==> My latest IER post provides your Krugman fix while you wait for another podcast episode… An excerpt:
As the four figures indicate, according to various metrics air quality in the United States had been improving well before the creation of the EPA and passage of the Clean Air Act. We have no reason to attribute the gains in air quality since 1970 exclusively to federal intervention, and Krugman is wrong to claim that a rollback of federal regulations would return us to the air quality prevailing in 1970.
Notice that Krugman is trying to have it both ways. Although room didn’t permit me to quote it, Krugman brought up global climate change as an area where (of course) he thought a Trump/Pruitt policy would be disastrous. But then he pivoted to focus on local issues of air quality, arguing that Americans would directly experience how bad a laissez-faire world would be.
Yet as I’ve just shown, this makes no sense. If the people in LA or Pittsburgh are happy with the current level of government intervention when it comes to air quality, they can mimic current federal standards at the state and/or local level. This would solve most of the issue, except possibly for people in one state living next to factories located in another state with looser standards. Yet Krugman wasn’t making such a sophisticated, secondary argument; he was writing as if we either had the EPA or complete “anarchy” in air quality.
There is a huge benefit of leaving local conditions up to local jurisdictions: experimentation and choice. Perhaps some Americans would rather have slightly lower air standards in exchange for higher rates of wage growth. Under the current system, they don’t have this option; Washington imposes a one-size-fits-all standard.
==> Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
==> I am “sampled” in this ditty.
==> This is a classic SlateStarCodex post from two years ago, explaining why special interest groups seem to inexplicably pick really weak illustrations of their principles. (E.g. feminists going to the barricades over a dubious rape allegation, rather than holding up obvious victims whom no one would doubt.) I’d seen people referring to it, but I only recently read it. Just give it a chance and see if it grabs you. But you need to have a good 10 minutes to read the thing.
==> Russ Roberts’ interview with Thomas Leonard was really eye-opening. I vaguely knew that the early Progressives were racists and even into eugenics, but I learned some things from this.
==> Nick Rowe has an interesting (though somewhat obscure) discussion on modeling money. The interesting thing for non-economists (I gather) is that many leading models don’t even have money IN them.