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Comment Re:No winners economically (Score 1) 268

I have little sympathy for an industry that could have spent the last 40 years reducing their emissions.

Paying for extra emission reduction would put you at a competitive disadvantage against power plants who just did the bare minimum. Or, in a highly regulated environment, it might run you afoul of price controls.

Comment Re:a new (?) law of mathematics (Score 5, Insightful) 82

"He also says a one-penny tax on attachments would make him as rich as Germany"

Just goes to show that the product of multiplying two meaningless numbers is a meaningless number.

So it's kinda like a tax break. He could have taxed everyone 1 penny per attachment but he didn't, so he essentially gave everyone 1 penny per email attachment.

Thus Nathaniel Borenstein has given trillions of dollars to spammers. What a jerk! He should have spent those trillions on more worthy causes.

(The scary thing is that many lawmakers think along these lines. Money not taken = money given, regardless of logistics or practicality.)

Comment Re:So just like the old Sears crap? (Score 1) 532

because of our idiotic love affair with the failed "trickle down" theory of economics, we end up punishing millions of people, not because they're unwilling to work, but because we simply don't need them to.

So to combat "trickle-down" economics we should hire unnecessary workers? I'm not sure you have your economic theories straight.

we could simply start giving everyone enough money to get by

Money is a proxy for value. Simply printing more money does not magically create more things of value -- and in fact can lead to other negative consequences. If you don't believe me then I'll bet you 1 trillion Zimbabwean dollars that I'm right.

Comment Re:Stupid Media. (Score 1) 288

I'm also curious specifically on the drinking water pollution- something we should watch. Some people have detected elevated levels of methane in their water around fracking sites. I'm curious how much of this is really from fracking and how much is due to the fact that they only frack in places where there is methane in the ground anyway.

Methane is non-toxic, so it's a bit of a moot point.

Comment Re:Models aren't equal to models (Score 1) 676

Krugman quickly pronounced the Obama Administration's stimulus as far too small and said it would not get the job done.

He predicted that a Keynesian economic policy would fail because it wasn't big enough? So if it fails it reinforces his views, and if it succeeds it reinforces his views.

How can anybody be taken in by this?

Comment Re:Maintenance? (Score 1) 990

And it is at that point that money goes away (though the actual going away part might be exceedingly unpleasant for a time). The rich who own the means to make products have no one to sell them to, and the poor who have nothing either revolt and take back all the resources that the rich have gobbled up or, less likely, get together with the rich and forge a money-less society.

More likely all those products become cheaper and cheaper until they're practically free. At some point it becomes feasible for a small number of talented individuals to provide free alternatives to everyone else -- kinda like the open source community. Heck, we already have people with 3D printers donating time and materials to various causes.

Comment Re:Assange condemns greed? (Score 1) 944

I see your point about Freddie and Fanny, government backing allows people to go to college. Of course this leaves a lull in the service industry, because those that went to college cant afford to work for minimum wage while paying off college loans.

The more salient point that most people miss is that pumping money into the college industry has directly lead to tuition inflation. Thus making student loan debts all the much worse.

This is a recurring theme in government programs. Efforts to make something more affordable just make it more expensive -- kind of like targeted inflation. It can take the form of free loans or grants or tax credits or rule changes... there are lots of ways to screw things up while meaning well.

What we need is some sort of death penalty for government programs or institutions. They should "go out of business" if they screw up too badly. Alas, we seem to be heading in the opposite direction where now certain large corporations aren't allowed to fail.

Comment Re:What's New? (Score 1) 153

By the time they're done shopping their future home has agreed that they'll be exempt from environmental laws or that they'll never pay taxes if they'll please just give a few thousand people a job.

Perhaps a few thousand jobs are worth more than whatever corporate taxes they would have collected? I don't know Marx's stance on jobs, but I've heard they're beneficial to an economy.

Plus, some countries even tax the income from jobs. Strange but true!

Comment Re:The punchline (Score 2) 224

Implementing Pickens Plan would give him rights to build electric transmission lines, and by getting a wider right of way it would allow Pickens to build water pipelines.[53]

Holy shit, transmission lines? Water pipelines?! Thank god this madman was stopped! Sure, some cities in the area might need both of those things, but the important point is this guy wanted to make money off of it. The nerve!

Comment Re:Tax breaks = Subsidize? (Score 1) 123

What is the difference exactly between giving you $100 and lowering your tax by $100? Of course they're the same and that's why the governments favourite way to partially subsidize projects is tax breaks.

Even the politicians are honest about it, when they lower the tax on say food or books they actually say they're subsidising food or books.

I understand where you're coming from, but there are some practical and philosophical distinctions between the two:

  • With an actual subsidy they're directly redistributing money from one group to another.
  • With a tax break it's a lot less clear cut. For all we know it's a net tax gain from the extra payroll taxes, etc.
  • A subsidy can actually prop up a failing business, whereas tax breaks (while helpful) can't help if your expenses are still greater than your income.
  • It's cheaper to give a tax break of $100 than a subsidy of $100, since money tends to evaporate as it passes through a bureaucracy.
  • Ideologically, you don't want to encourage the idea that all income is the government's until they let you keep it.
  • Politicians aren't being honest when they spin tax credits as subsidies or reductions in budget growth as budget cuts (for another example).

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