Latest Online Edition Read Here

At the Newsstand: An Incoherent Rant Featured

A few weeks ago, we published a column that drew some criticism. In that column’s defense, at least it was coherent, even if you disagreed with the content. The same cannot be said for the mess about CAFE standards by John Phillips in the February issue of Car and Driver.This piece is all over the place. I don’t think it was very carefully edited. For example, it refers to “the New York Review,” which I believe is supposed to be “the New York Review of Books.” It’s a minor detail, but indicative of the lack of care put into this piece.Phillips’ thesis is very confused. It seems to be that rolling back the 2025 fuel-economy standards is a bad idea because, despite protests to the contrary, what the government does is always good.Phillips makes his case in part by equating government projects with regulations, as if demanding a certain MPG is the same as landing a man on the moon. They’re not the same. He claims that manufacturers will pull the plug on more fuel-efficient engines close to completion because of the roll back. They won’t. They have already invested the money and fuel efficiency can be a selling point. What they will do is avoid forcing product onto an unreceptive market.Phillips states, “it’s tricky to pinpoint a full-on cow pie in the craggy face of reason” when it comes to regulations. Actually, the very topic he’s discussing is a great example. The poor manner by which CAFE standards were designed has created the entire market for SUVs. That’s right, the attempt to improve fuel efficiency is partially responsible for the preeminence of gas-guzzlers in the market.This is a fact known by many people, except apparently John Phillips.

Ted Craig

  • All Stories Are Local
    The question news sources ask themselves whenever a major story breaks is, "How can we make this local?" That can be bad news for you. A national outlet does a…
  • Anything You Can Do...
    The economist Tyler Cowen recently asked if the tech companies could run everything better. He means the big tech companies, since tech companies in general fail at the same pace…
  • We Live in High Times
    A recent article in the Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts is considering setting up new banks for the pot industry. It turns out the odd way we’ve chosen to legalize…
  • A Future for the CFPB
    You might have read the op-ed piece in today's WSJ by George Mason law professor Todd Zywicki on ways to make the CFPB work. Many experts I've spoken to say…
  • Classic
    I read an article in the WSJ last week about California’s attempt to counter the Trump administration’s crack down on illegal immigration. The state shored up its requirement that employers…
  • Why Do People Do This?
    The FTC is mailing 72,836 checks totaling more than $2.9 million to people harmed by a scheme by a payday lender. The lender, CWB Services LLC, put money into people’s…
  • No Respect At All
    People say that one reason we can't attract "the best and brightest" to teaching is that it is viewed as a job with little respect. But what about car sales?…
  • Don't You Have Something Better to Do?
    New York AG Eric "The Amazing" Schneiderman is suing The Weinstein Co. in relation to the misdeeds of its founder, Harvey Weinstein. What Harvey did was despicable, but what Schneiderman…
  • The Limits of Hard Work
    What I'm about to write is sacrilege to many of you, but if your strategy for success is that you're going to work harder than your competition, there's a good…
  • Boo Hoo
    NPR recently did a story about how the Trump administration is trying to "defang" the CFPB. The story consisted of a sob story from a woman in Detroit and a…