Economist Don Boudreaux writes:
I care – very deeply – whether the process for pursuing one’s life’s goals is fair or not. I want everyone to have as fair a chance in the economy as is humanly possible. I despise special privileges that stack the deck either in favor of Jones or against Smith. … But I do not care about differences in monetary income or wealth as such.
If (by whatever criteria) the process is fair, then the outcomes are fair. If the process is not fair, then at least some outcomes are lamentable. …
Worrying about income (or wealth) differences as such has always for me smacked of childishness. It’s envy elevated into public policy.
What if Politicians Infringed the Right to Have Sex the Same Way They’ve Infringed the Right to Bear Arms?
Absurd, our legislative leaders might say? Indeed not. [Rob] Natelson points out that the annual number of deaths due to sexually transmitted diseases is comparable to the number of deaths involving firearms.
Yaron Brook and Don Watkins write:
Historically, substantial cuts in the rate at which government spending grew, such as the one in Canada in the 1990s, have led not to economic collapse but economic expansion. …
Spending doesn’t drive an economy. Prosperity comes from production – from free individuals discovering new and better ways to create wealth. …
Is it any wonder that spending is out of control? If there are no limits to what government does, how could there possibly be any limits to what government spends?
Read more: We Should Be Embarrassed by the Sequester Debate.
At Reason.com, Ronald Bailey writes:
[W]hat you believe about a scientific debate signals to like-minded people that you are on their side and are therefore a good and trustworthy person. Unfortunately, this means that the factual accuracy of beliefs is somewhat incidental to the process of moral signaling.
The Denver Post recently advocated that Colorado increase its 22 cents per gallon fuel tax. But why tax drivers even more when much of what they are taxed does not support roads (or even mass-trensit) in Colorado? I’m talking about the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal fuel tax. How about fighting to let Colorado keep federal fuel tax revenue, instead of sending it to D.C.? After all, as I show below, Colorado sends more than it receives.
The Federal Fuel Tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. The Federal Highway Administration publishes state-by-state data on tax receipts and apportionments for the Highway Trust Fund. Here’s data from 2010 for Colorado:
Colorado, paid into fund: $461,516,000 (not including general fund taxes*)
Colorado, apportionments & allocations from fund: $598,641,000
The data table says: “The $14,700,000,000 transfer from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund is not included in the data.”
From the above, you cannot tell how much Colorado gets back compared to how much it pays in to the Highway Trust Fund. We need to know how much of the $14.7 billion in general fund money came from Colorado. The most recent data I could find on this is from the Tax Foundation‘s report: Federal Taxes Paid vs. Federal Spending Received by State, 1981-2005. More recent data would be nice, but it’s what I found. (Please link more recent data in comments if you find it.)
The Excel spreadsheet in the link above includes a worksheet that breaks down the federal tax revenue by state. So it’s easy to compute what percentage Colorado contributed. In 2005, it was 1.69%. This percentage (1.69%) of $14.7 billion is $0.284 billion, or $248.4 million. Add this amount to the amount Colorado drivers paid into the Highway Trust fund ($461.5 million), and you get a total of $709.5 million.
Ah, but Colorado only gets back 598.6 million. That’s a shortfall of $110.9 million, or 84% of the tax dollars taken by the federal government. By comparison, Colorado governments collected $1.56 billion in “state and local fuel and vehicle taxes” in 2010. If Colorado could keep the $110.9 million it loses to the federal Highway Trust Fund, it would have 7% more revenue (100*110.9/1560).
This is one reason the Ronald Utt, when he was with the Heritage Foundation, published this memo: Federal Highway Program: How Opting Out Would Help States. In this proposal, Colorado would retain all the tax revenue – from both the federal fuel tax and the general fund – that would otherwise be placed in the Highway Trust Fund.
Reformed crooks say the New York newspaper that published a map of names and addresses of gun owners did a great service – to their old cronies in the burglary trade.
This originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on December 15, 2012.
Many people will uncritically blame fossil fuel use for recent warm weather. But they are blind to how fossil fuels have reduced climate-related deaths since the 1920s. Since then, climate-related death rates have decreased by 98 percent, explains a Reason Foundation study by Indur Goklany. During this time, carbon dioxide emissions increased significantly.
Thanks to the fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and farm machinery enabled by fossil fuels, increased global food production has made droughts less deadly. Where extreme weather leaves people hungry and injured, fossil-fuel based transportation enables fast delivery of food, medical supplies, and disaster response units.
Wealth is a population’s best protection from climate risks, and wealth creation requires affordable, reliable energy. But billions of people in poor under-developed countries are still very vulnerable to climate risks. They need affordable and reliable energy — now. Obstructing their use of fossil fuels endangers their lives.
And droughts? Two recent studies published this year challenge the notion that global warming contributes to them. In the Journal of Climate, CU-Boulder and NOAA researchers “conclude that projections of acute and chronic [increases in severe droughts] … are likely an exaggerated indicator for future Great Plains drought severity.” In the journal Nature, Princeton University researchers find that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.” In the same issue of Nature, a lead IPCC author wrote that “the findings imply that there is no necessary correlation between temperature changes and long-term drought variations.”
* * *
“The Industrial Manifesto,” by Alex Epstein (Center for Industrial Progress. He debates Bill McKibbon above.)
This originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on December 1, 2012.
Former Buffs football coach Jon Embree has claimed some credit for his players’ improved GPAs: ”You had the highest GPA the last three semesters that this school has ever had in the football program,” he said. If Embree is to blame for CU football’s losses, he might also take some credit for improving GPAs of CU football fans.
Like the Buffs, the University of Oregon Ducks play in the Pac-12 conference. Economists there tracked student GPAs as the Ducks’ winning percentage varied over nine years. For male students, they found “meaningful decreases in the probabilities of receiving As and Bs and increases in the probabilities of receiving Cs or lower … in response to the success of the team.” Seeking an explanation, their student survey found, predictably, that: “Relative to females, males report being more likely to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying around the success of the football team.”
As for the Buffs’ team GPA, the value of a high GPA depends on the major. Forbes.com lists the ten worst and fifteen best college majors in terms of post-graduation employment and earnings prospects. The Wall Street Journal recently listed college majors of around one thousand students on major-college football teams. Just two percent of players’ majors were among Forbes’ best. Meanwhile, almost forty percent of players’ majors were among, or similar to, one of Forbes’ worst majors. Eight percent “majored” in general studies.