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Archive for May 8th, 2008

Even though Chaney has now retired from Temple and Calipari has moved on to lose a national championship in OT, it never hurts to remember the glory days of the Atlantic 10 basketball conference.

From the March to Madness Top 10 Embarrassing Moments in College Basketball,

The scene – In 1994 UMass beat Temple 56-55 and UMass coach John
Calipari was in the middle of his after game press conference. Temple
coach John Chaney breaks into the conference and proceeds to tell
Calipari to shut up, that the next time he sees him he will
kick his ass, that he will tell his kid to knock his fucking kid in the mouth, and finally that he will kill him. At one point the players had to hold back the coaches (now that’s a switch). I guess restraint took a holiday that day.

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Just so everyone doesn’t feel like it is just economists that are railing on the suggestion of a gas tax holiday, I’ll chime in to say that its a horrible idea.

I don’t have to be an economist to realize that price truly does change the behavior and choice patterns of individuals. The price increases are a result of many things: supply and speculation included. However we must acknowledge that the failure of the supply of light sweet crude to meet the demand of the US economy for light sweet crude is one of the main reasons that gas prices are increasing.

The situation will only get worse if we try to manipulate the price even more through Federal controls (worked great in the 70s? … not really) A higher price also increases the opportunity that people will make new choices when it comes to transportation.

The real problem at hand is that the Federal Government has failed over the last 20 years to develop quality transportation alternatives and incentives for public transit development in city centers. Because of that, Americans have become OK with living in isolated subclusters of housing units (we usually call them suburbs). These suburbs cause people to drive everywhere for everything. It isn’t that we need more fuel efficient cars and substitutes for gasoline engines, although we do need those things, its that we simply drive too much as a society because we want to but mostly because we need to.

And while that sounds like the old stodgy environmentalist line of “conserve, conserve, conserve”, it encapsulates the problem that we have developed ourselves into. We need a focus on urban development policy to make gas price concerns a thing of the past. That reasoning doesn’t even begin to address the importance of price internalizing the externalities generated by mobile pollution sources… I’ll leave that one to the economists.

As you can see, the .40 a gallon won’t go that far when you are talking about $1 increases… sounds like another demand increasing scheme that in the end, will only benefit stockholders

[Chart from the WSJ via Greg Mankiw]

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