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View Diary: A Libertarian Reads "Atlas Shrugged" - Part 2 (109 comments)

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  •  I missed my own point. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    Those examples were about picking winners in the market, not about achieveing clean air.  

    The point was to mandate lower emissions, because clean air is a public good with inherent value

    My point, which I could have made better, is that the EPA should have simply set emissions standards which applied across the board to all power plants or cars.  Then Honda and GM and Western and Eastern power plants would have had to fight it out on who had the best solutions.

    Instead the EPA picked winners by mandating particular technologies according to political pressures.  In doing so, they hampered innovations and raised costs to the consumer.

    That's the difference between picking winners and simply setting the rules.

    Results count for more than intentions do.

    by VA Classical Liberal on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 07:48:12 PM PST

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    •  Point taken. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VA Classical Liberal

      I definitely agree it's better to mandate a result and then let the private sector choose the method.  However, there are times where the private sector's "method" is to simply choose the "solution" least agreeable to the consuming public in order to generate political resistance to the rule - e.g., building tiny, shitty cars instead of building better engines - and in that case it's perfectly reasonable to get tougher and more involved.  

      "To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea." --Henry David Thoreau

      by Troubadour on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:02:48 PM PST

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      •  Agree with point but not with example. (0+ / 0-)

        The politics of air quality and EPG are subtle and fascinating.

        The Big Three didn't just build shitty, little cars.  They lobbied to have light-trucks carved out as as seperate CAFE catagory and invented the SUV.  They built shitty little cars domestically to average out the SUVs and meet the overall CAFE standards.

        They couldn't just import the quality little cars they built in Europe because the UAW had lobbied to have imported cars count in yet another CAFE catagory.  So we got stuck with the SUV craze, more pollution and crappy, expensive little cars.  (This is from memory, so I might be off on a detail.)

        If they had followed K.I.S.S's law, they would have just raised fuel taxes and have let the market fight it out.  

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:11:34 PM PST

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        •  The problem with consumption taxes (0+ / 0-)

          is that they're inherently regressive for anything average people use.

          "To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea." --Henry David Thoreau

          by Troubadour on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:14:47 PM PST

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          •  True, but we're talking about lesser evils here. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Void Indigo

            Are poorer people better or worse off because of government programs as a whole?  Rent control is great, if you are in one of the rent controled apartments.  Not so good if they stop building apartment buildings.  We pay farmers in the South, where it rains, not to grow cotton because the market is flooded.  Then we subsidize water for farmers in the CA dessert, so they can profitablly grow cotton in a flood market.

            The impossiblity of measuring the effectivness of all these programs interacting with each other is a strong reason to favor K.I.S.S solutions.  If you can't even measure the results of what you are doing, how do you know it's working?

            Results count for more than intentions do.

            by VA Classical Liberal on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:20:58 PM PST

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            •  The poor are worse off since 1980 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Troubadour

              The New Deal era was from 1933 to 1980.

              The poor are worse off since the "end of welfare".

              The poor are worse off since the deregulation of the banking industry.

              The poor are worse off since an endless series of tax cuts that favored the rich (under Eisenhower the top tax rate was 91%)

              The poor are worse off ever since the real economy was brought closer to market theory via globalization.

              Sometimes, it's just class warfare.

            •  Subsidies should be done more carefully (0+ / 0-)

              but regressive consumption taxes are not "the lesser of two evils," they're just the more libertarian of two tax possibilities - and the less beneficial toward the objective.  Unless it were accompanied by increased progressive taxation used to fund better public transportation and infrastructure, all you're doing is letting rich stockholders continue to externalize the cost of their profits.

              "To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea." --Henry David Thoreau

              by Troubadour on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:46:38 PM PST

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              •  I'm not following you here. (0+ / 0-)

                Are you refering to fuel taxes specifically and the objective is mobility for lower income people?

                In general I agree that taxes shouldn't be regressive.  But when trying to internalize costs of things like polution, how do you avoid a regressive cost?

                You can use a consuption tax, which is explictly regressive.  Or you can institute a command and control or cap-and-trade like regulations, in which case the costs are passed regressively on to consumers.

                You could try to make these tax neutral with earned income credits.

                Results count for more than intentions do.

                by VA Classical Liberal on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:59:41 PM PST

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