Friday, June 22, 2007

Another tinkering example

Given the negative economic and environmental effects of U.S. sugar programs, why do they persist? Because Congress often decides to confer benefits on a favored few at the expense of the general public. In this case, the favored few really are few—about 42 percent of all sugar program benefits go to just 1 percent of sugar growers. These large sugar growers, such as the Fanjuls of Florida, are a notoriously powerful lobbying interest in Washington. Federal supply restrictions have given them monopoly power, and they protect that power by becoming important supporters of presidents, governors, and many members of Congress.
The Washington Post lamented the political corruption caused by the federal “sugar racket.” More than that, sugar policies are a textbook case of economic damage done by big government intervention in the marketplace. -- Chris Edwards

No wonder we're getting pumped full of high fructose corn syrup.

More importantly, this is an excellent example of how a moderate subsidy can end up costing more than 10 times as much at the checkout counter.

Cato Institute Tax & Budget Bulletin

Thursday, June 21, 2007

to resist the temptation of tinkering

Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek addresses another harebrained scheme produced by the inability of humans to resist the temptation of tinkering. He quarrels, correctly imho, with the following proposal:
Globalization has brought huge overall benefits, but earnings for most U.S. workers -- even those with college degrees -- have been falling recently; inequality is greater now than at any other time in the last 70 years. Whatever the cause, the result has been a surge in protectionism. To save globalization, policymakers must spread its gains more widely. The best way to do that is by redistributing income. -- Kenneth Scheve and Matthew Slaughter

Some of it whacky

I have a problem with charlatans who steal defense dollars, who are draining the integrity of science and the credibility of our national defense. The linked article:

Pentagon Spends $78 Billion a Year on Weapons and Space Research, Some of it Whacky,

says that about 10 billion (of 78 billion) a year goes to fringe science like "gay bombs" and psychic teleportation.
In her book "Imaginary Weapons," military expert Sharon Weinberger writes that the federal government is spending taxpayer money on war technology at a pace of about $50,000 per second. -- abc news

So the tab for charlatanism is about $6,000 per second! You can buy a lot of bulletproof vests with that.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today's mixed metaphor

A caller on npr this morning said, paraphrased, if feinstein and pelosi lived in my neighborhood, they would be singing a different picture.

mixed metaphor -- a combination of two or more metaphors that together produce a ridiculous effect. -- WordNet

My favorite mixed metaphor was when dikembe mutombo described defending against shaquille o'neal as "no walk in the cake."

Mr. Wizard RIP

Back in the day, I could count the people I knew who had teevees on one hand. I always tried to visit when Mr. Wizard was on.

Read Marty Kaplan's remembrance.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A New Link: Chris Kelly, funny man

Chris Kelly blogs at Huffington, writes for Bill Maher on Real Time, and is a very funny guy. See today's Make Your Own Bush Speech!

Adios TCP PDF, hola PA

Last week, the owner of the Cat's Pause site at decided to implode the venerable PDF (political discussion forum) without much of a reason. So a lion's share of the politico rats, myself included, jumped ship. One of our number set up a new board, Political Asylum, 'where the inmates are in charge,' and most of the old crowd moved there.

This is an exceptional bunch from many political persuasions. I am proud to be a charter member, and I welcome any readers of this blog to check it out.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Another reason why big government is not necessary.

"It was in 1949 that Rothbard first concluded that the free market could provide all services, including police, courts, and defense services better than could the State." The Myth of Lighthouses

Temporary Link to TCP thread as of this posting