Friday, May 19, 2006

Gas Prices and Coservation

On the issue of gas prices yet again, Jerry Taylor has a good piece up at Cato-at-Liberty on the paradox that many seem to have over this issue. He correctly points out that many who are today wailing that something "needs to be done" about high gas prices are the same people who have for years encouraged conservation through reduced driving, using public transit, driving more fuel efficient cars, etc. What they are missing is that high gas prices are easily the best mechanism to encourage exactly these kinds of behaviors, especially over the long term. If, like me, you believe in the importance of energy conservation then high gas prices are the best thing you can hope for.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: After listening to the audio from the NPR debate, two things come to mind: first, after Taylor says that Cato is in favor of consumption taxes such as gas taxes, rather than income taxes, she responds by saying "of course Cato will be for consumption taxes and against gas taxes!". Maybe she just misspoke, but after her other arguments I can't be sure. Secondly, how is is possible that someone with a PhD in economics (from MIT!) can have such a distorted view of how the economy works? It's hard to criticize politicians for not getting it when people who have multiple degrees in economics aren't able to let go of their partisan politics and look at an issue through an economic lens.


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