MORE ON THE PICKENS PLAN….A regular correspondent thinks I was too hard on T. Boone Pickens and his energy plan this morning:
I take your point, but I’m not sure it’s worth getting too excited about and am perhaps more willing to give slack here. Whether we like it or not, the alternative energy revolution is going to be driven in significant part by tycoons or large companies. They will use the political process and their clout to their advantage at every point. And there will be scandal, absurdity, and gross enrichment. The tradeoff is more jobs, a young and growing domestic alternative energy market that competes with oil, keeps prices reasonable, and begins to swing the pendulum of greenhouse gas production in the other direction. We will always evaluate whether and to what extent these goals are being achieved.
What I like about the plan is that it makes the leap from simply calling on government to approve X or prime the pump in other ways, to saying we are going to do X, regardless of a national energy policy. Other companies that have either stood on the sidelines or actively thwarted any attempts through the legislatures to create the markets and incentives necessary to help foment this type of market (Pickens included) will have to respond. Now that he has jumped into this game, they have to decide whether to keep all their eggs with Iain Murray and CEI and their ilk or if they need to jump into this market more aggressively to avoid losing out on the ground floor benefits.
I guess I’m not quite so sanguine about “scandal, absurdity, and gross enrichment,” but point taken. At least Pickens is getting the ball rolling.