Magazine November 2, 2009, Issue

Market Power

Vice President Dick Cheney on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2009 (Larry Downing/Reuters)
The mistake of subsidizing pet energy causes

The story most conservatives tell about energy policy is different from the stories they tell about other economic-policy matters. Rather than defend free markets, they bang the table about the need for national energy plans and government timetables for energy-plant construction. (For example, see Lamar Alexander elsewhere in this issue.) We’re told that markets will fail to provide the energy we need, fail to prevent demand for energy from surging beyond reason, and fail to attain such important objectives as environmental quality and a strong national defense.

The conservative case for government intervention in energy markets is just as flimsy as

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