Not Nuts

Published February 18, 2005

Dear Editor:

Thomas L. Friedman offered on February 13 a solution to all the world’s energy problems by sharply lowering energy consumption and imposing a higher gasoline tax. Supposedly this will chasten the mullahs in Iran and misbehaving leaders of other states.

Remember, these were the policies of President Carter’s administration and they did not help very much in dealing with the mullahs at that time.

Forced conservation and tax-distorted price vectors make the energy supply even more vulnerable and prices more volatile than they would be otherwise. These policies do not work.

What does work is to expand the resource base both at home and abroad to the extent justified by undistorted prices. This will result in an extra margin of capacity that will help in coping with emergencies and reducing price volatility.

These seem to me to be the proper priorities of President Bush. They are definitely not “nuts.”

James L. Johnston
Board of Directors
The Heartland Institute
Chicago, Illinois

James L. Johnston is a member of the Board of Directors of The Heartland Institute.