Jonathan B. Wilson

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Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

How Would You Spend $10 Billion?
Bjorn Lomborg outlines the role that choice plays when making policy decisions in today's WSJ. 

As I've argued before, debating policy responses to climate change is a fool's errand unless it is put in the context of comparing costs against other potential expenditures. 

If you want to pass a law that cuts emissions by N%, that's fine, but be prepared to count the cost of implementing that change and compare it to the economic benefits that should result.  You should also count the opportunity cost of the benefits you forgo by spending $N on cutting emissions insteading of spending that same amount on some other project, like immunizing children, improving education, etc.

Lomborg's latest project seems to compare the cost of emission reductions against the cost of other projects inwhich nations give away benefits to less developed countries (like immunization, infrastructure improvements and the like).  But if the quickest way to prosperity, democracy and general well-being is economic development, why not put money towards that end?

I would challenge Lomborg's project to develop a model to contrast against any alternative policy an expenditure of $10 billion spent against economic development in Africa and some other developing regions. 

Lomborg often proposes disease prevention as a superior use of funds that emissions controls, and I would tend to agree.  But is disease prevention really the "best" use of funds?    Disease prevention might save lives in the short run, but it wouldn't contribute much to the longer-term problem of economic development.  Wouldn't economic development (creating the legal and physical infrastructure that allows capital to develop and industries to grow) create more human benefits in the long run?
1:43 pm edt 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama in the Promised Land
Gerard Baker skewers the candidate:

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

7:43 am edt 

Monday, July 7, 2008

Obama's Line in the Sand
After the candidate's surrogates fell all over themselves last week to declare that Obama "was not wedded" to an Iraq pullout timetable, E.J. Dionne draws a line in the sand for the candidate, warning him not to flip on his Iraq position.

At this point, though, the candidate is stuck in a dilemma.  Either he "ignores the evidence on the ground" and sticks with his original position (all troops out in 18 months) or he flips his original position and essentially adopts the same position as McCain (we get out when Iraq is stable and perhaps maintain a longer term presence). 

The real question is whether the Netroots lefties will punish Obama when he inevitably makes the choice that he must make if he is going to campaign in the way that he would govern. 
12:16 pm edt 

Saturday, July 5, 2008

NY Times Scolds Obama Over Flip-Flops

The Grey Lady, a bastion of uncritical liberal opinion, has taken the presumptive Democratic nominee to task for his recent multiple flip-flops.  The piece ends with this warning:

"We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.

There are still vital differences between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain on issues like the war in Iraq, taxes, health care and Supreme Court nominations. We don’t want any “redefining” on these big questions. This country needs change it can believe in."

A change in his philosophy on Supreme Court nominations is too much to hope for, but a change in policy on Iraq is inevitable as Charles Krauthammer writes and as this column noted

Where will the NYT go when Obama's Iraq flip is complete?  How far will anger over that change go in eroding the intensity of Obama's support within his base?

7:44 am edt 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama "Not Wedded" to Iraq Withdrawal Timetable
After spending the last two years berating President Bush and his Democratic competitors for not having a timetable for withdrawing troops, presumptive nominee Barack Obama's top advisors are now saying that he is "not wedded" to any particular timetable for withdrawing from Iraq according to a report from the Politico. 
5:17 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

RI Supremes say "No" to Lead Paint Nuisance Theory
PointofLaw has coverage, and today's WSJ has an editorial on the case and favorably comments on the loser-pays rule.
1:59 pm edt 

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Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.