Patterico's Pontifications

9/3/2011

Paul Krugman and the Ozone Fairy

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:25 am



[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama abandoned a controversial new proposed EPA rule regarding so-called ground-level ozone on Friday, angering lefties in general and environmentalists in particular.  Nobel Prize-winning economist and former Enron adviser Paul Krugman is among those in despair, arguing the decision is “definitely a mistake” as a matter of economics:

[T]ighter ozone regulation would actually have created jobs: it would have forced firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment, helping to boost demand. Yes, it would have cost money — but that’s the point! And with corporations sitting on lots of idle cash, the money spent would not, to any significant extent, come at the expense of other investment.

The proposed EPA rule did contemplate that a lot of money be spent.  Indeed, House Speaker John Boehner singled out this proposal in a recent letter to Obama precisely because the estimated cost ran as high as $90 billi0n per year.  But Krugman’s argument has at least one itsy-bitsy little flaw: the technology required to meet the standard EPA proposed does not exist.  Yes, really.  Here’s what the EPA had to say about it (.pdf):

o The supplement to the [Regulatory Impact Analysis]  assumes that the proposed standards can be achieved throughout the U.S. using a mixture of known air pollution control technologies and unknown, future technologies.

o The annual control technology costs of implementing known controls as part of a strategy to attain a standard in the proposed range of 0.060 ppm or 0.070 ppm in 2020 would be approximately $3.3 billion to $4.5 billion. EPA used several statistical methods to provide a range of likely compliance costs for other, currently unknown technologies that would be needed to attain the proposed primary standards.

Of course, if Krugman can wish for the economic stimulus of an alien invasion, I suppose he can also wish for the economic stimulus from the Ozone Fairy.  Because unless the Ozone Fairy showed up, 565 counties would have suffered economically.

–Karl

58 Responses to “Paul Krugman and the Ozone Fairy”

  1. The Ozone (O3) fight has been going on now for what, 30-years, ever since some credentialled idiot at UC-Irvine went on an LSD induced rant (OK, I made up the LSD bit – or did I?) about the destruction of the Ozone Layer above Antarctica, and how we were all doomed if we continued to allow certain chemicals (aerosol-can propellants, and R-12 refrigerants were the targets of choice) to be freely dispersed into the atmosphere.

    This was a precursor to the AGW scare, and it was all about the same thing:
    Create a global danger to humanity that requires a substantial increase in 1) funding for the study of the problem, 2) governmental control over sectors of the economy.

    And the upshot is – they were both scams.
    The ozone-hole was/is a cyclical phenomenon that is seemingly more connected to La Nina than any release of Dichlorodifluoromethane; and we find that Ozone is bad at the surface where it can be trapped by topography (think the Los Angeles Basis) causing ground-level polution and discomfort, but it is valuable in the stratosphere were it filters out UV radiation from that Old Meany, Sol – whom, it is hard to believe, is a major culprit in that other scam, AGW, which according to the “scientists”, is all the fault of Man trying to live a more comfortable life.
    And now, we have the “lab coats” at EPA mandating a highly-expensive reduction, at the far-margin, of O3 (just as they want to with CO2) that is, if not beyond the technology, far beyond the point on the cost-effect curve where it makes since.

    We need to enforce the 1st-Amendment against these folks:
    It is time to get the government out of the religion-promoting business – and all of this “science-induced” politics/policy from the EPA is nothing but a product of the Religion of Environmentalism, and worship of the God: Gaia!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d9093d)

  2. another attempt
    to strangle economy
    common sense prevails

    ColonelHaiku (024133)

  3. Oops….Los Angeles Basin!
    ……..sense

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d9093d)

  4. Greetings:

    “former Enron adviser” — Brilliant.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    11B40 (5c4626)

  5. The Ozone Fairy might be related to the guy in the White House that was supposed to be lowering the levels of the oceans. He seems to have a lot of interesting relatives. :-)

    Sue (40062f)

  6. In a Krugman-led world, everyone would be fired by him just so he could claim the largest jobs-creation Regime in the History of the World when he rehired everyone. Problem solved. A doofus even doofuses recognize as a doofus. But he does get invited to all the right parties, I’m sure.

    dfbaskwill (c021f2)

  7. I thought the ozone was depleting?

    DohBiden (d54602)

  8. Bottom line: Krugman wants to dictate to businesses what they must spend their money on.

    Icy Texan (73df5e)

  9. Because he’s from the government, and he’s here to help

    Icy Texan (73df5e)

  10. Krugman beclowns himself with the ridiculous argument that expensive new government mandates imposed on an already struggling private sector will result in more jobs.

    The only way such a proposition makes sense is if you ignore the loss of productive employment in favor of additional unionized government bureaucrats to oversee the self-imposed strangulation of American enterprise.

    ropelight (07e8f3)

  11. how dare you not spend your money… who do you think it belongs to?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  12. There are several studies showing an increase in mortality and an increase in ground level ozone. One of the most prominent studies is the time series study “Ozone and Short-tem Mortality in 95 SU Urban communities, 1987-2000” Bell, McDermott, Zeger, Samet, JAMA Nov 17, 2004. this study attempted to demonstrate the percentage increase in premature mortality for each 10ppb increase in ground level ozone. This study, like many of the others suffers 4 major deficiencies, 1) there is no control environment, ie analysis of areas where other factors changed in a manner similar to the studied communities, but without the increase in ozone, 2) attributing the increase in mortality when other factors had higher correlations, (in several communities, the increase in ozone was negatively correlated to the other factors), 3) attributing the increase in mortality when the total ozone was significantly less than would cause in health issues, 4) a reporting bias by the physicans as to the cause of death.

    The point is that the EPA is putting a huge reliance on studies that are dubious.

    Joe (bbbdbb)

  13. darting ferret eyes
    the bearded yew nork times twit
    schleps unabated

    ColonelHaiku (024133)

  14. The annual control technology costs of implementing known controls as part of a strategy to attain a standard in the proposed range of 0.060 ppm or 0.070 ppm in 2020 would be approximately $3.3 billion to $4.5 billion. EPA used several statistical methods to provide a range of likely compliance costs for other, currently unknown technologies that would be needed to attain the proposed primary standards.

    The EPA is not supposed to take costs into account – however, the money could be spend significantly wiser. Assuming argumentively, that the reduced ground level ozone will have benefits reducing 20,000 heart attacks or more, etc, buying a health club membership for 1,000,000 at risk individuals for 10 years @$4,000 each will save 300,000-500,000 premature heart attacks. A far more efficient use of the money.

    Joe (bbbdbb)

  15. One last point – since the 1980’s our air is significantly cleaner, though we have a nearly 200% increase in asthma attacks. (per capita). I dont think cleaner air causes asthma.

    The primary reason for the increase in reported asthma attacks is 1) people going to the doctor for milder cases, 2) a reporting bias by doc’s and 3) less active kids.

    Joe (bbbdbb)

  16. The point is that the EPA is putting a huge reliance on studies that are dubious.
    Comment by Joe — 9/3/2011 @ 12:28 pm

    Gee, they have NEVER done that before.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d9093d)

  17. He seems to have a lot of interesting relatives. :-)
    Comment by Sue — 9/3/2011 @ 11:03 am

    So…is this one sober? Or…I know this is a reach.. legal ?

    ppk_pixie (1df0c8)

  18. Krugman is writing editorials based on an advocacy for the broken windows fallacy.

    I guess that Nobel prize was indeed found in a Cracker Jack box.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. Just reading the headline I thought the Krug had been caught in some sort of sex scandal.

    You have no idea how relieved I am to learn otherwise, though the instant mental image caused me considerable mental pain.

    Pious Agnostic (6048a8)

  20. I’m sure that “O-zone” is slang for something dirty…not going to look it up, though.

    Pious Agnostic (6048a8)

  21. Joe,

    You’re right that EPA is not supposed to take costs into account (though they do examine them). Point here is that Krugman was seeing those costs as economic stimulus, which was never possible.

    Karl (37b303)

  22. Petroleum, natural gas and coal-the new green.

    Solyndra is not people, but it can waste half a billion or so of their money. And then fail.

    Or we could-crazy idea-actually mine and drill for the stuff we already have. Might be nice to have such a sane eneregy policy for the first time in …forever.

    Can anyone explain how Obama extolling the virtues of Petrobras using the same derricks he banned from drilling in the Gulf? IS anyone going to ask him about Soros and his holdings in Petrobras?

    Bugg (ea1809)

  23. ==would actually have created jobs: it would have forced firms to spend..==

    There you have it. Force. The operative word in all the Prog theories about controlling pretty much everything.

    elissa (b52508)

  24. I’m confused. Did Obama stop the EPA’s Cross-State Rule that summarily extended the Clean Air Act to Texas power plants, or is that a different issue?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  25. Colonel unfair to
    ferrets when he compares them
    to shifty-eye Paul

    elissa (b52508)

  26. DRJ,

    Different issue, afaik (although the ozone reg would have really destroyed the economy once the ozone from Mexico and Canada became our problem).

    Karl (37b303)

  27. Just think how much stimulus we’d get from a nuclear exchange. If we traded nukes with China, they’d benefit too, since our bonds would be worth so much more with our now-booming economy, on top of their own robust gains.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  28. Thanks, Karl. I was afraid of that, although it may be related if it includes recent extensions to the Clean Air Act.

    elissa — That post is what made me ask this question. Even the commenters there are confused, with some saying the rules are still in effect and others saying these are what Obama halted.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  29. The ozone regs are off the schedule as of yesterday, but the EPA’s carbon emission standards regs remain ready and rarin’ to go. That’s my understanding, at least. I fear there will be deaths due to rolling blackouts during the Texas heat if this is not changed.

    elissa (b52508)

  30. I suppose what Perry needs to do to ensure that TX power-plants stay on-line is to station a Ranger at each one to deal with any Federal bureaucrats; after all, it only takes one Ranger to deal with one riot disturbance.
    What’s Obammey going to do, send in the Army to take-over the sites?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d9093d)

  31. The primary reason for the increase in reported asthma attacks is 1) people going to the doctor for milder cases, 2) a reporting bias by doc’s and 3) less active kids.

    you forgot 4) increase in AFDC payments if child is diagnosed as having a disability, e.g., asthma.

    ColonelHaiku (024133)

  32. [T]ighter ozone regulation would actually have created jobs: it would have forced firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment

    SPQR picked up that this is a classic example of Bastiat’s broken window fallacy. You would think a Nobel Prize winning economist would know that.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  33. Assuming a Nobel Prize winning economist read the editorial at all, Mike K.

    SPQR (26be8b)


  34. A doofus even doofuses recognize as a doofus.

    The Big 0 is a rather blatant doofus.
    Yet he follows Krugman.

    Clearly, you’re wrong on this analysis.

    IGotBupkis, from F to D (Fuss->Doofus) (2fb1c2)


  35. Or we could-crazy idea-actually mine and drill for the stuff we already have. Might be nice to have such a sane energy policy for the first time in …forever.

    I could be wrong, but I believe we had one back when Rockefeller was in charge of it, at least until the Government decided that THEY should be the ones In Charge.

    IGotBupkis, from F to D (Fuss->Doofus) (2fb1c2)

  36. …astonishing that someone with such a lack of common sense can wield such influence and collect a salary, like the great fake Paul Krugman.

    lu-ui (86657c)

  37. Just watch Krugman is going to say the ozone is depleting again.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  38. _______________________________________________

    I suppose what Perry needs to do to ensure that TX power-plants stay on-line is to station a Ranger at each one to deal with any Federal bureaucrats

    I might have once thought such a comment was a matter of casual sarcasm and light-hearted hyperbole. Now I’d say otherwise.

    If opinion polls indicate growing percentages of Americans perceive their own government as both a growing nuisance and threat — even without things like Obamacare in full effect — can you blame them?

    online.wsj.com, August 26, 2011:

    Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

    It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of…iconic instruments…. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

    The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards…. But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

    Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent — not to mention face fines and prosecution.

    John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says “there’s a lot of anxiety, and it’s well justified.” Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, “I don’t go out of the country with a wooden guitar.”

    Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers… There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn’t have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling. Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation.

    Last year, Dick Boak, director of artist relations for C.F. Martin & Co., complained to Mother Nature News about the difficulty of getting elite guitarists to switch to instruments made from sustainable materials. “Surprisingly, musicians, who represent some of the most savvy, ecologically minded people around, are resistant to anything about changing the tone of their guitars,” he said.

    You could mark that up to hypocrisy — artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won’t make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions.

    ^ BTW, such insanity emanates from the same Justice Department, headed by a guy appointed by Jeremiah Wright’s former good buddy, that is currently forcing banks to bend over backwards to provide mortgages to low-income people even if they’re on welfare, food stamps, etc.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    Mark (411533)

  39. elissa,

    That makes sense. Thanks for explaining it to me.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  40. There is something about leftist economists. The guy that Obama is appointing as his new economics advisor is same guy who wrote a paper in the 1990s purporting to prove that a higher minimum wage resulted in higher employment of unskilled workers. His paper was immediately demolished by other economists but it hasn’t seemed to hurt his career any.

    They see what they want to see. The country’s in the best of hands.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  41. Economics is interesting. Economics professors are boring. Listening to Economics professors posit on politics is stupid.

    Ag80 (9a213d)

  42. sad day for Krugman
    and Obama their first born
    Solyndra has died

    elissa (b52508)

  43. hard to compete when
    order two Chinese panels
    you get the eggroll

    ColonelHaiku (024133)

  44. Paul Krugman is perpetuating the old (and dumbest) concept that somehow replacing broken windows creates economic growth.

    S. Carter aka J-Z (049336)

  45. but just wait until
    dumb China enacts the one
    panel policy

    elissa (b52508)

  46. Corporations are sitting on idle cash because they don’t know where to put the money. They don’t know what Obama’s next whim is going to do to ruin
    their plans. So they sit and wait for the end of the Obama era.

    Corporations don’t need to be forced to waste money on stupid government schemes. They need to know that they can spend their money without having to worry about government ruining the result.

    RightKlik (b98edf)

  47. Yup smart corporations wait for end of Obama error.

    Comanche Voter (0e06a9)

  48. ________________________________________________

    Right up there with the Ozone Fairy, there’s the Solar Fairy…

    newson6.com, Sept 1, 2011:

    A California solar company backed by the U.S. government and Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser‘s private equity firm has gone bankrupt. Solar panel maker Solyndra suddenly shut down Wednesday, laying off more than a thousand people.

    Kaiser’s Argonaut Private Equity firm was the largest shareholder of Solyndra, which received $535 million in federal loans. The Center for Public Integrity [CPI] said on its web site that Kaiser’s firm remains a “significant financial backer of Solyndra,” Solyndra spokesman David Miller confirmed.

    George Kaiser, who is also chairman of the board for BOK Financial Corporation, hosted a fundraiser for Obama in 2007 in Tulsa. CPI also reported Kaiser raised at least $50,000 for the president’s 2008 election effort.

    Now Congress questions whether Obama’s connection to Kaiser was how the California company got a government guaranteed loan.

    Mark (411533)

  49. Here’s some simple economics for you…Solyndra was making a product for six bucks a unit and selling it for three bucks a unit. The Chinese are making the same unit and selling it for a buck and a half. Sounds like good economic planning to me…if you’re a leftard.

    Green energy is way overhyped and beyond the finances of most people, even with government subsidies.

    Mike G. (39bf07)

  50. Krugman (and others) with their Economic background keep falling into a major fallacy.

    While I don’t want to defend Keynesian economics, there is a grain of truth in the proposition that when demand is flat, demand can be stimulated, thus boosting production, thus boosting income and profits, thus boosting demand and growing the economy with no further stimulus.

    The fallacy that recurs is that all economic transactions are equal. They are not. There are wealth building transactions, meaningful investments in plant, property or equipment – and then there is digging a hole and filling it in again.

    The macroeconomic view is that demand (and supply) is an aggregate of many micro-economic transactions. This view assumes that the aggregate is a sum of many rational transactions. After all, who would make irrational transactions? It is a usually safe assumption or presumption. Therefore a Krugman, et al, can make the proclamation that spending, any spending, is good and have some historical data to back him up. Ignored in his proclamation is that the data he used was in fact aggregate spending of an undetermined quality of transactions.

    While economics and common sense don’t always go together, the idea that wasteful spending is the same as quality spending is nonsense. This brings us almost full circle: what spending, if any, can at this point be quality spending, leading to growth and the cessation of further economic intervention?

    “Green” seems to be largely unable to stand on its own feet and therefore unworthy of stimulus. Financial transfers to Unions, ACORNS, and political buddies are probably not building national wealth (/snark). I’m not sure we need any more Orange cones and barrels on our bridges, streets and highways, although regular maintenance is probably still warranted. Investments in Education seem a money pit with no returns in that doubling and tripling the spending has resulted in lower scores, more credentialed unemployed and a bubble in costs.

    Transfer payments aren’t particularly economically useful and usually serve as disincentive to production and labor.

    When CEOs and corporate Boards run into the realization that they have more cash on the balance sheet than they can invest at their expected rate of return, they begin returning the cash to their investors in the form of dividends and stock buy-backs.

    Government finance is different in that they hardly ever have excess cash, but the principle that if they cannot spend in ways that produce at the expected “return” then they should not appropriate the money to begin with seems applicable.

    Of course there is the whole massive debt thing to deal with, so not all cuts in spending can be in the “returned” to taxpayers in the form of lower taxes for a while.

    John Lynch (8f4b4f)

  51. Paul Krugman is the biggest idiot I’ve ever read. It is truly amazing this guy is given a huge platform from which to spew. If it was up to him the country would be bankrupt within a month.

    Err, even more bankrupty than we already are.

    Brian (9f63f5)

  52. > … this study attempted to demonstrate the percentage
    > increase in premature mortality for each 10ppb increase in ground level ozone.
    Comment by Joe — 9/3/2011 @ 12:28 pm

    They ran this “premature mortality” trick with the Calif. diesel particulate study too. In those govt. studies, diesel was causing 3,000 early deaths every year in California. This is a preposterous measure of risk – some 90 year old guy dying 5 minutes early is still an early death. The science of detecting 3,000 early deaths in a population of 40,000,000 is also ridiculous.

    The environmentalists are doing a good job making opponents look like knuckle-draggers, though.

    Wesson (e5cf78)

  53. A few weeks ago the lunatic Krugman suggested the world prepare for war with imaginary space-aliens. The trillions in wasted spending would jump-start the world’s economy.

    Krugman even defends the asinine plan of breaking windows to get the economy moving again.

    Wesson (e5cf78)

  54. Comment by Wesson — 9/4/2011 @ 11:51 am

    You forgot to mention that the CARB “scientist” that authored that particulate study falsified his academic credentials, but has suffered no punishment for such falsification.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8fe3ec)

  55. They ran this “premature mortality” trick with the Calif. diesel particulate study too. In those govt. studies, diesel was causing 3,000 early deaths every year in California. This is a preposterous measure of risk – some 90 year old guy dying 5 minutes early is still an early death. The science of detecting 3,000 early deaths in a population of 40,000,000 is also ridiculous.

    Comment by Wesson — 9/4/2011 @ 11:51 am

    I dont want people to believe that ozone is not a health problem – At high concentrations it certainly is. I dont know if ozone is a health problem at the concentrations common in the US 70-100ppb (parts per billion).
    That being said, the study and the similar studies, “Ozone and Short-tern Mortality in 95 US Urban communities, 1987-2000” Bell, McDermott, Zeger, Samet, JAMA Nov 17, 2004 has some statistical deficiencies including the ones I previously pointed out above. The time series studies of 10ppb increase in ground level ozone does show a moderate to high correlation in premature mortality, though the correlation with increase in temps and premature mortality is much higher. In fact the study shows honulula to have to have one of the highest increase in premature mortality even though the overall level of ground level ozone is very low, less than 30ppb compared to dallas with 100ppb average. another study on the premature mortality due to the french heat wave of 2003 comparing 10 french cities showed virtually the same level of premature mortality among all 10 cities even though only five of the cities had any significant increase in ozone.

    joe (93323e)

  56. Any premature mortality (BTW, who issues the “Due Date” when you are born? Is there a toe-tag when you pop out?) in HI probably has a lot more to due to overexposure to the Sun than O3. Seems kind of difficult to have an L.A.-style inversion layer in an area with fairly constant trade-winds and no basin topography.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8fe3ec)


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