Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The DC area gets policy advertisements, ones I never remember getting when I lived in Iowa or Wisconsin. Perhaps that's just because of population density, but I have feeling the "company" of this company town has a lot to do with it. Lately I hear a lot about the Waxman-Markey bill, a bill supporting cap and trade for carbon emissions. If cap and trade is better or worse than a carbon tax is debatable and I'm not sure on my position, but the arguments put forth looks like they were authored by Lou Dobbs.

China's making energy efficient lightbulbs and has other "green" industries, jobs they "took" from Americans. According to the ad, the bill will let us take those jobs back. If this the best argument for the bill (and it might be; Tyler Cowen reveals the benefits are hard to find), then we got a big problem. As Don Boudreaux likes to say, costs are not benefits. By forcing the costs of production higher (reflected by the fact that firms will produce these things in the more expensive US without additional gain), the economy becomes poorer, not wealthier. If jobs were wealth, the best thing the government could do is not eliminate trade, but eliminate technology.

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