Since our esteemed colleague Alan Reynolds is too demure to toot his own horn as loudly as it deserves to be tooted, I point readers to his commentary piece which originally appeared in the Washington TImes on Christmas Eve. The more Alan talks about his new book, Income and Wealth, the more people will absorb his sensible explanations of the real economic meaning of the concepts business reporters, Beltway eggheads, and members of the House majority seem to delight in misusing.
I especially appreciated Alan's highlighting of the disproportionate role energy prices play in the consumption of the poorest households, and how they are hit especially hard when energy prices rise. This reinforces one of my pet gripes about the American left: while they blather endlessly about how they are the True Friends of the Poor and Downtrodden, their policy proposals almost invariably harm the poor most of all. From increasing the brutally regressive FICA tax, to the minimum wage, to regulations that stunt economic growth, those with the fewest options, the least political leverage, and the smallest resources are the ones that get it in the neck. Given increasing global demand, the only way to lower energy prices is to increase the supply. ANWR is not off limits because the relatively impoverished Alaskans, including the native tribes, want to keep it closed. They overwhelmingly support increased drilling in Alaska. ANWR drilling is opposed by upper middle class urbanites in the lower 48, the kind of people who buy thousand dollar fly rods from Orvis and go on ecotours of the Galapagos Islands. John Edwards is right -- there are two Americas. He's just wrong about which side he's really on.