In the new issue of Regulation, economist Pierre Lemieux argues that the recent oil price decline is at least partly the result of increased supply from the extraction of shale oil. The increased supply allows the economy to produce more goods, which benefits some people, if not all of them. Thus, contrary to some commentary in the press, cheaper oil prices cannot harm the economy as a whole.
Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses, have given rise to a growing libertarian movement in our country – with a greater focus on individual liberty and less government power. David Boaz’s newly released The Libertarian Mind is a comprehensive guide to the history, philosophy, and growth of the libertarian movement, with incisive analyses of today’s most pressing issues and policies.
Featuring Harry de Gorter, Visiting Fellow, Cato Institute, and Professor, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University; Kate McMahon, Biofuels Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth; moderated by Kurt Couchman, Manager of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
As Congress debates extending biofuel tax credits and the ethanol import tariff, questions are being raised about the broader policy mix that includes subsidies, tariffs, mandates, and sustainability standards. As a recent CBO report revealed, some of these policies — the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) in particular — are quite expensive. Although biofuels were once hailed as a panacea to global warming and energy security while helping farmers and generating jobs, recent analysis has shown that some of these policies work contrary to such goals and negatively impact air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and food affordability as well. What does the evidence indicate about energy security and green jobs creation claims? Are there any compelling reasons to subsidize biofuels, or should policymakers simply eliminate such preferences?