Natural Gas and Crony Capitalists

I’m a big proponent of natural gas, and any other fuel we can extract from our own real estate. But I prefer to keep things in the hands of private investors and producers. (All you lefties, shut up. There’s more than enough government oversight, so don’t even go there.)

What I do have a problem with are the crony capitalists looking for taxpayer dollars to boost their investments and enrich themselves at the expense of the American people. That’s the case with T. Boone Pickens. He’s not happy earning a decent living while letting markets work. Oh no, he wants in on the government dole.

He’s gone so far as to donate almost half a million dollars to the far-left Center for American Progress to push his agenda.

Now the natural gas industry is lobbying to have the taxpayers foot the bill for increasing demand for natural gas.

At a press conference this week, Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA, declared: “Now is not the time to shortchange millions of American households that depend on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to stay warm.”

Sounds altruistic, but what Mr. McCurdy doesn’t note is that many of his gas association members benefit from Liheap because the federal dollars increase demand for the natural gas they and the utilities sell. During Liheap Action Day, the energy industry panhandlers demanded “$5.1 Billion for LIHEAP.” Hard to believe, but that request puts AGA to the left of even the Obama Administration, which the AGA complains wants “only $3 billion” this year for the program.

The gas industry no doubt figures this is a cheap way to be labeled a good corporate citizen in Washington’s eyes. “We must find a way to balance our budget and reduce our deficit without cutting programs for those who need them most,” says Preacher McCurdy. Coincidentally, that’s exactly the line of the liberal groups now calling for $40 billion of taxes over the next decade on the oil and gas industry.

Here’s a modest counterproposal for Mr. McCurdy. Eliminate this ancient federal funding for Liheap. The U.S. already spends well over $500 billion on welfare assistance annually. Use the budget savings to reduce the federal deficit instead of raising taxes. (Read More)

Let the AGA pay their bills if it’s that important to them. The rest of us have other worries, like how our kids are going to pay off this monstrous national debt.

This is what happens when government grows this big and sinks its tentacles into every sector of the economy. Even viable businesses start wanting a piece of the government action.

Enough. Let the markets decide things and get the government out of it. Maybe then we could all afford our utility bills.

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