Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The real Isolationism

Ed Markey (D. Mass) wants to stop the export of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).  He believes that exporting our natural gas will drive up the price and cause hardship for the American people. He couches his argument in nationalistic terms - saying that low energy prices give us a "competitive advantage," and an "economic edge," that will be lost if we sell our natural gas to overseas customers. 

Nevermind that the entire purpose of producing a product is to sell it and create profit

Nevermind that the basis of a healthy economy is the voluntary exchange of valuable goods and services.

Nevermind that the desire for profit is the motive that drives investment and innovation.

Nevermind that it was high energy prices that made Shale fracking a profitable investment in the first place.

Nevermind that the huge glut of Shale gas we now have was provided by that fracking - so despised by the Ed Mareys of the world - and is the reason we have low natural gas prices right now.

Nevermind that we ourselves import nearly three and a half billion barrels of crude oil per year (46% of our annual use) and another billion in other petrolium liquids.

Nevermind that protectionist policies such as these, widely adopted, would drive up our energy costs substantially rather than keep them low.

Nevermind that extreme protectionism is really economic isolationism.

Nevermind all of that, says Markey. To preserve our competitive advantage over all of our economic enemies (our foreign customers) we must stop sending them valuable products!  (Cue the flag waving masses.)

What people like Ed Markey don't understand is that low prices are created when a producer develops better, more efficient, and less expensive means of production.  And that only occurs when the producer invests in industry.  Further, investments are made when it is profitable to do so, not otherwise!  It doesn't end there.  Profit drives expansion. When there is money to be made, there will be increased demand for labor.  Thousands, tens of thousands, of jobs have been and are being created in North Dakota (Bakken Shale).  If the gas becomes more profitable, there will be thousands more jobs added.

The drivel I observe coming out of our Congress is really extraordinary.  Sometimes I wonder if it is stupidity or simply ignorance, but I can't help but despair at its magnitude.

No comments:

Post a Comment