Thursday, November 07, 2002

Consumer preferences be damned, we've got a seal to save!
We'll return to the sound and fury of the SPC later, but first a quick post on another discussion last week. A faculty member gushed about the possibility that if we raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which requires a minimum average gas mileage for the fleet of cars driven, we wouldn't need to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. I then posted this:
and then you can explain the joys of saving ANWR to the additional 1300-2600 people per year die currently because of current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards (according to the National Academy of Science; see Finding #2 in the report, at page 111), a number which would rise under this proposal. And in a survey of 26 things people want in their cars, better fuel efficiency came in 25th (from a survey by Maritz Inc. of St. Louis, quoted in USAToday.)

To which I got this reply:
The value that lawmakers place on what consumers prefer to drive needs to be tempered by other legitimate concerns. Safety is one and the responsible extraction of natural resources is another. Consumers have a lot of preferences that, if satisfied, would make for bad public policy.

Thomas Sowell once said "The anointed don't like to talk about painful trade-offs. They like to talk about happy "solutions" that get rid of the whole problem- at least in their imagination." It appears the solution to the problem the anointed see here is to assume away the importance of consumer preferences. Maybe this is why Democrats lose elections?