Economic Report of the President: 'Our Top Priority'

“Our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our North Star. That has to drive every decision we make in Washington.” Barack Obama, Economic Report of the President, March 2013

If I wasn’t fair I’d quote Obama thusly: “Our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow our economy… That has to be our North Star. That has to drive every decision we make in Washington.” Then I could say, “See how obsessed the president is with economic growth?” I won’t, because clearly Obama’s growth agenda is intended to reduce unemployment. But that doesn’t mean his growth agenda is scientifically sound or sustainable. Quite the contrary. And, while Obama may not be literally obsessed with economic growth, what should we say about a document that mentions “growth” 371 times, “sustainable” 35 times, and “natural resources” six times? The glass is not empty, but it’s nowhere close to half full either.

It’s true that the 452-pager is not straight from Obama’s mouth. Most of the document is really the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers, and probably much of that is written by the staffers of the Council rather than CEA members themselves. But you can bet a document like this is vetted like no other! No president will be quoted, pursuant to his own signature, “Our top priority must be to do everything we can to _____________,” unless what fills in the blank is indeed the president’s top priority or very nearly it.

What fills in the blank is “grow our economy” (listed firstly) “and create good, middle-class jobs.” Why not just say ” create good, middle-class jobs and reduce the rate of unemployment”? Better yet, why not “stabilize the economy with a high rate of employment that is sustainable for the long run”? This would allow the president to raise desperately needed awareness of limits to growth, the damage caused by further growth, and the sustainable alternative of a steady state economy. But no, growth is truly at the heart of the president’s agenda, as described in more detail by the Council of Economic Advisors. “GDP” is used 197 times; “ecological footprint” not once.

The report does inc汇聚南京精英

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lude a chapter called “Climate Change and the Path Toward Sustainable Energy Sources.” This chapter summarizes the science of climate change — cup has some drops — and makes the conventional economic argument that climate change is a “negative externality” of economic activity. It advances the equally conventional approach of “internalizing” this externality and obviating it by replacing fossil fuels with alternative sources of energy. To summarize the position, “The Administration is committed to a comprehensive energy strategy that supports economic and job growth, bolsters energy security, positions the United States to lead the world in clean energy, and addresses the global challenge of climate change.” We may as well demand better dental hygiene and more money from the Tooth Fairy all at once. In a 90-percent fossil-fueled economy, a top priority of doing “everything we can to grow our economy” is to climate change what it is to biodiversity loss, water shortage, and pollution: a guarantee that it will worsen.

We can’t blame President Obama or the CEA too much. They are, as noted in the report, driven to some degree by the Employment Act of 1946 as amended by the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978. That’s exactly why we need the Full and Sustainable Employment Act and its apt acronym, “Full SEA,” to remind us that the “rising tide” to lift all boats was as sustainable as a Ponzi scheme. We’re out of water and boat-building material.

Pursuant to the Full Seas Act, we’ll have an annual Report to the President on Population, Production, Consumption, and Capacity to help monitor how sustainable our economy is. With population data from the Census Bureau and production data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a slim new Bureau of Population and Consumption (BPC) will calculate our ecological footprint to determine how sustainable GDP is. The president will summarize the Report in the annual State of the Union address. The hope is that one day we can quote something more believable, doable, and laudable:

“Our top priority must be to do everything we can to stabilize our economy and maintain fulfilling jobs for all who need work. This economy has to fit on our planet along with those of other nations, leaving space for other species as well. That has to be our North Star: a steady state economy that南京桑拿

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is fair, sustainable, healthy and happy.”

Affordable Housing: What Ann Arbor Can Learn From Santa Cruz, California

This article comes to us courtesy of Concentrate.

In the early 2000s, the city of Santa Cruz, California had a problem. The naturally beautiful, progressive city, home of a premier research university, had become such a desirable place to live that housing prices skyrocketed beyond the reach of many who worked, attended school and were otherwise inclined to live there.

“There was a lack of affordable housing,” says Housing and Community Development Manager for the City of Santa Cruz, Carol Berg. “The housing was so expensive, somebody needed two jobs to afford to rent a house南京夜网

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Sound familiar?

While Ann Arbor is actually twice the size of Santa Cruz, both in population and land area, these circumstances, as well as very similar population density, make the two communities ripe for comparison. According to a housing options study of Santa Cruz, the average home price was $480,000 in 2002. As a result, young professionals and even longtime residents were forced to move away.

“Employers have a difficult time recruiting for positions that pay $50,000, $60,000, or even $80,000,” the study says. “[The University of California Santa Cruz] is concerned about a potential ‘brain drain’ resulting from difficulties in recruiting new faculty.”

The crisis was deemed serious enough for the city to take action. Rather than contend with the political, logistical, and economic challenges of building housing developments, a city-commissioned committee found a solution that was actually already legal in their housing code, but was being underutilized: accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

Sometimes referred to as in-law houses or granny units, ADUs are small, apartment-sized houses built behind existing, owner-occupied homes. They are often converted garages or sheds, and become rental income for the property owners and a more affordable rental option for residents.

Visit Concentrate to read the rest of this article.

Old World Monkey Fossils Called Oldest Found, May Shed Light On Animals' Origins

By: Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor
Published: 03/18/2013 03:05 PM EDT on LiveScience

Ancient teeth of old-world monkeys, which are most closely related to humans, have now been unearthed, fossils 3 million years older than previous remains found to date, researchers say.

The old-world monkeys are native to Africa and Asia today, and include many familiar primates, such as baboons and macaques. Unlike the new-world monkeys of the Americas, tails of old-world monkeys are never prehensile, or able to grasp things.

The modern old-world monkeys emerged during the Miocene epoch, which lasted about 5 million to 23 million years ago and saw the first appearance of wide expanses of grasslands. However, the monkeys’ origins and the way they subsequently diversified remain uncertain, since there is a scarcity of fossil sites on land in Africa dating between 6 million and 15 million years old.

Now scientists have unearthed the earliest old-world monkey fossils known — teeth that are 12.5 million years old. They apparently belong to early colobine monkeys, primates whose living members include the skunklike black-and-white colobus and the large-nosed proboscis monkey. [Image Gallery: Photos of the Cutest Gelada Monkeys]

"People may wonder if the discovery of a single molar tooth is really compelling evidence for the presence of colobines at this early date, but it is roughly as convincing as a single crashed spaceship would be as evidence for life outside our planet," researcher James Rossie, a paleoprimatologist at Stony Brook University in New York, told LiveScience.

The fossils were uncovered in 2006 at the Tugen Hills in western Kenya. The hot, dry scrubland of the site is a difficult place to work.

"The terrain routinely breaks our vehicles in unexpected ways, and we nearly found ourselves stranded and running out of drinkable water that year," Rossie recalled.

The remains consist of two teeth — a molar and a premolar — and may represent one or possibly two species of early colobine monkeys weighing about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms). The shape of these teeth suggests the monkeys spent less time eating leaves than their mod上海夜生活拿论坛

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ern relatives, and may have fed more on seeds.

The researchers suggest these findings shed new light on the context in which old-world monkeys arose. For instance, they reveal these early colobines apparently coexisted with other, more archaic primates, and competition with these old-world monkeys could have helped drive the other groups to extinction, they note.

The scientists added it could make sense that early colobines perhaps lived on seeds and unripe fruit. Such a diet would help drive the evolution of a gut to help digest this material, which 南京桑拿按摩会所哪里有

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in turn adapted to break down the leaves that modern colobines often live on today.

Rossie, Hill and their colleague Christopher Gilbert detailed their findings online March 18 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience, Facebook or Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

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