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In this article we are told the following:

Those who create costs pay for them — that simple idea is the logic behind the Clean Air Act and most other environmental regulations

If that is the simple logic behind the Clean Air Act, then the act should be torn up and tossed into the garbage. If such a comment was put onto my environmental economics exams, it would receive a failing grade. The simple logic behind good economics AND good environmental policy is not to ask those who create costs to pay for them – that is something that we may want to do after the fact. But what good economics and environmental policy requires is this: those who can mitigate problems for the lowest cost should do the mitigating.

An enormous body of evidence supports this, and indeed it does not necessarily coincide with it being the “damager” that is the low cost mitigator. Does it mean the “damager” should not contribute financially? Not at all. There’s much more to say about that piece, but one must turn one’s attention to other things for the time being.

2 Responses to “The Simple Logic Behind the Clean Air Act”

  1. Harry says:

    Wintercow cleverly has caused me to reread Bastiat, who in his first (translated) essay explains the broken window, and the seen and unseen. Were Bastiat alive today, he would be lighting up Wintercow’s blog about today’s wintercowthoughts, after he had blistered the economic community on his own blog.

    You have to have motivation to read Bastiat in translation, though, even after you have read the stories he tells before. I find his reasoning easy to follow. Were I a sophist, eager to argue both sides of the argument, I would probably move from the cafe managed by the Rizzo family to the Mother Jones Cafe.

    This brief review of Bastiat is to encourage wintercow in his pursuit of making good ideas come to life for people today.

    Actually, Bastiat is a whole lot more fun than reading a Samuelson textbook, or reading anything ever written in The New Yorker, except for the blurbs about what was going on on Broadway. I never did finish anything in that mag, and not because it got me mad. I just never could get to whatever point the rambling author was saying. I bought the mag for the great cartoons, sometimes. I learned from a third party they were a bunch of liberals.

  2. jb says:

    100% correct Wintercow, I took the liberty of responding to that blog, (I shamelessly rephrased your argument.)

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