Americans—well, the world—loves cheap energy. Remind them of that, says Fox Business newsman and news-maker John Stossel.
Stossel addressed energy and other business leaders today on “Prosperity and Its Enemies” at the second annual Institute for Energy Research (IER) lunch forum in Houston on how prosperity in the U.S. is under attack, and at the greatest risk to those who are struggling the most to prosper.
His address is timely, considering newer government intervention in business—this time in offshore oil and gas drilling. One of the some 300 luncheon attendees asked how energy producers and other pro-business leaders can explain the importance of U.S. energy production.
Stossel says that explaining that more Louisiana Gulf Coast residents are employed by the energy industry than the fishing industry will fall upon unpiqued ears.
Instead, he says, emphasize that U.S. energy production contributes to Americans’ access to cheap energy. Oil is produced from thousands of feet below Earth’s surface, and at times under thousands of feet of water too; brought to the surface and put into thousands of miles of pipe or into ships; refined into gasoline; transported to fueling stations in trucks; and the price is less than $3 a gallon, with some 70 cents of that going to the government.
“It still costs less than the bottle of water they sell at the gas station,” Stossel notes.
Government interference in free markets is costly, inefficient and counter-productive. Americans yell for more government regulation, yet don’t recognize the affordable quality of life created by free markets, he says. Why?
“Maybe we take these miracles for granted.” After purchasing goods for a month with a plastic card, a statement arrives that accounts for each purchase, to the penny, he notes. Yet, “the government can’t even count votes.”
In interviewing domestic-energy advocate T. Boone Pickens on Fox News, Stossel broke a window to demonstrate how the unenlightened may think jobs are created (via destruction vs. production), such as the fallacy of thinking wind- and solar-power generation create more jobs than they destroy. It’s “the broken-window fallacy” noted by 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat.
Educating voters that “wealthier is healthier,” Stossel says, and how the greatest wealth is created from free markets is “an endless fight. We have to keep fighting it.”
The free market is alive and well in Houston area where a neighbor just (1) changed electricity providers under Texas deregulation that allows the consumer to choose provider and price and (2) chose the 8.5-cent-per-kWh provider with 3% renewable content over the 9.5-cent-per-kWh provider with 100% renewable content.
Green is good, but reason always wins—well, in the free marketplace; maybe not in Washington.
Notes: The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is devoted to educating and informing policy-makers, media and American public on the benefits of a free-market approach to energy policy. It can be found at www.InstituteforEnergyResearch.com.
Stossel can be reached at http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com. See the “broken window” video: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/06/04/the-bastiat-prize.