Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Good Questions About Government Subsidies

David Harsanyi on ending government subsidies for National Public Radio and PBS:

"The function and purpose of government has been rather expansive over the past few decades. Do we really believe that providing tax subsidies for entertainment and journalism is one of the charges of government? The argument may have held up in the past, but in today's world it simply doesn't."

And from Slate.com "The Ethanol Catastrophe: Biofuels Aggravate Global Warming and Cause Hunger. Why Won't the U.S. Stop Subsidizing Them?"

"The United States spends about $6 billion a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credits, tariffs, and other programs. Thanks to this financial assistance, one-sixth of the world's corn supply is burned in American cars. That is enough corn to feed 350 million people for an entire year.

Biofuels were initially championed by environmental campaigners as a silver bullet against global warming. They started to change their minds as a stream of research showed that biofuels from most food crops did not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and in many cases, caused forests to be destroyed to grow more food, creating more net carbon-dioxide emissions than fossil fuels.

Some green activists supported mandates for biofuel, hoping they would pave the way for next-generation ethanol, which would use non-food plants. That has not happened. Today, it is difficult to find a single environmentalist who still backs the policy. Even former U.S. Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore—who once boasted of casting the deciding vote for ethanol support—calls the policy 'a mistake.'"

24 Comments:

At 3/11/2011 4:25 PM, Blogger DeeBee9 said...

Does the cost you mention include the costs of refinery changes, costs to transport ethanol to local distribution points (because it can't be blended in at the refinery), the costs of damaged motors, and damaged boats, etc? Add all that in and it's an economic disaster as well as a social disaster.

 
At 3/11/2011 4:39 PM, Blogger Rand said...

Since ethanol only has a fraction of the energy content of gasoline, adding ethanol to gasoline actually reduces the power efficiency of the fuel thereby decreasing the distance that can be driven on a gallon of fuel. In other words fewer miles per gallon.

 
At 3/11/2011 5:35 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

So let me get this straight. Ethanol, which was touted as one solution to a problem that has been exposed as one gigantic hoax, has now been shown to exacerbate the hoax it was designed to mitigate.

That's too confusing. I'll just go back to opposing ethanol on the basis that as an automotive fuel, it sucks.

 
At 3/11/2011 6:14 PM, Blogger Andrew_M_Garland said...

Legitimate State Violence

Fred:  The city council is asking for donations to build a new park.
Mike:  Why are you pointing a gun at me?
Fred:  I thought it would put you in a more generous mood.

09/24/10 - National Review by Kevin D. Williamson [edited]
=== ===
What justifies violence by the state? This is an important moral concern.

To me, it is reasonable to shove a gun in someone's face to stop murder, rape, or robbery. It is entirely unreasonable to extort money to study monkeys high on cocaine. It is illegitimate for government to use force or the threat of force for projects that are not inherently public in character.

This useful distinction is not a figure of speech: A project is a legitimate concern of the state only if you are willing to haul off someone at gunpoint because of it.
=== ===

EasyOpinions.blogspot.com

 
At 3/11/2011 7:22 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Makes me wonder why Harsanyi and Lomborg didn't cut to the chase and just look into the Constitution to see if the federal government was responsible for providing arts, entertainment and crappy gasoline...

 
At 3/12/2011 2:33 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Makes me wonder why Harsanyi and Lomborg didn't cut to the chase and just look into the Constitution to see if the federal government was responsible for providing arts, entertainment and crappy gasoline..."

The Constitution, sadly, is no longer referenced by government intent on providing for all our needs, although government employees all swear to uphold and defend it. Constitutionality doesn't seem to work as an argument against government meddling anymore.

 
At 3/12/2011 9:57 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is legitimate state business only if you are willing to haul away someone at to accomplish it?

Oh come on. That's just silly.

Besides, its a self fulfilling prophesy. The more extremists think that way, think that they have no obligations to society, the more the rest of society will demand protection from them.

Most of what you see as coercion actually amounts to trades that have been agreed to through various forms of collective bargaining.

Some or even many of those trades are not very good ones. We can argue about how to determine better ones. We can argue for rules that better ensure fair trades at the individual level, protecting individual property.

But the idea that each individual can have 100% control over their own property with zero responsibility for protecting other peoples property, is just silly.

 
At 3/12/2011 10:38 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The Western Europeans have been trying hard to compete with the U.S. through the economic destruction of the U.S. rather than through direct economic competition.

It created the E.U., gave Nobel Prizes to Gore, Krugman, and Obama, keeps trying to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency, created world organizations with the goals of taxing, regulating, and imposing laws on the rest of the world, etc.

The U.S. has joined the E.U. in a race to the bottom.

 
At 3/12/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger Andrew_M_Garland said...

To Hydra,

You make a great argument, but against a strawman that you put up.

You consider those who disagree with you as silly, extremist, and dangerous. No wonder that you can dismiss their point of view.

Kevin D. Williamson proposes that people use restraint in calling for government action, because the government takes its resources for those actions by force and the threat of force.

So, in fact, every action by government is based on its willingness to haul off someone at gunpoint because of it, at least to fund it. Some things are worth that threat, but most of our current government actions are not.

EasyOpinions.blogspot.com

 
At 3/12/2011 4:29 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Wrong. The strawman is that we can have a government in which everyone claims 100% freedom for themselves. Practically speaking we must guarantee our freedoms by taking on the responsibility of guaranteeing the freedom of others equally. By force if necessary.

Some of us may feel that we would prefer more freedom and less obligation to others. But that is equivalent to the feeling that we should pay less and get more. The market determines that, not our feelings.

Besides you can't expect more freedom without accepting more obligation to defend equal freedoms for others: by itself, said obligation limits your freedom. It is a self limiting equilibrium, same as supply and demand for any other product.

 
At 3/12/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The red Herring is that " the government" is some disembodied thing, when it is nothing but ourselves. As a result, you have to sell your ideas, not just claim them.

 
At 3/12/2011 5:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"The red Herring is that " the government" is some disembodied thing, when it is nothing but ourselves"...

What nonsense!

Explain FDR and his constitutionally questionable acts and see how many of the 'ourselves' would've gone along with it...

 
At 3/12/2011 6:13 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra,

You persist in misusing the term strawman, as in strawman fallacy, although many commentators here have defined it for you.

Doesn't it bother you that others are laughing at your ignorance?

Although there's no hope for you with regular commentators here, you are responding to a new or infrequent visitor to this blog, and I would think you would like to make a favorable impression, if that's at all possible.

Do you want to convince him right away to ignore most of your comments like the rest of us do?

 
At 3/12/2011 6:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/12/2011 7:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/12/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Strict constructionists know that out Founding Fathers detested standing armies. The Constitution?

Obviously, founding fathers preferred volunteer militias to standing armies. The right to bear arms and form militias is prominent.

George Mason, after which the school is named (George Mason University, right-wingers galore) refused to sign the Constitution, as it did not contain an explicit ban on a standing army.

Forgotten today is that George Washington served his first term with no standing army at all! None! And this shortly after redcoast had held Philadelphia and New York.

We also demobilized after WWII. That was a serious war, with serious enemies, and we demobilized almost completely--often at the instigation of right-wingers, who were then non-interventionists and hated federal spending.

We used to mobilize to meet threats. Now we remain hysterically mobilized, in case we can detect any threats.

 
At 3/12/2011 8:54 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

Your boyfriend promised to veto GOP cuts to the military.

Aren't you ashamed of him?

 
At 3/12/2011 10:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

FDR is not mine to explain.

If every person has equivalent rights their is no such thing as protecting your ( own ) rights, because they are everyone's rights, each the same. Coercion consists of trying to get more than your share, or trying to make others have less. The gist of your complaint is that freeloaders are getting ahead at your expense. This happens because government is a result of collective bargaining at which some are more powerful than others.

Government is no doubt involved in things it has no business in. This is always the result of someone successfully lobbying to get an unfair advantage.

 
At 3/12/2011 10:11 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Mobilizing used to mean picking up your musket and walking out the door. Now it means a ten year procurement for aerial tankers.

 
At 3/12/2011 10:40 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Coercion consists of trying to get more than your share, or trying to make others have less. The gist of your complaint is that freeloaders are getting ahead at your expense"...

Well I think (merely my opinion) you almost got it...

Note that if one has a baslc understanding of the Constitution before he or she walks into the voting booth then politicos who pander to parasites would've never seen the inside of a Congressional office...

"Government is no doubt involved in things it has no business in. This is always the result of someone successfully lobbying to get an unfair advantage"...

Thank you hydra for reaffirming that it isn't 'our government'...

 
At 3/13/2011 1:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Well, that someone who lobbied for and got unfair advantage was still one of us.

Anyone with knowledge of the constitution knows that it was the result of collective bargaining.

 
At 3/13/2011 1:48 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

" would have never seen the inside of public office....."

A mighty big if precedes that phrase. It is going to take more than one with understanding in the voting Booth.


Besides, the voting Booth offers only an occasional nexus to govt.

That is why we need market based regulation: then we can vote with our wallet every day.

 
At 3/14/2011 6:28 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Anyone with knowledge of the constitution knows that it was the result of collective bargaining"...

Between who and who hydra?

"That is why we need market based regulation: then we can vote with our wallet every day"...

Now there's something we agree on!!

 
At 3/14/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos


"That is why we need market based regulation: then we can vote with our wallet every day"...

Now there's something we agree on!!
"

Caution: in Hydra's world, "market based regulation" includes such gems as Cap & Trade

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home