The energy market is not a free market, but it could benefit from becoming a lot more free

Here is a letter I wrote to the Houston Chronicle’s business columnist, who tends to rationalizes his central-planning schemes by arguing that energy is already somewhat regulated, so where’s the harm in going all the way?

I did not say the US could have developed enough internal energy sources to satisfy 100% of our internal demand.  We probably could not have, though we will never have the chance to find out.  But that does not mean we could not have maintained/developed the capacity to use domestic sources to meet a far larger portion of our demand than we are now meeting, and that does not mean we would not be way, way better off if we were truly utilizing our latent energy capabilities – you cannot tell me we would not be better off if we had not handcuffed our domestic oil, gas, coal, and nuclear capabilities over the years with the poisonous mix of governmental regulation and Green politics and the crony capitalism that those factors inspire and virtually necessitate.  Moreover, the more we produce on our own, the less OPEC is able to set market prices – oil is, of course, fungible within any given grade.   As I indicated, I am fine with playing power games and having trade wars as a means of playing hardball with the Chinese and others who are (naturally) willing to exploit the US’s self-imposed limitations upon its own leverage, but I see no reason to make the game so much harder to play by imposing all the inefficiencies and disincentives of central planning upon the internal operations of the US energy industry.

And my response to his predictable “do it like the Chinese” response: 

Wow!  That is a classic.  Every Lefty  college economics department in America (sorry, that was redundant) would give you an A+ for your stirring rendition of that Ode to Central Planning:  First the government kills the energy market with a lethal elixir of government regulation and the crony-capitalism that such regulation inevitably invites, and then you say we need bring in the government to solve the problem and keep them in control in order to ensure that the market is never again allowed to re-surface and ruin the party.    And your preferred role- model is the heroic Chinese government.  I have no idea why you still want to live in this country; clearly,  you would be more comfortable living in a totalitarian state that regulated everything, including dissident journalists.

 

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