Category Archives: Economics

Meaningless Polling

I’ve long been saying that the “right track, wrong track” doesn’t really provide much insight into what voters will do, because there are multiple tracks. I’ve thought that the country has been on the wrong track all of my adult life, but that’s doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to vote for change, if it’s the kind of change we get from Democrats, who are largely responsible for putting us on the wrong track.

But there’s another stupid polling question: Has Biden accomplished a lot? Apparently many people think so (including me) but does that mean that they approve of his “accomplishments”? I sure as hell don’t. There was a “debate” on Fox this morning between a DNC flack and a Republican in which the flack touted Biden’s “accomplishments,” which he defined as the legislative atrocities that his handlers and the Democrats in Congress managed to cram through. The fact that Congress has the power to legislate doesn’t mean that any legislation is, by definition, an accomplishment, and the notion that it is is stupid. The quality of the legislation, and its effects on the Republic, are much more important measures than simply whether a bill was passed.

I notice that Robert Cahaly at Trafalgar is talking about the number of “submerged” voters (what Nixon would have called the “Silent Majority”), who don’t put up yard signs, or talk about their politics, partly as a result of all of the vilification of Republicans by Democrats, and how even he can’t poll them. But it likely means that the “red wave” will be a tsunami.

[Monday-morning update]

Operation Demoralize has failed.

On Starship Prices

The world has finally seen a launch system that can find out what the price-demand elasticity curve looks like. Elon wants to maximize flight rate and revenue, because he wants to drive costs down to make Mars more affordable.

Thoughts On Artemis 1

…from Joe Pappalardo:

It may be unfair to compare SpaceX and NASA, but SpaceX is built to be fast-but-risky whereas NASA is built to be slow-but-reliable. We’re now seeing that the fast-but-risky approach is actually leading to not only faster but more reliable results. Artemis is this giant U.S. government program that leaks money—as the Apollo program was—and that seems antiquated, but lots of members of Congress could get behind its traditional approach, which made use of languishing NASA facilities and had a supply chain stretching into lots of different communities. There are real benefits to NASA doing work across these communities, of course, but this approach can get in the way of doing things quickly, being able to change direction when engineers learn something new, or being free to adopt new technology and machinery. There’s less flexibility. And the Space Launch System isn’t reusable, either, meaning it’s a costly rocket that can only be used once. It would be foolish to stop this program now, but it would be grossly irresponsible to replicate it in the future.

He doesn’t explain why it would be “foolish to stop this program now.” I can only think that it’s the sunk-cost fallacy, but I think that what is foolish is to continue to throw good money after bad.