Planet Gore

Energy: What Would Reagan Do?

Rep. Fred Upton writes:

Many will use the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth this Sunday, February 6, to reflect on his accomplishments as president. Winning the Cold War and reviving the economy will get most of the attention, and both achievements merit their place in the history books.

Yet Americans should also remember the very first thing Reagan addressed after taking office: energy policy.

I had the great privilege of working for President Reagan, and his successful, free-market approach to energy offers important lessons for today’s energy debate and its consequences for economic growth and job creation. Reagan inherited all the energy policy mistakes of the 1970s – a decade in which every energy challenge was met with ill-advised federal programs and mandates.

For example, domestic oil production was hampered by a convoluted system of price controls that favored imports while sparking shortages and gas lines – ironic, since they were touted as the answer to OPEC and a benefit to consumers. Just one week after his inauguration in January 1981, Reagan issued an Executive Order sweeping away this market interference.

Lamenting that “restrictive price controls have held U.S. oil production below its potential,” Reagan said that eliminating them “is a positive first step towards a balanced energy program.”

Within a few years, domestic oil production went up – and prices went down. Affordable energy helped usher in a quarter century of phenomenal economic growth. Reagan understood that keeping the lights on for families with abundant, reliable energy was not a partisan issue, it was a moral issue, and the entire country would benefit.

In contrast with Reagan’s pro-growth energy policies, President Obama’s energy moves are Big Government micromanaging straight out of the ’70s playbook.

The rest here.


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