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April 30, 2008

Greg Mankiw Needs Slaves for His Gas Taxes

Via Reuters, Clinton-McCain gas tax holiday slammed as bad idea:

"Score one for Obama," wrote Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "In light of the side effects associated with driving ... gasoline taxes should be higher than they are, not lower."

Should the ellipsis concern you about missing context, read his Pigou Club Manifesto. Mankiw not only likes gas taxes, he wants to spike them an additional dollar to save the environment, reduce traffic, regulate the auto industry, dump more money into the Treasury, burden producers in foreign nations, maybe slightly kinda sorta ever-so-gently get the state more reliant on consumption taxes rather than income taxes, and end our interventionism overseas. He concludes by making it sound like we've got it easy, since even after a buck increase we'd still be paying less than the poor bastards in England. It's a fucking miracle just begging to be implemented as objective, unbiased, impersonal economic policy! Government at its finest!

Of course, he's a decent guy and notes that "higher gas taxes are unattractive."

Sure, paying an additional amount determined arbitrarily by politicians and value-free economists above and beyond the legitimate market price of a good I depend on could be called aesthetically unpleasant. I'd rather call it vicious stupidity.

This is the number one reason why I'm hesitant to get into economics as a profession and as a line of college study. It's all about figuring out which group of people to fuck over in order to - in theory - marginally improve the lives of 50.1+% of everyone else. It seems nearly the entire industry has signed on to coercive social engineering. If the demand for fuel is generally inelastic and doesn't respond significantly to price increases, then the only way to force consumers to consume less fuel is a BIG increase. It can't be too gradual otherwise we'll just absorb and adapt to it and hum along. No, to be effective it has to sting, it has to hurt.

How is that anything less than a completely gawddamn rotten thing to desire?

No, I don't support McCain's or Clinton's gas tax holiday idea. It doesn't go far enough. For one thing, Clinton wants to slap a windfall profits tax on oil companies to make up the "lost" revenue.

I don't want gasoline and diesel taxes eliminated because I want a temporary blip upwards in disposable income (a blip that Mankiw and other economists rightly question as unlikely). I want them abolished because they are taxes and therefore just another form of institutionalized theft. Just because the robbery happens at the business level doesn't mean it loses its essential character. Just because your heart bleeds for clean air, shorter commutes, and peace overseas doesn't make the theft right.

April 15, 2008

Rote Unpleasantries

I'm tired of a society of unthinking collectivist punks telling me to contribute or else.

I don't want to "pitch in" to an entity that has no legitimacy.

I don't want to "pay my share" into the hands of liars, thieves, morons, destroyers, and others whose job involves telling others how to do theirs.

I hate seeing wealth, productivity, and individual progress wrecked as a matter of routine policy.

I, like millions of other Americans, have sent in my income tax paperwork. It makes me ill to think I've been participating in national theft day for so long.

This, according to the People Whose Opinions Matter, is a "change election." I think it's time I started changing my life.

April 08, 2008

Anyone Missing a Screw?

In the Austin area? Maybe around the east side?

You owe me a new tire and 3.5 hours.

This is also a friendly warning to everyone reading this: Check your spare tires.

The anger of finding a flat on your car is amazingly compounded when you discover your spare is dead as well.

April 03, 2008

The Emptiness of Thaler and Sunstein's Libertarian Paternalism

Los Angeles Times: Designing better choices

The libertarian aspect of the approach lies in the straightforward insistence that, in general, people should be free to do what they like. They should be permitted to opt out of arrangements they dislike, and even make a mess of their lives if they want to. The paternalistic aspect acknowledges that it is legitimate for choice architects to try to influence people's behavior in order to make their lives longer, healthier and better.

My emphasis.

Awesome, so where do I mail my paperwork to opt out of the federal and Texas Constitutions and the whole cascading intrusive mess of laws they spawned?

I've got pot to grow, fully automatic rifles to fire, and just one lifespan to enjoy without taxation destroying chunks of it.