Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Saturday, January 12, 2008 :::

Dean, I also think it was the Corner where it was mentioned that McCain was more interested in cutting spending than in cutting taxes, and I had the same reaction as you did -- i.e., "good for him." I also don't really have a problem with his position on embryonic stem cell research (though neither did I have a problem with Bush's position).

I don't know the details of his take on greenhouse gasses, but I know some Republicans have a problem here that I probably don't; I don't know how he wants to limit carbon dioxide emissions, but I do believe the emissions have an external cost. I also don't know what that cost is, but I estimate that it's higher than zero and far lower than "we're all going to die." I think zero is closer, and I'd have a problem with Al Gore (from whom I took the latter estimate), but I don't think McCain is going to destroy the economy in pursuit of lower emissions.

Anyway, here's a good summary of the case against McCain in cartoon form.


::: posted by Steven at 12:11 PM

An unconditional "we're all going to die", of course, is a zero marginal cost, as would be captured colloquially by "there's nothing we can do about it anyway". Some of the analysis I've seen on Kyoto-versus-nothing comes out this way, if you make negative but within-the-mainstream assumptions; it's not that there are no costs to "nothing", just that Kyoto doesn't do much to ameliorate them.

Incidentally, this is also one of my big reasons for supporting Pigou taxes over cap-and-trade. Felix Salmon occasionally, and with baffling repetition, notes that a strict cap-and-trade system would guarantee the quantity of emissions regardless of how much they cost. (It would also reduce them no further, regardless of how little they cost.) The only way I can make sense of actually supporting a carbon cap regardless of the price is if you take it as a near-religious moral issue -- and, frankly, I can't so much "make sense" of that as recognize it as a class of human behavior I can't make sense of.

What that really boils down to is that I'm more confident, for all the uncertainties, of putting forth ab initio a price than a quantity that I think is likely to improve welfare. If the economic response to it proves very different from my best guess, it seems almost certain to be better with a different quantity than I expected than with a different price.
Post a Comment

Comment Policy

Dollars and Jens
Steven's web-site

Kitchen Cabinet
Colby Cosh
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Corner
The Bleat from James Lileks
Tim Blair
Daily Ablution
Mickey Kaus
Dave Barry
How Appealing
Virginia Postrel
Reason's "Hit and Run"
Captain's Quarters
Roger L. Simon
Power Line
IWF's InkWell
Blogs for Bush
Chetly Zarko
Signifying Nothing
Cosmo Macero
Hub Blog
Ex Parte from Harvard Law's Federalists
Harvard CR blog
Priorities & Frivolities
Daley News
Emil Levitin
Politica Obscura
Wave Maker
Town Watch
Worcester County Repubs

Election '08
Don't Vote
Dave Barry
John McCain

Other Sites of Note
Townhall columnists Cambridge Republican City Committee
Cambridge Chronicle
Robert Winters
Boston Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Metro
Channel 5
Commonwealth Mag
Fox News
Massachusetts Republican Assembly
Robert Benchley Society

U.S. Constitution
9/11 commission report [7 Meg PDF]
Iraq Survey Group report
Fahrenheight 9/11 deceits


Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

Powered by Blogger