Showing posts from September, 2012

Death by a thousand cuts

Matt Yglesias discusses Republican intransigency is his latest post .  I'm not particularly interested in the partisan implications here, but Matt makes a good point about one specific policy issue: Republicans have hammered away at the idea that Obama's environmental commitments are stifling the short-term job creating impact of investment in fossil fuel extraction and transportation. And precisely because  this isn't a crazy idea , over time Obama administration policy has evolved to become increasingly enthusiastic about the short-term economic impact of fossil fuel extraction and less and less focused on the long-term environmental problems involved.   Obama's willingness to make concessions on this point hasn't changed partisan politics, but has had impact in the real world. As expected, we have both more pollution  and more mining sector employment  than we would had this pivot not taken place.   But America's way too big a country for us to all ge
Matt Yglesias makes a good point about the Chicago teacher's strike : The most salient difference, completely absent from his armchair psychologizing, is surely that  public school teachers work for the government . If AT&T workers get a better deal for themselves, that may well mean a worse deal for people who bought AT&T stock in past years but I'm not going to cry on their behalf. By contrast, if Chicago public school teachers get a better deal for themselves that may well mean a worse deal for Chicago taxpayers. I completely agree with Matt here.  Matt's not afraid to criticize his own side- it's one of the reasons I read Matt despite his being a raving lefty. In fact, I think Matt will eventually come around to the Libertarian side of the force.  He's smart enough to recognize that unions don't create wealth- they just redistribute it.  In the case of city unions, they redistribute wealth from taxpayers to union employees.  Matt can understand

Everybody Wins

Here's Felix Salmon talking about  US fuel efficiency standards : Fuel-efficiency standards are a way of preventing car companies from being forced to hedge their bets by working on gas guzzlers as well as efficient runabouts. As a result, those companies can take the money they’d otherwise spend on developing six-ton monsters, and invest it instead in the efficient cars of the future. Everybody wins, and the cost —  contra  Porter — is negligible. He’s absolutely right that higher gas taxes are a very good idea. But that’s no reason at all not to implement higher fuel-economy standards as well. Felix has written a 2 page editorial complete with color charts without considering the curious question of why Ford sells so many inefficient SUVs.  He says "everybody wins", except that is, the people who currently choose to buy Ford Explorers over Ford Fiestas.  These people will be prevented by law from using their own money to buy the car they want. Felix could make all