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Mark Perry

Mark Perry

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

Articles by Mark Perry

Creative destruction: How a cheap, brutally efficient grocery chain is upending America’s supermarkets – Publications – AEI

12 hours ago

AEI
Creative destruction: How a cheap, brutally efficient grocery chain is upending America’s supermarkets

You gotta love Aldi. I do. Any supermarket that can out-compete Walmart on price by 18% (see chart above) has to be doing something right. Very right. Talk about consumer value, consumer sovereignty and consumer surplus! Listen to what Walmart CEO of US Operations Greg Foran says about Aldi: “I never underestimate them. I’ve been competing against Aldi for 20-plus years. They are fierce and they are good.”
In a 3,000-word article, CNN highlights Aldi, the fierce retailer that is the greatest disrupter the grocery industry has seen in a long time, maybe ever. Here’s the opening of CNN’s report on “How a cheap, brutally efficient grocery chain is upending America’s supermarkets“:

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Any day now, expect the AFL-CIO to produce another hugely inflated CEO-to-worker pay ratio, debunked in advance – Publications – AEI

2 days ago

AEI
Any day now, expect the AFL-CIO to produce another hugely inflated CEO-to-worker pay ratio, debunked in advance

Any day now, the AFL-CIO will report its annual CEO-to-worker pay ratio for 2018 based on a series of flawed statistical assumptions that results in a rather meaningless apples-to-oranges comparison and a wildly inflated ratio. See the labor oranization’s press release last year for CEO pay in 2017 and my criticisms of the AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch report here.
Ahead of this year’s annual AFL-CIO report on executive pay, the Wall Street Journal last week published its second new annual report on CEO compensation in 2018 for the S&P 500 companies along with several related articles here and here. Therefore, like last year, I’m able to preempt the AFL-CIO and publish a

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Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions – Publications – AEI

4 days ago

AEI
Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions

From Heather Mac Donald’s City Journal article “Grievance Proxies” (italics added):
For decades, the College Board defended the SAT, which it writes and administers, against charges that the test gives an unfair advantage to middle-class white students. No longer. Under relentless pressure from the racial-preferences lobby, the Board has now caved to the anti-meritocratic ideology of ‘diversity.’ The Board will calculate for each SAT-taker an ‘adversity score’ that purports to measure a student’s socioeconomic position, according to the Wall Street Journal. Colleges can use this adversity index to boost the admissions ranking of allegedly disadvantaged students who otherwise would

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Backfire economics: Tariff Man’s trade war is destroying the economic future of US farms #Winning? – Publications – AEI

4 days ago

AEI
Backfire economics: Tariff Man’s trade war is destroying the economic future of US farms #Winning?

From an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by Missouri farmer Blake Hurst “Trump’s Trade War With China Is Taxing Missouri Farmers“:
Tariffs are a tax on U.S. consumers. We already tax ourselves to belong to international organizations that are supposed to enforce trading rules, as well as to fund the U.S. military, the State Department, intelligence organizations and a legal system that has tools to enforce laws against industrial espionage. All these institutions are better suited than Midwestern soybean growers to take on China’s bad behavior.
Moreover, America’s diplomacy and law-enforcement bodies are funded according to tax laws passed by Congress. Tariffs are imposed

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Who pays for Tariff Man’s tariffs on Chinese goods? – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
Who pays for Tariff Man’s tariffs on Chinese goods?
YOU Do, according to a fact-check analysis by Politifact, based on seven email interviews and seven other sources. Here’s the conclusion:
Trump said that tariffs are “paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us.”
China doesn’t pay the initial tariffs — U.S. importers do. In many if not most cases, those costs are passed on to American consumers, whether it’s directly on the products hit by the tariffs or through an impact on U.S. companies who use raw materials hit with tariffs. China could also take a hit over the longer term in its gross domestic product, but experts say the harm to the U.S. economy would be swifter, more certain and potentially bigger.
We rate the statement False.
MP: And not just false, but COMPLETELY false,

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Tariff Man’s tariffs = largest tax increase in decades – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Tariff Man’s tariffs = largest tax increase in decades

Just out today from CNBC — “Trump’s tariffs are equivalent to one of the largest tax increases in decades“:
President Donald Trump, having championed one of the larger tax cuts in recent years, has now enacted tariffs equivalent to one of the largest tax increases in decades. A CNBC analysis of data from the Treasury Department ranks the combined $72 billion in revenue from all the president’s tariffs as one of the biggest tax increases since 1993. In fact, the tariff revenue ranks as the largest increase as a percent of GDP since 1993 when compared with the first year of all the revenue measures enacted since then, according to the data (see chart above).
Only the revenue raised in the fourth year of the Affordable Care Act is

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On the fallacy that Americans will eventually win big from the tough bargaining of Tariff Man – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
On the fallacy that Americans will eventually win big from the tough bargaining of Tariff Man
At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux displays some more masterful economic badassery by responding to the common narrative that because China stands to lose more economically than America from a trade war that Tariff Man is right to wage this war, here’s a slice:
The fact that in a trade war the absolute amount of damage suffered by foreigners might exceed that suffered by fellow citizens is ethically and economically irrelevant: even from a purely nationalistic stance, no government has any business inflicting harm on the bulk of its citizens in the hope of securing advantages for a handful of its citizens. And further: in what sense would we Americans benefit if the reduction in Chinese living

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Who pays the Trump tariffs?….. – Publications – AEI

7 days ago

AEI
Who pays the Trump tariffs?…..
….”We Do, These Americans Say,” according to a Wall Street Journal article by that name written by Greg Ip, here’s a money quote (italics added):
David Weinstein, a trade economist at Columbia University, and two co-authors examined the six waves of tariffs Mr. Trump imposed last year and found prices exporters charged to American customers barely responded to the tariff. Once the duty is included, they estimate Chinese imports’ prices jumped 20% to 25%. Americans paid in two ways: U.S. importers’ profit margins absorbed some tariff, and some end-consumers paid higher prices. Goldman Sachs economists found consumer prices of the nine most-affected goods have risen 3% since early 2018 while all other goods (excluding food and energy) have fallen 2%. They

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Suppose you live in America’s most liberal state. Now suppose you live in the state known as “poverty capital of America.” But I repeat myself. – Publications – AEI

7 days ago

AEI
Suppose you live in America’s most liberal state. Now suppose you live in the state known as “poverty capital of America.” But I repeat myself.

The table above shows US states ranked for two different measures of poverty: a) the official measure of poverty and b) the Census Bureau’s recently introduced (2011) Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for each state’s cost-of-living, housing costs, utilities, medical costs and taxes. It also considers non-cash government assistance as a form of income and is therefore considered a more accurate measure of poverty than the official rate. For the country as a whole, the percent of Americans in poverty using the SPM of 14.1% for the years 2015-2017 (averaged) is 1.2 percentage points higher than the percent of Americans in

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Title IX updates: OCR opens investigations against Brown, Rutgers and Clemson – Publications – AEI

7 days ago

AEI
Title IX updates: OCR opens investigations against Brown, Rutgers and Clemson
Following my requests for review, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has opened investigations against the following universities for offering, promoting,  sponsoring, and hosting programs that I allege violate Title IX‘s prohibition of sex discrimination:
1. Rutgers University is being investigated by the OCR for its six single-gender, girl-only (no boys allowed) series of programs titled “The Academy at Rutgers for Girls in Engineering and Technology (TARGET).” Specifically, TARGET is a summer program at Rutgers designed for middle school and high school girls [only] to increase awareness and familiarize them with career opportunities within engineering.”
Program Dates for 2019: TARGET encompasses six

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Monday evening links – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Monday evening links

1. Map of the Day (above) shows the world divided into four regions with equal populations, via the Visual Capitalist.
2. Markets in Everything. Blade offers five-minute helicopter rides from Manhattan to the city’s local airports (LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark) for $195, less than what some elite car services charge, via Bloomberg.
3. The New Second Sex. Boys in the UK are left to fail at school because attempts to help them earn the wrath of feminists.

Every time you hear about U.S.-imposed tariffs, remember that they are taxes on Americans. @POTUS is boasting that he loves collecting big taxes on Americans. https://t.co/E2HP4pHLMC
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 12, 2019

Tariffs are being paid to the U.S. government by Americans. These “massive payments,” as

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Lord of the Flies and primitive savagery come to Evergreen State College – Publications – AEI

9 days ago

AEI
Lord of the Flies and primitive savagery come to Evergreen State College
In the three-part series of short documentary films below by Australian filmmaker Mike Nayna, you’ll learn about Professors Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying’s harrowing experience at Evergreen State College as the primitive savagery of the intolerant, immature, undisciplined and violent campus crybullies turned the campus into a version of Lord of the Flies. The most disappointing part of the films is the shocking fecklessness, cowardice, spinelessness, deference, and obsequiousness of the college’s faculty and administration in the face of the students’ totally irresponsible and unacceptable behavior and mob mentality. Watch as the pusillanimous faculty, administrators and even the college president stand by and

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Quotation of the day on Mother’s Day….. – Publications – AEI

10 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on Mother’s Day…..
…. is from Elizabeth Shine writing in the Wall Street Journal (“Coming to Appreciate Stay-at-Home Moms“):
This Mother’s Day, let’s recognize the full-time, stay-at-home mothers who have chosen to be the CEO of their own families, rather than sporadic parents and scattered employees. They are leaning in—to people, not organizations.
Bonus Video: “World’s Toughest Job.”

Quotation of the day on Mother’s Day…..
Mark Perry

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The dangerous doctrine of equity – Publications – AEI

11 days ago

AEI
The dangerous doctrine of equity

From Jordan Peterson’s article in the National Post “When the left goes too far — the dangerous doctrine of equity“:
The mantra of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity (DIE) perhaps constitutes the primary identifying factor of the tiny minority of radical collectivist ideologues that nonetheless have come to dominate the humanities and social sciences in Western universities (and, increasingly, the HR departments of corporations). Of these three, equity is the most egregious, self-righteous, historically-ignorant and dangerous. “Equity” is a term designed to signal “equality,” in some manner, and is a term designed to appeal to the natural human tendency toward fairness, but it does not mean the classic equality of the West, which is equality before the

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Meet 16-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg, patron saint of the Church of Climate Change – Publications – AEI

12 days ago

AEI
Meet 16-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg, patron saint of the Church of Climate Change

From the article “Greta Thunberg and climate change alarmists suffer from humanity’s oldest phobia” by Jules Gomes in Rebel Priest:
What does the United Nations have in common with the Jehovah’s Witnesses? The Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted the world would end in 1975. The United Nations foretold how “entire nations would be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” Both forecasts failed the test of prophetic fulfilment.
A religious person who says the world is coming to an end is a crank. A secular person who says the world is coming to an end is an eco-warrior. A religious organization that says the end times are nigh is an

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The new retail bogeyman/hobgoblin…. – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
The new retail bogeyman/hobgoblin….
… is no longer Walmart for saving its customers millions of dollars with “everyday low prices.” It’s now the 30,000 dollar stores in the US that are saving customers millions of dollars with prices below even evil Walmart’s, and those low prices are just too much to take for some local communities.
And the politicians in North Tulsa are fed up, and they have had enough of the rock-bottom prices and the cost savings that dollar stores are bringing to their local community and the anointed political busybodies have found a political solution. They’re putting a stop to the possibility of even more low prices in the future by passing legislation so that no new dollar stores can open up in north Tulsa. Then the political busybodies in New Orleans, north

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A year of trade losses in the U.S.-China tariff war….. – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
A year of trade losses in the U.S.-China tariff war…..

…. is the title of a post today on Political Calculations blog, here it is in its entirety:
In March 2018, a trade war between the U.S. and China began when President Trump initiated tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese-produced goods such as steel and aluminum, with China immediately retaliating with tariffs on U.S.-produced agricultural goods such as pork and soybeans. Earlier this morning, the U.S. Census Bureau released its data on the value of goods exchanged between the two nations for March 2019, where we can now measure the direct year-over-year impact of the U.S-China tariff war. Our first chart above shows the year-over-year exchange rate-adjusted growth rate of U.S. exports to China and U.S. imports from China.
The year

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Don’t scrap the test, help black kids ace it….. – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
Don’t scrap the test, help black kids ace it…..
…. is the title of John McWhorter’s article in The Atlantic about how “New York City’s elite high schools have focused wrongly on access over preparation”:
Is there something racist in the way the chattering classes discuss the low number of black students admitted to New York City’s most selective public high schools? The figures are depressing indeed. This year, only seven out of 895 admits to Stuyvesant were black, as opposed to 587 Asian and 194 white kids. Only 12 out of the 803 students admitted to the Bronx High School of Science were black, and only 95 out of 1,825 admitted to Brooklyn Tech. This is all in a city in which 26 percent of public-school students are black.
Since 1971, admission to the eight most selective public

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Don’t let students run the university….. – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
Don’t let students run the university…..
…. is the title of an excellent article in The Atlantic by Tom Nichols, author of “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters,” here are some money quotes:

College students trying to get professors [like Camile Paglia and Sam Abrams] fired because they don’t like their views isn’t activism – it is preening would-be totalitarianism. If college is to become something more than a collection of trade schools on one end and a group of overpriced coffeehouses on the other, Americans have to think about how we got here and how to restore some sanity to the crucial enterprise of higher education.
….
First, we have to recognize a shameless dereliction of duty among faculty and administrators. Student activism

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Capitalism will save us …. if only we let it – Publications – AEI

14 days ago

AEI
Capitalism will save us …. if only we let it
That’s the message we learn from Steve Forbes writing in Forbes:

Hardly a day goes by without some eminence from business or finance proclaiming with furrowed brow and seeming sorrow that capitalism is in crisis and must be overhauled if it is to survive and not be replaced with some variant of socialism. Inequality, climate change, obscene levels of corporate profits, stagnant wages, soaring healthcare costs, crushing levels of student debt, rampant Wall Street greed, high-tech monsters and much more are all laid at the feet of an allegedly heartless, unresponsive capitalistic system.
It ain’t so. Contrary to all this highbrow hand-wringing, the problem is bad government policies and, worse, a fundamental misunderstanding of free markets.

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$900,000 per job – Publications – AEI

14 days ago

AEI
$900,000 per job
That’s the cost to US consumers of Tariff Man’s steel tariffs as calculated by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and reported by the Washington Post “Trump’s steel tariffs cost U.S. consumers $900,000 for every job created, experts say“:

U.S. consumers and businesses are paying more than $900,000 a year for every job saved or created by Trump steel tariffs, according to calculations by experts at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The cost is more than 13 times the typical salary of a steelworker, according to Labor Department data, and it is similar to other economists’ estimates that Trump’s tariffs on washing machines are costing consumers $815,000 per job created.
“It’s very high. It’s arresting,” said Gary Hufbauer, a senior

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Tuesday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

15 days ago

AEI
Tuesday afternoon links

1. Chart of the Day (above) shows graphically the ongoing “restaurant recession” taking place in New York City. Job losses at the city’s full-service restaurants over the last year have been greater than any time since the devastating combined effects of the 2001 recession and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Over the last year through March, the city has lost more than 7,000 restaurant jobs, a percentage decline of more than 4%. Even during the Great Recession, the biggest year-over-year decline in NYC restaurant jobs was 1.8% in April 2009, which was less than half the declines in recent months (-4% in November, -4.7% in December and -4.2% in March). Therefore, to say that there is currently a “restaurant recession” in the Big Apple is no exaggeration!
Related:

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The economic impact of Trump’s trade war? Higher prices and reduced income for the USA – Publications – AEI

16 days ago

AEI
The economic impact of Trump’s trade war? Higher prices and reduced income for the USA
From the NBER Working Paper “The Impact of the 2018 Trade War on U.S. Prices and Welfare” by Mary Amiti (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Stephen J. Redding (Princeton) and David Weinstein (Columbia):
Here’s the paper’s abstract (italics added):
This paper explores the impacts of the Trump administration’s trade policy on prices and welfare. Over the course of 2018, the U.S. experienced substantial increases in the prices of intermediates and final goods, dramatic changes to its supply-chain network, reductions in availability of imported varieties, and complete passthrough of the tariffs into domestic prices of imported goods. Overall, using standard economic methods, we find that the full

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Another 4 Pinocchios for ‘Tariff Man’? – Publications – AEI

17 days ago

AEI
Another 4 Pinocchios for ‘Tariff Man’?

….of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019

In a pair of Tweets today (see above) “Tariff Man” once again demonstrated his fundamental and gross misunderstanding of how tariffs actually work and who pays for them.
Tim Lynch of the Washington Post quickly schooled the Protectionist-in-Chief on how tariffs work and who pays:
The president repeated his mistaken claim that “China has been paying Tariffs to the USA” for 10 months. In fact, American importers pay those

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The case for free trade and the case against protectionism, redux – Publications – AEI

18 days ago

AEI
The case for free trade and the case against protectionism, redux

From Scott Lincicome’s new article “The Case for Free Trade” in National Review:
Protectionism has repeatedly proven a costly failure. When researchers at the International Monetary Fund recently examined tariff increases in 151 different countries between 1963 and 2014, they found that correlated with such policies were significant declines in domestic output and productivity, more unemployment, and higher inequality. The United States is not immune to these harmful forces: Two new studies, from economists with the National Bureau of Economic Research, have found that the economic pain from Trump’s 2018 tariffs fell entirely on American consumers (companies and individuals).
My 2017 survey of the academic literature on

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Chart of the Day: Female shares of BA degrees by major, 1971 to 2017 – Publications – AEI

19 days ago

AEI
Chart of the Day: Female shares of BA degrees by major, 1971 to 2017

The chart above displays the female shares of US bachelor’s degrees annually from 1971 to 2017 for the 16 major academic fields according to data the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. A few observations and comments:
1. In 2017, women earned 61% or more of the bachelor’s degrees in 9 out of the 16 academic fields: Health Professions (84.1% and the greatest gender disparity for either sex of the 16 majors), Public Administration (82.4% and the field with the second highest gender imbalance), Education (81.1% and the field with the third highest gender disparity), Psychology (78.2%), English (70.4%), Foreign Languages (68.5%), Communication and Journalism (64.1%), Visual and Performing

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Quotation of the day on anti-Americanism…. – Publications – AEI

19 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on anti-Americanism….
….. is from John Hinderaker writing on the Power Line blog (“Omar Blames America First“):
Venezuelans were hunting rats to fry for dinner long before President Trump took office. Not because of foreign “imperialism,” but because socialism is an evil system that enriches a few at the top while enslaving, and impoverishing, everyone else.
Is Ilhan Omar really too dim to understand this? Yes, I think she may be. She is an immodest person of modest talents. She knows nothing of economics, nothing of history. One might expect that being rescued from a refugee camp in Kenya and brought to the U.S., where she was housed, fed, educated and given unparalleled opportunities, would make her pro-America. But in today’s Democratic Party, anti-Americanism

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More on government-mandated paid family leave: Aparna Mathur responds to her critics – Publications – AEI

20 days ago

AEI
More on government-mandated paid family leave: Aparna Mathur responds to her critics
In an April 5th CD post “The economic case against government-coerced paid family leave,” I featured a variety of economic arguments against government-mandated paid family leave policies as expressed by economists Don Boudreaux, Veronique de Rugy, Dan Mitchell, George Leef and Ben Zycher. Since then Don Boudreaux published several additional blog posts on paid family leave at the Cafe Hayek blog: “Don’t Leave Your Price Theory Behind,” “Leave the Market-Failure Story Behind,” “There’s No Good Reason to Believe that the Market Supplies Paid Leave Suboptimally” and “Leave the Market Be.”
In a post today on the AEIdeas blog (“Addressing Libertarian concerns about paid leave“), Aparna Mathur, AEI scholar,

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Tuesday evening links – Publications – AEI

21 days ago

AEI
Tuesday evening links

1. Chart of the Day (above) shows annual US natural gas production from 2000 to 2018 according to data released today by the EIA. America, the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas, produced a record volume of natural gas last year at 37 trillion cubic feet, which was an 11% increase from 2017, the largest percentage increase since 1951. Compared to output in 2006 before the advanced drilling and extraction technologies of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling revolutionized and turbocharged natural gas production in the US, last year’s production of the earth’s cleanest fossil fuel was 57% (and 13 trillion cubic feet) higher.

2. Map of the Day (above) displays CO2 emissions per household for each US state in 2016. The map was created by FIXR.com based on

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