With President Obama’s proposed upgrade of car fuel efficiency standards (government-mandated standards, of course), I have a few bold predictions to make:
1. The administration’s estimate of an average increase of $1,400 per vehicle is far too low. A more accurate estimate would be an extra $4,000 or $5,000, what one would pay extra (at least) for a hybrid car.
2. Materials in cars would move increasingly towards polymers (plastics) and aluminum and away from steel and cast iron. Conventional illumination systems will be increasingly replaced by high-end, expensive LED systems. This could be good news for some small companies in the South, West, and Northeast, but will probably hurt even more the rust belt, which still has a fair share of iron and steel plants which primarily serve the auto industry by producing low-cost, high-quality, ultra-reliable parts. They will be driven out in a hurry. Too swift a movement towards these lighter materials will likely mean a safety problem and almost certainly a quality compromise.
3. The value of some used cars will increase as their demand will as well. A reliable gas guzzling vehicle purchased in 2014 may depreciate lower than one purchased in 2002.
Let it always be remembered that, as Henry Hazlitt would say, a good economist looks for all effects of a certain policy, and a poor economist looks at a narrow window of scope, ignoring the complete picture. Sadly we have neglected wisdom and we continually look to our tunnel-vision minded political machine to set our course for us.
All is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 1:2
Who is right about the current recession?
Most economists from the Austrian School of Economics have been saying since the beginning (before most mainstream economists admitted we were even in a recession) that this economic downturn would be long and prolonged, likely a depression. They are still saying this. None of the failed Keynesian economic policies will change this for the better. They will only prolong the agony, as Hoover and FDR’s interventions created and prolonged The Great Depression.
The Cold War taught us this: governments are not only unjust stewards of resources, but they are tragically inefficient as well. Tens of millions died, for instance, due to Communist failures to allocate food properly. If governments cannot even allocate food properly, the most basic of necessities, what makes us believe they are able to allocate capital, education, the environment, and health care (to name just four examples) more effectively than we as individuals are?
Mainstream economists have said, and some still say, that the recession will start to end this year. This is tom-foolery. We are already starting to see some mainstream shift in opinion (i.e. this news article). This shift will only continue, validating the conclusions of the Austrian School of Economics.
I sometimes listen to Radio 2 Morning on CBC in the morning commute. It’s the most entertaining radio show I have ever heard, both musically and in prose. The songs are pure, simple, subtle, and sincere, both musically and lyrically, not overly sugary, forced, or over-the-top as I find some American music to be.
Prose is frequently entertaining. Yesterday, radio host Tom Allen told about a scientific study, conducted by English scientists from the prestigious University of Oxford, which cost British taxpayers 300,000 pounds. The study aimed to ascertain whether ducks preferred water in troughs, ponds, or rain. The study pointed out that ducks preferred rain.
Many farmers in England, as you might imagine, have a difficult time with so much British taxpayer money being appropriated for such a silly purpose. English farmers have known, colloquially, that ducks love the rain, for hundreds of years. They did not need 300,000 pounds to tell them this. They are understandably frustrated.
This is a silly story which brings up some important questions which are never discussed, but which should be:
Is it just to appropriate taxpayer money for scientific research? Where in the U.S. Constitution is such explicity justified? Did our Founding Fathers support such spending? Why do taxpayers not have a say in where their money goes and how it gets spent?
I served a mission in south Asia among Chinese people, and so I am interested in the spread of the Gospel to mainland China.
Regarding Mormonism, two recent developments are interesting.
Firstly, from this article, I see that Taiwan is down-sizing from three to two missions. It is noteworthy that a similar event occurred roughly thirty years ago, when the Kaohsiung mission (which was actually the second created in Taiwan to my knowledge) was down-sized after the creation of the Taichung mission (the third created in Taiwan).
Secondly, there is the well-known story of Utah Governor John Huntsman being enlisted to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to China. Huntsman, an active Mormon to my knowledge, would certainly be a friend to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should they be interested in some sort of assistance from Uncle Sam in facilitating ecclesiastical or humanitarian efforts.