Many have made the point that John McCain would do well to promote his credentials as a reformer to counter Obama's "change"
McCain's announement today that he would propose a $300 million prize
to the person who developed a lightweight and inexpensive car battery that could make hybrid vehicles more widely available
is a step in that direction.
What a great idea. At the cost of $1 per U.S. citizen the prize would make rapid
and tangible progress towards an idea (hybrid vehicles) that would not only assist the U.S. economy but also promote environmental
concerns and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
It makes you wonder what other intractable problems
could be solved with a simple cash prize.
Mitigating global warming or providing vitamin supplements to children?
According to a recent conference
in Denmark, it's vitamin supplements.
The op-ed in the WSJ continues, as these pages have argued, that
the policy questions attendant to the global warming debate are those of scarcity and choice. Resources are scarce (or
at least not infinite) and policy makers should debate the benefits of policy choices in comparison to their relative costs.
According to the conference, vitamin supplements (at a cost of only $60 million per year) could immediately benefit
the lives of approximately 112 children living in poverty, preventing vitamin A and D deficiency which can lead to blindness
and a host of debilitating diseases in later life. The long-term value of those vitamin supplements would far exceed
their $60 million price tag if the improved health of those children resulted in fewer health care costs in later life and
improved economic output from their lives.
The value of mitigating global warming? It ranked 30th on a list