Sunday, March 28, 2004

Progressive Talk-Radio

Can one simultaneously hold all three of the following beliefs? 1) Rational policy analysis and policy making are feasible; 2) It is unethical and/or foolish to try placing a dollar value on human life; 3) a robust public sector is desirable. Yes, many people do, in spite of the obvious inconsistency. This morning's NY Times Magazine has a short piece inspired by the Frank Ackerman-Lisa Heinzerling book, Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing that challenges the idea of valuing a statistical life but does not address the implications re the cited inconsistency.

There has also been some buzz about the arrival of liberal ("progressive") talk radio as well as hand-wringing over why it took so long. If conservatives can gain ratings by tossing red meat at their audience, why can't liberals do the same? I am tempted to bet that liberal talk radio will fall short. If so, there will be many explanations. One may simply be incoherence. There may be more due diligence applied to radio talk than to candidates' utterances. Voting for one of the presidential candidates is a one-time thing. Voting for radio favorites is a steady on-going activity.