CEI Daily Update
Issues in the News
Energy legislation appears to be stalling out in the Senate.
My encounter with the gas stations illustrates a basic economic lesson on supply and demand in situations of scarcity. Price is not an arbitrary figure. It contains a vast amount of information from the viewpoints of both supplier and the customer. In normal circumstances, it represents a balance between the effort and risk undertaken by the supplier to provide the product and the preferences and needs of the potential consumer taken in aggregate. Each individual consumer will have different preferences and needs—one may balk at a price that another finds perfectly reasonable that yet another considers a bargain—but as a whole the price represents a signal about the balance of considerations among consumers in the market for the product.
International free trade negotiations may be running out of steam.
I don’t see why the United States should ever invest significant energy in bilateral agreements. In a way, we’ve done all we can with bilateral agreements. We have a pretty good trade agreement in place with Canada and Mexico. Ditto for our two closest political allies, Australia and Israel. And even CAFTA isn’t bad. E.U. policy, of course, makes it impossible for us to conclude agreements with the U.K., Ireland, Poland, or the Nordic countries. (I think that France and Germany are lost causes anyway.) China and Japan won’t play ball. India probably would, but domestic politics here make a U.S.-India free trade agreement impossible in the near term. So what’s left? South Africa? New Zealand? Not worth fighting over and certainly not worth letting the Left extend the regulatory state even further.
Famed French liquor absinthe becomes available in the U.S.
It turns out that recently an enterprising former New Orleans guy, Ted Breaux (you know he’s from Louisiana if his French name ends in X) concocted a recipe to produce a French absinthe — Lucid — that isn’t illegal because it contains less than 10mg of thujone per liter, and thus meets the requirements for the U.S. importation and sale of the alcohol. According to news reports, it has now been approved by the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
New York Times columnist John Tierney reports on washing machines with government mandated efficiency standards that no longer get clothes clean.
Despite these findings, Congress is now considering proposals to raise efficiency standards even further--not only for washing machines, but for a huge array of devices ranging from light bulbs to automobiles. If government can ruin something as simple as our washing machines, imagine what it will end up doing to something as complex as our cars.
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