The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Thursday, May 25, 2006


As before, Kevin Drum's usual powers of reasoning desert him when the subject turns to CAFE standards:
The CAFE fuel economy standards passed in 1975 have worked great: average fuel efficiency increased dramatically between 1974 and 1985, cutting U.S. oil consumption by about a billion barrels per year. Unfortunately, CAFE standards haven't been tightened since then, which means fuel efficiency has stagnated since the mid-80s.
According to this view, a decrease in gasoline consumption during a period spanning the two worst oil shocks in history was caused by a new government regulation. The halting of that trend during a decade of easy oil was caused, naturally enough, by no new government regulation.

This kind of blindness to the obvious can only be willful. I would further maintain that it is symptomatic of a mindset which overestimates the puissance and efficacy of government. This mindset would also explain why the left blogosphere is genuinely upset over aggressive intelligence gathering by the government, in a way that they are not when corporations undertake the same kind of data mining: they truly believe in the power and purpose of Government.

[Cross-posted to Chequer-Board.]