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Comment Re:Wal-Mart does pay market wages (Score 1) 1103

Of course you can choose whether to pay rent. Many people choose the alternative of paying a mortgage. Others live in their parent's basement, or they lower their rent by renting just a room.

You can also choose whether to have children.

You can also choose to live in an area with a lot of employers or with only a few employers. It might cost more to live close to employment centers, but if that lets you get rid of an extra car, you would have an extra $9,122 per year that you could pay towards rent or a mortgage.

There's no such thing as a perfectly free market, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to make the market as efficient and equitable as possible.

Comment Re:So much for... (Score 1) 743

If he made a joke about drunk driving, do you think his driving privileges should be permanently revoked too?

In both cases, a psychological exam might be prudent.

In the USA, driving privileges are rarely revoked permanently. You might get them taken away for a year or two, but then you're automatically eligible to be relicensed. In Germany, if you're convicted of an extreme DUI, your license is permanently revoked until you can prove, through a battery of physical and chemical tests, that you no longer have a drinking problem.

Comment Re:public? (Score 1) 276

Identification on your car tracks where your car is, not where you are. Remember, car != person. A lot of people get the two confused.

In many cases, one may be a good proxy for the other, so if you don't like it, stop operating deadly machinery in the presence of others. Should the FAA stop tracking airplanes?

Comment The possibilities... (Score 1) 47

Someday these will be completely automated. Insert in eye, it does a thorough inspection, figures out what's wrong, and fixes it.

Maybe these can also help attach severed nerves and arteries. With the help of someone (or a robot) to hold the pieces together, a syringe full of these could swarm the body of someone who's just been blown to bits and put him back together again before the brain runs out of oxygen.

Comment Re:Great news for poor people (Score 2) 577

Surely food stamps for the few who need them is better for the economy than distorting the entire market for energy.

One external cost of energy is the cost of air pollution, up to $1,600 per person annually in health care costs, missed work, and so on. A market cannot work efficiently as long as these costs are shifted away from those who are directly involved in the transaction (the buyer and seller) and towards others (people who breath air) who neither sold nor consumed the energy but had to breathe the dirty air from it.

You can have a market completely free from government regulation or one that's as efficient as possible, but not both at the same time. Which do you choose?

Comment Re:Don't believe the hysterics (Score 3, Informative) 577

Periodic Ice Ages. The last one was 11,000 years ago. The earth is still warming up towards 'normal'.

False, and also false.

Medieval mini ice age.

That was a local phenomenon, not global.

The earth is mostly covered with water and most of the land is desert

And it takes just one straw to break the camel's back (or one wafer-thin mint to explode Mr. Creosote).

Radiation is related to the square of the temperature difference.

Unfortunately, we're melting the ice caps (which reflect radiation back into space), and water vapor creates a temperature feedback. That means as the earth warms, the warming will accelerate.

What caused those hot swampy periods?

Changes in the orbit of the earth.

man has precious little to do with it, if anything.


Comment Re:Great news for poor people (Score 1) 577

Having to pay much more for electricity will mean having less money left over for food...

That problem is already solved with food stamps.

high energy consumers, such as, you know, factories, will have to cut down production

Or put up solar panels. Maybe some of them will even build solar panels! That's good for the economy.

artificially inflating the cost of energy.

Actually, the price of energy has always been artificially low. Internalizing an external cost fixes a market failure, and making the market more efficient is good for the economy.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

Hit them with confiscatory peak rates so bad that the most vulnerable will have to retreat to caves.

Or they'll stay downstairs where it's cooler, or close off unneeded rooms, or turn on the swamp cooler, or hang wet sheets in the open windows, or wear chilly pads, or turn off the A/C and visit a friend or go to the mall or the movie theater. Trust me, wonderful things happen when you remove price ceilings and allow the market to work.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

But when the AC comes back on, it has to work harder because now the room is warmer... No energy has been saved in the long run...

No, that's just a myth. You can save 10% by turning the thermostat up 7-10 degrees during the day.

a tall thin peak of energy consumption has been flattened and made wider.

Electricity has been saved during the time of day when it's the most expensive to generate, because to save money, utilities fire up their cheapest sources of power first, and wait for periods of high demand before they fire up their more expensive sources of power. This is how smart meters save us money.

Smart meters help with peak power on a grid which can't handle the demand... It's a cheap way of dealing with a failure to invest in essential infrastructure.

"Can't handle the demand" is another way of saying demand is greater than supply--a shortage. A shortage occurs when the price is set below the going rate determined by supply and demand. A price that's too low encourages overconsumption and discourages investing in essential infrastructure.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

we should let those who are willing to a pay a premium to crank their AC whenever they feel like it do that and use the money to improve the grid and build the infrastructure that's necessary to deliver that supply.

Some choice. The flat rate price of electricity will naturally rise to the peak hour price, and here's why. As customers move from flat rates to variable rates to save electricity, those who are left will naturally be those who wouldn't save money by switching--in other words, the ones who use most of their electricity during peak usage times. Because these customers will be using most of their electricity when it costs the utility the most to generate and deliver it, their rates must go up to pay their fair share. Eventually those few customers who are left will be the ones using 100% of their electricity during the most expensive periods, and therefore they will be paying the peak hour rate. At that point, there will be no incentive even for them to stay on the flat rate plan, because nobody who uses electricity during the cheaper hours will be left to subsidize them.

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