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Bob Blick wrote:
> I notice you have an interest in this "government is bad" idea.
I prefer to express my position as "government is a necessary evil" ( (C)
> I have
> seen lots of American historical motion pictures called "Westerns" and
> it looks like the United States before "big government" wasn't such a
> nice place even for gunslingers with lots of talent.
You will forgive me if I say I don't consider Westerns to be a reliable
source of information about that era of US history. :-)
> Life seemed pretty
Residents of certain cities (Killadelphia?) would argue that life seems
pretty risky now. At least back then, AKs weren't as common.
> And they didn't have modern forms of lighting like CFLs either.
Are you suggesting that we should credit big government with the invention
of the CFL? :)
> There are plenty of places where government doesn't "take your money":
> US Virgin Islands, Monaco, Dubai etc but I notice you don't choose to
> live there. Why not, could it be there are other factors that are more
Yes. As Cedric noted, some of the places limit one's freedom in other ways.
Also, being able to visit family at least once a year (geographic proximity)
However, one of the reasons I choose not to live in California or
Washington, for example, is because they have big governments. Arizona is
> I don't mind "big government" "taking my money". I am doing
> just fine thank you.
May I ask what you do/did for a living? And why you think it's OK for the
government to take your money?
> Big government in California is responsible for the
> clean air we now have.
Is it the same government responsible for the rolling blackouts? :)
But seriously, this is a bad example to support your argument. The cost of
cleaning up the air was borne almost exclusively by the manufacturers and
the consumers (car buyers).
> I remember Los Angeles air forty years ago. Every
> time I am stuck in traffic in another state the smell of exhaust
> surprises me until I remember they don't have such "big government"
> regulations preventing them from having gross polluters on the road.
All states obey the same regulations dictated by the EPA (they're based on
CARB regulations). Enough time had passed since the regulations went into
effect nationwide (1996) so that vehicles in California pollute about as
much as vehicles in other states. FWIW, the air in Phoenix is cleaner, and
there's definitely less smog than in LA.
Mind you, I'm all for clean air. I believe that in a limited number of
situations it is OK for the government to compensate for an externality,
especially in cases where the harm to society outweighs the benefits (or the
benefit to society far outweighs the cost).
> So perhaps I think giving incentives for people to use less energy has
> multiple benefits, some may not be obvious.
If the goal is to save energy, the incentive should reward people for saving
energy, not buying inferior quality CFLs.
There are much better ways to create the incentive, for example:
1. Let the market price of electricity reflect its actual cost. The best way
to accomplish this is to deregulate the energy sector.
2. Give people vouchers, that can be used to buy any CFLs of consumer's
3. Provide tax breaks.
In general, it's a bad idea to encourage people to use a particular
technology (CFLs, catalytic converters, etc), it's better to align the
incentive as closely as possible with the stated goal.
See also: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=better+designed
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