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Benefits and problems ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walter E. Williams states a timeless truism:
Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place. Politicians and much of the public lose sight of the unavoidable fact that for every created benefit, there's also a created cost or, as Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman said, "There's no free lunch."
Congress, doing the bidding of environmental extremists, created our energy supply problem. Oil and gas exploration in a tiny portion of the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would, according to a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey's estimate, increase our proven domestic oil reserves by about 50 percent.

The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and eastern Gulf of Mexico offshore areas have enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. Congress has also placed these energy sources of oil off-limits. Because of onerous regulations, it has been 30-plus years since a new refinery has been built. Similar regulations also explain why the U.S. nuclear energy production is a fraction of what it might be.

Congress' solution to our energy supply problems is not to relax supply restrictions but to enact the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that mandates that oil companies mix more ethanol with their gasoline. Anyone with an ounce of brains would have realized that diverting crops from food to fuel use would raise the prices of a host of corn-related foods, such as corn-fed meat and dairy products.

Wheat and soybeans prices have also risen as a result of fewer acres being planted in favor of corn. A Purdue University study found the ethanol program has cost consumers $15 billion in higher food costs in 2007 and that it will be considerably higher in 2008.
Etc., etc.

What is the proper and legitimate role of government?

Certainly, you'd agree it isn't to foul up everything like this.

So, should government be in the "benefits" business? Or, more simply and legitimately, in the rights protection business?

If we continue down the government road of "benefits/problem/solution", the cycle will continue:
On May 1, Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat and chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, convened a hearing on rising food prices saying, "The anxiety felt over higher food prices is going to be just as widespread, and will equal or surpass, the anger and frustrations so many Americans have about higher gas prices." Congress' proposed "solutions" to the energy and food mess it created include a windfall profits tax on oil companies, a gasoline tax holiday for the summer, increases in the food stamp program and foreign food aid. These measures will not solve the problem but will create new problems.
And, of course, in the final analysis, it is you who get to pay for all of this.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
It’s all right out of Atlas Shrugged.
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
The problems with all of this is that few keep track of the results of Congress’s ill-fated experiments.

Jefferson had it right about the central government’s role.
Written By: vnjagvet
Congressman Andrews is running against Sen. Lautenberg in New Jersey for the Democratic Senate nomination. A recent Andrews TV spot aired in Philaldelphia claims Lautenberg has holding in major oil companies from which he has major capital gains.

With reports like this claiming a huge jump in oil futures, you really have got to ask just how many Senators and Congressmen have oil company holdings ?

Remember .. it’s not a problem .. it’s an opportunity.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Got to stick big oil.

Still confused?
Guess who is from Texas.

It astounds me how many smart folks no longer think - instead, what is driving is the visceral, and consuming, hatred of President Bush.

Written By: bains
URL: http://
They won’t really tax the big oil companies .. at least not that much.
and it’s really nothing so new that I would say it’s BDS.

Jimmy Carter tried the same thing and in the end the oil companies shifted the revenue around so the feds got almost nothing.

It’s all about find a "boogy-man". The politics of fear by another cover.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Another government created problem is our current problem with healthcare: high costs, HMOs, waiting time, etc. The solution the pols come up with always involves more government.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
if you think that anwr is the solution to our problems i want what you guys are smoking. prudhoe bay alaska is the largest oil field in north america. it peaked in 1998 at 2 million barrels a day. the life span of a oil field looks like a inverted parabola. the us uses 20 million per day. even if you were do get anwr up and running which would take 10-5 years there is no way it will exceed the amount of oil that came from prudoe bay. the price increase is not a supply problem its a demand problem. after 9/11 bush had all the political capital do try and shift us away from oil and feeding the terrorist funding saudis. and last week he went there to grovel like a dog for a mere 300,000 HAHAH what a joke. the days of cheap oil is over and the saudis know it that is why they refuse major increase of production and will sit back and collect money while we pay 100 million dollars a day with 2 carrier groups to protect the oil shipping lanes. 8 years no mission accompliced. good work
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
S1ntax, for the love of god, learn to use proper grammar and formatting. You do know that the first word of every sentence is supposed to be capitalized, right? Nobody can read your wall-of-text rantings without getting a headache.
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Not lending excuse to the legislature but as long as we allow commonsense to be overruled by potentially crooked consultants - the legislature has a claim of "we didn’t know any better". Of course the answer is to pass a law that says that no benefit is free and anyone claiming such is lying.... which everyone including the legislature can determine.

Apparently in reading this article on current events in NY it’s a pretty common problem nationwide (being told new benefits won’t have any cost impact)

From Glen Reynolds:
Written By: BIllS
Lets see, the leftwing position: No drilling in ANWAR, NO use of oil Shales in the Rockies, NO drilling off the east or west coasts, No Nukes, and no windmills in my back yard! But DAMN those evil oil companies for gouging us!!!!!!
Written By: kyleN
No drilling in ANWAR, NO use of oil Shales in the Rockies, NO drilling off the east or west coasts, No Nukes, and no windmills in my back yard!
30 years of legislated lefty inspired eco-terrorism targeted to destroy America.

Mission accomplished.
Pity their Soviet masters aren’t here to see their success.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
after 9/11 bush had all the political capital do try and shift us away from oil
Yeah, we could be all driving wind powered cars now . . .
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"It’s all right out of Atlas Shrugged."
Yeah, but everybody knows that was rotten literature, so you’re a rightwingloon.
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