrying those who questioned these institutions, as they themselves once had, as heretics,

  • Tony||

    *Shrugs* Academia has its trends. What remains constant is right-wing fascists trying to discredit and destroy academia (and real journalism... the one with facts). I've always liked the idea of facts, personally, and I assume you're leaving off the even better irony for the sake of brevity: right-wing authoritarians whining about postmodernism's assault on truth and then developing into a cult completely unmoored to and unbothered by facts.

  • Just Say'n||

    Translation: I have no idea what post-structuralist theory is.

  • Tony||

    I was in college sort of at its nadir, and at any rate I mostly had fairly conservative philosophy profs who were more concerned with German bullshit over French bullshit.

  • Just Say'n||

    "German bullshit over French bullshit"

    I called it.

    Also, not sure what "conservative" professor would be pushing German philosophy? It's almost as if you don't know what you're talking about

  • Tony||

    Nobody likes a nerd.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    That at least is true

  • ||

    Also, not sure what "conservative" professor would be pushing German philosophy?

    In Academia, a Democratic-Socialist who likes Heidegger is a "right-winger."

  • JesseAz||

    Tony.. it's the left who is destrpying academia with propaganda and one sided research. Destroying counter thought to academic disciplines is leading to lower and lower quality academics and pushing through groupthink that has no objective value. College is becoming a joke for the majority of participants. Graduates know less today on average than graduate from 2 decades ago. Look at graduate math levels as a glaring example.

  • David Nolan||

    As libertarians have known for a half century: Left - Right = Zero
    That's why we're now 60% and they share 40%, and still shrinking.
    They actually think anyone cares about their never-ending spats,

  • The Last American Hero||

    Which explains those 2-3 House Seats and one sorta kinda Senate seat.

  • David Nolan||

    (yawn) Our establishment is corrupt as the other two. No solutions. No policies. No platforms
    And counting labels means whoooosh. But 60% of the voters, self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Here's the proof

    Conservative = 20-23% Sorry, you lose.

    R.I.P.

  • Eddy||

    I don't see how environmental regulation as such is a federal concern. It *should* be - an Environmental Amendment to the Constitution should say so (with appropriate limitations - like only regulation pollution which gets onto other peoples' property).

    OTOH, I suppose the feds can impose an embargo on the sale of too-dirty (or too-clean) cars across state lines.

  • ||

    OTOH, I suppose the feds can impose an embargo on the sale of too-dirty (or too-clean) cars across state lines.

    Sure, because the gun crime in Chicago is IN and WI's fault. Nevermind that the No. 1 source state-wise is IL, that the two largest contributors business-wise are in IL the point is, if Illinois wants to control the other 60% of their gun pollution problem, IN is just going to have to suck it up.

  • Flinch||

    I don't know about Indiana, but shh... the double dipping welfare types that take the train from Kenosha are part of what keeps Rahm in office. Cut off their IL benefits, and your "gun problem" drops? That's not worth getting unelected for... he's going to sell insurance after peddling influence? Not a chance: once a bag man, always a bag man.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Each state should control their own atmosphere, right? If they don't want pollution, set up an air quality checkpoint at the state line, and only let in the clean air.

  • Nebelwerfer||

    Will the shitlib mention the white church shot up in retaliation by a black guy?
    Chances are slim indeed.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So Amend the constitution allowing three hundred some douchebags living in a swamp to tell dirty working class in flyover country how to run their factories. Easy peasy.

    Otherwise, Kazakhstan would control environmental policy for Manhattan.

  • ||

    Each state should control their own atmosphere, right?

    In principle, yes.

    Something the Green Party used to understand, up until they became just another label for "Peace and Freedom," is that best practices for the swamps of Louisiana aren't going to be the same as best practices for the deserts of California.

    As Blake once said "One Law for the Lion and the Ox is Tyranny."

    No matter how well-intentioned they may be, central regulators at the EPA will fuck up the environment with a "One Law for All" mentality.

    This is why the current crop of "Climate Change" hysterics are probably the single greatest actual environmental threat we face today.

  • Happy Chandler||

    So no federal standards? If Nevada wants to build a giant coal plant next to Lake Tahoe, go ahead, and there's nothing California can do? Or what?

    Even if climate change is a gigantic international hoax, controlling emissions has positive environmental side effects. Increasing energy efficiency not only reduces CO2, it reduces particulate emissions, NOx emissions, sulfur emissions, waste into waterways, etc.

    Even if it's not an issue that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased, eliminating coal plants has other positive effects. Reducing carbon intensity of power production also reduces other waste emissions in the air and water. Even ignoring climate change, the benefits are a clear positive for the environment. You only need to compare the air in LA and the Inland Empire from the 80's to today, or the Cuyahoga river which doesn't catch on fire anymore.

  • ||

    If Nevada wants to build a giant coal plant next to Lake Tahoe, go ahead, and there's nothing California can do?

    When did the state of Nevada get into the coal-fired power plant business?

    And when did the topic change from universal federal regulations to local needs. There's a Tahoe Basin authority that IMHO would be perfectly capable, and probably more capable than Scott Pruitt, of deeming what air quality issues may be faced in the Tahoe Basin.

    As to the rest of your post, you've got no argument from me. What's missing from your post is an account of whether the government has done anything other than impede what progress had been made before the government got involved.

    LA's air was already clearing when the Clean Air Act was passed. We've done significantly worse reducing CO2 emissions since Kyoto than we were doing before. The EU is doing worse now that it's signed the Paris Accords.

    Those of us who were involved in the environmental movement in the 80s knew the government would fuck it up. What we didn't anticipate was people in the future explaining to us that no progress could have been made without the government.

  • Happy Chandler||

    But, if Nevada wanted to pull out from the Tahoe Basin Authority, and put a power plant there, or permit a company to build one there, it could be done. Pollution does not follow state lines, the federal government has to be involved.

    http://www.epa.gov/clean-air-a.....ry-results

    The Clean Air Act is a net positive both for health and economically. The costs of air pollution outweigh the costs of controlling it, the only difference is who the costs fall on. Air pollution costs the health of children and others who are sensitive to pollution, and controls cost the companies and individuals putting the pollution in the air.

  • ||

    if Nevada wanted to pull out from the Tahoe Basin Authority

    That's not how it works. "Nevada" isn't subject to the Tahoe Basin Authority - the Tahoe Basin is. I suppose Nevada could override the Authority on the Nevada side, but that would be an example of a more centralized and distant governing authority overriding a local one, not vice-versa.

    Pollution does not follow state lines, the federal government has to be involved.

    In strictly logical terms, this is a non-sequitur, and in the end you're again begging the question on "the federal government has to be involved" and ignoring the federal government's failure to do any good. Other, of course, than quoting the EPA's study proving that the EPA has saved the world.

    And let's try to stop short of "Please think of the children" and stay a little more focused on reality-based arguments.

    Lastly, "without the FedGov saying 'no' someone will immediately build a coal-fired power plant on the shore of Lake Tahoe" betrays a lack of understanding of why power plants are built where they are.

  • Happy Chandler||

    You assert that the EPA doesn't help with absolutely nothing behind it.

    Since the Clean Air Act, the air has gotten cleaner.
    Since the Clean Water Act, rivers stopped catching on fire.

    I used Tahoe as a random example, just because it's close to here. It's not a great example, but it is governed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a bi-state compact established by the federal government. But, I could imagine a Nevada governor running against working with CA, and ending the compact governing it. It is a pretty repressive regime, but it has been extremely successful at restoring Tahoe.

    What about the Missouri/Illinois border? Massachusetts/New Hampshire? Pollution affects other states.

    Also, the EPA has offices around the country that work with the locals.

  • ||

    You assert that the EPA doesn't help with absolutely nothing behind it.

    And you assert that it does with absolutely nothing behind it.

    Look at the progress that was made in reducing CO2 emissions prior to Kyoto and look at how it has slowed down since.

    Since the Clean Air Act, the air has gotten cleaner.

    The air has also gotten cleaner since the rise of Grunge and Boy Bands.

    I haven't even gone there, yet, but you're assuming that CO2 emissions are in fact the primary environmental problem facing the world today. What if it's rare earth mining?

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Well I'd think the property values around Lake Tahoo would make it prohibitive to build a coal power plant there. Last time I was out there it seemed pretty pricey too live around the lake. Since corporations only care about the bottom line and profits *gasps and clutches pearls* then they would look for the cheapest property available near the location they are servicing.

  • Happy Chandler||

    You don't have to go far from the lake to find much cheaper property, and pollution travels quickly. In fact, we have this thing called wind.

  • ||

    You walked right past "available near the location they are servicing" to assert that your "coal-fired power plant at Lake Tahoe" scenario is really a real thing.

    The cheaper land at Tahoe is that land that is far from the water and, thus, inappropriate for a power plant.

    The land at Tahoe is pretty much 100% residential. Why in heaven's name would they need a big industrial power plant?

  • Happy Chandler||

    It's called a hypothetical. To show that pollution is an interstate issue. Coal emissions in Ohio end up in New England. Getting nitpicky about a hypothetical situation is avoiding the issue.

  • ||

    Getting nitpicky about a hypothetical situation is avoiding the issue.

    So is getting hypothetical in the first place. You're still dancing around the begged question of whether government regulation helps or harms.

    Have you ever heard of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990?

    It's what enabled BP's big oil spill in the Gulf. Thanks, Federal Government!

    People think government regulation creates a situation in which producers of harm are liable for their harm, when in fact it does the opposite.

  • ||

    If Nevada wants to build a giant coal plant next to Lake Tahoe, go ahead, and there's nothing California can do?

    The jetstream flows the other way. Yosemite (and AZ downwind) is polluted because of San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento not the other way around. It's like you don't even Southwest.

    Also, regarding the Cuyahoga River, it's not exactly clear that the environmental regulations fixed any/all problems. First, the river has lower flow and a number of bends in urban areas that cause materials to pool and/or accumulate (much like smog in LA); the earliest fires were recorded as early as 1868, the worst was in '52 and when the river was virtually devoid of fish. The fire in '69 wasn't even large enough nor lasted long enough for the news to get on the scene to film the fire. The only footage you can find is of cleanup/remediation and there is plenty of news at the time lauding the surge in the fish population. Second, and more relevantly, the fires were largely the result of Cleveland itself dumping its own waste into the river. Industry moderately upstream didn't help but the river was already catching fire before the industry came. Moreover, Akron, etc. certainly had little-to-nothing to do with the fire. Again, not to say that the river isn't better off with the regulations as much as that it's not entirely clear how much worse off it would be without them.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I'm not sure where any of that is relevant.

    People dumped shit in the river for decades. It had no fish and caught on fire repeatedly.

    The federal government said you can't dump shit in rivers. Now you can swim in Lake Erie right by Cleveland.

    But I'm sure the industries would have stopped dumping without federal laws.

  • ||

    PeopleThe city government dumped shit in the river for decades.

    FTFY

  • ||

    The city government dumped shit in the river for decades.

    And then, the 13th time the river caught fire the city still didn't really care, but environmentalists who lived outside Ohio blamed it on the state (not) regulating upstream industries that were still within city limits.

  • JesseAz||

    Facts are pretty irrelevant to you happy. Next you'll say government invented 40 hour work weeks, it didn't, or the feds stopped child labor, only after every state passed laws. You're what we call a useful idiot.

  • ||

    I'm not sure where any of that is relevant.

    Because you're a disingenuous lying sack of shit:

    Air pollution costs the health of children and others who are sensitive to pollution
    ...
    Since the Clean Air Act, the air has gotten cleaner.

    The NIAID, AAAAI, and the WHO say that cases of asthma and allergies are on the rise and have been several decades. They are unequivocal in their statements that, while pollution is a factor, urbanization is the more direct or root cause. In other words, Yosemite (and the surrounding towns) is as pollution and asthma-free as it's going to get you can't possibly regulate it harder to fix LA. All that's being done with the Clean Air Act and the like is subsidizing the unhealthy lifestyles of urbanites on the backs of everyone else.

  • JesseAz||

    Markets already have incentive to increase efficiency dumbfuck. It doesn't require government.

  • Flinch||

    Not only that, but the climate change cultists are such asshats that if there was a method to deliver a doping payload into the sun [to lower reactivity], they would try it and kill everything on this planet.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I'd be willing to pony up a couple hundred for a 10,000 foot tall wall around California

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    In the Age of Trump

    IIIIII'lllll... allow it.

  • Dillinger||

    I was gonna complain about it

  • Tony||

    Sometimes it might make sense for the subdivisions to make their own internal policy, but let's not make a religion out of it.

  • Just Say'n||

    Air crosses state boundaries, but you don't want the federal government to be in charge of that (at the moment), because it upsets policies that you like.

  • Tony||

    I'm not terribly emotionally invested in how the levers get pulled as long as we end up with a better, cleaner world.

  • Just Say'n||

    Which is a nice way of saying "don't hold me to my principles, because you will find that I have none"

  • Tony||

    Nazis had strong principles. They are overrated.

  • Just Say'n||

    Actually, if you were familiar with the practices of the Nazis, you'd find that they very much ascribed to your belief of "by any means necessary" far more than any principled position

  • Tony||

    Just just strong principles with a sense of urgency.

    The point is I can't figure out what ethical principle is served by favoring subdivisions making all the rules. There used to be a point to that, but it was always to get the feds from meddling in states' rights to subjugate black people.

  • Just Say'n||

    I agree, California does subjugate its minority population

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You do know that the Nazis came into power because people didn't much care how the levers were pulled, so long as they ended up with a better, cleaner world, right?

  • Tony||

    They came into power democratically. You think Nazis would be foiled by you shouting principles at them? The key is to not let fucking Nazis in power in the first place.

  • ||

    They came into power democratically.

    Not really, but setting that aside, wouldn't that make everything they did completely justified in your book?

    I mean, "There is No Morality Except the Popular Will" is one of your central themes that you return to on a daily basis around here.

    What's your problem with Nazis, as long as they can win elections?

  • Tony||

    That's a frequent but obviously incorrect interpretation of my political and moral beliefs.

    My problem with Nazis is that they commit genocide. Get enough of them together and it doesn't matter what principles you shout at them, because power is power.

    Democracy (broad definition) is the best system, but it doesn't work when its foundations are undermined by a poor education system or right-wing anti-truth genocide movements. Unlike libertarians I'm not a utopian. These things take constant effort.

  • ||

    That's a frequent but obviously incorrect interpretation of my political and moral beliefs.

    Except that it's your default position and you're consistently unable to articulate any other moral principle whatsoever.

    My problem with Nazis is that they commit genocide.

    So? I ask you again, as long as they are enacting the democratically-determined Will of the People, by what principle do you assert that there's any problem with that?

  • Tony||

    Trump was installed by a roughly democratic process, and I'm against that giant mound of orange cellulite being there. In that case, more actual democracy would have spared us.

    The purpose of democracy is to confer legitimacy on the government and to give people enough buy-in that they collectively keep things relatively moderate and free.

    It's you guys who are skeptical of democracy, yet fail to offer an alternative that's not tyranny in one form or another. Nobody likes what you're selling. In a democracy that means your job is to participate in the marketplace of ideas and try to convince a majority. If you can't, then either your ideas suck or the people are stupid or both. (The latter problem would certainly not be helped by doing away with compulsory education.)

  • ||

    Trump was installed by a roughly democratic process, and I'm against that giant mound of orange cellulite being there. In that case, more actual democracy would have spared us.

    Notice how you try to claim to not be a democratic-absolutist, and then fail and go on to complain that what's wrong with libertarians is that they're against democracy.

    And please don't pretend you haven't spent the last eighteen months screaming about the tyranny of the electoral college.

    The purpose of democracy is to confer legitimacy on the government

    Which means that in Tony-world, where the Nazis were democratically elected, there's no problem with Nazis and their government was perfectly legitimate, right?

  • Tony||

    What alternative are you proposing?

  • ||

    What alternative are you proposing?

    A representative government strictly limited by the Non-Aggression Principle.

    This can't be the first time you've heard this.

    But, the topic of conversation was what principle you are invoking to say that the Nazis were wrong since in your opinion, and I quote, "the Non-Aggression Principle is crap."

    So I've proposed my alternative already - I'm still waiting for you to state some sort of principle that you have by which you can declare the Nazis wrong.

  • Tony||

    I'm still waiting for you to state some sort of principle that you have by which you can declare the Nazis wrong.

    Ha! And you think that principle is a gentleman's agreement about initiating force that hinges on semantics? This is the second time I've asked someone this recently: are you a psychopath with coping mechanism?

    I think the Nazis would put it this way: the Jews initiated the force. And what is permitted in response once force is initiated? You don't really put limits on that, do you? We are, after all, trying to keep it simple.

    To answer your question, because committing genocide is literally the worst thing humans can do. Sure I'm presupposing that murdering people is in itself bad. So are you I would guess, only you're actively failing to connect that to your stupid principle, which, simply stated another way, is a permission slip for loads of violence.

  • MarkLastname||

    If the German government adheres to concepts like the separation of powers, etc., then the Nazis would've had the chance to do half the damage they did.

    People like that do so much damage precisely because people like you say damn the process; let's give all the power to someone we know will give us the outcome we want.

    I guess this is the big difference between statists like you and (actual) liberals: the latter believe people are best left to their own devices, to improve their lives incrementally through their own choices and innovations and voluntary cooperation.

    The former want an all-powerful dictator to play Sim City with the whole world and 'improve' it by putting everything and everyone exactly where they 'belong,' and treating anyone that has different ideas about such things like a glitch in the matrix.

  • Tony||

    But that's absolutely the opposite of what I favor. Strong checks and balances (the ones your Republican friends are taking a chainsaw to as we speak) are the only way to keep a decent democratic society from devolving into something nasty.

    When it happens here, be sure to blame the actual culprits, not the sad hallucinations of liberal college kids on the march for tyranny you seem to be suffering from.

  • JesseAz||

    What checks and balances are being destroyed Tony. This ought to mind-blowing and stupid.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They came into power democratically. You think Nazis would be foiled by you shouting principles at them? The key is to not let fucking Nazis in power in the first place.

    You do know they came into power because people didn't much care how the levers were pulled, so long as they ended up with a better, cleaner world, right?

  • damikesc||

    At no point did they ever win a majority in a clean election.

    They LOST seats in the election pre Hitler becoming Chancellor.

    They didnt get a majorty in the one after he became Chancellor.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "The key is to not let fucking Nazis in power in the first place"

    For once, you and I agree on something. It's also why no one should ever vote for a progressive, as a Nazi is essentially what you're getting. Progressives and Nazis agree on subjugating the population and controlling the economy, they merely differ on who will be in charge.

  • MarkLastname||

    Is it just totally lost on you that strong principles are the only basis from which one can condemn the Nazis?

  • Tony||

    "I'm against killing all Jews" doesn't take much effort as principles go.

  • MarkLastname||

    And you can't think of any circumstances where maybe it'd be justified?

    Wow, you're so rigid and uncompromising, sometimes you have break a few eggs, right?

  • Tony||

    If all the Jews became zombies, but then would they still be Jews, or just zombies?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Then why can't the democrats do that Tony?

    You people are working hard to see all the Israelis exterminated by your Hamas friends.

  • ||

    Nazis had strong principles.

    Blood and Honor. Both of which they largely made up as they went along, overtly favoring an "I'll know it when I see it." approach but I'm sure a lack of principles that couldn't even be described that vaguely only produces positive outcomes at every turn.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Nazis had strong principles."'

    Nazis also had cars. Do you have a car Tony?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Hitler had a car too! According to progtard 'logic' that means Tony is EXACTLY like Hitler.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm not terribly emotionally invested in how the levers get pulled

    Truer words never spoken.

  • JesseAz||

    At what cost? Go to where most poverty I'd and they'd rather have cheap electricity in order to live. But you care more about cleanliness.

  • Brian||

    It's not an info war if you're not banned.

  • Mickey Rat||

    In the Age of Trump a writer for a libertarian magazine is pleased that Democrat's have discovered an argument for federalism as a dodge for imposing stricter regulations on the market.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Setting a uniform standard for cars seems like regulating interstate commerce.

    I think the Cali smog regulations were qualitatively different because they just involved bolting on some extra equipment, whose cost could be passed on to California residents. Not so with fuel economy regulations.

    In this case, it would be more appropriate (and effective) for California to simply tax the shit out of gasoline and drive consumers into more efficient cars.

  • gaoxiaen||

    They'll have to build much longer on ramps.

  • VinniUSMC||

    In California, building a longer on-ramp just means making it two or three lanes, which merge into 1, after a fucking stoplight which prevents cars from merging at speed. CalDOT is fucking retarded.

  • EscherEnigma||

    In the age of [Opposite Party President], [Party] has rediscovered Federalism.

    Shocking!

    Or are y'all going to pretend that any political ideology is consistent about favoring (or disfavoring) Federalism, regardless of who is in power?

  • ||

    Or are y'all going to pretend that any political ideology is consistent about favoring (or disfavoring) Federalism, regardless of who is in power?

    By "y'all," do you mean the libertarians who don't support either party? Or do you mean partisan Democrats like yourself?

  • EscherEnigma||

    By "y'all," do you mean the libertarians who don't support either party?


    Hey, if you want to pretend that Reason doesn't regularly run articles about how Republicans aren't actually fiscally-conservative or interested in Federalism, be Reason's guest. But I see no reason to pretend this is a partisan trend, even if there's quite a few self-identified "libertarians" who insist it is.

    Or do you mean partisan Democrats like yourself?


    That's funny.

  • ||

    Hey, if you want to pretend that Reason doesn't regularly run articles about how Republicans aren't actually fiscally-conservative or interested in Federalism, be Reason's guest.

    They do. I'm not denying that they do. They run articles on the hypocrisy of both parties, like any good libertarian publication should.

    I see no reason to pretend this is a partisan trend

    But it is a partisan trend, pretty much by definition.

    And why is it funny to describe you as a partisan Democrat? You identify as a Democrat, no?

  • EscherEnigma||

    "They do. I'm not denying that they do."
    Yeah, I accidentally left some words out that actually made my point.

    Long story short, y'all (Reason included) have bought into the myth that Republicans actually support any of your "principles". And every time they prove such, y'all are shocked and amazed, and get articles like "Republican prove they aren't the party of fiscal responsibility". As if that have been "proved" two weeks prior.

    Democrats get the opposite treatment.

    And this despite that based on their actual actions (not their propaganda, which y'all assure me doesn't actually work) neither "team" aligns with you more often then a couple of moon. But you pretend Religions are your "small government" friend anyway.

    "But it is a partisan trend, pretty much by definition."
    Nope. Both teams do it. Only supporting federalism as a means, never an end, is non-partisan.

    "You identify as a Democrat, no?"
    I neither identify or vote Democrat or Republican. Unlike many self-described libertarians (which I am not, because y'all are assholes), I actually *vote* Libertarian.

  • sarcasmic||

    When the Democrats are in power, their followers say that libertarians are all conservatives.

    When the Republicans are in power, their followers say that libertarians are all leftists.

    Because if we criticize the Party in power, we must belong to the other Team.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Who says?

    Youre an anarchist, so you are literally on a complete different team and its not Libertarianism.

  • sarcasmic||

    yasafi

  • David Nolan||

    He keeps pretending to be libertarian, while also repeatedly proving his ignorance of it.
    Here, he changes the subject entirely, because .... you nailed him, and tribalists both left and right.

    All you said is that libertarians are neither left nor right, which explodes the 2-dimensional brains you were describing. And why he (a) changed the topic to (b) commit an ad hominem fallacy,

    Because the opposite of libertarian is authoritarian.
    Right - Left = Zero.

  • Azathoth!!||

    When the Republicans are in power, their followers say that libertarians are all leftists.

    Nope.

    Republicans ELECT libertarians.

    Thank you for playing.

  • David Nolan||

    Anyone who passed 3rd grade math will instantly know that only a tiny percentage of Republicans vote for libertarians, especially since the libertarian wing abandoned the GOP..

    But on these very pages, Republicans scream lefty at libertarians. Their brains explode at the notion anyone who's socially liberal could possibly be fiscally conservative. But everyone is not a puppet on a string, to the right or left, for 50 years now, just like a majority of voters.

    Thank you for slipping away.
    You are not missed.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Democracy Now!*

    *Until it doesn't go our way!

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Well, it is unfair/unjust when the majority votes the "wrong" way. And we all know that Fairness and Justice over-rule all else.

  • David Nolan||

    This is not a democracy. (paraphrasing Diane)

  • Sevo||

    You may be a dimbulb lefty and hate most of what Trump has accomplished, but even you, as a dimbulb lefty, have to admire how he has reminded most of the press that they should not be lap-dogs, even if they are now taking it to ridiculous extremes.

  • damikesc||

    And you know they will revert to slavish stenographers for the next Dem President.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Not be lap dogs?

    What are you talking about? They're Democrat/Leftist lapdogs now just like they've been for decades.

  • MikeP2||

    I think you are either misunderstanding or misrepresenting the issue in play. Cali was previously given a waiver from the federal clean air act to enact more strict tailpipe emmision standards.
    The proposed rollback eliminates cali's waiver. Progs like feinstein arent fighting for states rights. They are fighting for cali to have special priviledges to the federal clean air act.
    The feds have regulated emissiobs u der the clean air act for decades, and few have complained about states rights in this area. It is a joke to pretend feinstein, harris, etc are now champions of states rights.

  • David Nolan||

    few have complained about states rights in this area

    Does that mean they do not exist? SCOTUS determines that, and only after an action is challenged.
    If only right-wingers could define the Constitution, we'd be in a Theocracy and New Inquisition, burning people at the stake again.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties are so stupid. This is covered by the commerce clause.

    Lefties will learn the hard way they cannot regulate cars into oblivion or guns or cigarettes or straws or constitutional rights.

  • Siohvaughn Funchess||

  • Siohvaughn Funchess||

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Liberals Have Rediscovered the Value of Federalism""

    That's an overly generous statement.

  • Josh Melton||

    Ira, the 10th amendment should take priority. Once California decides what the emissions standards should be, then the Commerce Clause can step in and allow the federal government to regulate. Stein is a doofus.

  • David Nolan||

    The 9th amendment limits the 10th from you regulatory statists.

  • Josh Melton||

    Are we sure California is after nullification powers found in a Confderacy?

  • David Nolan||

    Umm, that's not what Federalism is, but could be just poor phrasing.

    States Rights, as promoted by southern bigots, the KKK and the likes of Ron Paul, is the lie that states have whatever powers they choose, and SCOTUS has no power to defend us from abuses by state governments. But the 9th amendment severely limits all levels of government, Self-evident.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Since those rights are not listed, and only the executive and legislative branches can violate them, that is how SCOTUS was given the power of constitutional review. Checks and balances.

    This explodes the "brains" of the alt-right, who scream that judges don't "invent" rights, showing (again) their ignorance of rights being inherent, i.e. endowed by a Creator. Judges and tribunals merely acknowledge God-given rights. The Founders wisely knew they could not possibly anticipate how future governments might violate innate rights.

    Get real, folks, SOMEBODY has to determine what is a right that the founders refused to state. DUH. And only SCOTUS can do it because ... the Constitution protects us from abuses by government and (again for the uneducated) only the other two branches can abuse rights. The Court has no power to initiate actions of ANY type, only to decide if others' actions are appropriate. Check and balance. Accept it.

    Cont'd

  • David Nolan||

    Part 2

    There's nobody else within government. Only the people outside it. We can overrule it all by amending the Constitution, according to .... the Constitution! Bellowing and bluster cannot determine the Law of the Land, without violating the same Constitution they claim to be defending.

    This is similar to defying the Will of God, in the Name of God, which is often done by the same anti-liberty types,

    Elementary reading kills is all one needs. Liberty over power.
    And honesty.

  • swampwiz||

    I had moved to the Golden State back in the '80s (moved back out a year later due to the even-then ridiculous housing prices), and had wondered if somehow the car I had bought in an another state would be legal there. And what about cars driving through the state (e.g., AZ to OR), or just temporary travelers like vacationers? There could quickly be a can of worms here.

  • David Nolan||

    Hasn't been for 31 years yet. Maybe tomorrow?

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