“[The AERA] will prevent federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, facilitate the expansion of domestic refining capacity, improve processes to develop energy infrastructure, stop EPA overreach and its war on coal, force Congress and the President to approve any new EPA regulations that kill jobs, broaden energy development on federal land, open offshore exploration, expand U.S. energy exports, and dedicate additional revenues to debt reduction.”
“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change,” wrote Milton Friedman in the 4oth anniversary of his classic Capitalism & Freedom (1962, 2002). The revered free-market economist continued:
When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”
Editor note: The first post in in this three-part series was titled A Free Market Energy Vision (Part I: Worldview); the third is“Federal Energy Policy for America (Part III: Cato’s priorities–and a few more).”
The Obama Administration has been implementing an anti-energy agenda since coming to Washington. From day one, Obama and his “dream ‘green’ team” have worked to increase the cost of traditional energy to reduce usage and try to make uneconomic consumer-rejected energy (wind, solar, ethanol, electric vehicles) more economic.
The effects of these policies are now playing out in front of the American people: rising energy prices, tens of thousands of jobs destroyed, and increasing dependence on foreign state-owned energy companies. In response, the free market community has been playing defense.
But even before Obama, multiple-hundred-page interventionist legislation has been signed time and again by Republican presidents.…