Person #2547: 106 Posts

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  1. Races is demographically important in voting patterns (0 Replies)

    Within given age demographics there are racial distinctions in voting patterns.

    For example, there has been a seismic shift in the political allegiances of Asian voters, from largely voting Republican to voting as solid Democrats. In a similar case Pew estimates George Bush received roughly 40% of the Latino vote in 2004. For a number of reasons, this dynamic has partially reversed.

    This demonstrates the fallacy of demographic wishful thinking.

    Back to baby boomers; As to support, Nixon received 51% of the Boomer vote in 1968 and 53% IN 1972, per the American National Election Studies tables.

  2. Alas, Tom you're mistaken (1 Reply)

    A majority of white baby boomers supported Nixon in 1972, as did those boomers twenty-one and older in 1968. To quote pollster John Zogby:

    Baby boomers changed the world, ended a war, created a new culture of values and morphed our style and politics with every move of the Beatles. In the end, it was all rock and roll to us. We won the right to vote, and then turned around and voted for Nixon.

    And their younger brothers and sisters were even more conservative. Per Pew:

    Older Baby Boomers, who came of age during Richard Nixon’s presidency, are more Democratic in their voting. But younger Boomers have been significantly more Republican than average in their party affiliation and voting preferences. The younger half of the Boomer generation came of age during a period of disillusionment with Democrat Jimmy Carter and during the beginning of the popular presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan. In this regard, younger Boomers have more in common with the older portion of Generation X, whose formative political experiences occurred during the later Reagan presidency and the early years of George H. W. Bush, than with older Boomers.

    And, to put this in perspective, it should be remembered that a majority of white millennials voted for Romney in 2012. Again, per Pew:

    Only 44% of white voters under 30 backed Obama, while 51% voted for Romney

  3. Some good advice that we should consider (1 Reply)

    …from The Democratic Strategist:

    The Clinton and Sanders campaigns will have to sharpen their offense, now that it is clear that theirs is a close race. But surely both campaigns “get it” that maintaining a high tone — and a unified party — will serve them well in November.

  4. Just remember the Tip O' Neill Rules: (0 Replies)

    1) All politics is local

    2) If you want someone’s support, you gotta ask.

    Have fun. Apropos which, let me add Simmons’ corollary:

    Politics is the only game for grownups.

  5. Obama in his own words: (2 Replies)

    As Bruce Bartlett, Reagan’s economic advisor, pointed out in 2011:

    Here are a few examples of Obama’s effective conservatism:

    His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
    He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;

    He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;

    He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;

    And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.

    Further evidence can be found in the writings of outspoken liberals such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has condemned Obama’s conservatism ever since he took office

    Obama is governing precisely as he promised to govern.

  6. Western Massachusetts is a victim of class politics (1 Reply)

    Because state government – and state elites – don’t respect the region (“gateway city” rhetoric notwithstanding), municipal government has to take up the slack.

    Hence high tax levies per resident.

  7. Relative to Washington, Adams, Jeffeson, et al. (1 Reply)

    From the US Constitution, Article II, Section 1 (emphasis added):

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

  8. Realpolitik is not a synonym for lying (1 Reply)

    …particularly in a State election year.

    Let me refer you to the results of the 2014 gas tax referendum, where the “yes” vote to repeal indexing the gas tax to inflation won despite being outspent 34 -1. I mention in passing that the repeal of an existing user fee was supported by the vote in 246 of the Commonwealth’s 351 municipalities, despite the resulting and self-evidently foreseeable damage to the State’s infrastructure.

    While work around the upcoming “millionaire tax” constitutional amendment might change this dynamic, the fact remains that, at present, increased taxes are seen by many legislative incumbents, including – privately – many progressives, as politically toxic within their Districts.

    Like it or not, most of the electeds (in both Houses) have reason to believe that, given a choice between reduced services and higher taxes, most of their constituents will opt for the former. In the case of the Governor, it would be unrealistic for him to renege on a core political promise, which arguably got him elected.

    While one can oppose the Governor and Speaker on this matter, neither of them are lying. The issue goes to a greater problem: Many voters see little to no collateral benefit to increased government spending. Rather than cursing the symptoms, progressives would be well advised to address the disease.

  9. Typo correction: (0 Replies)

    “now and when the FY 15 budget was passed and signed.”

  10. These are operating premises (2 Replies)

    …and subject to correction.

    Furthermore, I’ll have to do some research on the line-item-by-line-item cost/benefits before I attempt to answer your enumerated questions.

    To the questions in your last paragraph:

    The cuts, IMO, are a signal to the bond rating agencies, as opposed to structural solutions. It must be noted that the Commonwealth (which was ninth from the bottom of the fifty states) could only run for a couple of weeks at the end of FY15 on its existing reserve funds, and those funds are lower now.

    The Commonwealth has a very good credit ratings, which presumably it wants to keep in the face of this year’s income tax reduction to 5.1% and increase in the earned income tax credit.

    The rest of the shortfall is presumed, based upon revenue forecasts.

    There is nothing (as far as I know) structurally different now then when the FY16 budget was passed and signed.

  11. Here's an alternative link (1 Reply)

    to an A&F Pdf file here.

    The total deficit is based on projections, not current accounts, and may not include $55 million in non-tax revenue – mostly federal reimbursements – nor does it factor in possible increased tax revenues.

    The deficit projections have been expected since the beginning of the fiscal year in July, so it doesn’t affect the political dynamic re: taxes on Beacon Hill one way or the other. By default, the “no new taxes” folk (among House leadership and Senate rank and file) remain in the catbird seat, as of now.

  12. Here's the Cliff Notes Explanation (2 Replies)

    There was federal money available for subway/LRV construction, but the grant qualifications were loosely written. The Commonwealth submitted a proposal for grant money in the name of a bus route called the “Silver Line”.

    The mode notwithstanding, the request fit the criteria (as written by the feds). Using a term associated with subways covered the MBTA by fulfilling the letter (if not the spirit) of the applicable DOT regulations.

    Voila, rail money going to finance a bus route.

  13. I repeat, for hopefully the last time. (1 Reply)

    My reference to rights-of-way does not refer to GLX, but structural constraints to LRV expansion elsewhere.

  14. Your history is correct (3 Replies)

    .. with the following qualifications:

    Specifically, there was an inside-outside game going on. The City was pretty upfront with people who took the time to create personal relationships within the Boston Transportation Department and the BRA. The trolley restoration activists (who alienated the line professionals within City government) were played like a fiddle. A small number of community residents consistently tried to warn said activists, but were ignored and marginalized. Furthermore, by the mid nineties (when I became involved), the political dynamic had degenerated to the point that policy concerns were secondary to screwing JP activists for the pure political fun of it all. Community sentiment in favor of service restoration ironically intensified the dynamic, because the activists presumed political player status that (from the Menino Administration’s point of view) they hadn’t earned.

    A few City officials tried to discreetly warn the activists about this but were consistently insulted in public meetings; which reinforced City Hall’s hostility to restoration.

    Because the activists were structurally isolated from the grassroots, there was no political downside for either Mayor Menino or the MBTA.

    To sum up, what happened wasn’t even political hardball, because the activists’ insularity and arrogance did the City’s work, with limited heavy lifting required.

    That precedent is why I’ve been trying to point out that GLX is not a done deal politically, nor is the mitigation agreement sufficient in isolation to insure its implementation.

  15. You misunderstand my position. (1 Reply)

    I made a point of stating my lack of opposition to GLX; among other places
    here, here, and here.

    I normally think simple declarative sentences are sufficient to communicate a position, but let me repeat:

    I’m not suggesting that Green Line expansion be abandoned.

    What I am saying is that the politics of the issue have to be addressed, and that one-size-fits-all makes for bad public policy. In the absence of existing rights-of-way or other physical preconditions, there are issues with light rail. When those preconditions are met, LRV modes are more efficient than buses. Since transportation planning is an exercise in squeezing the balloon, issues of existing traffic patterns and collateral economic effects also need to be in the mix.

    I’m also saying that, irrespective of legal mandates, a three billion dollar project will not self-manifest.

    Let’s presume, for the sake of argument, that there is a means of cutting the overrun by fifty percent. That still leaves half a billion dollars. That creates conditions for a best-case thought experiment: How are the citizens of the Commonwealth (and their elected representatives) going to react to cuts in their pet programs – in an election year, with new taxes off the table – while the MBTA gets an additional $1.5 billion?

    I am not saying that GLX won’t get built; I’m saying that the project is not a certainty.

  16. The JP settlement was in 1990 and reaffirmed in 2000 (1 Reply)

    From the September 13, 1994 Boston Globe:

    The largest mitigation deal of them all was an agreement with the Conservation Law Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group, wherein the state committed itself to a string of improvements to the MBTA system that are projected to cost $3.6 billion by the time of their scheduled completion in the year 2010. The $3.6 billion expense, which is not part of the $7.7 billion artery/tunnel project, will be shared between the state and federal governments in a ratio not yet determined.

    These transit projects, most of which had already been in some stage of planning, included restoration of the three Old Colony commuter lines and extension of the commuter line from Framingham to Worcester. They were sold to the public as a strategy to clean up the air that project opponents contended the new Central Artery would foul.

    In 2000 as a term of settlement to a lawsuit brought by the Conservation Law Foundation, and affirmed by an Administrative Consent Order the Commonwealth committed to specific projects, including restoration of service between Heath Street and Arborway.

    In addition, service restoration was included under the terms of Massachusetts compliance with the State Implementation Plan for the Clean Air Act.

  17. Actually JP service restoration was part of the same agreement (1 Reply)

    …and reinforced by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the City and the MBTA.

  18. Let me clarify (2 Replies)

    My reference to rights of way as a response to “Buses are impractical and non-scalable”.

    This is not always true for the reasons I cited above. Within cities buses are often more efficient and scalable than LRVs. My reference to rights-of-way was in the context of light rail urban mass transit in general, not GLX as a a specific project.

    Tom’s post reinforces my point that the politics of achieving GLX are conditional on the available State-side financing of the project. Since current estimates show $2 billion in costs in addition to the federal dollars; and since it is unlikely that the Legislature will support appropriating the total necessary moneys at a time of budget cuts; and because political support for mass transit in the abstract is limited outside of the MBTA service area, it is unwise to pin one’s hope solely on Big Dig mitigation.

    Regarding E-Line restoration: I was in the middle of that mess. I read the traffic studies generated at the time (in addition to spending more time than I care to remember speaking to traffic engineers – both at the Boston Traffic Department and elsewhere). The data indicated that automobile ownership (at the time) had increased sixfold in Jamaica Plain since the shutdown of service to Arborway in 1987. which further increased existing congestion in the corridor. Given the comparatively narrow streets, light rail obstructed traffic on the Center Street – South Street corridor more than buses (which could pull to the curb).

    Insofar as “dishonesty” is concerned what occurred was worse: Back in the nineties, the City and MBTA people with whom I spoke had no problem at all bluntly stating that service between Heath Street and Arborway would not be restored. They also had no problem indulging the fantasies of those who thought otherwise.