“If the guiding agency is less knowledgeable than the system it is trying to guide—and even worse, if its actions necessarily result in further undesired consequences in the working of that system—then what is going on is not planning at all but, rather, blind interference by some agents with the plans of others.”
– Don Lavoie, National Economic Planning: What is Left? (Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1985), p. 95.
Upon reading the latest letter from the Secretary of the Department of Energy, Stephen Chu, five questions came to mind. Perhaps he, a staffer, or anyone else can provide answers to see just how justified this part of DOE’s mission is during a time of fiscal challenge.
Question #1: Can Secretary Chu spell C-E-N-T-R-A-L P-L-A-N-N-I-N-G ?
Question #2: If there is “…deep energy expertise within the Department and our national laboratories…” how does one explain the minimal results from the approximately $150 billion (2009$) that has been poured into “energy R&D” (not counting money spent in basic sciences) by DOE and its predecessors?
On June 26, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill, known also as the cap-and-trade bill. This is unfortunate because cap-and-trade takes up no more than 30 percent of its pages. The rest of the telephone-book-sized HR 2454 detailed new regulations, wealth transfers and taxes whose aggregate adverse impacts may well surpass those of cap-and-trade.
Still more encouragement for renewable resources that cannot pass market tests. A national “renewable portfolio standard” will require that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2020 (relative to 2.8 percent today) come from sources the law defines as “renewable” or (to a limited degree) improvements in efficiency.