09 Feb 2009

Two Fallacies Typical in Policy Discourse

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* Roy Cordato debunks the whole “making our children pay for it” fallacy regarding government debt. Note: there is more to the story, and I deal with this in the PIG to Capitalism, but Roy is right in the limited space he devotes to the topic.

* I meant to blog about this months ago when it came out in Nature (or Science, I forget). Anyway, these guys argue that “miles per gallon” is a misleading metric and “gallons per mile” would be a much more sensible target for policymakers:

MPG tricks people’s perceptions. Replacing a car that gets 14 MPG with a car that gets 17 MPG saves as much gas for a given distance as replacing a car that gets 33 MPG with a car that gets 50 MPG (about 100 gallons per 10,000 miles). MPG obscures the value of removing the most inefficient cars. A 14 to 20 MPG improvement saves twice as much gas as a 33 to 50 MPG improvement.

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