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A Free Market, Access to Domestic Energy = A More Prosperous America

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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 27, 2014

Free America’s Energy Future: Drop Washington’s Counterproductive Oil and Natural Gas Ban

Forbes (Doug Bandow): For years people have been told to expect a dismal energy future.  But because of rapid free market innovation, Americans now can look forward to a future of energy abundance.  The U.S. could even become a leading exporter—if Washington gets out of the way.

Successive presidents and Congresses imposed controls, approved subsidies, created bureaucracies, and issued proclamations.  The most common commitment was to achieve “energy independence.”  But President Ronald Reagan set the stage for today’s energy advances by unilaterally eliminating oil price controls and pushing Congress to drop natural gas price and use restrictions.

His successors, however, have regressed back to expensive social engineering.  George W. Bush declared war on the common light bulb.  Barack Obama poured billions into the coffers of well-connected alternative energy firms, several of which, such as Solyndra, have gone bankrupt.  And everyone continued to support the authoritarian Gulf kleptocracies, led by Saudi Arabia, to ensure access to imported oil.

Yet an energy revolution is underway.  Observed Mark P. Mills, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons:  natural gas, oil, and coal.”  Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.

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