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

Mr. Pickens has offered a plan. Will Wilkenson (whoever he is) has not.

"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?"
Mr. Wilkinson's story was good until this last part. Mr. Pickens helped the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. However, Senator Kerry has never offered any evidence to contradict the Veterans allegations. Mr. Pickens has even offered to give $1 million to charity if Mr. Kerry can disprove even one allegation. No proof yet and it has been almost a year.

How do you like how that turned out?

"In the end, The Pickens' plan is that government use its powers to make Pickens the winner."

And that my friends is the story of modern day corporate run America.

I'm glad to see Mr. Wilkinson believe in separation of church and state.

" A republic, if you can keep it."

BF

Few people talk much about the very large subsidies that oil gets, like direct cash subsidies, foreign aid to oil countries, several aircraft carrier battle groups patrolling Middle East oil shipping lanes, troops guarding oil pipelines, military bases in oil countries, 2 Middle Eastern wars, military intelligence operations.

Without these we would not be getting our oil, and if we paid these costs at the pump instead of with the income tax, oil might no longer be market competitive against alternatives.

All pickens plan gets is a little bit of cash. And it will be worth that cash to rescue the USA from being held hostage to oil which can be manipulated by hostile Middle Eastern countries.

When Wilkinson writes "If wind power were more efficient than the alternatives, we'd already be using more of it" he neglects to note that wind power is the fastest growing energy segment. In fact wind turbine manufacturers can not keep up with the demand to install more wind facilities.
Furthermore it is thinking like Wilkinsons which keeps the status quo. "if it were better it would have happened" That is the kind of defeatist mindset that does no one any good.

"In the end, The Pickens' plan is that government use its powers to make Pickens the winner."

And that my friends is the story of modern day corporate run America.

I'm glad to see Mr. Wilkinson believe in separation of church and state.

" A republic, if you can keep it."

BF

"In the end, The Pickens' plan is that government use its powers to make Pickens the winner."

And that my friends is the story of modern day corporate run America.

I'm glad to see Mr. Wilkinson believe in separation of church and state.

" A republic, if you can keep it."

BF

I think the main point in this article is:

"We could use new wind power to replace dirty coal instead. But that's not the plan."

Pickens's plan 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."

Why does he leave out replacing the dirty and environmentally damaging coal plants? Honestly I haven't read Pickens's plan, but if he leaves it out then it is not a good plan. We need to get off coal.

Also I would never trust a man who funded the Swift Boat ad campaign against Kerry. That got us 4 more years of Bush and Cheney, 4 more years of Iraq, and ultimately the high gasoline prices we are paying now while the oil companies (Friends of Bush and Cheney)are making the highest profits ever earned by any company ever (just reported today).

I appreciated hearing this point of view. So many people just fall for the propaganda without looking deeper. Sure, it is good to get off oil. Wind is good. But nuclear is better (works better, and is much much cleaner and safer than coal). Solar panels along the interstates like in Europe would be great. Get the big energy companies to provide alternatives by mandating they get off oil and coal. They won't do it without being forced.

We need creative ways of thinking. Perhaps T. Boone Pickens, good ole boy that he is, really did fund that Swift Boat ad in good faith that Bush and Cheney would be good for this country, but I don't think so. I think everything he does is because it is good for him and his friends. If we get some clean energy from him, great. But no one should trust anything he says. Watch what he does instead.

Wilkinson suggests that wind power is less widely used because it's inferior, but he neglects to mention that fossil fuels received far more subsidies than renewables did during the last century. It's hardly a level playing field.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute broke down the Department of Energy’s R&D expenditures from 1948-2003 and found that approximately $74 billion (56% of the total) went to nuclear energy; $31 billion (24%) to fossil fuels; and $15 billion (11%) to renewable energy sources. Authors from the economics firm Management Information Services, Inc. totaled up federal energy incentives (mostly tax breaks) from 1950-2003, and reported, “Oil accounted for nearly half ($302 billion) of all federal support between 1950 and 2003.” Renewables got less than 10%.

http://thepumphandle.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/picking-energy-winners/

Wilkinson suggests that wind power is less widely used because it's inferior, but he neglects to mention that fossil fuels received far more subsidies than renewables did during the last century. It's hardly a level playing field.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute broke down the Department of Energy’s R&D expenditures from 1948-2003 and found that approximately $74 billion (56% of the total) went to nuclear energy; $31 billion (24%) to fossil fuels; and $15 billion (11%) to renewable energy sources. Authors from the economics firm Management Information Services, Inc. totaled up federal energy incentives (mostly tax breaks) from 1950-2003, and reported, “Oil accounted for nearly half ($302 billion) of all federal support between 1950 and 2003.” Renewables got less than 10%.

http://thepumphandle.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/picking-energy-winners/

Pages

With Generous Support From...