Posts tagged ‘New York City’

"Ban the Box" And Corporate Liability -- When A Company Can Be Sued Both for Doing A and Not A.

New York City has instituted a draconian "ban the box" law that makes it extremely difficult for employers to avoid hiring people with criminal records  (via Overlawyered)

The bill, which is likely to become law in some form, would prohibit the commonly used "check boxes" on job applications that ask about past convictions. It also would forbid employers from asking questions about an applicant's criminal history until a conditional job offer has been tendered....

The bigger concern is lawsuits from job seekers. To be able to reject an applicant because of a past conviction, employers would have to go through a rigorous process that, if not followed, would result in the presumption that a business owner engaged in unlawful discrimination, Mr. Goldstein said.

“I think you’d see some increases in litigation, and this is not exactly a well-settled area of law,” he said.

Proponents say the bill would simply offer a clearer way for businesses to follow state law requiring employers to go through a multistep test to determine if an applicant's past criminal behavior correlates with the position being sought.

Additionally, the City Council bill would allow an applicant rejected because of a past crime seven days to respond. The job would have to be held open during that time.

An employer's failure to adhere to the process could lead to a fine of at least $1,000. In the bill's current form, the business would bear the burden of proof in any resulting lawsuit by the job applicant, Mr. Goldstein said.

“Rather than the normal context, we have the burden here shifting,” he said. “It would be on the employer to present clear and convincing evidence that it had not engaged in unlawful discrimination.”

Given that the burden of proof seems to be on businesses in employee lawsuits even when the playing field is supposed to be level, I shudder to think what a statutory burden of proof would mean.  Likely an automatic win for any employee.

Given this, here is a question for you:  Imagine that I hired a convicted felon who then committed a crime against one of my customers.    Would I be shielded from liability because I had limited ability to screen out candidates who posed dangers to customers?  HA!  No way.  The plaintiff's attorney for the customer would be in front of the jury making me look like Attila the Hun for not screening felons from my applicant pool, even as the government made that task effectively impossible.

That is the key to this law -- that proponents can claim that one can screen out felons "if appropriate to the job" but in fact the law makes it effectively impossible to do so without imposing staggering litigation costs on me.  So we get the Leftist ideal - I can be sued by employees for screening out felons and I can simultaneously be sued by customers for not screening out felons.

About those "Rising Transit Use" Numbers

From Randal O'Tooole

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) argues that a 0.7 percent increase in annual transit ridership in 2013 is proof that Americans want more “investments” in transit–by which the group means more federal funding. However, a close look at the actual data reveals something entirely different.

It turns out that all of the increase in transit ridership took place in New York City. New York City subway and bus ridership grew by 120 million trips in 2013; nationally, transit ridership grew by just 115 million trips. Add in New York commuter trains (Long Island Railroad and Metro North) and New York City transit ridership grew by 123 million trips, which means transit in the rest of the nation declined by 8 million trips. As the New York Timesobserves, the growth in New York City transit ridership resulted from “falling unemployment,” not major capital improvements.

Meanwhile, light-rail and bus ridership both declined in Portland, which is often considered the model for new transit investments. Light-rail ridership grew in Dallas by about 300,000 trips, but bus ridership declined by 1.7 million trips. Charlotte light rail gained 27,000 new rides in 2013, but Charlotte buses lost 476,000 rides. Declines in bus ridership offset part or all of the gains in rail ridership in Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and other cities. Rail ridership declined in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Sacramento, and on the San Francisco BART system, among other places.

It looks like Chris Christie was doing his part to increase transit ridership in New York.

By the way, the phenomenon of small increases in light rail use offset by large drops in bus ridership is extremely common, almost ubiquitous.  Cities build flashy prestige rail projects that cost orders of magnitude more to build and operate than bus service, and are much less flexible when the economy and commuting patterns change.  Over time, bus service has to be cut to pay the bills for light rail.  But since a given amount of money spent on buses tends to carry more than 10x the passenger miles than the same amount spent on light rail, total ridership drops even while spending rises.  That is what is going on here.

Light rail is all about politician prestige, civic pride, and crony favoritism for a few developers with land along the route.  It is not about transit sanity.

Because Shut Up

Via the Hill

Former vice president Al Gore on Monday called for making climate change "denial" a taboo in society.

“Within the market system we have to put a price on carbon, and within the political system, we have to put a price on denial,” Gore said at the Social Good Summit New York City.

Incredibly, the suggestion of introducing taboos and penalties in a scientific debate is coming from the side that claims to be the great defenders of science.

Film Production -- The Strangely Favored Industry

My son and I were watching a TV show and at the end there was a blurb about it being made in Georgia.  I said to him "I guarantee that "filmed in Georgia" translates to "subsidized by Georgia."  He did not believe me, and could not understand why anyone would subsidize film production.  After all, we can argue about whether any government subsidized jobs make sense or just cannibalize investment in other areas, but film jobs are the most temporary and fleeting of all jobs.

Turns out I was right (I followed a web link from the credits):

Georgia production incentives provide up to 30% of your Georgia production expenditures in transferable tax credits.

The program is available for qualifying projects, including feature films, television series, commercials, music videos, animation and game development. With one of the industry’s most competitive production incentive programs, the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office can help you dramatically cut production costs without sacrificing quality.

Highlights from the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act include the following:

  • 20% across the board, transferable flat tax credit with a minimum of $500,000 spent on qualified production and post production expenditures within Georgia
  • Additional 10% tax credit if a production company includes an imbedded Georgia promotional logo in the qualified feature film, TV series, music video or video game project
  • Provides same tax credits to all instate and out-of-state labor working in Georgia, plus standard fringes qualify
  • No limits or caps on Georgia spend; no sunset clause
  • For commercials and music videos, a production company may group multiple projects together to meet the $500,000 minimum spend on qualified expenditures

This is just insane.  WTF is the state doing subsidizing 30% of the cost of making commercials?  What could possibly justify this, except that this is a sexy business and it gives politicians a chance to rub shoulders with film people?   Why are Georgia business people taxed in order to hand money film producers?   What makes film production a "good" industry and, say, campgrounds a bad one?

Well, I suppose it could be argued that filming in Georgia would help advertise Georgia by showing scenes filmed on location in the state.  Except that the show we were watching was Archer, an animated series about spies based in New York City.  Not one second of the TV show has ever shown or ever will show a live image of Georgia, and I am almost all the way through the second season and not one location in the state of Georgia has been mentioned  (though they might have mentioned the one in Asia).

 

My New Favorite Store, and I Haven't Even Been There. Plus, Christmas Game Recommendations

In my high school days, I used to play a lot of wargames from Avalon Hill and SPI.  I once spent an entire summer playing one game of War in Europe, which had a 42-square-foot map of Europe and 3500 or so pieces.     Each turn was one week, so it was literally a full time job getting through it in a couple of months.

All that is to say I spent a lot of time hanging out at game stores, particularly Nan's in Houston (a great game and comic store that still exists and I still visit every time I am in Houston).  I play fewer wargames now, but I still like strategy games that are a bit more complicated than Monopoly or Risk.  But it is hard to find a game store with a good selection (if there is one here in Phoenix, I have not found it).

But I definitely want to try this place -- the Complete Strategist in New York City.  Click through for some good game pr0n.

His list of games is good, though I have never played Gloom and I have never been a huge fan of Carcassonne.  Ticket to Ride is an awesome game and is perhaps the most accessible for kids and noobs of either his or my list.  If you recognize none of these games, it is a great place to start (there is also a great iPad app).   To his list of games I would add:

All of these games tend to present simple choices with extraordinarily complex scoring implications.  In most cases, one must build infrastructure early to score later, but the trade-off of when to switch from infrastructure building to scoring is the trick.  Five years ago Settlers of Catan would have been on any such list, but it is interesting it is on neither his nor mine.

Once you catch the bug, there are hundreds of other games out there.  My son and I last summer got caught up in a very complex Game of Thrones expandable card game.  Recommended only for those who love incredible complexity and are familiar with the books.  There are also a couple of games I have liked but only played once so far.  My son and I last summer played a fabulous though stupidly complex game of Twilight Struggle (about the Cold War, not hot vampire teens).  This is considered by many to be one of the greatest war / strategy games ever.  We also tried Eclipse (space game, again not the teen vampires) which we liked.  I have played Le Havre and Puerto Rico as iPad apps.  They were OK,  but I think the fun in them is social and the of course does not come through in the iPad app.  In the same vein, tried to play Agricola with my kids and they were bored stiff.

Update:  When in doubt, research it on Board Game Geek.  Their game ranking by user voting is here.

Worse Than I Thought

I always suspected government jobs programs and job training programs were a waste of time.  I never imagined they were total vaporware:

"There are no jobs!" That is what people told me outside a government "jobs center" in New York City.

To check this out, I sent four researchers around the area. They quickly found 40job openings. Twenty-four were entry-level positions. One restaurant owner told me he would hire 12 people if workers would just apply.

It made me wonder what my government does in buildings called "job centers." So I asked a college intern, Zoelle Mallenbaum, to find out. Here's what she found:

"First I went to the Manhattan Jobs Center and asked, "Can I get help finding a job?" They told me they don't do that. 'We sign people up for food stamps.' I tried another jobs center. They told me to enroll for unemployment benefits."

So the "jobs" centers help people get handouts. Neither center suggested people try the 40 job openings in the neighborhood.

From John Stossel, who has a lot more at the source link.

The Worst Polluter

This country has made great progress in cleaning up its waterways over the last four decades.  Conservatives like to pretend it's not true, but there is absolutely nothing wrong from a strong property rights perspective in stopping both public and private actors from dumping their waste in waterways that don't belong to them.

The problem today with the EPA is not the fact that they protect the quality of the commons (e.g. air and water) but that

  1. New detection technologies at the parts per billion resolution have allowed them to identify and obsess over threats that are essentially non-existent
  2. Goals have changed such that many folks use air and water protection as a cover or excuse for their real goal, which is halting development and sabotaging capitalism and property rights
But there is one actor that is still allowed to pollute at unarguably harmful levels.  You guess it, the government.

What might surprise Brougham and many other New Yorkers who were appalled by last summer’s sewage discharge is that there’s nothing particularly unusual about it. Almost every big rainstorm causes raw sewage to flow into the city’s rivers. New York is one in a handful of older American cities — Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are others — that suffer from poor sewer infrastructure leading to Combined Sewer Overflows, or CSOs. New York City has spent $1.6 billion over the last decade trying to curb CSOs, but the problem is so pervasive in the city that no one is sure whether these efforts will make much of a difference.

CSOs occur because the structure of New York City’s sewage system often can’t cope with the volume of sewage flowing through it. Under the city’s streets, thousands of drains, manholes and plumbing systems converge into a few sewage mains. These pipes can handle the 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater that the five boroughs produce on a typical day — about as much water as would be generated by a 350-year-long shower. But whenever the pipes gather more water than usual — such as during a rain- or snowstorm — the pumps at the city’s 14 wastewater treatment plants can’t keep up with the flow. Rather than backing up into streets and homes, untreated sewage systematically bypasses the plants and heads straight into the waterways.*

In this way, 27 to 30 billion gallons of untreated sewage enter New York City waterways each year via hundreds of CSO outfalls, says Phillip Musegaas of Riverkeeper, a New York clean water advocacy group. Musegaas says he finds it especially upsetting that city officials don’t effectively warn the thousands of people like Brougham who use the waterways and could encounter harmful bacteria during overflow events.

I thought this correction was funny:

This story originally read that New York City’s sewage system could “barely” handle the city’s wastewater, an untrue statement. As long as there’s little surplus stormwater entering the system, it’s adequate to handle the flow.

Oh, so everything is OK, as long as it does not rain.  Which it does 96 days a year.  I am just sure this reporter would say that BP's offshore safety systems were "adequate" if it only spilled oil 96 days of the year.

The Statist's Wet Dream

I find it absolutely unsurprising that Paul Krugman was enthralled by the vision of a science that can be used by a few people to control the actions and futures of all humanity.  He said “I want to be one of those guys!”  I was captivated by the vision in the book as well, but my thought was always "how do we avoid these guys?"  The second two books were about how government planners used mind control to deal with humanity whenever individuals had the gall to circumvent their plans.  Lovely.

If I remember right, Asimov wrote the Foundation after reading the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.  The notion of how much of history is inevitable due to large forces (e.g. economics) vs. how much is due to the actions of individuals and what historians now call contingency (e.g. luck) is an endlessly fascinating thing to debate, and I found the Foundation books to be interesting thought exercises along these lines.  But it certainly didn't inspire my life's goals, any more than Dune made me wish for a religious jihad.

I can see the secret Second Foundation scratching their heads now in their secret lair (which turns out to be in the New York Times building in the middle of New York City but that's a spoiler from the third book).  The equations show right here that a trillion dollar stimulus should have kept unemployment below 8%....

Wow -- Government Overreach of the Week

Via Megan McArdle

A New York court ruled last month that all income earned by a New Canaan, Conn., couple is subject to New York state taxes because they own a summer home on Long Island they used only a few times a year. They have been hit with an additional tax bill of $1.06 million.Tax experts and real estate brokers say this ruling could boost the tax bill for thousands of business executives who own New York City apartments they use only occasionally. It could also hurt sales in the Hamptons and New York's other vacation-home communities.

"People will think twice about spending any summer time in New York," says Robert Willens, a New York-based tax consultant. "The amount of tax they could be subjected to is likely to outweigh the benefit."...

Judge Joseph Pinto, a New York administrative law judge, made the novel ruling in a 2009 case that was affirmed last month on appeal by the New York state tax appeals tribunal. Mr. Pinto seized on what is meant by a permanent residence, which is the benchmark for whether all, or just the in-state portion, of an individual's income is subject to New York state tax.

Mr. Pinto ruled that the couple's Long Island vacation home qualifies under the law as a permanent abode because it was suitable for living year-round--whether or not the couple actually stayed in the home wasn't relevant. Under the ruling, if an owner doesn't spend a single a day in a home it could still count toward a permanent residence.

I didn't really need a reason to not buy a home in the Hamptons, but just in case I were tempted, this would pretty much kill any such desire.  This, however, strikes me as one of those games (like trade wars) that New York has not thought out well before starting.  My admittedly uneducated guess from knowing some New Yorkers is that more New Yorkers own 2nd homes in Connecticut than vice versa.  If New York state is going to lose a tit for tat tax war if this is the case.

Opportunity Cost

From New York City Councilman James Genarro's web site:

Gennaro has received numerous accolades for his work as Chairman of the Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, and has authored many of the Council's most progressive environmental bills. Gennaro has spearheaded efforts to cut the city's global warming pollution emissions,... put more "clean air" vehicles on city streets, ...make the city's electricity more reliable, clean, and affordable,... and promote "green buildings".

Thinking about the public and private resources invested in these efforts, I wonder how many snow plows they would have paid for.

Food Miles Silliness

Maybe its because I live in Phoenix, but the local food movement has always seemed silly to me.  To somehow argue that food grown in our 6 inches of annual rainfall is better for the environment than trucking product in from more suitable growing regions has always struck me as crazy.  Russ Roberts links several good articles on the local food movement, one of which included this nice snarky observation:

The result has been all kinds of absurdities. For instance, it is sinful in New York City to buy a tomato grown in a California field because of the energy spent to truck it across the country; it is virtuous to buy one grown in a lavishly heated greenhouse in, say, the Hudson Valley.

A Bad Day To Get Sympathy From Me Over This

Apparently, Washington DC politicians think that it is an economic disaster that there are ... too many competitors in the taxicab business.

The District's open, all-are-invited taxicab industry is so saturated with drivers that the entire enterprise is threatened, according to a D.C. Council member who has filed a bill to cap the number of cabs allowed on city streets.

Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham introduced legislation Tuesday to limit the number of taxicabs in D.C. through either a medallion system, like ones used in New York City and Chicago, or a certification system.

The soaring number of taxicab operators in D.C. "” roughly 8,000, most of whom own their own cars "” is a "pressing and urgent problem," Graham said. There are more licensed drivers in D.C. per capita than any place in the world, he said, and new applicants continue to take the required class, giving them access to the driver exam administered by the D.C. Taxicab Commission. A glut of drivers could jeopardize the chances of any cabbies making an adequate living, Graham has said.

After spending an entire hour trying to get a cab in the middle of a sunny day in Paris, I have not very sympathetic.  Another example of how government licensing is almost always aimed at protecting incumbent businesses from competition, rather than helping the consumer.

Paging Bill Simon

I am terrified that Obama will feel the need to bail out California.  I can't possibly think of  a worse use of my money, nor a worse precedent for the future.   Does anyone think that, in retrospect, Bill Simon's refusing to bail out New York City was the wrong decision.  NYC is not what I could call financially responsible, but they are paragons of virtue compared to what they were in the 1970's, and would have been had they not been forced to take ownership of their budget problems.

Postscript: My prediciton if Obama intervenes:  bondholders will get 10 cents on the dollar, and the SEIU will be given 55% ownership of California.

Rated Capacity

One needs to be a careful consumer of information when reading about the "rated capacity" of certain alternative energy plants. 

Take a 1MW nuclear plant, run it for 24 hours, and you get 24 MW-hours, or something fairly close to that, of electricity.

Leave 1MW worth of solar panels out in the sun for 24 hours, you get much less total electricity, depending on where you put it.  On an average day in New York City, you will get about 4 MW-hours.  In one of the best solar sites in the word, my home of Phoenix, you get about 6.5 MW-hours per day.  The key metric is peak sun-hours per day, and some example figures are here.  So, even in the best solar sites in the world, solar panels run at only about 25-30% of capacity.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that the same relationship holds for wind.

It's not like it's a secret that wind turbines are an unreliable source of electrical power. Bryce points out that, "In
July 2006, for example, wind turbines in California produced power at
only about 10 percent of their capacity; in Texas, one of the most
promising states for wind energy, the windmills produced electricity at
about 17 percent of their rated capacity."

That means
that there has to be nuclear, coal-fired or natural gas power plants
functioning fulltime as a backup to the pathetically unreliable and
inefficient wind farms. Moreover, what electricity they do generate
is lost to some degree in the process of transmitting it over long
distances to distribution facilities.

Now, this should not outright dissuade us from these technologies, but since no one has really licked the night-time / not-windy storage proble, it's certainly an issue.   I have looked at solar for my house a number of times, and the numbers just are not there (even with up to 50% government subsidies!) without a 2-5x decrease in panel costs.  Low yields can potentially be tolerated, but capital costs are going to have to be a lot lower before they make a ton of sense.

More Reasons to Fear Public Employee Unions

Most all local governments have extensive programs in place for government inspection of elevators because, you know, private businesses can't be trusted to operate safe equipment.  But it turns out the least safe elevators are operated by the government itself:

New York City Transit
has spent close to $1 billion to install more than 200 new elevators
and escalators in the subway system since the early 1990s, and it plans
to spend almost that much again for dozens more machines through the
end of the next decade. It is an investment of historic dimensions,
aimed at better serving millions of riders and opening more of the
subway to the disabled.

These are the results:

¶One of every six elevators and
escalators in the subway system was out of service for more than a
month last year, according to the transit agency's data.

¶The
169 escalators in the subway averaged 68 breakdowns or repair calls
each last year, with the worst machines logging more than double that
number. And some of the least reliable escalators in the system are
also some of the newest, accumulating thousands of hours out of service
for what officials described as a litany of mechanical flaws.

¶Two-thirds of the subway elevators "” many of which travel all of 15
feet "” had at least one breakdown last year in which passengers were
trapped inside.

The whole thing is pretty depressing.  But perhaps just as depressing is the fact that the NY Times, in a quite lengthy article, never once questions why the government is in the elevator maintenance business at all.  You see, the New York City Transit system hires all of its own maintenance people, presumably because, though the article never mentions it, the public employees union insists that these functions remain in house.  OK, here is a quiz:  How many private elevator owners in New York City have their own staff repair elevators?  My guess is the answer is close to zero.  Everyone uses third party elevator equipment repair companies or operate under long-term service contracts with the manufacturer.  Why?  Well, lets see what problems NY Transit faces:

"They don't have enough competent people with the proper training,"
said Michele O'Toole, the president of J. Martin Associates, which the
transit agency hired in 2006 to evaluate its elevator operations. "It
all reflects back to qualifications, training, capabilities."...

Elevators and escalators are spread out over a far-flung system,
requiring more mechanics and slowing responses to breakdowns. There has
been little standardization of parts, so mechanics must cope with a
bewildering hodgepodge of machinery. And the machines, which operate 24
hours a day, are subject to all sorts of abuse: Elevators become
makeshift bathrooms, and escalator steps are pounded by heavily loaded
hand trucks.

Guess what?  These are all classic reasons for outsourcing.  Manhattan elevator maintenance companies are set up to handle a far-flung elevator inventory, and can more efficiently stock parts, buy special equipment, and provide specialized training than can any individual operator.   Shared external capacity can also be sized and used much more efficiently to deal with random failures -- the more elevators in a region one maintains, the better staff can be utilized across a stochastic system.

But of course, the NY Times is never going to go against any public employee union, so it takes the line that this is a good governance issue, rather than a structural issue where an individual elevator owner is always going to be less efficient than outsourcing to a large regional third party company.  It compares NY Transit to other public transit agencies, but not to other private owners of elevators.  My guess is Donald Trump owns more elevators than NY Transit - how does he handle elevator maintenance?

By the way, the article says that there are 167 elevators and 169 escalators in the system.  They also say there are 200 full-time maintenance people.  So, on average, one person spends 60% of their year on a single elevator or escalator.  Think about the elevators and escalators you ride every day.  Can you imagine someone working on it for 1200 hours a year?

And what is this in the quotes above about slow responses to breakdowns in the far-flung empire?  With 200 people for 336 devices, they could practically assign an individual repair person to each one.   I can see him now, with his toolbox, sitting on a folding chair in the back of the elevator with a box of Krispy Kremes, waiting to spring into action at the moment of failure.

Advice for Writers

John Scalzi has what looks to be good advice for writers.  Why?

Because it very often appears to me that regardless of how smart and
clever and interesting and fun my fellow writers are on every other
imaginable subject, when it comes to money "” and specifically their own money
"” writers have as much sense as chimps on crack. It's not just writers
"” all creative people seem to have the "incredibly stupid with money"
gene set for maximum expression "” but since most of creative
people I know are writers, they're the nexus of money stupidity I have
the most experience with. It makes me sad and also embarrasses the crap
out of me; people as smart as writers are ought to know better.

Beyond really liking Scalzi's work, he does an amazing amount of work promoting other writers.  Just skim his blog for the last several months.  A hell of a lot more of it is about promoting other authors than it is about promoting his own work.  Here is an example of his advice.

8. Unless you have a truly compelling reason to be there, get the hell out of New York/LA/San Francisco.

Because they're friggin' expensive, that's why. Let me explain: Just
for giggles, I went to Apartments.com and looked for apartments in
Manhattan that were renting for what I pay monthly on my mortgage for
my four bedroom, 2800 square foot house on a plot of land that is,
quite literally, the size of a New York City block ($1750, if you must
know, so I looked at the $1700 - $1800 range). I found two, and one was
a studio. From $0 to $1800, there are thirteen apartments available. On
the entire island of Manhattan. Where there are a million people. I love that, man.

New York Inspired Thoughts on City Planning

I really can't stand to be in New York City for very long.  The crowds, the hassles and the lines all conspire to drive me crazy.  Every second I feel like I am packed around by more people, and I find it horribly claustrophobic.

If your immediate reaction to this statement is to feel like I am attacking you or your lifestyle, you are wrong.  My purpose is not to say that those who love it here in NYC are making an incorrect choice, for they are not.  If they derive energy from the people and the density and all the amenities that density can justify, great.  It is in fact an interesting (and depressing) feature of modern discourse that my saying that I don't personally choose a certain lifestyle is found as threatening to people who do.  Why should it?  My only answer is that this zero-sum statist society of activists has created the expectation that the next step of anyone who expresses a negative preference for something will be to run to the government to get it banned.

The reason I bring my preference up at all is that the vast majority of city planners get a huge hard-on for New York.  Their goal is to turn the world into Manhattan.  They wish to maximize densities and minimize personal automobile use and, well, backyards.  In other words, a bunch of folks who have the ear of the government wish to use the coercive power of the government to turn the world into something I can't live in.  Again, I have no problem with New Yorkers having New York, but why does Scottsdale have to be New York too?

By the way, on a quasi-related topic, the Anti-Planner has an interesting observation:  Supposed gains in sustainability in high-density urban areas have more to do with making everyone poor than with the density  (emphasis added):

Many planning advocates take it for granted that sprawl and auto driving are inherently unsustainable. McShane shows
just how this attitude can go when he describes Halle Neustadt, which
some Swedish urban planners once described as "the most sustainable
city in the world."

McShane here refers to some field work
done by the Antiplanner. To make a long story short, what made Halle
Neustadt "sustainable" was poverty
, and as soon its residents gained
some wealth, many of them moved out and most of the rest bought
automobiles, turning the cities many greenspaces into parking lots.

Owen then turns to climate change, which he describes as the last gasp
of smart growth. Smart growth, he notes, "has always been a policy in
search of a justification, a solution in search of a problem." Now, in
climate change, smart-growth advocates hope they have found such a
problem.

One difficulty, McShane notes, is that there is no guarantee that
smart growth is really more greenhouse-friendly than ordinary sprawl.
Depending on load factors, Diesel trains can emit more greenhouse gases
per passenger mile than autos, and concrete-and-steel high-rise condos
can emit more CO2 than wood homes.

McShane refers in particular to an Australian study
that found that "place doesn't matter," that is, low densities were not
particularly greenhouse unfriendly. Instead, income was much more
important, meaning that the high-rollers living in million-dollar
downtown condos were generating far more greenhouse gases than
moderate-income suburbanites
.

Which implies that the "solution" to sustainability (whatever that is) and CO2 emissions is to promote poverty.  That may seem like a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration, but in fact the latest IPCC warning on climate relies heavily on the work of Nicholas Stern, who says the solution to global warming is to make western income levels look more like those in India (emphasis added):

Mr Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank, sends out a
very clear message: "We need to cut down the total amount of carbon
emissions by half by 2050." At current levels, the per capita global
emissions stand at 7 tonnes, or a total of 40-45 gigatonnes. At this
rate, global temperatures could rise by 2.5-3 degrees by then. But to
reduce the per capita emissions by half in 2050, most countries would
have to be carbon neutral. For instance, the US currently has, at 20-25
tonnes, per capita emissions levels that are three times the global
average.

The European Union's emission levels stand at 10-15
tonnes per capita. China is at about 3-4 tonnes per capita and India,
at 1 tonne per capita, is the only large-sized economy that is below
the desired carbon emission levels of 2050. "India should keep it that way and insist that the rich countries pay their share of the burden in reducing emissions," says Mr Stern.

Translation: India should stay poor and the West should become that way.

Chapter 3: The Basics of Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory (Skeptics Guide to Global Warming)

The table of contents for the rest of this paper, . 4A Layman's Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is here Free pdf of this Climate Skepticism paper is here and print version is sold at cost here

I will not even try do full justice here to the basic theory
of AGW theory.  I highly encourage you to check out RealClimate.org.  This is probably
the premier site of strong AGW believers and I really would hate to see AGW
skeptics become like 9/11 conspiracists, spending their time only on
like-minded sites in some weird echo chamber. 

If you are reading this, you probably know that CO2 is what
is called a greenhouse gas.  This means that it can temporarily absorb
radiation from the Earth, slowing its return to space and thereby heating the
troposphere (the lower 10KM of the atmosphere) which in turn can heat up the
Earth's surface.  You probably also know that CO2 is not the only
greenhouse gas, and that water vapor, for example, is actually a much stronger
and more prevalent greenhouse gas.   

It is important to understand that the greenhouse gas effect
is well-understood in the laboratory.  No one really disagrees that, all
other effects held constant in a laboratory, CO2 will absorb certain
wavelengths of reflected sunlight.   What may or may not be
well-understood, depending on your point of view, is how this translates to the
actual conditions in our chaotic climate.  Does this effect dominate all
other climate effects, or is it trivial compared to other forces at work?
Does this greenhouse effect lead to runaway, accelerating change, or are there
opposing forces that tend to bring the climate back in balance?  These are
hugely complex questions, and scientists are a long way from answering them
empirically.

But wait, that can't be right -- scientists seem so
sure!  Well, some scientists, particularly those close to microphones,
seem sure.  Their proof usually follows one or both of these paths:

  1. Some scientists argue that they believe they have
         accounted for all the potential natural causes, or "forcings," in the
         climate that might cause the warming we have observed over the last century,
         and they believe these natural forcings are not enough to explain recent
         temperature increases, so therefore the changes must be due to man.
         This seems logical, until I restate their logic this way:  "the
         warming must be due to man because we can't think of anything else it
         could be." 
  2. Scientists have created complicated models to predict
         future climate behavior.  They argue that their models show man-made
         CO2 causing most 20th century warming.  Again this sounds good,
         until one understands that when these models were first run, they were
         terrible at explaining history.  Since these first runs, scientists
         have tweaked the models until they match historical data better.  So,
         in effect, they are saying that manmade CO2 is the cause of historical
         warming because the models they tweaked to match history"¦ are very good at
         matching history; and because the models they programmed with CO2 as the
         major driver of climate show that"¦CO2 is the major driver of
         climate.  We will see a lot of such circular analysis in later
         chapters.

The best evidence we could expect to find (lacking a second
identical Earth we can use as a control in an experiment) is to find a historic
correlation between temperature and CO2 that is stronger than the correlation
between temperature and anything else (and of course, even this would not imply
causation).  There is a lot of argument whether we have that or not, a
topic I will cover in the next chapter.  Of course, the lack of unequivocal
evidence at this point does not make the AGW theory wrong, just still"¦
theoretical.   

Before we get to the historical evidence, though, there may
be a few other facts about CO2 and warming that you don't know:

  • CO2 is a really, really small part of the atmosphere.
         Currently CO2 makes up about 0.0378% of the atmosphere, up from an
         estimated 0.0280% before the industrial revolution.  (Just to give an
         idea of scale, if you were flying from Los Angeles to New York City,
         traveling 0.0378% of the distance would not even get you off the runway at
         LAX.  AGW advocates are arguing that a CO2 concentration increase of
         0.009% has heated the world over a half a degree C.
  • The maximum warming should, by greenhouse gas theories,
         occur in the troposphere (the first 10km or so of atmosphere).
         Global warming theory strongly predicts that the warming in the
         troposphere should be higher than warming at the ground.  We will see
         later that the opposite is actually occurring.
  • The radiated energy returning to space consists of a wide
         spectrum of wavelengths.  Only a few of these wavelengths are
         absorbed by CO2.  Once these few wavelengths are fully absorbed,
         additional CO2 in the atmosphere has no effect whatsoever.  Also,
         these absorbed frequencies overlap with the absorption of other gasses,
         like water, which further lessens the incremental effect of extra CO2.

What does this mean?  In
effect, the warming effect of CO2 is a diminishing return relationship.
The first increase of, say, 100 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere has a
greater effect than the next 100 ppm, and so on until increased CO2 has
essentially no effect at all. 

I once bought a house that had
fuchsia walls in the kitchen and family room (really).  I spent all night
painting the rooms with a coat of white paint, and when I was done, I found
that some of the  fuchsia still showed through the white paint, making it
kind of light pink.  A second coat of white made the wall nearly perfectly
white.  The effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are similar, with the first
"coat" making for the most warming and later "coats" having much less effect
but still adding a bit.  At some point, the wall is white and more coats
have no effect. 

This relationship of CO2 to warming
is usually called sensitivity, and is often expressed as the number of degrees
of global warming that would result from a doubling in global temperature.

There are lots of values floating
around out there for sensitivity, but a preponderance (I won't say consensus)
seem to center on an increase of one degree C for a doubling of CO2 levels from
the pre-industrial figure of about 280ppm.  Note that you will see numbers
much higher than this, but these generally include feedback loops, which we
will get to later.  Without feedbacks, 0.5 to maybe 1.5 degrees seems like
a fairly well accepted number for sensitivity, though there are people on both
side of this range.

Luboš
Motl
provides a handy approximation of the diminishing return effect from
CO2 concentration on temperature.  I have taken his approximation and
graphed it below.

 

This is a very crude approximation,
but the shape of the curve is generally correct (if you exclude feedbacks,
which we will discuss in MUCH more depth later).   Other more
sophisticated approximations generally show the initial curve less steep, and
the asymptote less pronounced.  Never-the-less, it is generally accepted
by most all climate scientists that, in the absence of feedbacks, future
increases in atmospheric CO2 will have less effect on world temperature than
past increases, and that there is a cap (in this chart around 1.5 degrees C) on
the total potential warming.

Note that this is much smaller than
you will see in print.  The key is in "feedbacks" or secondary effects
that accelerate or slow warming.  We will discuss these in more depth
later, but typically AGW supporters believe these will triple the sensitivity
numbers, so a non-feedback sensitivity of one degree would be tripled to three
degrees.  Remember, though, these three points:

· Warming from CO2 is a diminishing return, such that future CO2 increases
has less effect than past CO2 increases

· In the absence of feedback, a doubling of CO2 might increase
temperatures one degree C

· In the absence of feedback, the total temperature increase from future
CO2 increases is capped, maybe as low as 1-1.5 degrees C.

The table of contents for the rest of this paper, . 4A Layman's Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is here Free pdf of this Climate Skepticism paper is here and print version is sold at cost here

The open comment thread for this paper can be found here. 

Jane Galt on Immigration

Jane Galt takes on some of the more common anti-immigration talking points.  Just for example:

5. There were ethnic newspapers, but nothing like today's ethnic media.

This is just ridiculous. Immigrants in 1900 could get all the
entertainment that was then available in their own language; for
example, by 1918, New York City boasted 20 Yiddish theaters.
The idea that Latin American immigrants are somehow uniquely unable to
assimilate because they can now watch soap operas and the Venezuelan
version of Eurovision in their very own language seems to me
self-evidently absurd; an immigrant at home watching television in
Spanish is immersed in her own culture no more thoroughly than was the
typical resident of an ethnic neighbourhood who shopped, worked, went
to services, and partied entirely with their compatriots.

I am working on some research right now -- immigration opponents are claiming that "yes, immigration may have been OK in the past, but its different now."  I am in the process of putting together anti-immigration quotes from the late 19th and early 20th century that cover all of the same ground -- they're lazy, they breed too fast, they have disease, they don't integrate, they have divided loyalties -- but aimed at Irish and Italians.

School Choice, But Only for the Most Irritating Parents

A while back, I wrote about wealthy, legally savvy parents exploiting disabled-education funds to get their high achieving kids into private schools, paid for by the state.  Apparently we can't get $6000 vouchers, but this is legally OK, if you are persistent enough in gaming the system:

In Sonoma County, for example, a family recently enrolled its child in an
out-of-state boarding school, then billed its district not only for tuition,
but airfare, car rental, hotel, cell phone calls, meals, tailoring, new
clothes, an iBook computer, stamps, tolls, gas and 13 future round-trip visits.
Total tab: $67,949....

Here is the mom, in this case, explaining her son's "disability" which justified this largess

"He was not offered the classes that I thought he needed," the mother
said. "If my son didn't get what he needed, my fear was that he would drop out
of school.'' 

She acknowledged he had never been a discipline problem. The hearing
records describe him as a "young adult who is likable, friendly, energetic and
highly motivated. He is physically active, plays lacrosse and soccer, and
enjoys wakeboarding and snowboarding."

"He's a model child," she said. "However, his frustration and anxiety were
so high that I could see that this is the type of person who, out of
frustration, turns to drugs or something that he shouldn't be doing."

Well, the good news, I hope, is that the Supreme Court is set to review this kind of legal abuse of the ADA and other disable rights legislation:

the Supreme Court has accepted for review a case in which, according to
the New York Times's account, a former chief executive of Viacom did
not even give a public school program a try before enrolling his son in
a private school and demanding that New York City pick up much of the
resulting bill. The New York Times's account is distinctly
unsympathetic toward the parent, and quotes Julie Wright Halbert,
legislative counsel for the Council of the Great City Schools, as
saying: "Many wealthy, well-educated people are gaming the system in
New York City and around the country."

Let's have school choice for everyone, not just for the well-connected, legally savvy, or downright irritating.

Idustrialization, World Trade, and the Division of Labor

I am not sure I have ever seen a better parable about the virtues of industrialization, world trade, and the division of labor than this experiment documented in Wired Magazine (via L. Rockwell at Mises):

When educator and designer Kelly Cobb decided to make a man's suit
only from materials produced within 100 miles of her home, she knew it
would be a challenge. But Cobb's locally made suit turned into a
exhausting task. The suit took a team of 20 artisans several months to
produce -- 500 man-hours of work in total -- and the finished product
wears its rustic origins on its sleeve.

"It was a huge undertaking, assembled on half a shoestring," Cobb
said at the suit's unveiling one recent afternoon at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art.

"Every piece of the suit took three to five pairs of hands to make,"
Cobb added. "Every garment you wear took three to five pairs of hands
to make too, but you don't know whose hands or where."

Cobb's suit (see photo gallery)
is a demonstration of the massive manufacturing power of the global
economy. Industrial processes and cheap foreign labor belie the
tremendous resources that go into garments as simple as a T-shirt.

"It definitely makes you think for a minute before you buy that $10
skirt," said Jocelyn Meinhardt, a New York City playwright who sews
many of her own clothes. "It didn't just grow on the rack at Forever
21. It's too easy to forget that people made it."

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Perhaps the central touchstone of the women's movement has been the ownership and decision-making for one's own body, starting of course with the freedom to choose an abortion, but extending into a number of other health and sex-related issues. 

What amazes me, though, is how quickly all this is chucked out the window when it comes to having the government take over health care.  Because many of the exact same people who have campaigned for the primacy of a person's decision-making for their own body are also strong supporters of government funded universal health care.  And I can't think of anything less compatible with individual decision-making for one's own body than having the government run health care. 

The demands for universal health care general come from two complaints:

  1. Health care is too expensive and is more than I can afford
  2. Health care quality is low.  In this category, by far the most common complaint is that "my insurance won't pay for X procedure that I want, or Y level of care, etc."

Neither is a surprising complaint, given how our health care system is currently set up, and both are highly related to one another.  The key problem in the US health care system is that, unlike just about any other product or service you and I purchase, the typical individual is not presented with a cost-quality tradeoff.   Since most of us have a fixed price insurance plan, we couldn't care less how much anything costs, and in fact, like an all-you-can-eat buffet, our incentive is to use as much as possible. 

This puts the insurance companies in the odd position of having to make cost-quality tradeoffs for us, via their coverage and treatment rules.  But when they try to cut costs by narrowing or limiting certain treatments, consumers tend to get the government involved to remove these limitations.  They either do this though legislation (many states now have onerous requirements on what procedures insurance companies must pay for in that state) or through litigation (the threat of lawsuits pushing doctors into expensive defensive medicine, asking that every conceivable test be conducted).  In other words, people take their dissatisfaction with #2 above to the government, who acts, pushing up costs and making problem #1 worse.

Until we find ourselves in a Strossian post-scarcity world, someone is going to have to make this cost-quality tradeoff for our health care.  Even if it is never discussed, this is the most important design factor in any health care system.  There are only three choices:

  • Individuals make these choices for themselves, paying for their health care and making their own decisions about whether certain procedures are "worth it".  - OR -
  • Insurance companies make these choices for us.  (I am not sure this is even a choice any more, as government micro-management seems to be pushing this de facto into the next choice). - OR -
  • The government makes these choices for everyone

So, folks that are pushing for government-funded universal health care are in fact saying "I want the government to take over decision-making for my body."  Yuk!  Where are the feminists when we need them?

Beyond just ceding to the government decisions such as whether its really worth it for dad to get his new hip joint, there is another chilling factor, which I have written about a number of times.  Government health care will act as a Trojan Horse for nanny fascism.  Because, you see, if the government is paying to fix your body, then you can't be trusted to do whatever you want with your body.  By paying for your health care, the government has acquired an ownership interest in your body.  You want that Wendy's cheeseburger?  Sorry, but the government can't allow that if it is paying for your health care.  Likewise, it is not going to allow your kid to play dodge ball at all or to play soccer without a helmet -- can't afford to fix all those broken bones.   And no swing sets or monkey bars either!

Already, when its only affects us as individuals, the government is poking its nose into micro-managing our lives.  Just think what will happen when the government has a financial incentive, in the form of health care costs, to do so!  Eek! In fact, it is already happening:

People who are grossly overweight, who smoke heavily
or drink excessively could be denied surgery or drugs following a
decision by a Government agency yesterday.  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which
advises on the clinical and cost effectiveness of treatments for the
NHS, said that in some cases the "self-inflicted" nature of an illness
should be taken into account.

Or here in the US:

New York City is at the forefront of this new public health movement. In
January, city health officials began
requiring
that medical testing labs report the results of blood sugar tests for all
the city's diabetics directly to the health department. This is first time
that any government has begun tracking people who have a chronic disease.
The New York City Department of Health will analyze the data to identify
those patients who are not adequately controlling their diabetes. They will
then receive letters or phone calls urging them to be more vigilant about
their medications, have more frequent checkups, or change their diet....

So what could be wrong with merely monitoring and reminding people to take
better care of themselves?  New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan
has made it clear that it won't necessarily end there. If nagging is not
sufficient to reduce the health consequences of the disease, other steps
will be taken. Friedan
argues
that "modifications of the physical environment to promote physical
activity, or of the food environment to address obesity, are essential for
chronic disease prevention and control." Friedan envisions regulations for
chronic disease control including "local requirements on food pricing,
advertising, content, and labeling; regulations to facilitate physical
activity, including point-of-service reminders at elevators and safe,
accessible stairwells; tobacco and alcohol taxation and advertising and
sales restrictions; and regulations to ensure a minimal level of clinical
preventive services."

Read that last paragraph.  That's just the starting point for where the government will go when it starts paying for all our health care.

Postscript:   This is a very hard topic to discuss with people, because they are so ingrained with the way the market is set up today.  When I started working for myself, I told my wife that we needed a high-deductible medical plan, to protect us from a health disaster, but we would just self-pay for dental costs.  "What?"  She said.  "You can't pay for your own dental - you need insurance.  We can't go without insurance.  That's all you hear on TV, the problem of not having insurance.  We'll be one of those people!"  I patiently explained that it was almost impossible for us to face a dental problem that would bankrupt us, and that for any conceivable level of dental care, it was cheaper to just pay the bills than get dental insurance.  Eventually, she relented.

We have been paying our own dental bills for years now, and have saved thousands vs. the quotes I got for insurance.  The other day we had an issue that perfectly highlights why 3rd party payer systems cause problems.  My wife chipped a tooth.  She was presented with two choices:  To file it down for nominal cost, or to do a major repair which would cost $500.  She asked me my advice on which to do, and I said "its your mouth.  You know what else we might use $500.  You make the tradeoff."  I am not even sure what decision she made.  It is simply impossible to make this kind of decision for someone else.  Everyone will make it differently.  A government-payer system would only have two options:  1)  don't allow anyone to get the expensive fix or 2)  force taxpayers to pay for everyone to get the expensive fix.  Both solutions are wrong.  Such is the problem with all single-payer systems.

 

More on the Health Care Trojan Horse for Fascism

Frequent readers will now that I have long warned of government-funded health care acting as a Trojan horse for micro-management of our personal lives, the logic being that if our lifestyles or behaviors make us less healthy, then the government that funds medical care may claim an interest in regulating those behaviors.  I often post examples of this phenomena, the most recent of which is here.

This installment comes via Reason, and looks at the NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan's new fascism to prevent diabetes program.  I am not sure I even need to comment on the following for you to get the picture:

New York City is at the forefront of this new public health movement. In
January, city health officials began
requiring
that medical testing labs report the results of blood sugar tests for all
the city's diabetics directly to the health department. This is first time
that any government has begun tracking people who have a chronic disease.
The New York City Department of Health will analyze the data to identify
those patients who are not adequately controlling their diabetes. They will
then receive letters or phone calls urging them to be more vigilant about
their medications, have more frequent checkups, or change their diet....

So what could be wrong with merely monitoring and reminding people to take
better care of themselves?  New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan
has made it clear that it won't necessarily end there. If nagging is not
sufficient to reduce the health consequences of the disease, other steps
will be taken. Friedan
argues
that "modifications of the physical environment to promote physical
activity, or of the food environment to address obesity, are essential for
chronic disease prevention and control." Friedan envisions regulations for
chronic disease control including "local requirements on food pricing,
advertising, content, and labeling; regulations to facilitate physical
activity, including point-of-service reminders at elevators and safe,
accessible stairwells; tobacco and alcohol taxation and advertising and
sales restrictions; and regulations to ensure a minimal level of clinical
preventive services."

The NYC health department starred in a previous post for their brave attack on restaurants that give patrons too much for their money.

Uhaul Indicator of California Health

In today's Opinion Journal, the WSJ editorializes against the proposal to even further raise marginal income tax rates in California, to the highest in the country save in New York City.  The Journal argues that this is chasing productive, high income people out of California:

The
latest Census Bureau data indicate that, in 2005, 239,416 more
native-born Americans left the state than moved in. California is also
on pace to lose domestic population (not counting immigrants) this
year. The outmigration is such that the cost to rent a U-Haul trailer
to move from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho, is $2,090--or some eight
times more than the cost of moving in the opposite direction.

I had seen this Uhaul metric before.  The logic is that Uhaul has to keep its fleet of trucks and trailers balanced.  If everyone is going one way with them, say from California to Utah, then they are going to end up with an enormous yard full of vehicles in Utah unless they 1)  pay to backhaul the trucks to CA empty, which is really expensive, or 2) increase the price of the route to Utah and decrease the price of the route back until they are in balance or until the price of the preferred direction covers the backhaul costs.

I had never tried this myself.  I always wondered if the examples people use in articles like this are hand-selected or representative.  So I tried, at random, LA to Salt Lake City  (I have Utah on the brain, I guess, because we are going skiing up there next week, woohoo!)  and chose a date far enough in the future I didn't run into any random demand peaks.  A one-way 26-foot truck rental from LA to SLC on May 15 was quoted at $1888.  The same truck from SLC to LA was quoted at $299!  Try it yourself.

Frequent readers of my blog know I am a big supporter of open immigration, but it cannot be a good thing to send a quarter of a million of your best educated and most productive people out every year and backfill them with lower-skilled, under-educated immigrants. 

Movie-Making Becoming a Subsidy Magnet

Politicians seem to love the movie business, or so I infer from the rash of proposals of late to subsidize the movie business. 

New York City seems to have been first out of the blocks, with this program to provide tax rebates and free advertising for shooting movies in NYC.  The article tells us this is the only industry being so targeted at this point by NY.  Why?  Why are movie jobs and movie makers somehow better than every other kind?  Maybe its because they think the movies provide good advertising for NYC, like the great light they cast on the city in movies like this and this.

Anyway, the trend got my attention when our own Arizona governor lamented that Arizona is no longer home to as many movie shoots as it once was decades ago.  Far be it for me to suggest that this is probably more of an issue of westerns going in and out of style (since about a majority of movies shot in Arizona were westerns).  Nevertheless, Napolitano is pushing ahead with her plan to improve the net income line of Hollywood studios by subsidizing production in Arizona.

Finally, via Reason, we see that Hollywood is worried that it is being left out of the subsidy competition, by actually paying companies to film in LA:

Mayor James K. Hahn on Thursday announced a plan he hopes will keep Hollywood in
Hollywood "” by paying film production companies to shoot in Los Angeles.

Hahn's proposal, which was inspired by a program that New York City
adopted in December, would use as much as $15 million in public funds to
reimburse companies that make a movie in Los Angeles, paying them 5% of their
production costs or up to $625,000.

OK, so one would think that all these locations have struggling media and production industries.  But in fact, just the opposite is true.  In New York:

But Wylde thinks film is just the tip of the iceberg. The city's entire media sector is growing explosively, she notes. From Time Warner to Hearst to Bloomberg LLP, media firms account for $13 billion in city wages, 50% more than tourism.

And, in LA:

Last year, however, film, video and television production in Los Angeles
actually reached record highs. Entertainment Industry Development Corp. issued
permits for 52,707 location production days "” one day representing a single day
of work on a single project "” a 19% increase over 2003.

Doesn't sound like they are in much trouble.  Their film and media businesses are already growing explosively to record highs.  So why do they need a subsidy?  Doesn't exactly sound like the New England textile business.

Look, at the end of the day, this is about politicians handing taxpayer money to powerful media people, people who have the ability to disproportionately influence public opinions and things like ... elections!  This is a barely disguised campaign expenditure, except for the fact that taxpayers pay the bill.

I wrote more about the idiocy of subsidizing corporate relocations to one's state or city here.

Update:  Match Welch has more