View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Energy Tsar

In a Denver Post article about economic the considerations of environmental bills:

Smart environmental policy that weds growth to long-term management, however, doesn't need to cost a thing, said Rep. Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, the House minority leader.

This session should be about less, not more - namely, conservation - Romanoff said.

"If anything, conservation should save money," he said.

Leaving aside that the least expensive thing to do is just to go out of business, he ignores the costs of enforced conservation. Having just come out of a recession, most companies are running pretty lean. If it were easy to cut costs, they would have. So any more conservation, assuming it's possible, will require new capital spending on energy-saving equipment. Now, in a low-inflation economy, this does make more sense, but wouldn't we rather have those companies increasing production and hiring more workers?

Thomas Sowell wrote a column recently about the woeful state of economics understanding in the country at large. When we're ignorant of this stuff, we can't hold our politicians to account. Worse, there's the chance that we elect ignorant people to (relatively) high office.

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