What Would Margaret Chase Smith Have Done?

The first national election in which I voted was 1972, the year that Margaret Chase Smith lost her U.S. Senate seat to Bill Hathaway.  I am sure I must have voted for Hathaway, largely because of Senator Smith’s dogged support for American policies in Vietnam. My early political inclinations notwithstanding, I find the Margaret Chase […]

Cook with Olive Oil, Kill Birds

The theory of efficient markets, when applied beyond financial markets, is proposed by those who bridle against government regulation of business.  Their idea is that markets will punish bad behavior of individual firms or even whole industries and thus create incentives for firms to produce goods and services without harming employees, consumers, or the environment.  […]

The Economics of Nature

We went for the first time this year to the Orono Bog Boardwalk on Monday morning.  This is an absolute gem of a resource for the Penobscot Valley community, giving people easy access to a part of our Acadian landscape that is not often so easily visited.  If you have never been there you will […]

Right Wing or Left Wing – There Are Still No Free Lunches

Readers of Stirring the Pot know that I am deeply concerned about the issues of global climate change and inequality in the United States.  Climate change, or the larger issue of global change, is an existential threat to modern human civilization.  Inequality strikes at the very heart of the American ideal of “liberty and justice […]

One Lesson NOT to Take from France’s “Yellow Vest” Protests

One narrative about the Yellow Vest protests in France is that politicians should not adopt energy taxes to change behaviors that lead to climate change.  In this telling, the political costs of wise energy policy are too high.  This is an overly simple reading of the French experience and is a convenient excuse for those […]

What Climate Change and the U.S. Federal Deficit Have in Common

Let’s start with two facts. First, the human population continues to change in unprecedented ways how the Earth’s systems function.  Originally this was called global warming.  The realization that changes in the global climate included more than just temperature changes led to use of the term climate change.  Now we understand that more in nature […]

Inequality and Concern for the Environment

If you have read Stirring the Pot blog very much (thank you), you will have noticed two persistent themes —  inequality and the environment. Examples of bogs on inequality include: Class Warfare? Shame on Us The Crisis of Our Age: Part II Welfare Economics Among those on environmental issues are: When Did We Stop Worrying […]

Lessons From Seaweed

Most Mainers know something about seaweed, some of what they know might even be true.  My mother sang the praises of dulse in her diet, though I recall that she rarely ate it.  My father used what we called rockweed from the shores of Penobscot Bay to enrich his vegetable garden.  R.P.T. Coffin describes the […]

Your Tax Dollars at Work

We know when it is a Congressional election year.  Like clockwork, in the mail arrives a letter from Maine Second District Representative Bruce Poliquin.  The envelope boldly declares: “Public Document  Official Business.” At first the letter is a puzzle.  What “official business” do we have with this office? Then we remember.  Mr. Poliquin uses the […]