Arnold Kling

Economic Ignorance Patrol

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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There is a lot of really lousy economics that I do not have time to deal with, including email chain letters proposing gasoline boycotts and Paul Krugman's New York Times columns. Fortunately, Jane Galt, or Megan McArdle, or whoever she calls herself these days, is on the case.

On the idea of boycotting Exxon and Mobil because they are big:

So this boycott takes 30% of a commodity out of the market. What happens then, class? That's right; the price goes up.

On the CAFE approach to (supposedly) reduce gasoline demand by regulating fuel economy on cars.

But if we realize that the consumers are actually consuming mileage, not gas, then we can see that CAFE inevitably increases the mileage consumed.

On Social Security (after an excellent parable skewering Krugman and the Democratic Party's "solution" of paying down debt),

Still a better plan would be the Chilean radical surgery approach: guarantee current benefits for those over 55 and move everyone else towards defined-contribution plans.

She gives us a lot to read.

Discussion Question. At, the Long Now Foundation's web site to generate discussions of the long-term future, there is a bet that web logs will overtake the New York Times as a cited news source by 2007. If Jane Galt is already more worth citing than Paul Krugman, should we move up the date?

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