Weekly Roundup: Correlation And Causation Edition

. Although the graph seems to be telling us that the more Mexican lemons there are in the US the fewer road deaths there are, the inescapable conclusion is that MEXICAN LEMONS KILL AMERICANS! What should we do about it? Should we import more Mexican lemons (the correlation tells us that this is what we should do)? Or should we ban Mexican lemons altogether? After all, if there are no Mexican lemons on the streets then they can’t kill any more Americans.

That’s just one of the hilarious conclusions in this look at ridiculous correlations. There’s a bit of irony here in the sense that while Mexican lemons certainly don’t kill people, “undocumented” Mexican visitors can, and do, kill people with no penalty for having done so. There’s also the fact that Thomas Friedman’s “flat world” of globalism, having warmed up by killing my trees, is likely to kill quite a few Americans in the near future via the Wuhan coronavirus.

We could absolutely have stopped the coronavirus by closing our borders to Chinese people and products — at least for a while, anyway — but the World Health Organization takes its cues from China and therefore we’ve missed our chance. The spice must flow — in this case, of course, “spice” is Apple products and Chinese consumer trash. It’s also medicine. We globalized our supply of medicine away. There is no penicillin production in the United States anymore. Our heparin comes from China; a while ago, their prioritization of profit over quality killed 81 people and severely damaged 780 more. My advice for 2020: Don’t get sick.

Back to this correlation/causation business. We’ve been eviscerating the value of an American university education nearly as fast as we’ve been closing American pharmaceutical plants — and as a result, we now have at least twenty years’ worth of college graduates who are literally unable to perform the most basic of logical or rational analysis on the statistics in front of them. Would you like an utterly horrifying example? I have one, of course.

This article makes a remarkable assertion: “Car dependence not only reduces our quality of life, it’s a crucial factor in America’s economic and political divisions.” Is that true? Let’s look at the evidence — but first, let’s look at the disclaimer.

As usual, I point out that correlation in no way infers causation, but simply points to associations between variables. (All of the correlations reported below are statistically significant.)

Really, that’s where the article could stop, because everything which follows does it best to make you forget the disclaimer.

For one, the geography of car use tracks with income and wealth: Car-dependent places are considerably less affluent. Metros in which a higher share of people depend on their cars to get to work are poorer, and those where more people use transit or bike or walk to work are considerably more affluent.

This is an assertion of such breathtaking stupidity that I had to read it a few times. Either that, or its a perfect example of deliberately lying with statistics. Let’s rephrase it and see if the lie becomes any more obvious:

Metro areas which are large enough to have public transit tend to be wealthier. Metro areas with higher residential population densities tend to be wealthier

Fuss with it a bit more:

The larger a metro area is, and the more successful it is, the wealthier the residents.

If you put this statement through the wringer a few times, you end up with:

Metros with higher real estate values tend to be wealthier


This is obvious. It has nothing to do with cars. The higher the property value is, the more expensive it is to live downtown, which in turn increases the density of housing, which in turn reduces the use of automobiles. You can buy a whole house in downtown Detroit or Dayton for $50k and park your car there. $50k won’t get you a parking spot in Manhattan. I can rent a house in downtown Cleveland for $1000/month and park my car there. $1000 in Manhattan or Tokyo gets you a studio apartment and possibly a roommate.

Higher real estate value leads to higher density, which reduces car ownership. It also raises the cost of living, which requires more wealth to overcome.

The author tries again:

Car dependence is a feature of working-class metros, while metros with higher concentrations of knowledge workers and the creative class have much higher shares of people who use transit or walk or bike to work… It is well-known that Trump took the presidency by winning smaller and medium-sized places and rural areas, whereas Hillary Clinton took America’s largest, densest, and most productive areas.

That phrase “most productive areas” sets my teeth on edge. Productive of what, exactly? Not food, not machined products, not automobiles. Not medicine, not furniture. If those “smaller… places and rural areas” disappeared beneath the water tomorrow, the country would starve. If that fate were to befall the “largest, densest, and most productive areas” instead, we’d have to… what? Go without Peak TV? Come up with new ways to use the Helvetica font? Produce our own pornography?

The “working class” need cars because much of their work can’t be done in an office or at a Starbucks. The people who used to make the Boeing 737 before we outsourced the software to the highly productive knowledge workers of Bangalore — those people all had to drive to work. The alternative would be for Boeing to build housing on-site. We used to have a lot of that in this country. Those places were called “company towns” and the employees were paid in “scrip” that didn’t convert readily to cash. It was economic slavery.

Let’s take a look at another correlation:

This is a compilation of multiple surveys on generic happiness from 1972 to 2008. It shows that happiness correlates negatively with urban density, which happens to correlate negatively with car ownership, so there you go. If you want to be happy, get a car. Simple as that, right?

It’s obviously not that simple. Yet the author of our original piece appears unable to understand that. Let’s take a look at his bio:

Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and visiting fellow at Florida International University.

Well, this explains it. He’s a “professor” and a “distinguished fellow” of academic “disciplines” with no discipline whatsoever. I cannot imagine it takes a lot of brilliance to be a distinguished fellow of a real-estate school. He has no bona fides beyond the mostly imaginary, which is why he can’t recognize patterns which are obvious to most of my readers. If we restored a more rigorous curriculum in our universities, we would produce fewer bubbleheads. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen. If you want to read some original and perceptive thinking on the city from someone who can see a larger pattern than what’s on their FitBit, read Sultan Knish or something.

In the meantime, expect the Twitterati and the paid pimps of Friedman’s Flat World to produce a lot of “umbrellas cause rain” poppycock. If it is almost unbearably depressing to see people who believe this stuff, take some heart: you’re probably not among them. Better watch out for those Mexican lemons just in case.

* * *

For Hagerty this week, I wrote about big cars and risky car-sharing schemes. Did you know that the prevalence of car-sharing schemes correlates directly with the amount of human feces on the streets of any given city? It’s true!

48 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Correlation And Causation Edition”

  1. Avatarsightline

    I will point out that Florida wrote 2002’s The Rise of the Creative Class which has been pretty conclusively proven to have been wish fulfillment and not much more. So I’m not sure we should be taking anything he writes particularly seriously.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The mere creation of a book with that title “tHE rIsE oF tHe cReAtIvE cLaSS” should have been grounds for being horsewhipped in the public square.

      • AvatarJeff Weimer

        When I saw “knowledge workers and the creative class” I instantly thought “this sounds like that horse’s ass Richard Florida and his bullshit ideas”.

        Lo and behold.

        He literally has gotten medium-sized cities to try to hipster themselves up to attract these kinds of people. It never ends well.

        He also went on a rant about how the non-“productive” areas of the country should just die out already and the resources redirected to his pet ideas.

  2. AvatarJohn C.

    On the idea that America needs truck based sedans of the type of Trump’s limo, I can understand where you are coming from and with trucks and their motors still being made, a sedan body would be an easy do.

    Where this falls down is in failing to take into account how much engineering went into the old sedans to give them the gliding ability that BOF trucks of then or now don’t have. There was a lot of grunt, not high tech work into how a bump was absorbed and how road noise was suppressed. It was why GM and Ford were so far above AMC and Chrysler in smoothness and NVH and the rest of the world was not even in the game. GM even had a GM spec radial designed in house that were then made by five tire companies. These attributes were not appreciated by the motoring press as they had other priorities, such as racing lap times. They definitely were appreciated by the people who bought American full size.

    If America wanted to build a modern big sedan. Where would it find a tire with a decently absorbent sidewall that wasn’t prioritizing payload. Or a big displacement engine that gave it’s power all right off idle and the driver was wasting his time going over 4000 rpm. Turbo Diesels you might say, but even if you could find one that passed a legit smog test it wouldn’t pass a NVH test. Ditto for the small displacement turbo.

    Without a proper and expensive engineering job, how could these issues be resolved. They wouldn’t be, you would just have a sedan Tahoe subbing for what American buyers really want. The Tahoe of course is already just a substitute and it would probably do about as well as that short lived Subaru Outback sedan

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      You should arrange to drive a new Navigator and see what you think. I thought it rode much better than my 2009 Town Car despite having 22″ wheels in place of 17″s.

      • AvatarJohn C.

        Your 09 Town Car was already in a different world when it came to tires from say a 79 Town Car. By the time of the Aero Panthers and the 93 Fleetwood the design emphasis was more on how to make the handling “less embarrassing” within the BOF design. The constant berating, the collapse of the wealth of the middle class, and the loss in confidence in the traditional had taken their toll. The loss in confidence then naturally leads to lack of basic competence into how to do it, There is no reason to believe the modern American auto engineer would still have any extra innate abilities in this area of design. A big change that would make it hard to bring back the old tradition.

        If you compare a modern MB to a 70s one you will note better bump absorption and sound levels due mostly to the bulk up in weight. They never went to soft tires. There is no reason to think continued development of 70s BOF designs wouldn’t have meant similar percentages of improvement.

    • Avatarstingray65

      I don’t think it was very tough to engineer American full-size cars back in the day. Put super soft springs on a flexible frame, attach a body loaded with 500 lbs of sound deadening material on thick rubber mounts to the frame, mount soft tires with 22 psi inflation rates, and install a huge lazy V-8 and slushbox automatic and you have a magic carpet ride (at least on newly paved Interstate highways), and 10 mpg, which isn’t a problem when gas is 20 cents per gallon. Such cars were cheap to produce and highly profitable, just add some chrome, extra sound deadening, a few gadgets, and 5 inches of wheelbase to the frame and you have a Cadillac or Lincoln, and delete a little of the same to have a Chevy or Ford. On uncrowded and straight US city streets and highways, such cars delivered good value to customers who wanted a soft ride, low price, easy/cheap servicing, and room for the spouse and 3.5 kids, but don’t kid yourself that they were products of sophisticated engineering – the only real engineering was on the gadgets (A/C, power assists, automatic gearbox) and the manufacturing side to throw them down the line as quickly and cheaply as possible.

      The problem that the Europeans and Japanese faced were crowded streets and lousy highways, high fuel prices, displacement taxes and high VAT, poorer customers, and smaller economies of scale due to smaller national markets, which all require more sophisticated engineering to solve, which is why foreign cars tended to be much more space efficient (and taller), have more sophisticated suspensions, much smaller engines and spartan interiors with few gadgets, and were built in more flexible plants to produce smaller runs of more different models. US conditions are more similar today, as our streets and highways are crowded and crumbling, families are smaller, CAFE means manufacturers if not customers need to care about fuel economy, and customer wants and needs more variable so fewer economies of scale. Trucks and SUVs offer better visibility and ruggedness on crowded, crumbling roads, and are exempted from the toughest CAFE regulations, and many are body on frame and hence relatively easy and cheap to create variants that can be built on the same line. If Democrats ever get back into control, the truck exemptions will no doubt end as they raise fuel costs through fracking bans and higher carbon taxes, bump up CAFE some more, and their other redistributionist policies take money away from the upper-middle class who will no longer be able to afford $50K+ F-150s and Tahoes – and the US car industry will be bankrupt within months.

      • AvatarJohn C.

        “I don’t think it was very tough to engineer…” That would have been the view put forward in unison by the auto press. After all what America did didn’t appeal to them. It doesn’t do much to explain why some period big American cars were better than others does it.

        You make some good points about changes in American culture that would threaten the chances of success of a modern 98 Regency or Grand Marquis. I share those concerns but wonder if America is still America enough that if the American ideal is offered, the people would still come. When I went to my 30th high school reunion there were a lot of Tahoes, and they were being driven by those with intact families who still lived in their hometown as do I. No longer a majority but still out there. They have a lot to be proud of and wouldn’t a 98 Regency be a great representation of the dignity they have earned?

        • Avatarstingray65

          I like those big old American cars – until the mid-60s they were generally built to a very high standard, and by the standards of the time were reliable and long-lived. The the technical differences between an expensive Cadillac and cheap Chevrolet were tiny, and except for the excellent automatic gearboxes, advanced climate controls, and effortless power steering, they were not very sophisticated compared to the Europeans, who didn’t offer power steering until the 1960s, and good A/C or automatics until the 1980s. GM generally did a better job than Ford or Chrysler in offering smooth performance, gadgets, and build quality on their mainstream cars, but it was more about fine tuning than actual sophisticated car engineering or technical superiority. Sort of like NASCAR, where all the cars are basically the same and mandated to be primitive – compared to F1 or IMSA -, but some teams can tweak their version to be just that slightly bit faster or more reliable.

          GM and Ford to a lesser extent showed what they were capable of in terms of technology with their non-mainstream or non-US offerings such as the Fuelie small block, Corvair, C2 Corvette, Jetfire Olds V-8, and some excellent offerings in Europe by Opel as were some of the European Fords, but it always turned out to be cheaper and more profitable to simply build cast-iron OHV V-8s, body on frame, and slather on chrome and gadgets in the US market until the fuel crises and CAFE of the 1970s. I really don’t see a 98 Regency market these days even though fuel is cheap and plentiful, and lots of people buy 4 door pickups that are just as long or longer. Jack’s idea of putting a car body on a pickup frame might offer a cheap way to make land yachts available that would appeal to some, but CAFE rules would likely classify such efforts as a car and negate the lower fuel economy standards granted to trucks, which means going electric and I have my doubts that an electric 98 Regency built on a Silverado frame would appeal to many EV buyers – 80% of whom live in California and dislike anything from Detroit.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            I completely agree that an electric 98 on a Silverado frame would not appeal. A 56 inch tall, 220 inch long 98 Regency with an 8 liter V8 whose torque peaked around 2000 RPM and whose HP peaked below 4000rpm and got into the 50s decibels at highway autocruise maybe would appeal if not in California. Lets face it, their venture capital machines and homeless scenes are long overdue for a new Guess Who sneer song. It definitely has been a long time since it was tried. I am confident it will be never tried overseas.

  3. AvatarJoe

    Remembering the days when big sedans with big inch v8’s were used as family transport and as tow vehicles for big boats and campers, Jack is right, those vehicles were relegated out of existence by cafe, trucks were what we were left with, and they grew bigger to handle the family duties and the towing duties that the downsized front wheel drive full size sedans could no longer do. One upside of cafe and emissions controls was an overall more efficient engine that would eclipse output and economy of the old engines.

  4. Avatarstingray65

    Why have universities been dumbed down to allow idiots like Florida to flourish? Because Leftist politicians see the highly positive correlation between university degree attainment and lifetime income, and make the assumption that a college education is the secret to eliminating poverty. They also see that it has historically been mainly white males that have been going to college and making all that post-graduation money, and assume that this correlation is due to to patriarchy, racism, and unchecked white privilege that prevent the proportional representation of women and people of color (except Asians). So the politicians take these statistics and create programs that entice college administrators with lots of money for “education” (aka administrative bloat) on the condition that the faculty and student body are properly diverse and proportionally represent all the genders and colors of the rainbow.

    But it turns out that males, whites (and Asian whites) and people from wealthier backgrounds in general tend to do better in school, especially with the tougher subjects such as STEM, because it seems that IQ has something to do with school and career success, IQ is hereditary, groups with high IQ tend to have cultures that value education, and males are better as spatial reasoning and are more competitive than females – although these are correlations that the Leftist politicians and academics generally refuse to acknowledge for some reason. Thus reality being what it is, means it is impossible for universities to recruit sufficient numbers of high quality “diverse” students and faculty unless entry standards are reduced (i.e. affirmative action bonus points), programs are watered down (i.e. “special” math and science courses for education majors which focus on the racism and sexism of math and science rather than tougher content such as 2+2=4), and new junk majors are created (i.e. gender studies, queer studies, black studies, Chicano studies) that make it easier to attract “diverse” faculty and students whose heads hurt too much if they read too much stuff by dead white males. And in the end, this desire for “free” federal “education” money means our universities enroll a bunch of low IQ “victim” students who are unsuited to true college level work, who end up dropping out with significant education debt or change majors to something easy and taught by radical feminists, or racial/homosexual activists who reinforce their victimhood, and they get their 4 year degree in a mere 6-8 years with $200,000 in debt and are qualified for jobs that require them to ask “do you want fries with that”? Meanwhile a select few will spend 10 more years getting a PhD. in victim studies and get a university job that boosts the faculty diversity statistics of the school – assuming they can beat out other diversity candidates such as Liz Fauxcahontas Warren – faculty of color member of Harvard Law School and author of academic fraud articles on medical costs and bankruptcy that support the victim narrative. But don’t worry, Liz and Bernie have a plan – they are going to make college free.

    • AvatarJohn C.

      I am all for plenty of respect for those with high IQ. But as they proved in Lake Woebegone, everybody can’t be above average. I worry less about smart people that go into fields of learning that would not be obvious for vocational training. That is just being anti intellectual. What I worry about more is not offering the type of paternalism that encourages intact families and constant help, guidance, and punishments from family, church, government, employer, union, and neighborhood to allow the simple to stay on track to live a stable, dignified life and produce smarter children. This is what is needed by the bottom half and ever more so the lower you go toward IQs of about 75-80. It is far cheaper to offer that than the constant bailouts of hedge funds that really weren’t hedged and those that play the role of bible era money changers or take in new masses of those with low IQ. American blacks today have on average a much higher IQ than modern Africans. That is despite being Africa’s dregs when their ancestors were sold off. This to me is powerful proof that paternalistic help can over time lead to progress. Something we should not have got away from in some sort of undeserved and wrongheaded claim of equality.

      • Avatarstingray65

        John – get with the program. Paternalism is bad. Traditional families are stifling and non-inclusive. Christianity is anti-gay, anti-females, and anti-abortion and thus must be crushed. Having children is bad for the environment, and who would want to raise children in the sexist, racist society that 3 years of Trump has created? You apparently haven’t been to school for a few years, because otherwise you would know these facts of life, and be out there protesting in your pussy hat and voting D across the board in in November, when Mohammad willing we will get a Bernie administration that can give everyone around the world a free college education and put a solar panel on every roof.

        • AvatarJohn C.

          I admit to being out of touch. I still am waiting for Trump to build the wall he promised and protect us from population replacement. I still hope he can have a trade policy with Asia and Mexico that protects us from their cheap polymers and the giant wealth transfers that pay for them. Then maybe Detroit, Baltimore and Saint Louis can be reclaimed from poverty pimps like HRH King Elijah and the people there can get back to work in reactivated factories. It was why they came to those cities in the first place remember. Instead all Trump talks about is Wall Street, who failed us all much worse even than HRH King Elijah. as they hollowed out every corporation much more that even communism. Commies would have just seized the factories from their owners, not shut them down.

    • Avatarstingray65

      Yea – those “clean” diesel lemons that killed so many innocent Americans before the EPA got on the case and saved us all from that Mexican menace.

  5. AvatarPaul M.

    I have to say that sentence in gig article about how dinosaurs didn’t eat us all made me laugh hard.

    This week in Vegas I have enjoyed Uber everywhere. There is no way taxi company supply would have been sufficient for mass of humanity going to big fight Last night, Nevada caucus (Go Bernie’ ❤️ Bernie), NASCAR event and Trump in town. Only Vegas can handle it all, this mornin at Bellagio I am already depressed going back home.

    One other use case for car sharing, in Atlanta suburbs Taxi service is sporadic. Nowadays I go to dealer, leave one of my chariots there for service, Uber home easy peasy. Old days, either rent a car, call taxi that never shows up or get dealer shuttle.

    Gig complementing is good. Gig by itself is a lie.

  6. AvatarScottS

    I recently watched an interview with Diana West, author of “The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy”. West’s research and writing really cause one to think about the people behind the steady Progressive push to remake the United States of America. Richard Florida is a minor player in a decades long tug-of-war that has dragged average Americans steadily to the left. And what is the ultimate goal of the Progressive Left?

    More than any creation in the history of humankind, the automobile has provided unprecedented freedom and economic mobility to individuals. Individual freedom and the ability to move and travel with little restriction are antithetical to a central command and control regime. Henry Ford democratized mobility with the creation of mass produced automobiles, and at the same time helped give rise to the great American middle class. The interstate highway system initiated by Harry Trueman was the second great pillar supporting economic prosperity and mobility for individual Americans. The interstate highway system provided an economic link between much of rural America and the large urban centers. The Federal Government has spent most of it’s revenue in recent decades fighting endless wars, building programs that increase dependency on Government, and making transfer payments to Baby Boomers. We are paying a high price now for that shift in spending priorities.

  7. AvatarBooty_Toucher

    $1,000/month isn’t getting you anywhere close to a studio apartment in Manhattan. I expect it’s the same for Tokyo.

    As much as I enjoy these editorials, if you really believe those numbers, it shows a real gap in understanding of high cost of living areas.

    • Avatarbenjohnson

      Japan has very lax building zone regulations – the gist is that you can build and ‘lesser’ use in any ‘higher’ zone. A condo in an Industrial zone? Why not! As such, It’s quite possible to get a really tiny studio in Tokyo for about $700.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      There’s rent control stuff for a G above 150th and if you are willing to have a roommate or try one of the new micro living spaces its possible to do further south.

      One thing I notice when i’m in the city (which only happens 4-6 times a year) is the relative flattening of CoL compared to other places. 3k will get you a 1br on roosevelt island but 6k will actually pay your mortgage for some condos at The Dakota. Then once you get to a few thousand square feet it becomes crazy again with some places costing 10x what others do.

  8. AvatarDuong Nguyen

    Richard Florida is an idiot.

    I live in Portland, one of his favorite “creative class” cities that has bought into his density hype garbage.

    But Portland, is actually car dependent metro area as most of the decent paying jobs (Nike, Intel, Tektronix, Daimler, UPS, Boeing etc…) are not in the downtown core. They are in the suburbs or industrial districts. Not some downtown office or hipster enclave like the ones in his wet dreams.

    Sure, you can take public transit to the good jobs, but it will take you twice as long as a car and you’ll be sitting in pee the whole time.

  9. Avatar-Nate

    “It shows that happiness correlates negatively with urban density, which happens to correlate negatively with car ownership, so there you go. If you want to be happy, get a car. Simple as that, right?”

    ….It has certainly been working for me very well =8-) .

    The rest of all this is interesting and thought provoking .

    More liberals and progressives need to be sent to live / work in Blue Collar jobs/ towns/cites before they’re allowed to make any policy changes .


  10. AvatarMike

    I get these “getpocket” stories recommended to me on my phone, too. Quite often they’re just rubbish pieces, good for passing some time while passing a number two, if the graffiti on the stall walls is too scintillating for you.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I use Pocket as an alternative to archive.is in some cases where the source article is archive blocked.

  11. Avatarjc

    I am a lot more interested in statistical analysis done by people with backgrounds in engineering or science than sociologists or “business professors”. Back in college days, we all knew that the ones who couldn’t hack math and hard science ended up in Poli Sci or Bidness.

    What people without the background don’t realize is just how much time and effort is spent by actual engineers and scientists to determine whether a correlation does, or does not, have a cause and effect relationship. Honestly, there are times when the majority of testing I’m doing is purely for the purpose of proving or disproving apparently obvious relationships. When you look at the way popular media report any phenomenon, that whole process of verification is simply abandoned. Hence the daily report that “the S&P 500 changed by [a statistically insignificant amount that anyone who’s taken a basic course in statistical process control could identify as random variation of a stable system] because of [insert here any news headline of the day].”

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The Constitution is a “living document”. That means they can shitcan some rights and reinterpret others at will, dontcha know.

      • AvatarJoe

        10/4 Jack! I’m still laughing…
        You get the Teddy R and The Progressives gold star. [are they a band?]

        I seems like some here have turned the Interstate Commerce Clause and the rest of the U.S. Constitution into the plant from the Little Shop of Horrors. It’s Alive! They just know the George Washington would never have plunked down on a multi-gallon toilet or been driven in a Beast!

        Inconvenient Facts (book) is How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Co2.

        Jack, I learned what you write about on the ZX-14R on a 12R. It’s not a throttle it’s is a position adjuster. That was the first bike that I didn’t/wouldn’t go full throttle right away. It took at least an hour of play and talking to myself! Did you get away from the cop or were you killed in the chase?

    • AvatarWill

      The Constitution gives the government the right to regulate industries. I’m sure there’s something in which you enjoy the regulation or see one as a good thing. See the financial industry as an example and bank panics prior to the depression on why regulation is necessary.

      • AvatarCJinSD

        The US had an agrarian economy when the Constitution was ratified in 1787, yet the USDA didn’t form for another seventy-five years and they didn’t start regulating anything until fifty-four years after that. I know that you like to think that the framers were making the world safe for abortion-on-demand and gay marriage, but not everyone is brainwashed. The primary purpose of the Constitution was to avoid exactly the harm unelected bureaucrats have wrought.

        • AvatarWill

          Nice way to project something that isn’t there about abortion on demand and gay marriage. Coincidentally, just because it was a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean it should continue into the future. The framers also never thought of TV, radio, internet and other things, yet those mediums of expression are still protected under the 1st Amendment. A government exists to help maintain society, whether it’s law and order or through other means. Capitalism by itself turns into a monopoly as we saw in the 1900s, so we regulated them out of existence and increased competition (I’m sure you’re against monopolies). Regulation by itself is not anti-constitutional and as society changes it must also change with the times. Show me the line where they can’t regulate. Furthermore, Jefferson thought the Louisiana Purchase was unconstitutional, yet he we are. Should we give it back to the French? Furthermore, many “rights” or rules were left out deliberately. Resorting to passive aggressive insults proves that you have zero understanding of the document in question.

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            The framers also never thought of TV, radio, internet and other things, yet those mediums of expression are still protected under the 1st Amendment.

            Are you willing to have as expansive a view of the 2nd as you have of the 1st?

            Capitalism by itself turns into a monopoly

            Bzzzz! Assertion without evidence. Rockefeller had a near monopoly on house lighting, well, until Edison came along, that is. By it’s nature, capitalism destroys monopolies.

            (I’m sure you’re against monopolies).

            You seem to be in love with the ultimate monopoly, government. What other entity insists on a monopoly for the use of force, violence, or expropriation of your property?

            Do you feel the same way about the civil service beign monopolized by the Democratic party?

            Do you feel the same way about government agencies? I can pick a different cell phone company, but I can’t pick a different EPA.

            Show me the line where they can’t regulate.

            Show me the line where they can. I bet you’re the sort who says that whatever isn’t expressed prohibited for the government to do, it can do, and whatever isn’t expressly permitted for the citizenry to do, well, they can’t.

            Do you think it should be as illegal for the FBI to lie to people as it is for people to lie to the FBI? Do we have one set of rules for Roger Stone and another set for Andrew McCabe?

            Resorting to passive aggressive insults proves that you have zero understanding of the document in question.

            As you insult, passively aggressively.

            Can leftist ever not project?

        • AvatarWill

          I will also say the way we shipped food was completely different when the USDA was founded and originally (no one shipped chicken from Georgia to California already dead). To think that we shouldn’t have rules on food safety since hygiene is a huge reducer of disease is foolish, ludicrous and stupid.

      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        The Constitution gives the government the right to regulate industries.

        Oh yeah? Which article?

        If a farmer deciding to grow not grow something can come under the perview of “interstate commerce,” anything can.

        I prefer to live somewhere where the government can’t control everything.

  12. Avatarhank chinaski

    Like tax laws, these regulations contort behavior to bend towards the will of the market.
    If CAFE must exist, then make it ‘flat’ for all passenger vehicles. No light truck designation. No absurd ‘footprint’ formula. Large commercial vehicles exempted.

    Some time ago in FL, IIRC, professionals started snapping up very high GVW vehicles using some form of agricultural exemption for a fat tax writeoff/credit.

    The Atlantic. Toronto. NYU. To ask is to answer.

  13. AvatarBinksman

    If the professor is like seven of eight of the professors I had as teachers when earning my own geography degree, he probably has never worked outside academia and has little real-world knowledge with which he could use apply context to his correlations.

  14. AvatarZaphod Beeblebrox

    agree 100%

    that guy is a complete dumbass, and his head is so far up his ass he’ll choke on his own prostate

    which is probably the best scenario anyone could hope for


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