34

Energy plan ads just a bunch of wind?

Commentator Will Wilkinson

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

Scott Jagow: Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is on a mission. Yesterday, he said he was creating an army of people to lobby for his energy plan. That plan is to move toward wind power and natural gas and away from imported oil. Commentator Will Wilkinson has been studying this, and so far, isn't impressed.


Will Wilkinson: Maybe you've seen T. Boone Pickens' commercial by now. The corporate takeover artist and hedge fund chairman is in the process of building the world's largest wind farm. He's also the nation's largest supplier of transportation-related natural gas.

Imagine Pickens' surprise when he discovered that our environmental and economic salvation is to use subsidized wind power to replace the natural gas we now use to generate electricity, and then to use that freed-up natural gas to power our cars. We could use new wind power to replace dirty coal instead. But that's not the plan.

All commercials are trying to sell us something. But Pickens' ad isn't aimed at us the consumers, but as voters sadly under-informed and easily stirred by appeals to emotion. The Pickens Plan is not about offering you, the consumer, a choice.

If wind power were more efficient than the alternatives, we'd already be using more of it. If natural gas cars were attractive to consumers, we'd already be driving more of them. The Pickens plan is about getting the government to use its powers to tax, regulate, and subsidize -- and pick winners in the energy sector.

When Pickens says:

T. Boone Pickens: Over $700 billion are leaving this country to foreign nations every year.

and adds up to:

Pickens: It'll be the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.

He's leaning hard on our worst nationalist impulses and attacking the very idea of peaceful, mutually beneficial trade. Listening to Pickens, you'd never know we got something for all that money. What he's really saying is: Why buy the things you need from dangerous foreigners when you could be buying them from rock-ribbed Americans, like T. Boone Pickens?

In the end, The Pickens' plan is that government use its powers to make Pickens the winner. Don't help him. The last time Pickens spent millions on political ads, the Swift Boat Veterans offered us, the voters, their version of the truth. How do you like how that turned out?

Jagow: Will Wilkinson is a research fellow at the Cato Institute.

Log in to post34 Comments

Pages

Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx
http://www.madeiraplastica.allpex.com.br

Jeremy! because a monopoly (oligopoly) in oil it is a subsidy! an indirect subsidy! .. we all pay day by day by day, and the lobbies of oil a dispenser of death ..
the state should be the ability to gather resources to change monopolies into other one that have more sense and good prospectives; we have to pay somebody anyway to obtain something !! let's get rid of the arabs only income of power and and give work to americans!
===================

By Jeremy Morlan
11/13/2008

Why is are so many people bringing up oil subsidies as an argement for further government involvement? It is akin to a little kid saying "but but Jonny gets subsidies" Eliminate all subsidies and let the market decide.

I am very upset and bothered by what the write of this article has to say. Long story short, there is NOTHING wrong with working on weening our country off oil and it is not only important, it is essential and necessary. Furthermore, wind power is a FANTASTIC technology that will get better as we put more development dollars into it, and I believe pickens knows this and is behind this. Someone earlier said something about him being 80+ years old and non-threatening and I agree. He is an old man who wants the best for his country, he has foresight, and he wants to leave an energy legacy after he dies, and that is great. I am working with a company that helps residential people develop alternative energy (found at www.federalenergyincentives.org ) and we find that many people have been capable of implementing this technology in their own backyards, whats wrong with america implementing wind technology in her backyard? Nothing, lets progress already! (side note - doesnt the bp oil spill remind us enough that we need to change our energy resources??)

Why is are so many people bringing up oil subsidies as an argement for further government involvement? It is akin to a little kid saying "but but Jonny gets subsidies" Eliminate all subsidies and let the market decide.

Why should the government create tax breaks that help people like Pickens create wind farms? Because it keeps our money in our country. Our overall economy benefits when our money stays in our borders. If we are to cut our reliance on foreign oil we need to find alternative methods to produce energy. Tax breaks to anyone willing to develop and market to utilize our own resources is one way to do this. Of course corporations like the ones owned by Pickens will benefit. It's because they have the capital to make it happen on a large scale. The average joe doesn't have billions to do it. The main thing, for our economic security and our national security, is to be self reliant in all areas, and that includes energy. Keep our own dollars in the USA. Just look at Dubai, people. They have free healthcare and free college for EVERY citizen in the nation, and they are constructing the world's tallest skyscraper and have the most agressive luxury land development project in the history of the world. AND IT IS ALL BEING PAID FOR BY YOU BECAUSE OF OIL! I am a Democrat. I hate the fact that Pickens was in on the Swift Boat campaign. However, this issue s something that will benefit ALL of us.

WILL WILKINSON: is a moron!!!!! You have to be the most uneducated person on this Earth. I bet you voted for Gay Rights also. Before you publish something make sure you have the correct information, idiot! I am sure your mother and father have been slapped many times for having such a disgrace in there Family. Your the type of person that knows nothing about honor, courage and commitment, You're the type of person that would allow your family to get hurt before yourself, you F ing coward.

WILL WILKINSON: is a moron!!!!! You have to be the most uneducated person on this Earth. I bet you voted for Gay Rights also. Before you publish something make sure you have the correct information, idiot! I am sure your mother and father have been slapped many times for having such a disgrace in there Family. Your the type of person that knows nothing about honor, courage and commitment, You're the type of person that would allow your family to get hurt before yourself, you F ing coward.

Wilkinson's case would be stronger if he were somehow outing Pickens being secretly behind a plan that benefited him as a CNG provider and wind farm investor. That would be a great smoking gun, but Pickens is very out front with what he is doing. He is already mega rich, so getting mega richer at 80 years old is just not threatening in my opinion. Pickens will probably not build a death ray machine like in an old Bond Film, but merely buy more windmills and put up more CNG fueling stations with new found bucks. What is wrong with that? He's old, and yet, he is looking at our lack of national energy policy with fresh eyes. More points for him. But beyond his ideas, there is action and "skin in the game". Think tanks are great because you get paid the same whether your ideas are helpful or not. Pickens has incentive to succeed because his money gets taken away if he is off the mark. Game changers like Pickens often need to slow down from time to time to explain what the heck they are doing. Hope for a free market is a funny notion in 2008, but coal exists as a fuel because the free market says polluting is free. Not for long Mr Wilkinson. Long may you run Boone.

The only way, the coal, natural gas and oil are cheaper than renewables, wind etc are because we are not paying for their environment impact right now. That means we are not paying any price for polluting the environment e.g. there is no cost to use coal for electricity production. We do not assign a cost for CO2 production, mercury poisoning, environmental and human cost of mining. If these costs were included in consideration of oil, natural gas and coal, the wind mills, solar power wins hands down. There is a huge environmental cost associated with coal and oil.

If we were to enact a legislation and carbon cap/trade legislation. Every major electric utility company will be just producing wind power and using gas powered turbines during peak electric demand or when the wind is not blowing.

I'm all for the free market. If Pickens wants to invest his money in the wind power and natural gas, he has every right to. However, if he wants government handouts for his wind business, why should his customers, consumers, pay for him twice? Once by a government handout; and a second time when we buy the energy from him.

Maybe Pickens can afford his electrical distribution system by not giving his money to political hit groups like "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

Pages

With Generous Support From...