Saturday, January 19, 2008

More on Jay Buckey's National Security Levy

It gets worse. See my posting below on the supposedly major plank -- a "national security levy" -- in Jay Buckey's campaign for US Senator from New Hampshire.

I had neglected to mention that the proceeds from this levy will not be dedicated to lowering marginal tax rates or something benign, but will instead finance an "Apollo program for energy dependence, which would develop new technologies and stimulate the economy." Remember, now, that Mr. Buckey was an astronaut.

Here we go again with naive Democratic views of economic engineering. Let's put a tax here, a subsidy there, give out some tax credits and incentives here, put some price floors over here and some wage controls over there....Presto! The economy is whirring along like a Stirling engine.

It is an engineering view of the economy. Engineers can look at something like an engine and improve its operation through mechanics. Why not an economy too?

Just one little thought on the law of unintended consequences, which usually stops economic engineering experiments dead in their tracks: If we tax OIL, what will we do with natural gas? What kind of stimulus to natural gas production and importation will a tax on oil yield? What about that big liquid natural gas terminal proposed for the East coast, to import LNG from....guess where...the Middle East?


Jay Buckey said...

Hello Robert,

Enjoyed our conversation the other evening and the discussion it is creating.

For those who are interested in the links between national security
and oil, here are a couple of things to look at:
(which gives the origin of the "Carter Doctrine" that access to
Persian Gulf oil is a vital national security interest of the United
States). (their publication "The Hidden Cost of Oil: An
Update", provides an interesting analysis of the security costs of

Look forward to hearing from those who are concerned about this topic.

For more information on our positions, please visit

John Lott said...

The question is if these were such great ideas, why aren't firms doing this anyway?