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October 2007

Larry Lindsey on the Rangel tax bill

James Pethokoukis cites Larry Lindsey to the effect that if you loved Carternomics, you'll love the Rangel tax proposal.

Pethokoukis also quotes the "liberal advocacy group" Common Dreams, reminding us that before there was Bush Derangement Syndrome, there was Reagan Derangement Syndrome:

"When Reagan dropped the top income tax rate from over 70 percent down to under 30 percent, all hell broke loose. With the legal and social restraint to unlimited selfishness removed, 'the good of the nation' was replaced by 'greed is good' as the primary paradigm."

Steyn on S-CHIP

Mark Steyn at the top of his form:

On Thursday Nancy Pelosi, as is the fashion, used the phrase “the children” like some twitchy verbal tic, a kind of Democrat Tourette’s syndrome: “This is a discussion about America’s children… We could establish ourselves as the children’s Congress… Come forward on behalf of the children... I tried to do that when I was sworn in as Speaker surrounded by children. It was a spontaneous moment, but it was one that was clear in its message: we are gaveling this House to order on behalf of the children…”

Etc. So what is the best thing America could do “for the children”? Well, it could try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a system of unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme.

A bit on the (non) economics of recycling

Great article about recycling. An economic viewpoint, as always, yields insight.

‘Excess’ packaging may seem unnecessary, but it is essential for a consumerist economy. Packaging allows goods to be sold in bulk and keeps food fresh. In accordance with the cost-cutting motive, manufacturers are likely to reduce packaging over time anyway, one example being the milk carton replacing the heavy glass bottles of 20 years ago (Morris 2003). . . .

It may seem like common sense that government-imposed targets help reduce waste even more. Julian Morris (2003), however, worries that such targets distort or create more waste. ‘The government’s (or regulator’s) knowledge of what use of resources is most efficient is likely in most cases to be less complete than that of the individual manufacturers, who must day after day assess the costs of inputs and prices of outputs’.