Publications: Papers

Forty Years of Folly: The Failure of US Energy Policy (The International Economy, Winter 2011)

The last forty years of US energy policy appear to have been a total disaster. The nation would have been better off had the government taken a hands-off approach. During those four decades, our focus on energy independence has been the greatest error. The United States has embraced free trade and free markets in every economic sector except energy. Today, we rely on China to supply our needs for critical rare earth elements, key components for almost every manufactured good, and, in some cases, the manufactured goods themselves. Every mainstream economist who has examined the move to free markets and free trade has concluded that, on net, the United States has benefited greatly from this approach. In 2005, economist Larry Summers suggested in a Peterson Institute study that the gain summed to trillions. Again, the only sector where free trade has not been endorsed is energy. This is a tragedy of immense proportions.