Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Solution to the Retirement Crisis

The New York Times ran an excellent article today talking about how teachers have been boondoggled into retirement plans which end up giving little to no gain. With easily over a million dollars in retirement savings stolen per teacher (if we account for the full opportunity cost) state governments and school districts have done a terrible service to teachers.

My home state of Washington is no exception. The Department of Retirement Systems has three types of plans which teachers can buy into. They are all defined benefit plans. Using this calculator I find that they require a certain amount of your paycheck to be donated to the pension plan in order to get any return. When I compare this to a very simple 8% return with the S&P 500 there is absolutely no situation where the defined benefit plan outperforms the index fund. It is always better to go with the defined contribution index fund plan than a defined benefit plan. If not just that, then because with the defined contribution plan you have a balance which on death you can pull the money out of and pass on to your children and grandchildren. With a defined benefit plan that money might go to your descendants or to the fat cats on Wall Street depending what your plan says. This is a no-brainer.

The solution to the retirement crisis for people currently enrolled in these schemes is to outlaw fees which dissuade people from moving their money to a different type of plan. This will force Wall Street to provide better products. If the product is working well, there is no reason to change. This will give millions of teachers the ability to switch their money to plans which actually give them a return on their money and hopefully bankrupt these corrupt banksters. Done.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Climate Debate

In the current climate debate, we have two vital initiatives right now in Washington State. Carbon Washington or I-732, which I have written about multiple times, and ST3 for Sound Transit are going to make our state a better place to live. Carbon Washington make our tax code a bell shaped curve as opposed to a simple regressive code, tax carbon, and fund the earning families income tax credit. These are all good things which we need to do right now. ST3 is going to fix the Greater Seattle mass transit mess which threatens our quality of life.

There are several arguments here which have been talked about and I see which are arguing against these propositions.

The first one are signs saying "No on ST3, fund education first". This is a red herring argument. It doesn't have anything to do with the content of ST3 and seeks to get people to vote against the progressive initiative we have right now and focus instead on another important issue. If there is an actual problem with ST3 then the opposition needs to state exactly what is wrong. There are major issues with ST3, primarily that the timeline for construction extends for 40 years. Most of the construction will be done within 20 years, but it still leaves some vital projects off for a long period of time. This however is not a valid reason to vote against ST3. It will set us in motion to get our mass transit funded and then in 3 years or so we can put forward another proposition to speed up the time frame. Voting against ST3 will not cause mass transit to move forward, but it will mean that we will get no additional progress until another proposition on the ballot. A net loss for climate activists.

The arguments against Carbon Washington on the other hand suffers from attacks which are both Red Herrings and Straw Men. The first common argument I see is they complain it is not funding our education. I lobbied for education in college and understand it is a vital issue. This however is a bill focused on three main issues, and three issues only. Inequality, the regressive nature of our tax code, and climate change. Education is not on the list. We need to fund our education system, and we do need to get additional funding for our state, but these are not what Carbon Washington does. Carbon Washington does about as much as one piece of legislation could possibly do and it does the three major issues through one major policy change, which is tax replacement with a more progressive tax than what we have.

The most common straw man argument against Carbon Washington I have heard from people who do not understand economics is that it will not reduce emissions. This is moose shit. Taxes reduce consumption of the good which is taxed, which is one of the most proven theories in all of economics. By taxing carbon it will increase the advantage of renewables making it so more people will move to renewable technology and consume less oil. This is one of the most widely agreed upon issues by economists around the world, and all of the evidence in the field points to this is true.

The other major argument against Carbon Washington is that it will hurt poor people. This is another big truck load of moose shit. When economists have graphed the impact of Carbon Washington on Washington State families vs. the current tax code we find the following results:

The graph speaks for itself. The opposition is lying.

This bill has shown very clearly that a lot of environmental organizations in Washington state are poorly run by people who do not understand climate science. Actual experts in related fields at universities across the state have endorsed I 732, while the people opposing it are not experts and do not do actual research to back up their claims. Their weak arguments only make me want I 732 to pass it even more to fight idiocracy as much as climate change. Good luck finding a professional with a degree in a related field who opposes Carbon Washington. This fight has turned into scientists vs. absolutists who have in their mind that there is only one way to fix a certain problem. Anyone who has ever studied economics knows that this is completely not true, and is what makes economics fun. There are multiple ways to fix economic problems, and often times the differences between solutions, such as carbon taxes vs cap and trade, comes down to small efficiency gains.

When it comes down to it, Carbon Washington is here now. People who only want other solutions have not filed their initiatives. Global warming is an imminent threat to humanity and we need to do what we can now. If there is an improvement to the carbon tax in the future (which will probably be a small technocratic tweak), a bill that funds our education, and possibly an income tax I will support that. Given how those are years away at a bare minimum we need to do what we can today. Not voting for Carbon Washington would have been like voting against gay marriage in 2012 because it didn't include hate crime legislation. Such actions are a fool's endeavor. Carbon Washington is a net gain for working class families, and a net gain for our climate here in Washington State. ST3 is far from perfect but it is better than nothing.

This is why the only pro-climate action this election is to vote YES on 732 and YES on ST3.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Democratic Strategy

I am currently working for Washington CAN, the oldest progressive non-profit in Washington State. We are getting out the vote in two districts currently, Washington State Legislative districts 30 and 44. If we succeed in flipping these two districts we could flip the entire Washington State House of Representatives which would is an essential step forward in getting progress in our state on important issues such as education, health care, and infrastructure which we all rely on.

The current state of United States legislatures is very poor. Democrats control only 7 state governments in full. Republicans control 23. 4 states have Democratic legislatures with a Republican governor, 11 states have democratic governors without control of the state legislatures. This means that Democrats are missing a pipeline of new talent for leading our country, will be unable to get constitutional amendments passed, and the Republicans have 31 out of the currently required 34 state legislatures to get through constitutional amendments. Given the shifting demographics of the United States, there is a lot of work that we can do right now to regain state legislatures to the point where major goals, such as Medicaid expansion, high quality infrastructure and other vital issues can be achieved. We will not get these issues passed however until our legislatures are made of people who actually care about the well being of the people, and given the state of the Republican party, that means they have to be Democrats.

A big cause of why state legislatures are overwhelmingly Republican is because of gerrymandering. State legislatures draw the boundaries for themselves in most states, and for Congress. The Democratic party needs to bring forward state initiatives in states across the country where gerrymandering has taken hold to use the single-split line method, and ideally ranked voting with multiple winners per race in order to make it so state legislatures more accurately represent the wishes of the American people. This will make it so Republicans will lose control across the country.

In order to make this happen, we have 4 easy pick ups this year with split legislatures. Democrats could easily pick up the state legislatures in Washington, Maine, Colorado, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and New Mexico. Washington and Colorado only need the Democrats to pick up two seats in order to control the state. In New Mexico Democrats only need 4 more out of 70 seats. This would bring them to fully control 10 state governments, and then in 2018 pick up 4 more governorships to control 14 state governments around the country, with the Republicans still at 23 state governments and 31 legislatures.

Once we end the split governments, the states which need to be targeted next are Nevada, Montana, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. All of these states have less than a 20% split Democratic to Republican, and are good targets for Democrats to reclaim more governments. This will put Democrats at controlling 18 state governments, bringing Republicans down to 21 state governments and 27 state legislatures. Given their closeness to tipping, we cannot let them slip.

We also need to reclaim 6 governorships where Democrats control the state legislature, Maine, New Mexico, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Status (states) States (seats needed)
Hold governorship, hold legislature (7) Hawaii, Rhode Island, California, Delaware, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut
Pick up governorship, hold legislature (4) Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts
Pick up one house, retain governor (4) New York (9), Colorado (2), Washington (1), Minnesota (7)
Pick up one house, pick up governor (4) New Mexico (2), Maine (6), Iowa (8), Kentucky (9)
Pick up legislature, retain governor (3) Montana (7), Pennsylvania (25), New Hampshire (42),
Pick up legislature and governor (2) Nevada (7), Arizona (11)
This will give democrats control of 24 state governments by picking up 10 governorships and 142 seats in state legislatures (out of 7383 in total). This is doable.

Once Democrats focus and get out the vote in these 24 state governments, the remaining states we will need to focus on are Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio. These 5 Republican controlled governments frequently vote for the Democratic President and elect Democratic Senators. This will give Democrats a majority of state governments. What this will mean for working families is more mass transit, better infrastructure, improved schools, and expanded access to Medicaid. If the Progressive wing of the party gains influence it will hopefully mean a more progressive tax code and more efficient government programs.

The 5 remaining stretch states which will give Democrats the 34 governments needed to approve constitutional amendments and dominate the country are Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana because they have Democratic governors which will give Democrats 33 state governments. The one final state which Democrats would have the ability to gain will probably be Texas given massive demographic shifts over the next decade which will bring Texas into play by 2020. Georgia as well could be in play within a decade from demographic changes which is an extra bonus for the Democrats. Given the stubbornness of people who support Donald Trump, I expect at least another ten years of the alt-right having a significant impact on the Republican party. This is the opportunity of a generation for the Democrats to dominate the US and make significant changes beyond Obamacare to improve equality and opportunity for everybody.

Picking up another 27 state governments will be a monumental shift in American history. Of course state and county parties are going to need to be well organized to get great leaders running at all levels of government, but the national party should spend its resources to get real gains as soon as possible. Here is a rough schedule on how the National Democratic Party should focus on regaining state governments.

In 2016-2018 we need to focus on the states where we already control at least one house while retaining the 7 states we control. We could gain 12 state governments in the next two years, bringing us to 19 state governments by the time we get to the 2020 election.

In 2020-2022 we need to focus on the three states where we control the governorships (on top of the State Parties working hard over the next 4 years) which will bring us up to controlling 22 state governments in total.

In 2024-2026 we need to start to pick up the next 5 states I mentioned (if we haven't gotten them already) and whatever states in the preceding two lists we haven't managed to get.

Finally in 2028-2030 we could pick up the remaining 5 states to gain control of a supermajority of state governments across the country.

A lot can happen in 14 years of course, and it is possible Democrats could make these gains before 2030. I do believe however we should focus as much energy as possible on these local races to gain state governments. This is the only way we are going to be able to get progress on issues which improve the lives of all Americans which the Republicans have blocked for decades.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Race and gender

Nate Silver, who I deeply respect and read frequently released a picture earlier this week showing how the election would look if only men or only women voted this year, to a difference that set off the internet, at least the part of the internet made super liberal people, who tend to be most of my friends.

However, as is so often the case in news, there is a much deeper level to this than meets the eye.

Looking at exit poll data from 2012 we can see that the "gender gap" is very different from what most people imagine it as.

First, Nate Silver is correct about how women voted in 2012, here is the map for reference:

In 2012 (for states which data is available) women voted like so:

This does show some significant swing states in the women vote for Clinton. Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, and potentially a few other states which CNN did not conduct exit polls in 2012.

Nate Silver also demonstrates in the male vote that they are overwhelmingly voting for Trump.

In 2012 however, the male vote regardless of race would have looked like this:
So, according to the latest projections, Trump is projected to pick up the male vote Michigan and Colorado and retain the men in all the other states which Romney won the male vote in 2012.

This gender divide picture changes however when you take into account both race and gender.

White men voted like so:
This shows a large number of massive swing states for Republicans if only white men were allowed to vote. Romney would have won every state (for which I can tell given data limitations) except Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Every other state for which I could find data would have voted for Romney in 2012. This would be approximately 494 electoral college votes for Romeney, leaving only 44 for Obama.

Is the gender divide what changes American politics? Well, white women voted like so:
This would have given Romney many important states, including Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Romney would have won 349 electoral college votes if only white women were eligible to vote. More than enough votes to carry the nomination if voting were limited to white voters only.
With Obama carrying only the northwest and New England given a white only vote, Romney would have won 479 electoral college votes. A landslide victory without question.

The only reason Democrats can win nowadays is with minority voters who form a voter bloc. For every state with data, I find Democrats easily winning the majority of Latino and Black voters, both men and women. The Democrats have become a massive coalition of minorities and white allies since President Johnson, and that is their ticket to winning. This is why Republicans work for voter ID laws, which limit minority turnout. With their opposition to programs which raise people out of poverty, who tend to be disproportionately minority due to centuries of discrimination, there is no wonder why minorities have flocked to Democrats with their support of education, health care, and other essential services that prevent people from falling down completely. 

This is why it is important when studying gender or race to check to see if there is not a lurking variable behind what seems like an easy correlation. The real reason we see more women voting for Democrats is not simply from significant numbers of women flocking to the Democratic party, but from a higher voter turnout among minority women versus minority men. The gender divide is small, but the difference in turnout between minority men and women is large enough to tilt national elections. With millions of African American men incarcerated for minor crimes across the country they are ineligible to vote which does not give the male demographic the Democratic boost needed to also side slightly to the Democratic Party.

For the future this has major consequences for American politics. Hispanic/Latino Americans are growing as a percentage of the population, partly through immigration, and also through a higher birth rate than white Americans. It is now impossible for Republicans to win the Presidency without being accepting and open to these Americans, and they are likely to lose important states such as Arizona and Texas, and Florida is going to be out of reach within 10 years as the demographics shift.

The Republican Party right now is a reactionary party, and Donald Trump represents this reaction from the far right of American politics to a new America which is more diverse than at any other point since independence. With Nate Silver currently giving Clinton an 81.9% chance of winning the election with 322 electoral college votes under their Polls Plus Forecast, this strategy is clearly not working and if Democrats vote down the ballot this year it could be a total catastrophe for the Republican party.

Until the Republican Party becomes less racist the Democrats will retain the Presidency. It is time to focus down the ballot, end gerrymandering and kick the Republicans out of state legislatures as soon as we can. That will probably be in 2022 assuming that there are ballot initiatives in 2018 and 2020 to reform or end gerrymandering. The current initiative in Maine for IRV has the potential to spread across the country like how gay marriage in Maine and Washington spread across the country in the blink of an eye. With ranked voting and multiple members per district in more states, the Democrats and major third parties (eg The Progressive Party) will gain power, forming coalitions and increasing opportunity for everybody. Hopefully these efforts will spread like wildfire, we can change the law to allow (or even require) members of congress to be elected using ranked voting and then we will have governments which reflect the wishes of the people.

This is the foreseeable future of American politics. The racial divide is real and the biggest determinant of which party wins.

CNN Exit Polls 2012

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Affordable Housing Crisis

So often in politics, politicians look for easy answers as opposed to searching for real answers to the problem. We are seeing this right now with the Affordable Housing Crisis

I look around my city of Seattle, and except in downtown there is a very obvious height limit of about 5 stories. We are on a narrow isthmus, and if you go too far east you run into mountains. We have built out all the way to the foothills of the Cascades, but this city is booming so much people still come here from around the Pacific Northwest and the entire nation looking for work. This creates a huge surge of demand for housing, which raises the price of housing. There is an apartment building being built right now in West Seattle at the corner of Fauntleroy and Alaska Street, and its height is modest given the amount of housing Seattle needs right now. I am confident that if Seattle allowed taller buildings that new apartment building would be much taller to fit more people inside.

In our basic supply and demand model we know that if you have an inelastic supply curve your price is going to change rapidly but your quantity of the good is not going to change as rapidly. Like many large cities, Seattle has harsh building codes which make it difficult to build tall buildings outside of downtown. They claim this is to preserve the "character" of the city. The issue with this thought process is it has the cost of reducing the supply of housing in the city. Seattle grew by over 15,000 people in 2014 and 2015, and 2016 will be similarly large. This means that demand for housing is growing rapidly. Ads on Craigslist come down as fast as they go up.

Airbnb is a lifeline for millions of families across the country. When I look at places to stay in other cities, Airbnb is the least expensive place for a comfortable and safe place to stay. Before Airbnb traveling was much more expensive making traveling a true luxury. Also, Airbnb provides income to people across the world so that they can pay their bills, many of whom would not be homeowners without the ability to rent out a room. The irony of all of this is that Airbnb helps the same people people like Senator Warren claims it is hurting. 81% of Airbnb rentals are people sharing their homes with other people, many of whom would be renters if they couldn't voluntarily rent their homes. Seattle's vacancy rate has not changed with the introduction of Airbnb, and it has been a lifeline for millions of Americans.

We need to build high occupancy housing. I don't care if it is designed for low income people or not, because it doesn't matter at the end of the day. Building nicer high quality units will see everyone move up into nicer locations as the price of housing drops. If I have a choice between building good quality units or units designed to be as inexpensive as possible I would rather increase the quantity of good quality units. The microeconomic model does not have an input of quality in determining price, only quantity. I would like new units to be as nice as possible and fit as many people as is reasonable for the space, so that they have a longer lifespan of being relatively up to date, which reduces the costs of upgrading and repairs.

Sure, some people will get rich off of increasing the amount of housing in an area, and this is something that will happen because not everyone will go into the industry. I'm not sure if this is an issue first of all, and find the possibility of having sufficient housing for everyone as one of the three top priorities for our city planners, along with mass transit and basic utilities. This is the real issue at stake, and most cities are failing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Future of Flight

Flying is often seen by environmental activists as a major cause for Global Warming. Many environmentalists get anxious about flying because of the visibility of the greenhouse gases coming out of the plane, and also because it is not something most people do very often. This is why I believe we need to invest in renewable energy for flying to alleviate these fears.

First, some statistics:
The average distance of flights in the United States is currently about 1100 km (700 miles) or about the distance from New York to Chicago.

Out of the most traveled routes in the world, most of them are under 1000 km. The United States is the country with the most passenger miles with 798 million passenger miles flown in 2015. The majority of the passenger miles of these flights were located east of the Mississippi river, like most of the population. A flight with a range of 1000 km would cover most of these routes. A flight with a range of 2000 km would cover every east coast flight.

China has the second largest amount of passenger miles in the world. The Beijing-Shanghai route is the longest and would require a plane with a range of 1500 km to safely make it.  Beijing - Hong Kong is 2000 km which would be sufficient to cover almost every flight in China.

The United Kingdom and Germany are next on the list. 2000 km would be more than sufficient for the vast majority of flights flying from these countries to other European countries and themselves.

Japan’s flights are dominated between its major cities. 1060 km between Sapporo and Osaka is the longest distance between two major cities, so a 1200 km renewable energy airplane would cover almost every domestic flight in Japan.

Brazil’s flights are dominated in the southeast where most of its major cities are. A 2000 km distance would cover most Brazilian domestic routes.

In the United States, transportation was the second leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions (second to electricity generation) composing 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation emissions are dominated by light duty passenger vehicles, generating 60% of transportation emissions for around 15% of total emissions. Aircraft generated 8% of transportation emissions, for a total of 2% of total US greenhouse gas emissions. While airplanes are incredibly visible, the biggest causes of emissions in the US are from our cars and electricity generation.

I believe we need to invest in renewable energy for flying, and this would make a proportionally small dent in our total carbon emissions. But stopping flying alone will not do enough. We need to divest from coal now, and invest in clean renewable energy for electricity generation to knock out over a third of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is the most effective use of our time, which is increasingly limited. We need to have the Federal government stop issuing permits for coal and gas powered power plants immediately and invest heavily into solarizing every other roof in the United States. We need to build geothermal plants and nuclear across the country to reduce our carbon footprint.

We need to invest in fuel cell and electric cars immediately to eliminate another 26% of our greenhouse gas emissions and build the infrastructure we need to develop this technology as soon as possible. We need to push and make it so that there is a date by which we will ban the sale of gasoline in the United States as soon as we feasibly can. Combined between these two tactics will eliminate over 50% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Another 21% can be eliminated by focusing on American industry and reducing the emissions from our factories. Using renewable energy to power our factories instead of the way we do it today. This three pronged approach will eliminate 78% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions as opposed to 2% by not flying.

We don't have a choice if we are serious about combating Global Warming. We must divest from coal now.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Time to work down the ballot

Trump with his latest move has made his final mistake. He has alienated people of every minority over the last year, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, and with his latest train of disgusting degrading remarks he is now losing the support of the Republican Party, with some calling for him to withdraw from the race.

What is striking about this is how none of these types of comments are new for Trump to say on cable news. What is different this time is how he is not targeting a racial group but all women in the world. The modern Republican Party endorsed Trump through all of his racist comments and openness to his bigotry over the last year. They have shown they do not care about Black Lives, Muslims, Hispanics, Native Americans, or anyone who is not white to be honest. Their unwillingness to stand for all Americans and support of a blatantly racist candidate makes them the most despicable party in this country over the last 150 years.

Trump is going to lose. He is a racist rapist who doesn't deserve any time on the news. Only the Democratic Party has shown that it is willing to at the bare minimum to oppose people like Donald Trump and vote for things like the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Granted, the Democratic Party has a lot of room to improve and need to be better about passing legislation with their important pieces intact, in cases including the Affordable Care Act, and voting against legislation which is opposed to American principles, including the PATRIOT ACT. But these are small issues compared to the amount that Donald Trump has already destroyed our civil discourse and wants to move our country backwards. The Republican Party supports him so I must assume this means they support his policies as well.

We need to vote down the ballot and kick out as many Republicans as possible. We need to elect strong progressives in local, state, and Federal offices this year if we are to move our country forward. The President gets all of the headlines, but Congress as a body is just as powerful as she is. Most Presidents in history are former Senators or Governors (Clinton, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, and Roosevelt all were either a Senator or Governor before becoming President) meaning the 46th President is already in office somewhere. Senators and Governors usually are State Legislators when they are elected to Federal Office for the first time, and those individuals grow their campaigns originally through being leaders in their local communities years before they run for office.

The President who will be elected in 2028 is currently in their 30s right now somewhere in the country. This individual is possibly running for a state legislature seat right now in some state in this country. This individual is starting their political career which will catapult them to the Presidency this year only if people get out to vote. Elections down the ballot matter because a future President is running for a legislative seat this year and the only way they are going to lead the United States as President is if they get elected in a month. Do you want that individual to be a progressive fighting for the Bill of Rights and opportunity, or yet another corporate tool who believes that unlimited money in elections is a good thing and that internet surveillance works? (hint: Generals in the military say it doesn't) The only way we are going to be able to secure our future is if we vote for our local races this year all the way down to that boring county commissioner position, which is actually a very important role for determining land use and many other services we rely on everyday. Great leaders in American history start at the bottom, as community organizers gathering petition signatures as they move up the food chain. We get the leaders we deserve by who we elect into those positions.

Please fill out your ballot. Your county needs you.

I support I 732

Last year as I was finishing my degree in political economy, I learned of a new initiative from Yoram Bauman to implement a carbon tax in Washington State, and immediately started to gather signatures during my summer in Olympia a few times. It is the first initiative I ever supported to this extent.

After studying economics for two years, I have learned that carbon taxes are the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. You get more revenue than you will from a cap and trade scheme, and when we compare British Columbia and California, two similar west coast regions with abundant sources for generating electricity in renewable ways, we see that one of them has implemented carbon taxes, and one a cap and trade. Both California and British Columbia saw a reduction in their carbon emissions both per capita and in total, since the implementation of these schemes, despite growing economies, and a nationwide trend in the US of increasing emissions.

When it comes to the efficiency of schemes however, economists know that carbon taxes are better for a couple key advantages 1. It is harder to give special deals to political benefactors, 2. It impacts everybody's emissions regardless of size, 3. It taxes every ton of carbon equally, and 4. it is easier to implement because you don't need yet another level of bureaucracy handing out permits. Carbon taxes and Cap and trade can be adjusted (assuming you don't have a policy like the ridiculous laws put in place by Tim Eyman here in Washington) to get the desired amount of carbon reduction, so at the end of the day either one can be used to get the desired amount of carbon reduction, as we see in the California vs. BC example.

When it comes to inequality, I 732 is the second best initiative we could have, only a state income tax could be more effective in addressing inequality. Washington State is the most regressive state in the country when it comes to our tax system because of our sales tax. This means that I 732 is going to put more money in the hands of young parents, children, college students, and minorities by reducing their tax rate by at least 1%. Sierra Club opposes the initiative saying it doesn't do enough, but they are opposing something good because it isn't as much as they want.

Here is the reality. I want an income tax in Washington State and to invest more into renewable energy. This is the reason why I support I 732. By increasing the price of carbon based fuel sources it will give a larger economic advantage to renewable energy which will help spur solar, geothermal, and other carbon neutral electricity sources in Washington State. We currently have one coal powered plant in the State, the TransAlta Plant in Centralia, which is responsible for 19% of Washington State's emissions by itself. Transportation is the biggest contributor to climate change in Washington State by far, accounting for 42% of our total emissions, and between a carbon tax and a cap and trade scheme, the carbon tax is the only one which I know will impact our largest source of emissions. By increasing the cost of carbon people will drive less.

The Carbon Tax is the first step to fixing our broken tax system. We need to replace our sales tax in full with an income tax. With the additional increase provided by a state income tax we can then invest in education, create tax credits for renewable energy, build our mass transit system faster, and shut down the TransAlta Plant in Centralia. We could even create a small universal basic income which would benefit poor families.

If Washington State passes the Carbon Tax it will make it easier to make further improvements to our tax system which will allow us to increase investment in infrastructure and education, both of which are severely lacking, and are critical the future quality of life of our state.

Vote yes on I 732 for a better Washington next month.

Extra sources
Washington State Emissions by source