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[personal profile] jookitcz
Daylight Savings Time disturbs me. A girl gets used to riding the bus to work in the soothing, sleepy darkness, tracking the sun in time with her morning caffeine intake, and then getting to the park and ride at the end of the day before the sun quite starts to set. Then all of a sudden her morning is blinded by a fuschia sunrise and it's dark downtown as she leaves the building. Unsettling.

Strange day for working, anyway. Most of the actuarial exams are held once or twice a year, in November or May, except for the first couple. Almost everyone was gone today for studying, and--I mean, it's always quiet, but there's always clicking and some pension-related chatting--but nothing! It was kind of relaxing. Like working from home, but more fluorescent.

Ellen criticized me constructively today--I have efficiency down, but I need to trade some of it for self-checking before I hand a project off to be checked by someone else. Which I agree with, BUT she said this after handing a data project back to me (it was just collecting counts and average ages for retiree medical participants over 65) with corrections and questions all over it. And when I double-checked, almost all of the changes were a result of her misreading my work, not looking at the right part of the back-up, or forgetting that she asked me to cap the ages at 85. The only thing I needed to change was because I didn't understand that I needed for filter for marital status when looking up spouse data, because some of the birthdates were left over from previous years, and not all of them were for spouses that were still covered. But I think that's a pretty reasonable thing to not realize is an issue!

Anyway. Criticism taken, but I ALSO don't feel too bad.

Someone left a few Mounds bars in the lounge. Delicious.

And in other news, Karl Rove does not understand environmental economics!  I am astonished that nearly every fact and opinion cited in the article can manage to be so misleading.  Starting from the top!

The Price Tag Would be Huge: 

Rove argues that cap and trade would raise the price of energy for Joe Energy Consumer.  This is true.  However, any regulation of pollution will impose costs on the industry, and a portion of those costs (depending on the elasticity of demand) will be passed onto the consumer.  One benefit of cap and trade legislation is that the cost to industry is less than the cost of equivalent regulation, because it flexes so that those who can reduce pollution more easily will do so first, instead of forcing the needed severity of mandatory reductions across the board, regardless of who is better able to meet those reductions.

It will cost something.  But there is no free way to protect the environment.  Rove does not offer cheaper solutions.

Cap and Trade is a Regressive Tax

Fiscal conservatives.  "Regressive Taxes hurt Joe Average.  Progressive Taxes punish innovators.  Taxes are bad.  But stop feeding the deficit!  And buy more troops!"

Cap and Trade policy could be amended to be less regressive.  Caps would simply have to be a function of factors dependent on affluence.  Rove doesn't suggest this alternative, though.  He suggests throwing out the entire idea of cap and trade.  Absurd!  

Cap and Trade Would Shift Jobs Overseas

Because companies would rather NOT pay the government.  Unless we used the revenue from cap and trade to reinvest in American companies, with the caveat that they produce in America.  That's a short term idea.  In the long term, a successful cap and trade program could easily become a desirable global institution.  If nothing else, the last few years have proven that people will invest in the most abstract ideas--why not trading pollution credits?  And as the caps tighten, they will gradually change the cost-benefit equation for the green techniques and technologies that reduce the pollution for these American firms.  It creates an incentive for new ideas, and those new ideas will give foreign economies a leg up to reduce their own emissions.

The Policy is Not Properly Focused

I heard a local political ad on the radio the other day.  Two women were discussing the referendum that would expand civil union rights to make them nearer to being on par with marriages.  Their beef?  "Olympia is so out of touch.  Don't they realize that the economy is down?  Until it gets better, they're fools to be concerned with civil rights.  Show them that they're wasting their time by voting no."

Rove uses the same bizarre logic.  Africa has AIDS and malaria.  Stop trying to reduce emissions.

Also, why tax affordable forms of energy we have today to subsidize forms of energy that can't compete in the marketplace?  It's pretty simple, Mr. Rove.  Market externalities impose costs on people who have no decision-making role in a transaction.  Bicyclists breathe exhaust fumes just as much as motorists do (probably a little more).  One of the few appropriate roles of a tax is to make those transactions properly reflect their costs to society.  And one of the few appropriate roles for a subsidy is to allow an infant industry to get on its feet.  So actually, the tax and subsidy aspect of cap and trade is very constructive.

Unlike Rove's criticisms of it.  

Because he believes that a 4% worldwide emissions reduction is not worth $100 billion dollars.  The government is already using those bills to blow their collective noses (or to prosecute non-violent drug-related crime).  



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jookitcz

July 2010

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