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What the Devil won't tell you

Never mind Green New Deal, socialism already here as Arizona deals with climate

So the Green New Deal is here and the ghost of Hugo Chavez can’t be far behind.

Socialism is on the march and breadlines are right around the corner. Otherwise, it’s just going to be farting cows and '64 Impalas shooting global destruction right through their tail pipes.

Yes, Eugene Debbs rides again.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey introduced a resolution co-sponsored by Tucson's U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva that outlines a plan to rearrange the whole of the U.S. energy sector with carrots and sticks in federal law. After years of documenting the dangers of climate change, the establishment is now horrified someone might actually do something about it.

The American Action Forum has determined the Green New Deal would cost a frightening $93 trillion and the media faithfully pounced on the horror.  One really must stretch the term "study" to use it to describe tagging wildly speculative prices to vague plans. They put the cost of replacing air travel with trains at 13 percent of the bloated military budget, to which I say "Sign! Me! Up!" That cost assumes no one will ever spend a dime on tickets to defray the cost.

Tequila-spiked fun with calculators notwithstanding, addressing a planet-wide crisis may cost more than a Val-U-Meel. What they aren't discussing is what should be done about climate change. We better do something.

So as moderate Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick keeps a 12-Prius-length distance from the plan, she may want to remember climate socialism is going on right now in Arizona at the direction of Kommisar Doug Ducey and General Secretary Donald John Trump. The Arizona Legislature, or should I call it "Politburo," has already signed on.

Drought politics is socialist politics in every way imaginable and it's coming to a faucet near you.

Central planning

Meanwhile, the Green New Deal is socialist only in that it reworks the energy sector by carrot and stick. The textbook definition of socialism is government ownership and administration of goods

Who owns and administers water? It's a natural resource required for pretty much every other natural resource to be worth a damn. It's right behind "air." Thinking about water ownership it's important to think in terms of rights of use. The rights are determined by seniority and the government has priority of that kind of ownership. That's socialism.

The market approach would be to sell shares of the water so the Saudis, Chinese and Russian oligarchs can horde it all while Goldman-Sachs gets rich.

For drought purposes we are discussing Colorado River water as it sits now primarily in Lake Mead. That body of water is right now at 1,087 feet of depth. A "full pool" is 1,229 feet. A dead pool is 1,050 feet of water. A dead pool means no more releases for south of the Hoover Dam. That's bad.

Gov. Doug Ducey helped negotiate and the Legislature signed off  on an agreement accept cutbacks in how much Colorado River water it uses so the Trump Administration didn't do it for us. It was the last of the six states in the river basin to accept the deal rather than let the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation decides who gets how little.

That’s government rationing. That’s socialism. It's because of climate.

This is bad news for farmers, especially in Pinal County, which will feel the brunt of the cutbacks. 

Other water rights holders must sign off on the deal too or on March 4 the Interior Department will intervene. So there's an opportunity for holdouts.


In California, the Imperial Immigration District is sitting pretty and wants $200 million to sign off on the six-state deal. They want to refill the Salton Sea.

Ahhh, The Salton Sea. The Salton Sea should not exist. The Salton Sink is supposed to be an agricultural mecca. Instead, the Salton Sea fills the Salton Sink because a private venture seeking to irrigate the central California lowlands sustained a catastrophic failure. A flood ensued. The company went broke. That was capitalists trying to futz with a public resource. The government had to take over in the form of the Imperial Immigration District.

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The Salton Sea has been an environmental nightmare for years but now that the drough has hit, it has exposed the lakebed full of the agricultural waste coating the bottom. So the region has the highest asthma rates in California.

The state of California has promised to fix the Salton Sea problem but to no avail. In fact, the problem is going to get worse under a new water plan adopted by the state that took effect last year.

It's a legit gripe. Arizonans should have no problem in theory but there's also a moral hazard involved with being the last hold out to shakedown the other parties of a deal that must get done. At what point do the other parties tell these feds to squash these profiteers like a bug. They'll lose their rights and get nothing in return.

What's the sound of government quashing private property rights? Sounds like socialism. 

Das Kapital

Doug "Free Market" Ducey is so adamant about getting a deal done because water shortages can turn off private sector investors, as Tony Davis pointed out in a 2017 piece over at the Arizona Daily Star.

We have to remember the big picture.

The energy sector is vital to sustain a global economy. Think of it as a factory production. Then think of water as the size of the lot the factory sits on and realize that expansion is limited by that lot size.

Water will dictate the economic viability of 30 million people living and working in an arid climate. The Colorado River basin is the world's 7th largest economy. According to a study by the nature conservancy, losing 10 percent of the Colorado River flow would cost 1.6 million jobs. According to Arizona State University's W.P. Carey College of Business, losing Colorado River water altogether would mean 8.5 percent of the U.S. economy would evaporate.

There are 153,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry to protect, I guess.

What's at stake in Arizona? Investment capital is at steak and it's hard to have capitalism without its first seven letters.

A Glasnost of Water

There are things government can do to sustain communities through the dark days when natural and market forces conspire against them. It’s a little thing called socialism. And a little bit of socialism makes capitalism go down a lot smoother.

Even if you remain unconvinced of the science, you can't remain unconvinced of the risk unless you honestly believe that you are smarter about climate than climatologists. Do you tell oncologists they are clueless about cancer or plumbers they don't know pipes?

What the hell are we talking about?

On the off chance that climate-change skeptics are as wrong and the experts are right, what's happening with Lake Mead is but a harbinger of things to come. Good thing people are doing something about it right now.

Socialism? Kids, you haven't seen socialism should climate change start to bite. 

Good thing the jackboots of the statists are deciding our water future, making plans behind the scenes that will dictate our economic capacity. 

Someday, the Green New Deal could be the Business Roundtable's and Koch Industries’ idea of “a common-sense compromise” to head off the socialism to come.

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have your say   

3 comments on this story

Mar 6, 2019, 6:27 pm
-0 +0

Please, PLEASE get a copy editor / proof reader (at steak???).

The point that seems to be forgotten in all this is that the New Green Deal should make a few new jobs, as well. Quite a few. So why is it so terrible? And water should NOT be privatized…

Mar 6, 2019, 6:24 pm
-0 +0

I think the senate sponsor’s name is “Merkley.”

In the public conversation about subsidizing farmers to dig deeper wells, I don’t think I have heard much about how ground water is ultimately part of a system, so deeper wells would at best only postpone the inevitable.

Mar 6, 2019, 4:51 pm
-0 +0

The minimum elevation to generate power at Hoover Dam is reported by BOR to be 1,050 feet, below which the reservoir is considered an “inactive pool.”

Water above 1,050 feet elevation is considered “live storage” and a “dead pool” exists at 895 feet in elevation, which is the lowest water outlet at Hoover Dam.


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U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The Central Arizona Project's 300-mile canal - the longest aqueduct in the United States - diverts water from the Colorado River to serve 1 million acres of irrigated agricultural land in Central Arizona and to provide municipal water to Phoenix and Tucson.


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