May 11, 2008
I MENTIONED the lukewarm response to Lamar Alexander's grand energy plan, but this take is my favorite:
Good Lord, now we've got Republicans proposing Five Year Plans and Seven Step programs like some 1930's Soviet Beet Kommissar. The last thing we need is the know-nothings in Congress pretending they have the expertise required to plan the future of a market segment as huge and critical as energy. They have no such knowledge because that knowledge doesn't exist anywhere as some type of accessible whole. It takes a market with millions upon millions of people, each with their own intimate knowledge of their own needs and capabilities, participating in an open energy marketplace with free prices to coordinate such an unimaginably huge, ever-changing body of knowledge and action. Gas prices have been elevated for several years now due to many reasons, and already the marketplace is responding with the millionth shipped hybrid, high mileage clean diesels, flex-fuel vehicles, and endless number of promising technologies from compressed air vehicles to hydraulic drive trains, all with ZERO input from Washington.
The problem for politicians is that voters often demand a plan, even when letting the market work is best.
UPDATE: A counter-plan from Democratic opponent Mike Padgett.