He came from a lower-middle-class family in Freehold, N.J., and played in Jersey Shore bands before becoming the local kid who made good.
On this day in 1973, at the age of 23, Bruce Springsteen released his debut solo album: “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.”
It sold only about 25,000 copies in its first year, and The Times didn’t even bother reviewing it.
But Rolling Stone did write, months after the album’s release, about the lyrics: “Hot damn, what a passel o’ verbiage! He’s got more of them crammed into this album than any other record released this year, but it’s all right because they all fit snug. …”
The magazine proclaimed him “a bold new talent.” The album wasn’t completely a solo effort, though. You can hear many of the musicians, including the saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who would go on to join him in the E Street Band.
That first Springsteen record, and the 17 studio albums that followed, often refer to his home state, where he is revered.
E Street itself comes from a Belmar, N.J., address that was home to a band member’s mother. The guys sometimes practiced there before taking the name to global fame.
I had tickets but missed the Jason Isbell show in Boone, choosing instead to watch my kid in a soccer tournament just an hour away (I didn't choose the dad life, the dad life chose me). To make up for that I attended the Revivalists show in New Orleans with Lynne Lewis the night before the Southern meetings. I've been listening to Men Amongst Mountains ever since. And it is the only album my kids will listen to with me (and they are now to the point where it is all they want to listen to in the car).
Sadly, this might be the last year for my top 10 list, in this form. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to wean myself off CDs (don't laugh) and I'm not sure if people actually listen to albums on Spotify, or whatever.
Welfare economics must adapt to the growing consensus over the assignment of rights to animals. We extend nonmarket valuation techniques to the study and measurement of the preferences of Chinook salmon regarding their aquatic habitat and the value of their existence. We find that these techniques are as valid for fish as they are for humans. Our applied study indicates that opportunities exist for Pareto-improving trades between salmon and California agricultural and hydropower interests. (JEL Q510)
So Jason Isbell has been promoting his new album and I went to Amazon today to buy it. Please examine the pricing.
So if I buy the CD, it's $8 and I get the MP3 for free. If I buy just the MP3, it's $1.49 more! Amazon clearly wants me to buy the CD even though I'd really rather just have the MP3. What am I missing?
You can buy the album here (which you definitely should do). You can listen to the title track here and the whole thing (perhaps not permanently) here.
This work is not a product of the United States Government or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the author is not doing this work in any governmental capacity. The views expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the United States or the US EPA.
Federal and state gas taxes in their current form—excise taxes per gallon of fuel sold at the retail level—may have outlived their usefulness as a transportation funding source. There are two fundamental problems. First, they have not kept up with inflation. Second, as vehicle fuel efficiency has increased, tax revenues have declined; this problem will worsen in the future with ramp-ups in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards.
At 18.4 cents per gallon, the federal tax has been unchanged since 1993. Allowing for 20 years of inflation, it is equivalent to roughly 11 cents today. An ad valorem tax—a percentage of gasoline sales—would be one way to solve this problem. A few states have added ad valorem taxes to their excise tax and/or applied their general state sales tax to gasoline. Another option is to index the tax to inflation; Florida does that and with legislation just passed in Maryland, that state will do so too.
But these changes would not fix the second problem. From 1990 to 2010, the CAFE standard was set at 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg). In 2017, the standard will be about 40 mpg and by 2025, 55 mpg. So a new car driven 14,000 miles per year used to yield the government about $94 in annual tax revenues, but in 2025, it will generate only $47, about half as much.
Meanwhile, much of the nation’s road infrastructure is badly in need of repairs, upgrades and expansions. If current gas taxes aren’t doing the job, what should we do?
Some experts have suggested shifting the per gallon tax to a per mile tax. ... But there are hurdles to implementation and some experts have estimated it would take 10-15 years to fully switch from a per-gallon to a per-mile tax.
I believe it’s time to think outside the box of user fees. User fees are efficient when we want to ration use, such as when roads are congested, but not necessarily on rural roads or at times of day when traffic is free-flowing. Also, we might want user fees to internalize the costs of road wear and tear, but heavy trucks (and weather) are most responsible for road damage, not light-duty vehicles. For transportation financing, I think it might be time to consider a more broad-based tax. Using general sales taxes, as some states are doing, is one approach. Taxing oil rather than gasoline is another idea. Increased vehicle registration fees are also worth considering. And governments may want to make more use of the private sector in public-private partnerships and innovative contractual arrangements.
Personally, I’m not sure what’s best or that there is a single best approach, but the states might be setting us up for some useful natural experiments. After years of stagnation, some states are moving to act. Some have recently raised their excise tax rates, while others have indexed their taxes to inflation, and still others, like Virginia, have moved toward a combination of sales taxes and registration fees and away from the excise tax approach. Still more are in the process right now of considering changes. Letting the states act as laboratories—accompanied by rigorous analysis of the outcomes—might be a good first step.
One would have to be an unforgivable contrarian to second-guess the bonanza enjoyed by U.S. consumers from the dramatic drop in gasoline prices. Yet that development provides an opportunity whose cost would encroach only slightly on our good fortune: an increase in the federal gas tax — unchanged since 1993 from 18.4 cents per gallon and, in inflation-adjusted terms, now worth around 12 cents. No wonder it has ceased to make any meaningful contribution to sound economic and environmental policy. The resulting and serious depletion of the Highway Trust Fund — and, with it, the deteriorating conditions of the nation’s transportation infrastructure — is just one example.
Can political boldness face up to both opportunity and challenge?
Joel Darmstadter, Bethesda
The writer is a senior fellow with Resources for the Future.
It was difficult to rank the bottom 6 or 7 since most of the year I listened to the top 3 or, especially Lydia Lovelace (I heard her song in Earthfare the other day!). So, I put in the top 7 those that I didn't need to write in at the WNCW poll with write ins for the bottom 3.
Sarah Borges was released on December 10, 2013 so it didn't make last year's list.
I also bought Wilco (Rare Tracks) and Shelby Lynne (I Am Shelby Lynne, which is a rerelease with a few new songs). Both are great.
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
Don't believe what they're saying
And allow me a quick moment to gush: ... The env-econ.net blog was more or less a lifeline in that period of my life, as it was one of the few ways I stayed plugged into the env. econ scene. -- Anonymous
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous