Dairy Farming, Tariffs, and Trump’s “12 Billion Dollar Crutches”

Farming has always been an uncertain business. Weather and the price-taking nature of being small relative to large commodity markets lead to feast or famine. The Trump Trade War and today’s palliative farm subsidies to farmers harmed by Trump’s tariffs combine with pre-existing subsidies to amplify that underlying boom and bust cycle, imposing high costs on … More Dairy Farming, Tariffs, and Trump’s “12 Billion Dollar Crutches”

Should We Make It Politically Profitable for Policymakers to Do the Right Thing

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing, or should we make it less profitable for policymakers to do anything? Abigail Hall, writing a pair of posts for the Independent Institute blog The Beacon, urges liberty-minded people not to get too excited about electing the “right people.” (First post, second) … More Should We Make It Politically Profitable for Policymakers to Do the Right Thing

Bastiat, Hayek, Eurozone

Lynne Kiesling Steve Horwitz has a great post at the LSE blog that provides an introduction to and summary of the Austrian economic theory that’s relevant to macro policy questions, including the current Eurozone crisis. Most people know that Austrian economics provides a critique of the Keynesian policies emphasizing government stimulus spending, but what’s the … More Bastiat, Hayek, Eurozone

Cochrane on Aca’s Unravelling: Parallels to Electricity

John Cochrane’s commentary in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, What To Do When Obamacare Unravels, provides a strong and thoughtful analysis of what a free health care market could look like. In his argument he accomplishes two important tasks: he lays out the extent to which the U.S. health care market is not a free … More Cochrane on Aca’s Unravelling: Parallels to Electricity

‘Demand Response’ in Electricity: Economists Vs. FERC on (Over)Pricing

Michael Giberson As noted here at KP in August, a group of electric power economists (including me) filed an amicus brief on FERC’s demand response pricing rule. At the Master Resource blog, Travis Fisher examines the issue with some detail. Here is a bit: In Order No. 745, FERC reasoned that, “when a demand response … More ‘Demand Response’ in Electricity: Economists Vs. FERC on (Over)Pricing

Bastiat, Krugman, Horwitz on Earthquakes

Lynne Kiesling One quick note before I turn on my Internet-blocking software and retreat to my writing cave: yesterday’s earthquake naturally prompted a lot of snarky comment that the earthquake would at least create jobs … the absurdity of which illustrates Bastiat’s broken window fallacy (a topic of great interest to both of us at … More Bastiat, Krugman, Horwitz on Earthquakes

Just How “Wasteful” Are Data Centers?

Lynne Kiesling You may have seen the article in Sunday’s New York Times on how “wasteful” data centers are — they use large amounts of electricity to enable the level of redundancy required to achieve the degree of reliability and uptime that consumers expect from their Internet activities. I put the word “waste” in quotes … More Just How “Wasteful” Are Data Centers?

Some Economics of Tsa Policies

Lynne Kiesling As I’ve mentioned before, I am passionately and actively opposed to the TSA’s fear-based violations of the rights and dignity of individuals. But my opposition extends beyond the moral and philosophical into the economic … and some recent commentaries indicate that I am not the only one! First let’s think about the cost … More Some Economics of Tsa Policies

Wind Power and Bird Deaths and Frederic Bastiat

Michael Giberson Wind power gets a lot of criticism for contributing to bird deaths. Reports of bird-turbine collisions lead some environmentalists to withhold support from wind power. You sometimes see free market advocates, who otherwise seem not to get much concerned over the effects of economic activity on wildlife, suddenly quite concerned about wind power’s … More Wind Power and Bird Deaths and Frederic Bastiat

Arizona Commission’s Negative Power Line

Michael Giberson Via the Associated Press and San Diego Union-Tribune: PHOENIX – Saying they won’t hurt Arizona utility customers to benefit Californians, [Arizona] state regulators on Wednesday rejected a utility’s plan to build a $581 million cross-desert power transmission line to carry electricity generated at plants in Arizona to customers in California. In an essay, … More Arizona Commission’s Negative Power LineMore Arizona Commission’s Negative Power Line