It’s kinda an experiment, but between now and the election, I’ll be posting a few times a week on The Stranger’s Slog, in exchange for a larger audience and a little beer money. (I like beer.) And the first such post — “Pend Oreille v. Seattle and the Triumph of Socialism” — just went live:
This whole Boundary Dam controversy drives home for me a couple of lessons, not the least of which being the immense public benefit of public investment. Most Seattle residents and businesses have no idea how lucky we are to purchase our power from a city-owned utility whose primary obligation is to the rate payers, not the shareholders. Call it “socialism” if you like (and technically, it is socialism), but Seattle City Light has always proven a tremendous boon to our local economy.
Pend Oreille County rate payers also benefit from such socialism, both from the impact fees and wholesale power provided by the Boundary Dam hydroelectric project, and from the power generated by the Pend Oreille PUD’s own Box Canyon Dam, just up river.
But the bigger lesson is that today’s enormous political divide between rural and urban Americans as to the proper size and scope of government is largely based on a fundamental misconception about who is subsidizing whom. For without state and federal investments and subsidies in rural electrification, irrigation, transportation, communication, education and nearly every other “-ation,” much of rural America would have remained the same economic backwater it was prior to the admittedly massive expansion of government during President Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the next half-century of Democratic and Republican administrations that followed.
Anyway, I encourage you to read the whole thing, and comment here, there, or in both threads.
As for HA, don’t expect much of an impact from this diversion of energies. I’ll always link to my posts on Slog, so you won’t miss anything, and I always planned to post with more frequency as the election approaches, so there shouldn’t be a dearth of content here.