Arnold Kling  

Democracy in America, 2011

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Job Satisfaction, Education, a... Together with Michele Bachmann...

The WSJ reports,


Energy Secretary Steven Chu came out swinging Friday against a House bill that would repeal a 2007 federal law effectively outlawing older forms of incandescent bulbs...

"We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money," he said.

Dr. Chu is also the person who proudly took away out choice not to throw $500 million tax dollars at Fisker Automotive in a loan guarantee. In fact, his department has given venture funding in the tens of billions that we mere private citizens did not choose to invest.


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COMMENTS (9 to date)
B writes:

Wow. Politicians and pundits find so many areas where wasteful Americans just leave money on the table. I can't believe how dumb we are.

Give this a listen (approx. 18:00 to 23:00) The Big Three and the Fight over Mileage Standards. This is a partial rough transcript:

Roland Hwang: The president's proposal at 56.2 MPG would cost just $2300 extra in vehicle retail price, but would pay for itself in three years time and save consumers over $6000 over the life of the vehicle. Well of course the auto industry is going to claim that the price is going to be higher than what the regulators claim.

Sean McAlinden: If this technology is so cheap, if consumers really want it so badly, where's the logic why the world industry would resist this? If we had this technology on the shelf, why wouldn't we be using it?

Roland Hwang: Right now the problem, for example, in the hybrid is insufficient supply, not insufficient demand. Hybrids are selling very very well. The problem is when you have insufficient supply of fuel efficient vehicles, the market price of used cars will go up. The demand is absolutely there for fuel efficient cars. The question then is why isn't Detroit moving as fast as they should. One of the clear reasons why we have insufficient supply of fuel efficient cars today is because the US government failed for the last two decades to raise fuel economy standards.

Is that as ridiculous as I thought it sounded?

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

Yes, Dr. Chu, but who made that "choice" that is being "taken away?"

I am reminded of a chat with a typist (now a director of communications for a major bank) when she asked what was wrong with the idea of:

"From each according to ability, to each according to need."

I suggested: Consider who decides what shall come from each and what the need of each shall be. Then think about how those decisions will be made.

Who chooses? AND why are they the choosers?

Seth writes:

"We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

Perhaps he could point me to the part of Constitution that he thinks empowers them to do this.

Mark Brady writes:

"Democracy in America, 2011."

What has this got to do with "democracy"? This news story is about denying individuals the right to make their own choices. Individual liberty is not the same thing as democracy, as Arnold knows well.

Fred Stone writes:

Is this blog post referring to the legislation signed by George Bush, the George Bush who spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the sink hole of Iraq, the war and president who Mr Kling supported? I think so. Mr Kling was for the unnecessary spending before he was against it.

Jeremy, Alabama writes:

My preference might be to not have fragile mercury bombs near my children, or to pay a little extra for tungsten light over fluorescent light. But I strongly agree with Dr Chu, who's gigantic Nobel-winning brain makes decisions so much more advanced than I can comprehend, that his should be forced on us Americans/hostages/morons at the point of a gun.

AC writes:

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nazgulnarsil writes:

yes B, it is the insanity of punching poor people in the face with one hand and then offering them bandages with the other.

Pandameoni writes:

Here's some great news, then: Congress may kill funding for the telescope that is supposed to replace the Hubble.

After all, we all know how much Americans are willing to invest in basic scientific research. Even if one million people ponied up $100 a piece each year that would cover only 1.5% of this monstrosity's construction cost.

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