A carbon market "saves the economy $1 billion a year" only if the only alternative is expensive government regulation. This is like saying that invading Iraq saved $500 billion a year because the alternative was invading the entire Middle East.
Also $1 billion seems a piddling amount in comparison to the economic disruption of either program. Even if there are great strides in addressing the tragedy of the commons, how much of that would survive the inevitable horse-trading in the transition to law?
Let's not forget that just a few weeks ago MS and his lefty peers were all abuzz over the supposed "violent speech" from the Tea Party. But now we have union supporters carrying Hitler signs, surrounding Gov Walker's home, and issuing anonymous death threats. So why aren't MS and EG concerned about the unions' activities?
Really, MS and EG are nothing more than hyper-partisan hypocrites.
"American car manufacturers were defeated on quality and price by car manufacturers from two countries with extremely high rates of unionisation, Germany and Japan."
This statement is misleading at best - German and Japanese companies' US plants were not unionized.
"Scott Walker and the modern Republican Party, are not in fact interested in collaborating with them on solutions, and are instead trying to destroy their existence as institutions."
So MS starts by quoting garbage statistics misrepresentations and ends with positing a wild exaggeration - some would say a lie. I really wonder what has happened to the standards at the Economist that would allow such "drivel" to be posted.
One huge difference between public and private unions is campaign financing. The reason why the Wisconsin Dems left the state is because they are utterly beholden to the unions for their reelection budget. They pulled this stunt so that, the next time they go begging for a check they can say "Look what we did for you!"
Imagine if a private sector union had the ability to determine the salary of the management team they were negotiating with. If we took away the ability to give campaign donations much of the problem with public unions might be addressed.
@Doug: I'm not sure I agree that jumping in to a carbon tax will improve things. As several commenters have noted, even assuming AGW we still have to prove that there is a significant negative impact, and that the remedial measures will be effective and cost less than the expected negatives. This looks to me like there is some wisdom in these crowds of "denialist" Americans.
The subject of AGW is only the first link in a long chain of questions: How serious is it? What causes it? Can changes in human behavior affect it? What damage (or benefits) will it create? How effective are proposed cures? What effect will these measures have on the economy? How much trust do we have in institutions such as the IPCC to implement them?
These are all "if yes, then..." statements, and a negative answer to any one will bring the AGW agenda crashing down.
@TCDPhilSec: Interesting take, and I might agree with you - especially as regards there being too many business and law schools. But a society should benefit from more, not less, real disciplines and those skills should vary over time. I don't think there's any "hard upper limit" to useful knowledge.
On the touchy-feely side, I'm all for more musicians and artists (but they have to be good ones). And while knowledge of human nature is admirable, I don't think gender studies or the latest academic idiocies get us there. How about more historians, or philosophers?
Sorry I don't get your logic here. "Mr Lataif points out that federal student aid has also doubled over the past ten years, to $120 billion per year, but that this merely fuels rising tuitions." Meanwhile Repugs want to make a whopping 17% cut to one program and you start whining about "putting higher education out of reach for America's working class"? I thought reducing the subsidy should make it more affordable, according to your own source.
I guess this is how it will work - every stab taken at reducing the budget will elicit howls of protest while Obama is painted as the nice friendly uncle who hands out candies. The sad thing is that we don't have the luxury of playing this silly finger-pointing game. We need to reduce the deficit, now.
g cross: He's getting paid to supply the condoms, without them he doesn't get his subsidy.
Obviously I'm being facetious, and the guy most likely does believe in the benefits of (at least) the tree hugging part. He could be strip mining instead. Still, there's a serious point, which is that the anti-AIDS subsidies are not being optimally utilized, and like many such government / NGO initiatives may be ineffectual.
This is hardly "no-nonsense environmentalism" but more a savvy operator taking advantage of government / NGO handouts. I'd be interested to see how profitable it is without the subsidies; if his project relies on subsidies from advocacy groups it's likely not sustainable in the long run.
Also nice to see he values trees above his employees' health. "No-nonsense" indeed.
Hi g cross! I'm not going to get into a debate with you, but the mere fact that EG left out any reference to climategate in her list of "explanations" speaks volumes about her(?) mindset. It shows a surprising level of ignorance, or dishonesty. I'll let you choose.
Indeed, the elephant in the room (that EG conveniently ignores) is that climategate has revealed climate scientists to be (at best) less than vigorous and (at worst) deliberately trying to fudge the data to fit their preconceived views. And these same guys are telling us the word is burning. What's not to believe?
So why do lefty pundits like EG ignore climategate? Is it because they are merely ignorant, or are they being deliberately deceitful?
A big part of the problem are pundits like EG here who bring exactly the same intellectual rigor to the subject that they bring to their other left-wing causes - i.e. none whatsoever. Your arguments here are basically of the "gee why are you so stupid?" variety, and will convince precisely no one who isn't already convinced.
If the AGW alarmists want everyone to buy into their apocalyptic visions, then their methodology has to be beyond reproach. It is not. I think we can all agree on reducing pollution, why not just focus on that?
"My guess is that, like a number of right-leaning economists, Mr Landsburg has a regrettable tendency toward tone-deaf, context-dropping, contrarian provocation based on an unexamined assumption that this is what it means to be bravely rational."
So they're a lot like the left-leaning pundits? Nice to see some common ground among the two sides.