Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

11 July 2009

The Villainy of Businessman T. Boone Pickens

One of the great problems with a mixed economy having a substantial private sector and an overblown government sector, is that businessmen lacking in morals can readily use the government to grant them profits through the government monopoly on the use of force that the businessman cannot gain in competition in a free market. In particular, there are many such immoral businessmen taking advantage of the many energy subsidies and mandates that Congress has been giving out for a very long time. For example, there is the egregious case of the ethanol subsidies and mandates that I have often harped about.

T. Boone Pickens has joined the Orren Boyle and James Taggart crowd of Atlas Shrugged. Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's Lobbying Editor, has written an excellent column on Pickens and "the Pickens Plan," called Congress gives your money to T. Boone Pickens. The small Washington Examiner has become a very good paper for excellent columnists, while the once very good Washington Times has lost much of its value since undergoing a change of editors.

Senators Robert Menendez (D, New Jersey), Orrin Hatch (R, Utah), and Harry Reid (D, Nevada) introduced a bill this last week to provide a $100,000 tax credit for the construction of each natural gas filling station and to double the very big subsidy for buying a natural gas car.

The methane-powered Honda Civic costs nearly $10,000 more than the regular Civic. The savings from using natural gas rather than gasoline does not begin to pay for this initial purchase cost difference. Natural gas cars are already subsidized, since the 2005 energy bill already gives tax credits for natural gas cars. The House version of the bill provides $30 million per year for research on natural gas cars.

Pickens founded and partly owns Clean Energy Fuels Corp. It builds natural gas fueling stations and it is a leader in transporting natural gas. He also has invested in V-Vehicle Company, which makes natural gas cars. Pickens is a wind generator investor as well and that industry also exists on subsidies and mandates. Since 1992, he has been lobbying Congress for natural gas subsidies.

Timothy P. Carney is a columnist worth following. Let me offer some quotes that indicate clearly how he thinks:
Perversely, his recent shift—from selling stuff (such as oil) that people want to buy, to selling stuff (like gas cars and wind power) that people buy only when it’s subsidized or mandated—has elevated Pickens’ reputation from greedy capitalist to world-saver.

“Hostile takeovers” is an inaccurate term for what Pickens used to do. The management didn’t like them, sure, but the transactions in question consisted of shareholders voluntarily giving their stock to Pickens in exchange for Pickens’ money.

Pickens’ new bid actually is hostile. I don’t want to fund his windmills or methane cars. But if I refuse, the IRS will come after me. But instead of“greed” it’s dubbed as “green.”

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