Government and Gasoline
As we head into the summer driving season and gasoline prices are again creeping up, the administration has announced plans to explore opening up more off-shore areas for exploration and drilling. On the one hand this can be lauded as a positive step. On the other hand, it is too little, much too late to have any meaningful or long-term effect on what Americans pay at the pump any time soon, if at all.
Indeed, if increasing domestic energy production was really a priority, the administration would direct the EPA to remove its many roadblocks and barriers to energy production. In fact, abolishing the EPA altogether would do much to improve our country's economy. Instead of protecting the environment as they are supposed to do, most of what they do simply chills the economy. Polluters should be directly liable in court to any and all parties they harm, rather than bureaucrats at the EPA.
Of course, last week's announcement was couched in terms of removing barriers and red tape. However, the fact that we had these barriers in the first place is yet another reminder of how the energy market is hampered and controlled by bureaucrats and central planners in Washington, rather than the demands of the people and the decisions of private investors.
Consider how extremely negative our government's reaction has been to other governments around the world that have nationalized their oil and energy industries, such as Venezuela and Iran. We deposed a democratically elected leader in Iran in 1953 for this very reason. Yet the level of involvement of our government and bureaucrats in energy is nearly absolute. Of course, the only thing worse than our government dictating energy decisions to its own citizens is our government dictating energy decisions to the citizens of other countries.
Along with the waste of prohibitions that leave our own natural resources untapped is the waste our government perpetrates with subsidies to alternative fuel sources. There is certainly profit to be made in perfecting cheaper, cleaner fuel sources, but government subsidy programs interfere with finding realistic long-term solutions. Subsidies divert resources towards certain politically-favored fuel types while ignoring others. If the market were left alone, private investors would put their own capital into the most promising alternative fuels. Instead, due to government incentives, resources are concentrated into politically chosen endeavors that could very well end up being dead ends. Meanwhile, precious time and money is wasted.
The government has the opposite of the Midas touch. This has been observed over and over by the reduced quality and rising prices in every private industry in which it entangles itself. Yet somehow people still seem willing, even eager, to relinquish to government control the most important and sensitive portions of our economy and society. Education, healthcare, and energy are all unfortunate examples of industries that are in my opinion, far too important to be left to government control when it is the market that has the golden touch.
Posted by Robby D. on 04/07/10 11:46 PM
Hmm, I do fear a backlash to our energy future, Iran is rattling its sabre in the middle east, and oil is priced in dollars. My big fear is that they will threaten Saudia over dollars for oil...is that nice enough Bell? and thank you Bell for bringing Ron Paul into the spotlight, and giving me a place to voice my big concerns, eventually it would come to pass.
Posted by Nanoo Visitor on 04/06/10 03:32 PM
The Jihad on Conventional Energy sources proceeds apace. The US might not miss in-country refineries, if they could depend on other countries in the hemisphere. However, China will likely edge the US out in Brazil. See for example:Brazil sees China interest in offshore oil fields12:56 pm ET 04/06/2010 - Reuters
Posted by Nanoo Visitor on 04/06/10 11:32 AM
Suspect the unstated goal is to deprive US citizens of mobility -- immobile subjects are so much easier to govern than ones that can escape.In the interim, North American refineries are clearly in the cross-hairs (of government, and possibly Murphy's Law). Ah, but not to worry, Brazil wants to export more refined petroleum products. If Lulu gets any closer to Chavez, however, the US might get left (as it were) out.
Posted by Doug on 04/06/10 10:06 AM
I know this is probably not the right place to ask...but the photos behind the Stories on the Bell's front page are simply stunning. Are they available anywhere for download?
Reply from The Daily Bell
Yes, see the ads on many pages of the Bell.
Posted by Jones on 04/06/10 07:48 AM
I think that the recent Bell article pretty much pulls back the curtain on how manipulated our supposed "free markets" actually are...
Click to view link
I listened to an interview with Ron Paul, yesterday, and he sounds pretty much resigned to the present status quo in DC. There will be nothing earthshaking forthcoming from his quarter.Real "change" will come if and when the American people ever wake up and get off of their corn-fed bottoms.
Posted by Stewart Wilcox-Sollof on 04/06/10 06:25 AM
Dear Dr Paul,You are a very rare animal; a thinking, logical, supremely ethical politician. Please stick in there for the benefit of all of us.
Posted by Clayton on 04/06/10 04:12 AM
Dr. Paul, out here in California, where there is a whole lotta drivin goin on, we have reached a nearly terminal and structural Suspension of Disbelief.
We have Hollywood in the South and up North here we have about everything you can think of, with the exception of a sense of self-contradiction. Having it all means having plenty of gas to burn and at the sametime, none of those ugly dericks spoiling our views.
Superman was sure not going to give Nancy any grief on this one. Boxer is up for reelection and its going to cost her big bucks to fight off Carly. Jerry's tapping every union misfit in the State to put up or risk loosing their featherbeded lifesytles. Just think of how it will feel to Nancy to be upstaged by Meg and Carly. California going Red State, no way! So, let hypocracy rule.
On a more serious note, being the only honest politican I have ever met (my wife thinks of you as an American Cato) my deep appreciation for all you have done and are doing to keep people like myself from falling into hopeless depression watching the way the supposed opposition is fumbling the ball again this time.
Instead of trying to save what is in fact a Fascist Sickness Management System, why not think ahead to a true Health Care System? The marginal benefits versus marginal costs in medicine are way out of wack. At this rate to add another 10 years onto the average life expectancy would consume half the economy.
This one of those times when Danger = Opportunity. Additionally, at the moment the Big "O" is on a kind of manic high, preaching in his most self-congratulating fashion. He is also at his most obnoxious, making himself a clear target of ridicule. What holds everyone back? I find this reluctance difficult to understand. The only explaination I can come to is that they have so much dirt on the Republicans that he can discount them. If that is so, the GOP needs a major house cleaning.