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Deep Thoughts

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Shorter Verbatim Ann Althouse:  “If recycling is worth doing, it should be paying for itself without a state government subsidy…Saving money is the morality we need.”  I know!   Similarly, EPA regulators don’t directly pay for themselves, so we should repeal the Clean Air Act.   After all, ecological damage has no costs but financial ones, and certainly can never affect surrounding communities.

I do have to admit that Althouse is much more entertaining as the five-alarm wingnut she has openly become rather than as the fake moderate she used to pose as.  Bonus:  a woman who writes a blog post in which she envisions musicians commissioning secret public opinion surveys that must agree with her even as they disagree with every public survey expresses concern about how protesters have become irrational and detached from reality.  Yes.  The protesters.

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  • wsn

    I do have to admit that Althouse is much more entertaining as the five-alarm wingnut she has openly become rather than as the fake moderate she used to pose as.

    I dunno. Today’s shorter verbatim is pretty standard libertarian “what are externalities?”. I suspect the contortions needed to get at this via faux-moderation would be far more amusing.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Point taken, although I think even Megan McArdle would recognize that the question is a little bit more complicated than “does recycling pay for itself?”

      • wsn

        I think even Megan McArdle would recognize that the question is a little bit more complicated

        Brave words. Are you a betting man?

        • I agree with Scott on this one. However, he left out the part where McArdle would actually try to discover whether recycling pays for itself, as well as her likely conclusion that recycling actually costs roughly 1,000 times more than not recycling. She may have screwed up the math there, though.

          • Hogan

            It’s not a statistic, it’s a hypothetical.

          • SamR

            But its not her fault because she didn’t have her calculator and did have gastritis.

      • Holden Pattern

        Counsel is assuming facts not in evidence.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I stand by my radical claim. McArdle would mention the world “externality” and then do some moderately fancy handwaving that leads to the inevitable conservertarian outcome. Althouse is a pale imitation.

    • Matt

      F*cking externalities, how do they work? ;)

  • ignobility

    Nothing to say. I just wanted to get a good seat before the fun begins.

  • R. Porrofatto

    It would be fun to watch Madison sanitation trucks confronted by a pair of senescent videographers documenting the tyranny of all that glass and plastic being dumped in a landfill just a wee bit too close to the Althouse backyard. One can dream.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Well, I assume Althouse is in favor of eliminating garbage pickup altogether until the garbage can be sold at a profit. I’m sure she’ll enjoy the great individual freedom that comes from hauling it to the dump herself!

      • No, no. She’d be in favor of privatizing it, while still maintaining a legal requirement for people to get their garbage taken away. People would end up paying more for trash removal, but it would be OK, because hey, freedom!

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Hold it, bucko!

          Why doesn’t a mandate that people dispose of their garbage constitute a violation of States Rights and the greatest example of tyranny since Clinton’s ergonomic workplace sharia requirements?

          • Scott Lemieux

            It’s completely different, because people can just make a choice not to produce any waste.

            • I’m choosing not to go to the bathroom anymore. We’ll see how long that lasts.

              I can already feel the freedom.

          • Trash piling up in people’s lawn would negatively affect _her_ property values, so she’d be against it.

      • DrDick

        No, we cannot do that either, as municipal dumps are also publicly subsidized (at quite high cost, I may add). She will either need to dig a garbage pit in her own backyard or pay a private operator whatever the market will bear (which will undoubtedly be more than the city now charges).

        • Holden Pattern

          And her neighbors of course could sue her for nuisance if that pit smells, leaches, draws vermin, etc. etc. Even the hardest core lawnecon lunatics would support that.

      • Merde

        Given her fan base, Althouse probably could turn a profit selling her used personal items on the internet.

        As for the rest of her refuse, that’s what Meade is for.

  • booferama

    You know, garbage collection doesn’t pay for itself, either.

  • dr3550

    I actually think there’s a lot to be said for the underlying premise. It’d be great if we could convince everyone to be ethical and that ethical behavior requires recycling. That ain’t happening, so instead we have a recycling plan that seeks to create economic incentives.

    Of course, to get to Althouse’s goal of arranging those incentives so that recycling pays for itself would require some policies that she opposes. Carbon pricing comes to mind.

    • Tracy

      The city I live in (Wheaton, IL), is the county seat of DuPage County, one of the most Republican counties anywhere (when I moved here, my congressman was Henry Hyde).

      Our weekly recycling pickup is free, plus we’re given a giant wheeled blue bin for it; meanwhile, for refuse, we pay $3 apiece for stickers to put on each garbage can, which is collected by a private company (Veolia).

      You can do the math – recycling is cost-beneficial for the consumer, hence a conservative part of Illinois has a quite progressive garbage pickup plan.

      Good thing Althouse doesn’t live here, or she’d be paying through the nose to have her boxes of wine picked up each week.

      • Gern Blanston

        Good thing Althouse doesn’t live here, or she’d be paying through the nose to have her boxes of wine picked up each week.

        Interesting point. Would your recycling program require her to manually separate the exterior cardboard wine box from the interior foil/plastic sack?

  • Clown Shoes

    Someone should tell Ms. Althouse that as landfill fees go up recycling will, in fact, pay for itself.

    • DrDick

      I doubt she has the initiative to actually run anywhere under any circumstances.

  • mark f

    First they came for the old newspapers, and I didn’t speak out because I was not an old newspaper.

    Then they came for the glass mayonaisse jars, and I speak out because I was not a glass mayonaisse jar.

    Then they came for the #2 Polyethylene milk jugs, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a #2 Polyethylene milk jug.

    Then they came for the corrugated cardboard wine boxes, and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • You win the thread =)

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Incidentally, do you think these people might be able to turn the accidental traffic they’re undoubtedly receiving into an environmental marketing opportunity?

    • elm

      Wait, is that for real? An odd little coincidence, but deeply amusing.

    • It just goes to show what a sense of humor the world has.

    • Gern Blanston

      Fantastic.

    • I don’t dare look up Meadespin.com

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  • “To the MeadePole”

  • chris murphy

    Now we know there is at least one Wisconsin state employee who is vastly overcompensated.

  • hv

    The weirdest part is the insistence that these efforts be profitable right now. Can we discuss the timing at all? What is the urgency?

    LA just surpassed SF in recycling, and it’s not because LA is more hippie than SF, just it eventually became profitable.

    These things take a tiny bit of time.

  • Gus

    That Mr. Althouse searches out and trolls blogs that make fun of him is simultaneiously one of the funniest and saddest things I’ve heard all week.

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  • Personally, I feed half of our paper recycling to mushrooms which we then eat. Mushrooms that would, by the way, cost $10 a pound in the store.

    Strangely, that recycling does pay for itself.

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