Saturday, August 2, 2014

Energy Fads, Follies and Failures

Live long enough as an American and you can watch the energy fads, and follies, repeat themselves.

I'm of the right vintage to do this, since I've paid at least some attention to energy issues dating back to the oil embargoes and shocks of the 1970s, which put rationing in place and had gas lines snaking around stations, spurring politicians to actions (overreactions, typically) that set the herky-jerky, reactionary, crisis-to-crisis pattern that's characterized U.S. energy policy ever since. Robert Bryce does an outstanding job of walking readers back through that sad and sordid history in this NRO piece, making too much additional commentary unnecessary.

It's just amazing that no one in a position of real responsibility knows this history and refuses to repeat it, since energy is the Achilles heal of a society like ours. Getting things wrong can have serious, serious economic implications, to which most Americans seem oblivious. Some awaken momentarily when another crisis point arises (typically, when the pain at the pump becomes excruciating), usually pointing fingers in the wrong direction, unable to connect the dots between policy causes and economic effects -- then go back to sleep, as feckless leaders centrally-plan "fixes" that fix nothing and establish a predicate for the next crisis.

How long an economic superpower can get along like this, with such an amateurish energy policy, only time will tell. But a day of reckoning will arrive. Obama's stunted and stumbling economy is just disguising problems that will begin to crop-up, in spades, if the American economy ever returns to old form.

But it's Saturday. And beautiful outside. There's lawn care to be done, a ball game to catch, a dog to be walked, maybe a margarita to savor later. There's no point in worrying about this now.  

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