A death announcement last week in the Houston Chronicle caught my eye. I never met the late Stephen Simon, but what I read made me realize that the quiet heroes and heroines of free-market capitalism need to be saluted now and then. For they are the wealth creators and real philanthropists versus the political system’s wealth redistributionists and wealth destroyers.
Here is the essence of this man. An engineer. More than 40 years with a major energy company in a variety of advancing positions at home and abroad. Successful. Private sector philanthropist with his time and money.
And through it all, a “heroic capitalist” in the Smith-Smiles-Rand tradition (see Part I of my Capitalism at Work). A practitioner of Principled Entrepreneurship ™.
Think of what Julian Simon would have said about Stephen Simon (no relation): He created more than he consumed to leave us resource richer.…
Last December, Texas governor Rick Perry, speaking at a Houston fundraiser, sadly noted how President George W. Bush had lost his way in Washington, D.C. His good friend had compromised his principles and left the nation in a lurch, however unintentionally.
But then the governor launched into his Texas-is-great stump speech that included kudos to windpower, a new large industry (no) thanks to a legislative mandate requiring that Texas electricity retailers purchase qualifying renewable energy. (Wind is the most economical of the qualifiers.) The 1999 mandate, enacted with the crucial help of Enron lobbyists, was increased in 2002 with a powerful wind lobby at work. And so at the point of a gun, Texas became the leading windpower state in the country, passing California along the way.
So it was not surprising that last Saturday night Gov.…