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Tuesday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Tuesday afternoon links 1. Chart of the Day (above) shows monthly consumer spending on “energy goods and services” as a share of total consumer expenditures back to January 1959. In 18 of the last 19 months starting in December 2015, the energy share of consumer spending has been below 4% marking a historic period of the most affordable energy in US history (annual data on energy spending back to 1929 confirms this). Consumers owe a debt of gratitude to America’s oil and gas companies, and their revolutionary technologies that accessed oceans of shale oil and gas, for the significant contribution that energy abundance has made to providing us with the cheapest energy in history, and in the process raising our standard of living a little bit higher. ==================================

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Tuesday afternoon links

Tuesday afternoon links - Publications – AEI

1. Chart of the Day (above) shows monthly consumer spending on “energy goods and services” as a share of total consumer expenditures back to January 1959. In 18 of the last 19 months starting in December 2015, the energy share of consumer spending has been below 4% marking a historic period of the most affordable energy in US history (annual data on energy spending back to 1929 confirms this). Consumers owe a debt of gratitude to America’s oil and gas companies, and their revolutionary technologies that accessed oceans of shale oil and gas, for the significant contribution that energy abundance has made to providing us with the cheapest energy in history, and in the process raising our standard of living a little bit higher.

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Tuesday afternoon links - Publications – AEI

2. Venn Diagram of the Day (above). If landlords and employers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against tenants and employees, what about renters and employees who discriminate against landlords and employers?

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3. Meltdown at Mizzou. From Jillian Kay Melchior’s op-ed in yesterday’s WSJ “Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left“:

As classes begin this week at the University of Missouri, freshmen enrollment is down 35% since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students, to 33,200. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service.

The plummeting support has also cost jobs. In May, Mizzou announced it would lay off as many as 100 people and eliminate 300 more positions through retirement and attrition. Last year the university reduced its library staff and cut 50 cleaning and maintenance jobs.

Lesson: “College administrators who respond to campus radicals with cowardice and capitulation should expect to pay a steep price for years.”

4. The Antidote to Mizzou’s Meltdown?  How about this: ModernStates.org introduces “Freshman Year for Free”:

Something important happened in the field of education this month. For the first time ever, any student anywhere can take top-quality courses online in every major freshman college subject, taught by professors from the most prestigious universities, that lead to full academic credit at 2,900 traditional colleges, such as Purdue, Penn State, Colorado State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all absolutely free.

There is no tuition cost. No text-book cost. No administrative or connection fees. No taxpayer subsidy or federal Title IV funding required. And this is not a plan for the future, but a working reality available to students now, already built, entirely as a private 501(c)(3) philanthropy, at an exceptionally efficient price.

This could be the future of higher education, find out more here.

Tuesday afternoon links - Publications – AEI

5. Cartoon of the Day (above). Suppressing fascism.

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6. Video of the Day I (above). Avi Horwitz finds that clueless Americans actually admire socialist basket-case Venezuela for its “income equality”??

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7. City of Chicago Needs Remedial Lesson in the Laws of Economics. Chicago Says Ride-Share Companies ‘Took Advantage’ Of CTA Meltdown With Hikes. 

Questions: Was anybody forced to use Uber or Lyft? Wasn’t there a huge surge in demand? Didn’t people have alternatives to Uber and Lyft? Didn’t every ride-sharing customer engage in a voluntary transaction? Didn’t the surge pricing increase the supply of ride-sharing options by incentivizing more Uber and Lyft drivers to offer their services and come to the affected area?

Legally preventing surge-pricing during periods of surging demand for ride-sharing services would be like legally preventing thermostats from registering temperatures above 80 degrees in response to a scorching summer heat wave with surging temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

8. The Disgusting Practice of Legal Plunder. Anti-consumer protection from foreign competition is so potentially attractive and profitable to domestic producers, that now even two foreign firms with solar panel manufacturing operations in the US are engaged in rent-seeking to be protected from more efficient Chinese producers. From NPR:

The two companies asking for the steep tariffs [on foreign solar panels] aren’t “all American.” SolarWorld is the subsidiary of a German company, which recently declared insolvency. Founded in Georgia, Suniva declared bankruptcy earlier this year and is majority owned by a Chinese firm.

Here’s how Gordon Tullock explained the problem of rent-seeking for protectionist trade policies:

As a successful theft will stimulate other thieves to greater industry and require great investment in protective measures, so each successful establishment of a monopoly or creation of a tariff will stimulate greater diversion of resources to attempts to organize further transfers of income.

So not only does rent-seeking and its often successful legal plunder impoverish us with protectionist trade policies, it encourages other potential protectionist “thieves” to “greater industry” and often impoverishes even further.

9. Coming soon to a strip mall near you: An MRI provider. That’s the title of a Crain’s Chicago Business article, here’s a slice:

More and more medical procedures are moving to the strip mall, thanks to high-deductible insurance plans that are turning patients into penny-pinchers. The rise of strip mall health care presages a “fundamental shift toward more transparent, market-driven pricing” and changes in hospital capital allocation, says health care industry consultant David Johnson in Chicago. “What’s happening in the private market will ultimately reshape health care more than government reimbursements.”

(HT: Steve Bartin for these last two items).

10. Video of the Day II (below). From ReasonTV, “Five Cities That Got F*cked by Hosting the Olympics.” Every four years, municipalities compete to host the Olympic winter and summer games and virtually always plunge their cities and sometimes even their home countries into massive debt and insolvency.

Tuesday afternoon links
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.

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