Oregon House Democrats release "Job Creation and Family Support Plan"

Carla Axtman

In a Salem press conference today, House Speaker-Designee Dave Hunt and Majority Leader Mary Nolan rolled out the Dems initial plan for job creation and family support. The outline is brief and in some cases a little thin in specifics, but here are the high points:

*Push up the start dates for already budgeted/approved construction projects
*Increase bonding to jump start process for more projects
*Affordable housing construction program
*Apprenticeships and job training with BOLI, unions, schools, etc.
*"Modernize" Oregon's transportation system
*Create opportunites for green energy markets in-state.
*Increase the number of insured children and families
*Expand unemployment insurance
*Retrain displaced workers, veterans and single parents
*Expand access to higher education
*Renewable energy investment via biomass
*Increase Farm-to-School program
*Encourage innovation and collaboration with investment in rural communities and vocations such as forestry, fishing and manufacturing.

You can see the plan as sent out by the House Dems here.

I don't know that there's much I can add to this yet. What I've seen so far doesn't include enough meat to really understand exactly what they'd like to do. That said, it does seem like they're heading in a good direction.

Do you see some holes in the overarching plan? Are they on the right track?

  • (Show?)

    I'd just like to see them ensure that "affordable housing" means affordable houses - not cheap apartments.

    For too long the answer to affordable housing has been apartments. As such, many of our lower income residents and families are stuck in apartments instead of being able to afford their own homes. Not only does this not help them put roots down in their community, it also means that benefits that homeowners can take advantage of (like deductions on their taxes, being able to upgrade appliances to more energy efficient ones, etc.) are unavailable to them.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)

    I generally like the list.

    To the extent that projects or programs are funded from current tax revenues, there is arguably no net economic stimulus or job creation, just a shift of jobs from the general private sector to the targeted program sector. So most of the programs proposed should stand on fall on their own merits, not on their job creation aspect. Fortunately, in my opinion, most do.

    Both the use of bonding and use of federal match to fund programs do bring new money to Oregon, and, therefore, will create jobs. But projects funded by bonding, presumably, do require repayment out a future revenue streams. If the future revenue stream is general taxes, I see no reason to limit the projects to construction projects. We should fund projects that emphasize the type of employment we want to build our future economic around, the creative knowledge worker. It seems a little old fashion to me to think only in terms of construction projects. And it won’t serve us well in the long run.

    Democrats should not talk about “Preparing for the future” without mentioning China and the changes taking place in the international economy. China’s economy is estimate to become the size of the US economy in 2035 and twice as large in 2050. The emerging economies all around the globe are creating a new middle class of 2-3 billion. They are each a possible new customer of businesses in Oregon. The Democrats need to invigorate the public K-12 world (foreign) language curriculum, especially expanding Mandarin programs. And they need to pass a High School Study Abroad Scholarship Program which could permit local school districts, if they wish, to use state and local public funds to send high school students to study abroad. To “encourage innovation,” as the House Democrats propose, they themselves need to innovate in passing this program. Oregon’s future is in the international market. We need the Democrats to step up with innovative world language programs that take Oregon’s next generations to that future.

  • (Show?)

    We only have so much land, Jenni. Houses are the main cause of sprawl. While I admit I own a house up here in Oregon, I never owned one prior to that. Condos are perfectly fine. In fact, they're pretty typical in Europe. New York too.

    The issue isn't condo vs house. Its one of ownership.

  • Dan Gicker (unverified)

    I think a hole in the plan would be a statement to encourage development of manufacturing of renewable energy infrastructure like windmills and solar panels. I find it odd that they picked biomass without mentioning wind and solar. Doing so may position Oregon for federal investment since Obama has mentioned wind and solar in his infrastructure investment proposals.

  • Evan Manvel (unverified)

    The term "modernization" of roads means many things to many people, but was probably developed when folks realized that road expansion actually doesn't poll all that well.

    If we're talking intelligent transportation systems, value pricing, naked streets, complete streets, traffic calming and the like, great! If we're talking billions for new roads that encourage sprawl while our existing roads are falling apart, and our transportation system remains the leading cause of deaths for young people, not so great.

  • disappointed (unverified)

    As an environmental advocate, I'm concerned that the Dem agenda has missed the mark on 'healthy forests.' Biomass is no silver bullet. Its already being subsidized at both the federal and state levels, and even then typically doesn't make economic sense except in limited scenarios.

    Four million acres in Oregon can't be economically thinned for 'renewable energy,' not without major environmental damage. The price of diesel alone makes it uneconomical to haul brush and otherwise unmerchantable trees out of remote forests.

    In many parts of Oregon, the only way to make biomass remotely economical is to also pull out big trees along with the brush. When you start doing that, you stop creating 'healthy forests' and start causing serious environmental problems: lasting damage to fragile forest soils, spreading flammable invasive species, damaging clean water and fish habitat, releasing carbon stored in soils, and potentially making fire risk worse by removing shading overstory trees.

    Let's hope the Dems are sensible about this and don't just throw subsidies at the timber industry or encourage unsustainable logging under the guise of 'renewable energy' and 'healthy forests.' We've just had 8 years of that coming from the White House. Time to turn the page and focus on rural economic diversification and job-creating forest restoration that includes pulling out crumbling old logging roads and fish-passage blocking culverts. Forest restoration isn't just about trees, its about actively restoring rivers, fish, clean water, and either properly maintaining or systematically removing the network of thousands of miles of erosion-causing roads left behind in the timber industry's wake. It took heavy machinery and decades to put in those roads, it will take heavy machinery and create decades of work in rural Oregon to pull them out.

    Propping up the timber industry won't save rural Oregon. The lumber market is in the tank, and mills are slowing down and laying off shifts because of low demand and prices. The mills are full of logs, with nowhere to sell them.

    Focusing on logging, which it seems like the Dems may be doing, instead of focusing on rural economic diversification, is just taking us down the same old road of boom-bust economics that leaves a path of environmental destruction and lower quality of life in its wake.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    I think Jenni has a good point. Traditionally stimulus has been directed at all the likely targets, rightly so, but there should be recognition that we're so long neglected that jump starting middle class aspirations isn't as ambitious as it might sound and well worth it.

  • (Show?)

    More often that not, condos are little more than an apartment that you own. Heck, a large number of those that are around are exactly that - with some appliance upgrades and maybe some upgrades to flooring, cabinets, and countertops. And then they were sold (and then often times rented out by the owner).

    You still often have many of the same problems of living in an apartment, such as no private yard space, sharing walls, etc. The only difference is now you own your unit.

    I've lived in an apartment for nearly a decade. I hate living in one, why would I buy one? Raising a family in one is a nightmare. You end up with noisy upstairs neighbors who constantly wake up your baby. You have neighbors who play loud music in the next room when you're sick in bed. You have no yard that is yours. And any amenities like the pool, playground, etc. have to be shared with everyone. In your own yard you get to decide who gets in the pool, plays on the swing set, etc. And you can keep teenagers from harassing your 6 year-old while she's in the pool (or doing cannonballs right next to your 3 month-old).

    I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who like living in a condo, which is fine by me. I never mentioned the word condo in my previous statement - I said apartments. As in rental units. Whenever affordable housing is coming into town, it almost always ends up being apartments.

    There's a whole sense of community and belonging when you have your own little house with your own little yard that you can put a garden or whatever into. When you can have a small fenced yard for your dog and kids to run around in. There's a reason why the American dream includes owning your own house.

    People who live in big cities like NYC may be fine living in condos, but I'd imagine if you ask most residents here in Oregon which they'd rather live in, a house will win out most of the time.

    As to the topic of sprawl...

    There are plenty of us who never want to live in a big city. We want to live in smaller communities, but be close enough to large cities for entertainment, work, and the like. We didn't move from the big city out into the "suburbs" - often times we actually moved from smaller cities to be closer to the big city. But we don't want to live in the big city. We didn't sprawl out, we moved closer.

    And a big reason why more and more people are moving out of Portland and into the suburbs isn't so much about houses in general. It's about finding housing in a safe area that is affordable. When it comes to areas like NYC, they move out because houses aren't available at all, so they move to where they are. The more you encourage condos and apartments and have fewer and fewer homes, the more people are going to move to the suburbs where there are homes to be bought.

    But regardless, we shouldn't tell lower income people that sorry, your only opportunity to own where you live is to buy condo (apartment unit).

  • (Show?)

    To the enviros on the list with the biomass thing--I think I might owe you all a cursory apology. There are things in the enviro section that aren't just biomass--that's just what caught my eye. For a more accurate look, you should click the link to the initial proposal, which does talk about other types of renewable energy creation.

  • RW (unverified)

    I'm all for all of it. Now: they plan to pay for this how?

    Just asking.

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)

    I've got to agree with Jenni Simonis regarding the affordable housing issue. Most of the affordable housing I've heard of is just what she says, rental appartments, not condos that a person could buy and definately not stand alone houses.

    I agree that affordable housing should include affordable houses on lots. Owning a house does foster a sense of ownership of the neighborhood, greater responsibility, stability of the neighborhood's population, etc.. I don't see this so much in areas where there are lots of appartment complexes and a highly mobile, housing wise, population.

    The way to deal with sprawl, in my opinion, is not so much to increase density, but to encourage job creation along with development, so we don't have so many people living in one area and working in another that is 20-30 miles away. Those jobs need to be stable also, because the downside of home ownership, if that's what you want, is that if you loose your job and the next one is a ways off from where you live, you can't just pick up and move in a month or so like you usually can in an appartment.

    As for the farm to school program, I'm all for it as long as it doesn't come with mandatory NAIS registration. That was floated while the 2008 farm bill was in the works and I think that Hillary Clinton and some of the other democratic candidates were endorsing mandatory NAIS participation for that during the primaries. Caused all sorts of hoo and cry among farmers, especially the small scale ones.

  • rw (unverified)

    For the non-insiders: what is NAIS?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Besides the necessity of addressing urban bloat, now, it may be the golden opportunity. I don't use the term "sprawl" because it connotes a meandering, laxidaisical, lazy flow, rather than something motivated. Certainly not driven, and, personally, I think that white flight accounts for the aggresive push out from the urban center.

    When I say white flight, I don't just mean middle class racism. It was the first cause, but the model continues in the guise of different issues, I believe. The common denominator is fleeing a situation that has become untenable rather than staying and fixing it. School voucher programs to support private schools would be a good example of something that I would call white flight.

    If we can elect a black President, maybe we can get over the legacy of white flight as well. It's time we stop neocons from drawing lines in the sand in Iraq and start drawing some in our own neighborhoods. If you think this is "the right's" disease, check out the number of students at (fill in your favorite progressive small college) this year that hail from gated communities.

  • Jason (unverified)

    I'm skeptical. As one who lives on the east side of the Cascades, I've watched over the years how the interests of rural Oregon is constantly superseded by the urban population base in the Willamette Valley.

    With the exception of Ron Wyden, most urban lawmakers in Salem completely ignore the interests of rural citizens. It's become obvious over the decades that most urban politicians basically see Oregon as consisting of the I-5 corridor from Eugene to Portland.

    Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, said the following in today's Bend Bulletin:

    “The Democrats’ idea of rural economic development is to issue better press releases,” he said. “After having nearly destroyed timber dependent communities, they are now contemplating the destruction of fishing communities via ocean reserves and manufacturing communities through carbon cap and trade policies.”

    "Democrats are not going to connect in any positive way with rural Oregon if they continue to hatch plans behind closed doors in Salem, he said."

    I'm sure most of you here will lambaste Ferrioli for his comments, which is to be expected. I'm not saying I completely agree with him, but most laws passed in Salem usually benefit the west side of the Cascades at the expense of rural, Eastern Oregon communities.

  • (Show?)

    With the exception of Ron Wyden, most urban lawmakers in Salem completely ignore the interests of rural citizens. It's become obvious over the decades that most urban politicians basically see Oregon as consisting of the I-5 corridor from Eugene to Portland.

    I think this is demonstrably false. And its also unnecessarily continuing to try to drive the wedge between urban and rural Oregonians.

    There are some things where urban and rural interests will not agree--and lawmakers are there to represent their constituents, so rural will get what it seeks less often. But they're not roundly dismissed and they're certainly not forgotten by any means.

    Ferrioli's commentary is not helpful whatsoever. To take an automatically combative stance, especially when there's a clear effort on the part of the Dems on job creation for rural Oregon--is frankly dishonest and counterproductive.

  • (Show?)

    Ted does his job as he sees it. He is a partisan (maybe The Partisan)and his main skillset is around marketing.

    He's no more interested in The Facts than Karl Rove is, and of course driving wedges is what has worked for these guys for three decades now.

    They were successful in deflecting the blame for the decline in Oregon's timber industry from the woodlot and mill owners onto the evil enviro activists in the 80s.

    When the Klamath Falls farmer vs fishermen thing went off, they were there again, blaming the liberals for what was essentiially a structural problem based on the feds giving away farm land for which there was no viable irrigation option post WWII.

    This line of attack has been useful for them for a long time.

    Not surprising that he does what he's always done.

  • rw (unverified)

    Joanne or someone: for a non-insider, please decompress your acronym. NAIS, please? I do not know what it means, and most of the time I am figuring out all of the insider-lexicographical acronyms without asking.

    Thank you for the courtesy. What is NAIS?

  • (Show?)


    The Google is your littul fren here. Type in NAIS, like I did and bearing in mind that from context it has something to do with schools:

    National Association of Independent Schools.

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)

    Pat Ryan - The NAIS I'm talking about is not the National Association of Independent Schools

    RW - The NAIS I refered to is the National Animal ID System. If fully implemented as USDA and other private corporations, World Trade Organization, and others, originally envisioned, the NAIS will require the registration with the state and federal governments, property where any livestock or poultry are kept, both for commercial and noncomercial producers/animal owners, individually ID every one of those animals to government of privately held databases, except those animals that move through production systems as groups/lots (as in poultry CAFOs), and will require that the movements of those animals be reported to either federal animal movement databases or privately held databases, animal movements include births, deaths, and sightings by veterinarians. Think Real ID combined with the type of surveillance that sex offenders are supposed to comply with, only this is for livestock and poultry and their owners.

    Implementation of the NAIS as a mandatory system has been met with substantial resistance from both noncommercial and commercial livestock and poultry owners, who have been fighting mandatory NAIS implementation on both the state and federal levels for 3 years.

    During the presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton and some other democratic candidates, (I don't remember whether or not Barak Obama did or not) supported requiring local livestock/poultry producers register with the NAIS in order to participate in the Farm to School food programs - this was shortly after the Westland/Hallmark cow abuse video released by HSUS. There was substantial pushback on the part of small, local producers as well as some national producer organizations, most notably R-CALF, to quash that position, although I don't know if anyone was actually seriously considering requiring NAIS participation for farm to school food programs, or if that was jut something that the candidates were throwing out. It did, however, have a direct bearing on how some people voted.

    NAIS implementation is a pretty substantial issue in the ag industries right now, especially with the small, local producers.

  • rw (unverified)

    My mentor in HIV/AIDS NIH research taught me this first question: "What is my bias?"

    And so I ask the questions so that I do no9t waste time! Thanks for being nice about it Pat. And thanks Joanne. You folks use a lot of acronyms, frankly, and I rarely ask, but try to figure it out. But it is not contexted, so I am still very much of nowhere since "context" up here consists of arguments and contrary-wise pummelings. Not a lot of "discussion" sometimes! :)....so your disquisition is much welcome.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    I think Jason makes a point that you can hear in a lot of states. You can cite individual policy decisions, but I think it's much simpler. If you compare the US Presidential red/blue map and the US House red/blue map, they bear very little resemblance. Pols insist on talking and thinking in terms of the Presidential map, for obvious process reasons, but the House map is the reality on the ground. I'm tired of hearing friends in Texas say "well it's easier for you, Cali and Oregon and Washing are such blue states". No they're not. Look at the House map. Cascadia is a very, very blue strip in a sea of bedrock red conservativism. It doesn't even extend south of the Bay Area.

    This is the only result in a non-parliamentary democracy with increasing urban population. Unless you're ready to redraw the states or discard one body one vote for a weighted average, based on merit...

    Ultimately, one has to believe though, that if society survives largely intact through the next 50 years, that remote work and tele-everything and virtual whatever you want- I'm holding out for the pizza printer- will become the norm. Maybe I'm a hopeless 19th century romantic or communist, but I have to think that most urbanites would flee to the idyll of the countryside. So, rural Oregon, it gets worse. Either society collapses or those opinionated valley folk are going to be moving in next door. Seriously, though, a good one-generation argument for this generation, at least, to keep the family store!

  • joshua Welch (unverified)

    Why would we want to "encourage investment" into energy intensive unsustainable industries like fishing? How about encouraging investment into a mostly plant-based food system in Oregon? Healthy for the environment, healthy for humans.

    Sooner or later we will be forced to move to a mostly plant-based food system because we won't have the clean water or energy to waste on unsustainable, environmentally destructive means of producing food like raising animals for food.

    Animal agriculture accounts for 18% of green-house gases. The entire transportation industry accounts for only 14%.

    Animal agriculture is the #1 polluter of waterways.

    You can feed 30-40 people healthy plant-based meals with the resources it takes to feed one meat and dairy eater.

    Average water used for one vehetarian/vegan meal: 2-300 gallons
    Average water used for meat and dairy meal" 3-5000 gallons

    Animal agriculture/Fishing is not progressive and should certainly not be "encouraged" by our government. And yes, locally raised free range grass fed animals are less energy intensive and require less water, still way more resources than locally grown plant food.

    Once you consider the inherent cruelty with industrial animal agriculture (over 95% of the industry) it's a no brainer.

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)

    Joshua - Remember the balance.

    Plants can't sustainably exist with out animals and animals can't sustainably exist without plants.

    Under the existing industrial high density animal agricultural model in the industrialised world, animal ag does contribute an inordinate ammount of pollution, as it consumes an innordinate ammount of energy- fossil energy, and water. Also, under the current model in the USA and other industrialised countries, plant agriculture is dependant on high water useage and petroleum - fossil energy.

    Sustainable agriculture is polyculture, not animal only or plant only. The balance should be maintained......

  • rw (unverified)

    Joanne: thank you for addressing that. I did not have the energy. It's a fallacy that extremist vegetarians promulgate that the human body is utterly unsuited to eat that kind of protein etc... it is merely that we in America eat that kind of protein in utterly out of balance proportions.

    Balance, this is the key concept. Agribusiness has its own woes. Joshua, are you saying that we must enforce organics and bio-correct only? That is the only way to avoid creating terrible pollution issues, you know. Even then, as we play around with what WE think MAY be the correct answer to correct biodiversities, we still create problems, 'cides or none.

    I've lived in parts of the country where the streams were bloomed out by algae from the runoff from nursery and other agribusiness.... but the fish were also thick as ants on a sugarspot.

    So, the balance is critical. A philosophical extreme may feel satisfying to the mind, but it's not going to get past Mother Earth.

  • joshua Welch (unverified)

    RW: there is no fallacy in my post.

    I clearly stated "mostly plant-based" twice. All the facts and figures are factual. Currently there is no appropriate balance to "maintain." We need a significant shift to plant-based foods.

    Another fact is that humans need no meat to be healthy. If you respect the inherent value in all animals (humans are animals too) we would move towards a MOSTLY-plant based food system.

    Maybe we shouldn't look at things from such a human-centered, anthropocentric perspective. The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are endless.

    When we choose what or who we eat, we should balance the value of living, feeling, thinking, beings with, optimal health and environmental sustainability. Government should encourage this. Encouraging more unsustainable industrial fishing isn't smart or progressive by any stretch of the imagination.

  • rw (unverified)

    Of course there is no fallacy in your post. Your way is the Right Way, the Best Way, the Only Good Way. :)

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)

    Actually, agriculture is mostly plant based already. In Oregon, the largest agriculture segment is the nursery industry, an industry that produces both food producing and non food producing plants. Of the food animal segments of animal agriculture, cattle, poultry, swine, Oregon is very low in production. I think we are pretty low in dairy as well. I'm refering to national industrial animal agriculture.

    That having been said, there are a lot of areas that are not suitable to plant agriculture, and in times past those areas have been used in animal agriculture through pasturing at a low stocking rate. As far as that goes, I think that animal agriculture can be more efficient than plant agriculture at producing usable calories for consumption in those situations.

    The current problem, as I see it, is not animal agriculture itself, or even plant agriculture in and of itself, but how the bulk of commercial animal and plant industrial agriculture is done and the reasons for using those industrial production techniques to begin with. Hi density means high inputs, be they water, fuels, or any other input. They also mean there is a need for industrial scale processing and transportation of the processed products.

    Plant agriculture is just as guilty of using industrial production methods as animal ag. And with the push for biofuels world wide, industrial plant ag is increasing it's influence on deforestation and other environmental damage. Biofuels production, at least here in the USA, also supports animal agriculture, especially industrial animal ag. The alchohol industry produces incredible ammounts of distillers grains, an awful lot of which is used in animal feed. I can't even find a pelleted feed for my own livestock and poultry that doesn't have dried distillers grains in it. It used to be, that when you bought pelleted feed, it had mostly regular grains in it. Now, a lot of the corn and other grains that used to be ground for feed, goes to the distiller, and then gets dried and fed to the animals after the alchohol is made. I think even the mineral and supplement block for the goats has dried distiller's grains in it. This is such a big deal that the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) used biofuels production and it's impact on industrial animal ag as a major focus at their annual convention a few years ago. At the time, it was expected that industrial swine production would become concentrated around the major ethanol distilleries in the midwest as wet distillers grains are less expensive than dried distillers grains, but they are very perishable.

    There are many reasons for this increase in the industrialization of agriculture - both plant and animal. They range from the fact that in the first half of the last century 60% or more of the people in this country were engaged in agriculture and could feed themselves and the relatively small percentage of the population in the cities, but now only around 2% work to feed the rest who can't feed themselves because they have no land, or aren't interested in growing their own food. Another cause of the industrialization of agriculture and the expansion of industrialized ag, is international trade and the industrialization more and more countries, which has been accelerating for quite a while now. As incomes rise in the developing world, so does the demand for meat and dairy, especially after they've been exposed to western advertising. There's a saying - when poor, people eat rice and beans, as they become affluent, they prefer more meat, plants are a poor person's food. As more and more people in the developing world move from the land and into the cities, the need for industrial ag, and it's increases in yield, will rise. Increases in international trade are also enabled, in part, by transport capacity and trade agreements, such as those we entered into with GATT and the WTO in which tarrifs were lowered substantially.

    Also, think about this, as far as petroleum use goes, the western world has developed, Asia is in the process of developing, but we still have Africa, and South/Central America to go. Now that industrial plant ag is being used for fuels production, plastics, etc., I think that industrial animal ag is going to be the least of our worries, although a worry none the less. My biggest concern regarding industrial animal ag doesn't have anything to do with water or petroleum uses, it has to do with disease - not human disease - and the movements of disease around the world as well as the emergence of new diseases. On the other hand, plant agriculture, industrial plant ag that is, driven by the large international corporations, is responsible for the creation and movement of GMOs around the world and the elimination of, or restricted access to, many indigenous plant strains, especially those plant strains used for human food production.

    Personally, I don't think we, the people of the world, can sustain this type of growth, but that's just me. I also don't think that the growth will slow short of some kind of catastrophe.

  • rw (unverified)

    Again Joanne patiently underlines some of what I spoke and our Zealot Vegetarian skipped over. AgriBUSINESS fills watersheds with chemical runoff; introduces potentially harmful growing processes and strains of plant to areas that will be sorry of it later (bioengineered foods DO alter non-altered fields in the area - learned this in Collitch, I did)... etc. Joanne, I had heard you had a good mind. The business model used in agricultural production is an important, maybe THE most important aspect to discuss, not just the philosophy of whether good people eat other good people, erm.. animals.

  • Joshuawelch (unverified)

    rw: Take a deep breath and see if you can get out of high-school mode long enough to respond with a touch of class. What makes your life so much more valuable than the ones you eat? What is different about us that if someone takes my life or yours they face prison or death under law, which I'll assume you agree with the idea of putting murderers behind bars, but to take the life of billions "farm animals" each year is just fine and dandy?

    Joanne: Thanks for the well thought response. Of course geography and climate will dictate what can be grown. Most states have the opportunity to grow most of their food.

    If your only goal is what is best for the planet then we would be looking many things different including not having children. What I advocate is not any animal agriculture, but to recognize that other animals think and feel, they enjoy living, they take care of their young, and have the capacity to suffer. Recognizing that humans should grow and eat as many plant foods as you can in your geographical location to sustain good personal and environmental health. I support having other animals like chickens, sheep, and goats that can be treated well and allowed to live their lives out and not simply killed when they are no longer "productive." In exchange we get eggs, fertilizer, milks cheeses, wool, and companionship.

    I also don't argue that consumption is not paramount. I do not claim that growing and eating more plants is the answer to all of our problems.

    It is true that Oregon produces a higher amount of plant foods than most states as well. In using "we" I was speaking in general terms about the country. That is not the case with most Oregonians' diets which are animal product heavy. Meat and dairy laden fast food sales have risen sharply during this economic crisis because it's cheap.

    As far as the rich person v. poor person diet, there are many things we do when we gain economic wealth, that doesn't mean they are positive. This comparison really isn't reflective of what should be. Vegetarian diets or higher intakes of plant bases food in the U.S., correlates with better education.

    I do not argue against improving the efficiency of all types farming and I acknowledge that it's a significant part of the problem.

    Eating more plant foods would also reduce health care costs by improving our health. Vegetarians have a lower cancer rates, lower high-blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower heart disease rates, lower diabetes, etc.

    To clarify one more time, one of my initial criticisms was governments encouragement of the current commercial unsustainable fishing industry.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    So, if you asked the mold on the ketchup bottle where it lives, it would probably say, "in the refrigerator" if it were human. That's patently absurd. It lives on the ketchup bottle.

    We don't live on the planet, we live on plants. This earth wasn't hospitable to life until plants made it so. We live in a little bubble of gas they create. The vast majority of our energy comes from their historic photosynthesis. It's just plants.

    Had a friend that called once all anxious about what to do about a litter of kittens and the mother. I told her I thought she should simply care for the mother cat and the mother cat would take care of the kitties. It's the same deal. Take care of the plants, and the plants will take care of the planet.


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