July 31st is the birth date of one of the great intellectuals of the freedom philosophy. Milton Friedman (1912–2006) would have been 101 today.
Friedman Legacy Day is being celebrated at 144 events: 90 in 44 states and Washington,D.C., and 54 events in 25 countries abroad. Here in Houston, a “Milton Friedman Rocks” party is tonight.
Friedman was more than a technical economist and early Nobel Laureate in this field; he was a popularizer of the case for free markets. His shorter tracts and biweekly column for Newsweek covered a variety of in-the-news issues, including energy. And he became more libertarian and appreciative of Austrian School economics (market-process economics), the rival to his Chicago School of economics, as time went on.
Friedman’s insight into the distortions from government intervention shortages are timeless.…
“EPA should not be allowed to fund illegal experiments, hire surrogates to scare and propagandize us, or impose excessive, fraudulent rules that kill jobs and harm human health and welfare. Nor should it have so much fat in its budget that it can waste our money on useless, unethical programs.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s neo-Malthusian-inspired ecological battle against the economy centers upon mitigating emissions of the green greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide (CO2). But there is another part to the story: EPA’s rushed, hyper-restrictive standards for ozone.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must set standards for ozone and other pollutants – and periodically review existing standards, to determine whether they are adequately protecting public health, or need to be tightened further.
In 1997, the agency reduced the permissible ambient ozone level to 84 parts per billion (equivalent to 8.4 cents out of $1,000,000).…
“Some might argue that some existing preferences increase energy production and thus, contribute to lower energy prices. Yet many of the preferences at issue have little or no impact on energy production; they simply represent wealth transfers.
Those preferences that do reduce energy production costs simply encourage market actors to produce costly, economically uncompetitive energy. Markets are not made more efficient by producing costly relative to less costly energy.”
Earlier this year, Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute wrote a tax policy missive to the Energy Tax Reform Working Group of the House Ways and Means Committee. This committee, chaired by Kevin Brady (R-Texas), is one of eleven such working groups chaired by Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI).
Taylor and Van Doren espouse cleaning out the tax code to allow a more neutral tax structure to determine the production and consumption of competing energies.…