T. Boone Pickens Lack of a Plan
The Wall Street Journal correctly skewers T. Boone Pickens today:
Boone Pickens may be a fine man, and has played a colorful and useful role on the American stage for decades. But his "energy plan," which he's spending a fortune to promote on cable TV, is not a plan.
Asserting that something would be good to do is not "a plan." Saying how to do it is "a plan." By this standard, what the legendary oil man is devoting $58 million to pitch hardly amounts to a decent slogan.
He would replace natural gas in electricity production with wind, and use the natural gas to power cars. He fails to mention any practical theory of how to get there -- that would really be "a plan." Instead, he relies on the deus ex machina of Congress, waving a legislative wand to make people do things they would choose not to do, given the extravagant and unjustified costs involved.
Having reasons is not "a plan" either, but Mr. Pickens has his reasons. He says we spend $700 billion a year on foreign oil, which he calls a "transfer of wealth." But exchanging money for oil at the market price is an exchange of things of equal value. If we didn't value their oil more than our dollars, we wouldn't participate in such a bargain.
He laments that the U.S. consumes "25% of the world's oil." The phraseology is common, and misleading. Oil is produced to meet demand. He might as well complain that, with 25% of the world's GDP, we consume 25% of the world's advertising.
That "transfer of wealth" comment has been bugging me since I first saw it. It's such a stupid comment to make. It makes me wonder if a man of his skills and wealth is really that stupid or if he just thinks we are?
Whichever it is, I'm glad to see someone calling him on it.