Updates from June, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 7:27 pm on 29 June 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    An interesting bit of insider baseball from the gun industry concerning form 4473, the tax return-like ATF form that must be filled out each and every time you purchase a gun:

    A question concerning the new 4473

    At the shop I work in, we received a revised 4473 that goes into effect in early July. The only notable change is question 10a: Ethnicity. You have the option of selecting Hispanic or Latino or Not Hispanic/Latino. Is anyone aware of why this was added? Why is that information necessary to complete a NICS background check? Just curious. Thanks for any info.

    And a response from another licensed federal firearms dealer:

    I just got 500 of the old forms today. They went straight to the dumpster.

    Your tax dollars at work.

    The ATF, long-known as a slow-moving and recalcitrant regulatory body invalidated a bunch of printed forms because… they wanted to inquire whether or not purchasers were “Hispanic or Latino”?

    Post-racial administration indeed.

  • Hober Short 10:33 pm on 27 June 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: thinking like an economist   

    Today’s lesson in thinking like an economist: are there negative environmental effects of fracking? Probably. If you believe its staunchest opponents, fracking is an apocalyptically bad idea.

    But what if (as economists are wont to do) we put a dollar value on that negative consequence? Would it be bigger than the economic upside to fracking? Turns out probably not.

    Independent study assignment: since the gains will likely be private and the costs will likely be unpriced externalities like pollution, research the various methods of pricing externalities (e.g. Pigovian taxes, pollution permits) and write one page on the one you like the most.

  • Hober Short 7:32 pm on 10 June 2012 Permalink | Reply  


  • Hober Short 1:20 pm on 5 June 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    An interesting anecdotal report of unintended consequences and anchoring.

    Unexpected benefit of Michigan’s [motorcycle] helmet law repeal

    Working at a hospital (in IT), I got a bit of grief about riding. Every time I would get on the elevator I would at least get a sidelong look, sometimes snarky comments about “donorcycles”, or thoughts on danger, or admonitions to be super careful. And comments about “drumming up more business” for the hospital, of course. It was the only part of riding I didn’t like.

    Then the helmet law was repealed. And I still wear armored gear and a full-face and boots, because, well, donorcycles. For about a week, every person in the elevator asked me if I knew I didn’t have to wear a helmet anymore. Every. Single. Time.

    But then the magic happened. I became a Good Guy. Now every time I get in the elevator, I have strangers thanking me for wearing a helmet, congratulating me for being “a safe one”, and generally praising me for standing there in gear.

    So thank you, Snyder and the MI legislature and all you “no helmet”-ers who lobbied so hard for legally cracked skulls. You took me from being a Bad Guy to being a Good Guy in one week flat, without changing a single thing.

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