Responding to incentives, some links

To Avoid Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Colorado Catholic Hospital Argues a Fetus Isn’t a Person

For 16 years, the Mexican [tomato] growers have agreed not to sell tomatoes [in the U.S.] below what’s called a reference price. That was supposed to protect Florida [and other U.S.] tomato growers from cheap Mexican tomatoes.

But Florida sales have dropped in half anyway, to as little as $250 million a year, while Mexican sales have tripled to more than $1.8 billion.

 So Florida growers are pushing the Obama administration to end the price agreement.

“What would happen if the suspension agreement went away is free trade would truly exist between Mexico and the U.S. in the tomato industry,” [Reggie] Brown, [head of the Florida Tomato exchange] says.

If the tomato agreement goes away, though, Florida would be free to file an anti-dumping case against Mexico. If that happens, the Commerce Department can impose punitive tariffs on Mexican tomatoes — making them much more expensive and giving Florida an edge.

 Mexico could then put heavy tariffs on billions of dollars in products the U.S. sells there: pork, beef and corn. It would be a trade war.

Some chemical and steel companies say they oppose significant natural gas exports, fearing the overseas sales could raise energy costs for U.S. manufacturers.


Affordable for whom?

From the Pacific Daily News:

Behind the rubble of a recently demolished commercial building in Tamuning, officials yesterday marked the beginning of a $28 million project to develop affordable rental housing units.

Called Summer Green Residences, the project began as Tower 70, and initially was planned to have 70 units rising in a formerly flood-prone neighborhood near Pacific Towers off Marine Corps Drive.

With an anticipated completion date of July 2014, the project is expected to offer mostly three-bedroom, two-bath and two-bedroom, two-bath units with amenities such as dishwashers and washers and dryers.

Summer Green Residences is one of many public-private sector partnerships that are encouraging affordable housing developments on Guam, with close to 1,000 affordable homes now in the pipeline, [Michael] Duenas [Executive Director of the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority] said.

The project was expanded to 72 apartments, according to the PDN. At $28 million, that comes out to $388k per unit; for flood-prone three-bedroom affordable rental housing units surrounded by the rubble of demolished buildings.

Fracking helps save the planet

Ronald Bailey over Reason’s Hit&Run:

President Obama committed after the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in 2009 that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below their 2005 peak by 2020. In fact, thanks to the recession and the replacement of coal power generation with the flood of cheap natural gas released by fracking, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are already about 9 percent lower than they were in 2005.

So, you have two ways you can save the planet. One, let the free market develop innovative new technologies that reduce emissions. Or two, use government to strangle economic development until everyone is so poor that energy usage begins to drop. Save the planet while improving living standards, or save the planet by worsening living standards?