Some Thoughts On Energy Policy

I’m Afraid Of Her Future And You Should Be Too

 Nancy Pelosi once used the phrase “this is the future” at a press conference about the new energy bill some years ago.   A slogan obviously lifted from the democrat playbook because Representative Ed Markey (now Senator) used the exact same phrase on Fox at the same time.  But you have to admit it has a bright happy ring to it.  The future after all is the land where anything is possible.  It’s where we’re going to start eating five helpings of organic fruits and vegetables a day, lose those extra pounds and live to be a hundred and ten.  It’s where we finally build that tree house for the kids, write that book, learn a foreign language and plant a flower garden.


Maybe even some eggplant.

The only problem is, is that since Nancy Pelosi’s vision is going to be enforced with the full power of the federal government, its agencies and police, prosecutors, judges, prisons and seizures, we’re going to be stuck with her future instead of our own.   

Which is not to put too fine a point on it, not the way this country was designed to operate.  Remember “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  The point being of course that this country was supposed to be about people working out their own happy future and if that means to them, a bigger warmer or cooler house, a bigger safer or faster car, flying to Hawaii for a vacation, a heated swimming pool for the kids or for that matter a simple decent inexpensive electric light bulb by which to read by at night, then God bless ‘em, in America that’s what they’re supposed to do, go for it.

And since when is energy consumption bad? Energy is what purifies our drinking water and makes soap, allows our children to sleep in warm, dry beds, grows our food and takes us from place to place.  We should be using more of it, not less.  Is it harming the environment?  Well what really harms the environment is the less technologically advanced forms of energy consumption like third world slash and burn agriculture.  Look at deforested Haiti, vast swathes of starving Africa or Brazil.  What energy does in industrialized nations is change the environment we live in for the better, make it more comfortable, safer. 

Which is the whole point.

There’s something like sixty-five million people getting together with their families this coming Thanksgiving and inexpensive energy is what allows them to do it.  We should have more of it.  Energy is not there to be conserved it’s to be used and I for one would like more people to gather in families over holidays, more snug homes and I’m afraid of a future where there weren’t those things, or less of them.

Besides Pelosi isn’t a scientist or an engineer, she’s a politician.  In fact as near as I can tell she’s always been a politician and so pretty much have every other congressman and senator who voted for the that energy bill.  They’ve never had to make anything or make something work.  They’ve never had to run numbers and then live or die by them, repair a tractor in the middle of a frozen field, build a brick wall, make pizzas, captain a ship.  By and large they don’t even write their own books.

But energy policy might be more important.  It’s a base indicator of prosperity.  All other things being equal we consume more energy then anybody other country on the planet because we’re richer.  So it’s not a bad thing despite what the environmentalists say.  Okay, occasionally we hit our thumb with the hammer but so what?  Do we stop building and improving and trying to make ourselves more comfortable because we make mistakes? 

So when I listen to this child talk about how wonderful our future will be now that they’ve tinkered with the forces in the energy market I’m reminded what happened when the sorcerer’s apprentice picked up his master’s wand and started waving it around.

You can see some of the consequences looming already.  Higher food prices for one as government mandated money pours into the corn market.  Electric light becoming more expensive as we’re forced away from the incandescent bulb, automobiles more dangerous to drive as they get lighter and lighter and smaller and smaller in order to comply with arbitrary fuel efficiency standards.  But what’s really disturbing are the gleaming eyes waiting in the dark rocks of the issue which neither I nor you and certainly Nancy Pelosi cannot yet imagine.

At least until they’re on us.

Which is what always happens when politicians think they know better than the market.

For example cheered on by Congress the Federal Reserve suppressed interest rates in the nineteen twenties in order to keep the boom going and we took a much bigger hit when it was over.  Then trying to ensure the future of American jobs Congress enacted tariff barriers which casts us into a depression.  Or take one of a hundred recent examples such as when Congress tried to ensure the future of American home ownership by extending savings account insurance to any amount of Savings and Loan money and the taxpayers were forced to eat hundreds of billions of dollars in bad loans that never would have existed otherwise.  Or what about just yesterday when Congress spent billions trying to ensure the future of New Orleans, how’s that working out?  Or the future of education? 

And it isn’t a security issue either.  Quite the reverse.  The Middle East sends us oil and we sent them pieces of paper with George Washington’s picture on them.  Which of course, is the only way they can buy things from us because they can’t make anything themselves.  So who has a security issue, them or us?  Besides if you want more domestic energy all you have to do is license more nuclear plants, which don’t emit any pollutants and as far as I know, have never killed anybody unlike say the coal industry in which people die on a routine basis and does emit noxious substances.  France uses abundant nuclear energy, so does Japan.  Or how about drilling for oil in the artic wastelands, the Eskimos are begging us to do it and the Russians already are drilling there.  Or how about more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mexicans, laughing all the way to the bank, are sinking one new well every day.

But there’s something else that’s really scary about this energy bill because it seems to be the greatest legislative intrusion into how we live our lives that’s ever been fabricated on Capital Hill and that’s not what we elect politicians to do.  In fact what we elect them to do is written down right there in the constitution and its amendments and no where does it say Congress is supposed to decide how you light your home or heat it.  It doesn’t say Congress should decide how we travel either or what sort of machine a factory another has to build and sell to another supposedly free citizen.  Instead of constitutional authority