Bloggers don’t like to leave the house much, especially when it’s raining like
this, but couldn’t miss the debate on Argentina’s debt situation this morning
— which means that blogging will be light to nonexistent here until the afternoon.
But in the meantime, some links.
on Tim Haab on why it doesn’t make sense to be holier-than-thou when it
comes to carbon emissions and the like:
When I am asking for higher taxes on gasoline, I want them imposed on everyone,
not just on me. What’s the point of unilaterally deciding to cut my consumption
of gas? The planet will not even notice.*
This principle is very well understood in a different, but analytically equivalent,
setting: general taxation. If I am asking for higher taxes but the government
instead decides to go for a tax cut, will anyone in their right mind ever
blame me for not voluntarily paying more than my fair share into the public
coffers? Is it hypocritical that I pay the universal ‘low’ rate of tax while
I am the most passionate of advocates for higher rates?
* Ah, I hear you say, but what if a sizable minority of conscientious citizens
(for it is a minority, otherwise it would include the all-powerful median
voter) all decide to voluntarily reduce their carbon footprint? Well, that’s
just great: they just reduced the pressure on the not-as-conscientious median
voter to do something about it by imposing a universal pigouvian tax (or other
mechanism to internalise the externality).
Baker on how people should be listening to him more ‘cos he’s been right
on the economy. I’m not sure about this one: the GDP figure is the sum of many
different parts, and Baker didn’t call the main part of it, which was continued
strong consumption on the part of individuals. But I guess he was indeed more
right on the big-picture GDP number than most of Wall Street.
Leonard on Phillip
Killicoat on the AK-47, "the world’s most popular open-source assault
rifle". It might not be the best, but it’s popular because it was never
Knobel on a management book for people who hate management books: The
Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig.
Rodrik on where he and George Borjas agree, and where they disagree.