Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freakonomics does Ron Paul

If Ron Paul is still a bit of a mystery to you or just seems too wacky, check out this interview with the NYT Web column, Freakonomics.


Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Always respect and enjoy RP when I read him, and would love him to take charge of the economy. I still have the same reservations about his views on the environment; his answer was disjointed and internally inconsistent. He is simply too smart to have such a pat answer, so I think he just hasn't thought about it much.
Ethanol use began to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and it has been subsidized for decades for this same reason. It is only now touted as a "green" energy because the much cheaper and efficient MTBE was outlawed in 2005 because MTBE was contaminating our groundwater. So to claim ethanol is bad policy (I agree) but then claim our solution is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (I agree) is contradictory, and is as shortsighted as his complaints about the economy. [To clarify, I agree ethanol is not a "green" solution and am for stopping its use. I also agree that with hindsight, its not even good energy policy. But RP would go bonkers because of unintended consequences in economic issues, but ignores the same here.]
He also says global warming may not be happening, but it probably is, but maybe its not humanly caused, but it probably is, but let's not say "the sky is falling." (Unless its about our economy.) Let's just cut our dependence on oil, that will fix it, but let's not do it through the government. Umm, okay. Is that the extent of your policy, because I don't see how that works.
I'm just saying, Ron Paul is very smart and wise, and it was clear from his book and his answer here that he simply has not thought about this issue in any detail. If he wants to be taken seriously as an across the board candidate, he should come up with better answers.
Loved his answer to the military/drug question.

Restless Native said...

Ethanol can come from a number of sources, switchgrass not being one of them for the time being. Sugarcane, however, is and at a much more favorable energy-input to output ratio. Bagasse (the waste product) can be used to fire a cogen plant to meet the power needs of the refinery with overages sold to the Grid. Brazil has been doing this for decades. Also, sugar is not nearly as key a food-stuff as corn is. That said, I have a tough time imagining fields and fields of cane growing in Iowa, so I guess that's not happening any time soon. There are also a number of knocks on cane that vary between serious (growers in the Glades abusing the environment) and laughable (cane growers are pushing cattle ranchers further into the Amazon).

All in, let's not rush to judgment on ethanol because of US experience with corn-based alcohol, which I agree, is bad policy and not very green.

Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Good point. Brazil benefits from a unique infrastructure, but its worth looking at to see if we can do the same here.