March 26, 2009

Well there was Disco

from Master Resource

The 70s: Bad Music, Bad Hair and Bad Energy Policy (what Obama can learn from Carter)

Many in the energy business, whether or not they support President Obama’s positions on energy and the environment, are likely to think, “Look, the US is a big ship. It cannot be turned around in a couple of years, and even if they tried, you can right the course at the ballot box.”
Actually, you can’t. The United States is still a nation of laws, and without strong political support, the acts of one administration cannot be easily reversed or undone by the next.
But there is more to the story than simple inertia and political head-counts. Each new administration enters with an agenda of positive goals. Spending time and political capital on your predecessor’s agenda can often find its way to the bottom of the to-do list. Moreover, a new president has only a limited circle of advisers. They cannot know everything about what the last guys did (Hayek’s revenge).......

........In the end, the energy policies of that past 30 years that had significant positive effects were mostly of the “first do no harm” variety. Most of those policies were enacted during the 1980s, so as to undo some of the most egregious acts of the 1970s. With the exception of the spectacular unintended consequences of the (relative) pittance in Synfuels Corporation funding, all of the careful mandatory allocations, use restrictions, production restrictions, punitive taxes, price controls and technology development showed either negative impacts on the supply of energy or no discernable effects on energy supply and use......

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