Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

March 1: Local Solar

There has been much publicity and debate around the deployment of large- and small-scale solar projects in the Blue Hill area. Much of the “debate” has been held in the context of public hearings and letters to the Weekly Packet—neither being a great forum for exchange of information.

On Monday, we’ll review the debate as it has been shaped to date, continue the discussion and, hopefully, begin to separate fact from fiction.

Among the specific questions to be discussed are:

  • To what degree should large-scale solar “farms” be specifically regulated on the Blue Hill Peninsula? For example,
    • Should these regulations be structured to ensure minimal safety standards and only moderate impacts on the scenic and other resources, or
    • should they be constructed in a more restrictive way that effectively discourages/prohibits large scale (say, 5+ acre) farms?
  • One of the factors that has come to light is that Versant Power can (and does) limit connectivity of solar power producers to its local substation, which has limited capacity.
    • Should this limited resource be protected to ensure that small-scale producers (like rooftop arrays) can be assured of access to net metering connections to Versant?
    • If capacity were set aside, how can we ensure that it is actually used in a timely manner?

Monday: The Impeachment Trial

We’ll discuss the (second) impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. So hopefully you’ve been watching the coverage or at least following it in the news.

I guess we’ll discuss the law (Constitution), the politics, the process and, maybe, the outcome.

Pres. Biden and the Minimum Wage

At yesterday’s discussion, I mentioned that I had made my first request to The Fact Checker at the Washington Post. And it was, in fact, checked.

Here’s the text of my original form:

Impact of Minimum Wage Hike

Made by Joe Biden
StatementAll the economics show that if you do that [increase the minimum wage to $15], the whole economy rises.”
Source for StatementVideo clip (this comment at 01:17)
CommentJoe isn’t specific about what “the economics” are, but “All” is pretty specific.   Here’s a link to a July 2019 CBO report on minimum wage effects: As I read Table 1 (pdf page 7) of that report, a $15 minimum wage would increase the “real income” (see definition below the table) of families up to three times the poverty threshold, but would decrease the annual real income of “All families” by $8.8 billion (2018 dollars).   I don’t consider an action that costs Americans $8.8 billion per annum to support his statement that “the whole economy rises.”   And “all” is a very strong statement, that would lead viewers/listeners to believe that there is really no doubt as to the overall economic effect of a $15 minimum wage.

And here’s a PDF of the WaPo article. I would have given it three Pinocchios, but reasonably people may differ.

I also sent (in the same email) a request for fact-checking the hourly wage corresponding to the “poverty wage level.” Here it is:

Poverty Wage Level

Made by Joe Biden
Statement“Look, no one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage. And if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage.“
Source for StatementVideo clip (this comment at 01:32)
CommentJoe’s math is wrong. See the table below.
Sen. Joe Manchin, in a recent interview, took the position that someone working 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year should be able to support a household of three at the poverty level, and that he thought $15.00/hour was too much. By the math below, to meet his standard, a $10.86 minimum wage would meet the test.
Poverty guidelines source:; actual worksheet (above) attached.

Although I recognized that my second request (whether $15/hour is the cusp of the “poverty wage”) is closely related and may be getting stale, the [I believe incorrect] statement was reiterated yesterday by Jen Psaki, so I’ll bring that to Mr. Kessler’s attention as well. Repetition breeds belief…(or something like that).

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