URLs du Jour


■ Just when you thought the Proverbian was running on fumes (the last few have been unconvincing similes on top of a mixed bag of advice), he hits one out of Counterintuitive Park in Proverbs 25:21:

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

You'll note that this is centuries before Jesus provided his own advice about enemies.

■ At Power Line, John Hinderaker does some research to provide Proof That James Comey Misled the Senate Intelligence Committee. It's pretty damning, relating a remarkably similar meeting between Comey and then-President Dubya, contrasting how Comey described it in his recent testimony with previous accounts. Hinderaker's conclusion:

James Comey says there is a pattern to his dealings with presidents: he is an honest man who only needed to create memos to document his conversations with Donald Trump, because Trump is untruthful. But that isn’t the real pattern. The real pattern is that Comey is a snake in the grass who creates tendentious, self-serving memos that can later be used to cover his own rear end or to discredit presidents, but only if they are Republicans.

A warning flag for those who think it's a slam-dunk that Comey is "obviously" telling the truth.

■ A long but worthwhile Cato examination by Ryan Bourne: Would More Government Infrastructure Spending Boost the U.S. Economy? Spoiler: maybe, if it's done right, but there's no reason to believe it will be done right.

The focus on the supposed stimulus and productivity-enhancing effects of infrastructure spending means policy debates center heavily on government funding. Yet proposals for more federal spending, costly tax credits, or public-private partnerships ignore that the primary barriers to responsive infrastructure relate to structures and incentives. Rather than imposing further costs on taxpayers, the new administration should prioritize localizing decisionmaking, removing regulatory barriers to private investment, encouraging the use of user fees, and removing tax exemptions for public investment.

And (no surprise) the macroeconomic "stimulus" benefits of infrastructure spending are shown to overblown at best.

■ Via Marginal Revolution: an interesting site dedicated to analysis of various schemes to decrease atmospheric greenhouse gases: Drawdown. Featuring cold, hard calculations of costs/savings of various methods, ranked by how much (equivalent) CO2 they might bring about.

The surprising thing is the rankings. Number one is Refrigerant Management.

Every refrigerator and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants, specifically CFCs and HCFCs, were once culprits in depleting the ozone layer. Thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, they have been phased out. HFCs, the primary replacement, spare the ozone layer, but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

"Oops!" So now we need a strategy to deal with the probems caused by a previous regulatory strategy. Is that irony? I can never tell.

■ But number 3 on the Drawdown list is "Reduced Food Waste". By sheer coincidence, a recent article by Baylen Linnekin at Reason looks at that: To Reduce Food Waste, Government Must Get Out of the Way

The data on food waste, which I discuss at length in my recent book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable, are stark. Americans waste nearly 40 percent of all food, or 133 billion pounds each year. Forty million tons of that food waste ends up in our landfills annually. Put in economic terms, Americans waste $165 billion worth of food every year, or ten percent of the money we spend on food.

Yeah, I think I'm gonna put that book on the things-to-read list.

■ KDW@NR tells us How to Think about Low-Income Housing.

Well, that's the "official" headline. The URL indicates that the original headline might have been "Washington Post Botches Low-Income Housing".

As is his wont, Kevin shows little mercy at debunking the thrust of what he calls the WaPo's Muppet News Flash.

Today’s entry in the great national stupidity sweepstakes comes from Tracy Jan, who is relaying the findings of the latest report from the National Low-Income Housing Association. The report’s basic claim takes a familiar form that falls somewhere between intellectual sloppiness and intellectual dishonesty: People earning the minimum wage cannot afford the average one-bedroom apartment without spending more than 30 percent of their incomes . . . pretty much anywhere in the country. There are some variations on the theme: Sometimes, the rent considered is for a two-bedroom apartment, and sometimes the income considered is the federal poverty line or some figure related to it.

Spoiler: comparing average or median rent levels with low income levels will pretty much guarantee you get dire, but essentially meaningless, results.