Reject All-of-the-Above Energy Approaches

Nicolas Loris /

With Congress divided, will anything actually get done in the next two years? President Obama recently suggested energy policy as an area in which bipartisan support could exist. Rather than trying to pass  a large climate change bill, Obama stressed the importance of increasing technologies and energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions  – including nuclear, clean coal, electric vehicles, wind, solar, and renewable fuels. Sometimes deemed an “all of the above” energy approach, it guarantees handouts and subsidies for all energy sources to make everyone happy. In other words, all the special interests win and the consumer loses. David Friedman, son of Milton, said it like this:

Special interest politics is a simple game. A hundred people sit in a circle, each with his pocket full of pennies. A politician walks around the outside of the circle, taking a penny from each person. No one minds; who cares about a penny? When he has gotten all the way around the circle, the politician throws fifty cents down in front of one person, who is overjoyed at the unexpected windfall. The process is repeated, ending with a different person. After a hundred rounds everyone is a hundred cents poorer, fifty cents richer, and happy.