I greatly enjoyed Cass Sunstein's The Cost-Benefit Revolution. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about project and policy evaluation.
Sunstein is optimistic that we have made great progress bringing sober analysis to policy making. The author has spent considerable time in Washington, including the White House, and his judgment is worth listening to.
But there is also (still) considerable nonsense and waste in the policy arena. I take the climate scientists at their word (and note that there are some very smart and notable dissenters). But we also know that while California accounts for approximately 0.2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (a global commons), its leaders and elites want us to make huge sacrifices for further emissions reductions. This is not Sunstein's world.
Today's LA Times includes coverage of yet another religious-fervor summit on climate being held in San Francisco. I mentioned the California bullet train (weirdly justified by concerns about climate) in the previous post. Here Tom Rubin notes the substantial on-going waste in Los Angeles transit policy. Ever more is spent and beneficial effects are negligible or worse. Not Sunstein's world either.
People who claim to be scrupulous about the climate science find a way to be bizarrely wrong about their policy analysis. We say that there are problems and mysteries Science and faith. Some people are content to be scientific about one problem but not the other.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
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