Ok, so let me get this straight. Our energy system is 96 percent dependent on coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear; coal and oil are the main drivers of climate change; nuclear energy is the main contributor to WMD proliferation; natural gas terminals are prime terrorist targets and we're building more near cities; the oil industry has not built a new refinery for 30 years but energy companies, like Exxon, are reporting record profits—and Congress just gave all four industries close to $15 billion in subsidies.
Now, I'm the first one to acknowledge that it is the government that allows markets to function properly. Government enforces contracts. Government establishes measures, harmonizes standards, and provides essential market infrastructure, like roads, communications spectrum and ports. Government also ensures that the processes of commerce do not impose costs on people who are not primary parties to commercial transactions.
That last point is essential and yet has been twisted and distorted over the last 50 years. America's zoning laws emerged out of progressive activism at the turn of the century, when early industrial factories were massive sources of pollution and it was essential to separate residential areas from industrial areas. The same applied to power plants and fuel refineries. Given the technology of the day, keeping these massive pollution sources away from residential areas was important.
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