Our first edition of the summer mailbag is here with a contribution from the always ebullient “Mr. O,” who says he sees economics everywhere these days. The article in question has to do with a congesting pricing scheme in Chicago, and of particular interest to Mr. O is the methodology in which people’s time is valued. As you may recall from, well, from all of my classes, a classic study by Deacon and Sonstelie that valued time by watching how long people were willing to wait to fill up their gasoline at price-controlled stations rather than paying market prices across the street.
In Chicago, as the saying goes, there are two seasons: winter and construction. And all that construction [isn’t] free. So the program would benefit those who are willing to pay for a faster commute (in the so-called “Lexis Lanes”) and raise bucketloads of cash for the metro area.
What’s the down side?
As you can imagine, a blog like this generates a lot of reader response. From our post on the American Power Act, astute reader NS writes in:
Pithy, yes. He also sends along this piece on the flow of corporate money supporting the bill. For those of you interested, the capture theory posits that firms often “capture” regulators, and consequently legislation &/or regulation is used as a means to redistribute resources from one group to another. I’d probably go with the Becker model on this one, but he gets an A for brevity and wit.
Also on the corporate interest front comes this great article from alert reader “Mr. O.” The “beverage lobby,” folks with a lot a stake in the soda (a.k.a. “pop”) tax, have dispensed with the niceties and are offering up cold hard cash to quash it:
Yet with the nation’s obesity burden and states and municipalities parched for new cash sources in this recession, the beverage lobby isn’t underestimating the tenacity of those who would impose taxes. So they’ve unveiled a new tact in Philadelphia: abandon the tax and the beverage industry will donate $10 million over two years to the Pew Charitable Trusts to fund health and wellness programs in this city, if Pew would accept the funds, reported BNET.com.
I kid you negative, Mr. O was laughing out loud (LOLZing, as the kids say) at the audacity of this proposal.
So, for any of you other readers out there that identify something of interest, please bring it to our attention. If it clears the bar, it might be you seeing your initials right here on the blog.