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  • Asking the Right Questions in Public Policy

    I read this on my Metro ride to work this morning:

    Between 1978 and 2001, Americans’ average life span increased almost three years to 77, and as much as 4.8 months of that can be attributed to cleaner air, researchers from Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health reported in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

    Some experts not connected with the study called the gain dramatic.

    “It shows that our efforts as a country to control air pollution have been well worth the expense,” said Dr. Joel Kaufman, a University of Washington expert on environmental health.”

    After reading this, I shared the exact same sentiments as economist Russ Roberts:

    How do you figure? To answer that, you’d need a measure of the expense. That number, and the alternative pleasures, delights and health benefits we might have generated from those dollars, is missing from the article.

    I also love that phrase, “as much as.” That means that 4.8 months was the upper bound. I wonder what the lower bound estimate was.”

    Imagine being able to ignore all costs and reap the benefits, no matter how big or small. I could pay $100 for a McDonald’s cheeseburger, take one bite, and be perfectly satisfied because I received some benefit.

    Fortunately, people perform cost-benefit analysis in their heads, most of the time without even realizing it. Should I stay up late on a work or school night and watch a movie because I really like it? But is it worth the cost of losing two hours of sleep along with being tired and inefficient the next day? Similar internal discussions and decisions can be made when purchasing items at the grocery store or the mall.  Cost-benefit analysis happens all the time.

    Public policy should be no different. Even though at times politicians pretend we live in a costless world, the reality is we don’t.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Asking the Right Questions in Public Policy

    1. Barb -mn says:

      Whether it is right or wrong, here's a question for government public policy.

      Why are the people in government so reluctant to grasp reality?

      Oh yeah, I know why. To control our lives and fill their greed.

    2. Barb -mn says:

      Majority of politicians LACK THE ABILITY TO THINK THINGS THROUGH!!!!!!!!

      This disability is destructive, dangerous and hypnotic to those who haven't the strength to combat.

    3. laura waclawczyk,cen says:

      why isn't there term limits for the house and the senate like there is for the president?

    4. theo levi, AZ says:

      Term limits?

      Short answer is to ALWAYS vote the incumbents out.

      Got time on your hands? Work to get the option "None of the above" on your local & state ballots, and watch the money storm gather to squash it. Sue them to get names & "corporate entities" that rose up against you. Before you embark on this most overdue of ballot initiatives, secure your "safe house, communications and stores", as it will get ugly.

      Daily answer: do one thing, or two, that undermines the gov't's grasp on your wealth, time and future, and remember to smile!

    5. len, Alexandria,KY says:

      When will We The Public finally Raise up from our Loungers and actually Demand Accountability from our Inept Congressional inpets??

      Who will finally take the time to dig up the real issues and people responsible for the Freddie, Fannie, Wall stree, and Bank current Disasters…

      When will we have the GUTS to Demand accountability from Pelosi and Reid who have been disasters in ledership unaccountability that if this latest Stimulus does NOT create Jobs as they Promise they MUST Resign amd Forever disappear from the National Scene.. Or are we so weak kneed to give them more Passes as they are giving Geithner and Holder ?????

      TERM LIMITS FOR SELF APPOINTED ROYALTY IN CONGRESS IS A MUST!!!! No more Morons in charge for too long!!!!

    6. Steve, Chester,MD says:

      We do have term limits for Congress. Every two years the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate must stand up for re-election. Problem is there are no viable, inspirational, conservative alternatives willing to stand up and run against these clowns!!

    7. Hozro1, Oregon says:

      Maybe we are not living longer! Maybe they didn't factor in the Abortion rate! All those babies and infants who would have died young, in earlier decades, because Mother's simply couldn't or Wouldn't take proper care of them, due to addictions, poverty, lack of access to medical care, school lunches.

      We have also between those years created more and more treatment programs, given employee safety more emphasis (OSHA), and had not started the huge influx of illegal aliens into this Country! Those that were here were not counted among the American population!

      If we are indeed living longer very little, if any had to do with Cleaner air! In all probability it had to do with the Baby Boomers and their parents having Physical education classes throughout School, sports, and outside play! They were raise to be physically fit and took pride in it. Can anyone who remembers picture the children in school today passing JFK's United States Physical Program for Kids?

      I think this, more than air,(hot, or otherwise) has more to do with our increasing longevity than anything else!

      However, be aware that in ten to twenty more years, the self same groups, (different people) will once again blame the decreasing longevity on air!


    8. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      Carl Levin is the perfect example for the need to

      remove these LIBS from office.His entire family is

      employed by us!

    9. Mike, Hickory, NC says:

      As truly and wisely both known and proven by so many people, from the best of our parents, including my father, to my own business experience (and that of countless others), to countless business people, business instructors, and employees, to salesmen and sales instructors, politicians, and even those people called "image consultants" used by politicians (including Obama) to “sell” the people so they can get into positions of power, it all comes down to "marketing", or "image" or both.

      Example: Say a man or a woman sees an advertisement for a store in which it is stated or printed "End of Season Clearance! Garden tractors as much as 25% off !". So, he or she goes rushing to the store, buys one of the smaller garden tractors (which have a smaller margin for discounting) instead of one of the large lawn tractors (which have a larger margin for discounting); so then say he or she gets 15% off instead of 25% off, and so, even after the store personnel try to point out the “as much as” in the advertising, he or she ends up yelling at the manager "Your ad said 25% off, but all I got was 15% off! That's false advertising! I'm gonna sue!", even after the manager goes so far as to point out the “as much as 25%” is clearly stated in the advertising and is the top discount (or upper bound) for one of the larger models, and that the minimum discount (or “bottom bound”) for some of the models is 5%.

      Questions: Is it false advertising? And will that "customer" win if he or she "sues"? Answers: No, and no. Why? Because "as much as" was clearly stated in the advertising; plus the fact that it is widely known (and that "customer" proved it) that, be it in any form of "advertising", or even Leftist government elitist propaganda pushing a Leftist government elitist agenda as if anyone really wants anything other than “clean air”, some people forget such as the “as much as” in merchant advertising, and some people are gullible enough to the Left to be manipulated by them into remembering such as “4.8 months”, such as in the article above, but forgetting any revealingly and foreboding “bottom bound” to it which largely or totally negates or contradicts their propaganda.

      Leftist government elitist politicians also either already know this or they learn it quickly; so then, with calculated and, if they get into positions of control or power, power-corrupted recklessness, they then proceed to “target it” for every vote-buying, freedom-killing government-empowering dollar they can try to demagogue and pander away from us taxpayers, practically and eventually "killing the geese who lay the golden eggs".

      If you doubt, then look it up! Such facts and others, along with charts, graphs, and plenty of other both factual and anecdotal evidence, including the voting records of Leftist government elitists, are all there to show it also! All you have to do is dare to think independently and do your own homework, without letting the Leftist government elitists and their allies in the media, be that in the so-called "local" or "national" news, "Hollywood", or elsewhere, derail your doing so to dispel doubt that these things are true.

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