FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tunnel Vision in California

by MICHAEL PERELMAN

Is it not true that virtually every large public works project suffers from serious cost overruns?  Will the ballot initiative inform voters about the actual probable costs of this project?

Is it not true that the first Governor Brown, Jerry’s father Pat, constructed the first California Water Project with the understanding that large recipients of water would repay the state for the costs of delivering water?  Is it not true that they reneged on that promise?  Will the greatest recipients of water really pay their fair share this time?  Without some certainty, should the ballot initiative reflect the risk that the state will not be able to collect adequate repayments for its water?

Without guarantees of adequate repayments, should the ballot initiative reflect the risks?  For example, in light of the first reneging of the payment obligations, the state had to turn to other sources of funding.  It took money from the Tidelands Oil Fund to cover the failed promised payments, which required the California State system and the University of California system to initiate tuition hikes, which set off decades of spiraling tuition.invisiblehandc

Does it make sense to send the water to the Central Valley to grow crops that would be unprofitable without huge federal payments and subsidized water?  For example, cotton is not particularly suited for semi-arid land.  Besides, such federal and state subsidies seem to violate trade agreements such as the WTO and NAFTA.

Could one make the case that importing cotton from Africa, where farmers have trouble competing with highly subsidized American growers, might help to stabilize parts of the continent, which would reduce the incentives for continually increasing the costly level of the US government’s military entanglements in that part of the world?  Might cutting back on subsidized cotton production in the Central Valley be the first step in reducing military involvement in Africa?

Such a suggestion might admittedly seem to be a stretch but it serves as a reminder that the consequences of such a huge undertaking as the twin tunnels will have significant unintended consequences that will be unlikely to be presented to the voters in a ballot initiative.

The questions disregard a much larger question regarding the need to conserve water supplies, both locally and statewide.

Michael Perelman teaches economics at Cal State at Chico. He is the author of Railroading Economics and The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism.

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail