We have tried to ignore the silliness on the left with regards to energy with the Green New Deal and all of that. It seems to us that those were dead ideas and that is a really good thing. Now we see some of the worst of those ideas coming from a serious contender for the Democrat nomination for president. We concur with Jay Nordlinger at the NRO Corner:
Early last month, Elizabeth Warren issued a tweet that sent a chill down my spine: “On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking — everywhere.”
Jay goes on to discuss the impact of such ideas on the Saudis and our allies. We”d like to discuss why seeing Elizabeth’s tweet sent a chill down our spine and it should send one down your spine too. It makes us glad we are not on Twitter.
We would like to look at the two sentences individually. In the first she has a method, executive order, and a goal, no NEW leases offshore or on public lands, that seems consistent with the method. It is a really, really bad idea and it will probably be challenged in court but it might happen. Mark Perry at Carpe Diem consistently covers the increase in US oil output and here is an example. Our guess is that most of this output comes from private lands so Elizabeth is being foolish and engaging in some cronyism to help her friends and donors in “alternative energy” but she hasn’t proposed anything catastrophic.
Well, she hadn’t proposed anything catastrophic until the next sentence. There are three terrifying parts of the second sentence. First there is “everywhere.” Perhaps “everywhere” is just a little political overstatement but we hope she doesn’t think she can ban it globally. Second there is the unspecified process that will allow her to ban fracking. Some folks have been worried by the authoritarian impulses of The Donald and the 44th president. This would take the imperial presidency to a whole different level. And worst of all there is the banning of fracking. It is a disaster on many levels that it is impossible to create a comprehensive list but here are a few. There is all the value generated by fracking. There are all the folks and organizations that support fracking. There are all the organizations, like manufacturing, that benefit from cheap energy. There is the environmental impact of reduced CO2 from using cleaner natural gas. There are the international problems for the US and our allies of being back under the control of Russia and the Middle East.
Sidebar: The Donald is often accused of being an agent of Russia despite his actions. We think Elizabeth is just a fool but her behavior in banning fracking would support Russia’s most important goal, increasing the price of energy. End Sidebar.
An executive order to forbid new energy from public lands is ordinary political stupidity like The Donald’s trade war. Elizabeth has moved to a whole different level when she says she will ban fracking. It is astonishing that people take her seriously.
We support free trade. Everyone should but some folks think it is a problem to buy stuff from other countries. It is not. It makes us all richer. People who oppose free trade, like The Donald, are pretty silly. We had not, until today, found anyone who thought that trade among the states of the US was a problem. That person is Dave Skoloda writing in the La Crosse Tribune. Dave says and we are not making this up:
By one estimate, because we have to ship in almost all our fossil fuels, our energy deficit amounts to some $14.4 billion per year in the cost of importing coal and petroleum products.
That’s money that could benefit the state economy if power could come from in-state sources, according to a report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a UW-Madison-based think tank. Wisconsin has one of the worst energy deficits of all the states, according to the COWS report.
Eeekkk! People in Wisconsin buy stuff from other states? Of course it will not help the Wisconsin economy to pay extra for Wisconsin based energy. An no, we should not care about our energy deficit or our avocado deficit or our cheese surplus. We might have a frat sand surplus but that has controversy surrounding it. [Check the picture. The chairperson doesn’t look like a Tiffany.] Of course, you know what Dave wants to do. He wants money and regulations from the state for his friends It is crony capitalism although we are hard pressed to understand why folks use capitalism in the phrase to describe such behavior. Dave says:
The growing evidence that renewable energy production makes economic and environmental sense begs the question why the Legislature doesn’t wake up and devote some energy to spurring the transition with such things as higher goals for renewables and incentives for electric cars.
If it made economic sense it wouldn’t require an act of the legislature to create it. Dave wants to charge the citizens of Wisconsin more for less reliable energy and spend their tax dollars to benefit his friends. We have a much better idea. Let’s sell sand (and milk etc.) to other states and buy their gas (and avocados etc).
Sidebar: Eeekk! The avocados might come from Mexico rather than New Mexico. We have no problem with Wisconsin prospering along with Mexico. You may but surely you have no problem with Wisconsin and North Dakota prospering together. Do you? We have rewritten many parts of this to make it way less sarcastic. This is the best we can do on this topic. End Sidebar.
Both states will be better off. Dave has a really bad idea but to be fair it is even a worse rationale. We need to think up a name for an award for ideas like Dave’s.
Recently we recommended elimination of the Jones Act. Now George Will has made the same recommendation at NRO in more detail. It seems that great minds often roll together. You need to be convinced about George Will? Kyle Smith at the NRO Corner says George has pellucid prose. He also has a book you might be interested in. Oh, it is MWG’s classification that you are worried about. You have a point.
You should read all of George’s article to understand the problems with the Jones Act. We are not convinced that Mike Lee’s frontal attack on the Jones Act will be successful. We support Mike hope he is successful but we think that some politics might be necessary. We still like a modest carbon tax, elimination of the gas tax, elimination of the Jones Act, and a player (or two) to be named later.
There are two questions: First can the two sides negotiate in good faith or is the political atmosphere too polluted for a deal. Second, what is a trade that both sides would accept? We think even a modest carbon tax is a high priority for the left. We think a modest carbon tax would be acceptable to the right if some enticements were offered. We could be wrong twice.