Washington's bureaucratic regulations, corporate subsidies, and excessive taxation have made it virtually impossible for the market to produce new forms of cheap and clean energy. Companies have become more concerned with hiring lobbyists than they have with hiring scientists and engineers. Is it really surprising then that we're in an energy crisis?
We should be talking about energy freedom. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses and ideas to compete on the free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the savings to the consumer.
The debates in Washington are often about whether we should be subsidizing solar or ethanol. About whether we should prohibit nuclear energy or coal. To stop the Washington bureaucrats from limiting our energy choices and waging their war against affordable and abundant forms of energy like coal, I have co-sponsored S. 468 the Mining Jobs Protection Act along with Senate Republican Leader, and fellow Kentuckian, Mitch McConnell (see the op-ed here, see the release here) that keeps the EPA from using back-door tactics to stifle coal production.
As your Senator, the only question I consider is whether government involvement is the most efficient approach to energy innovation. By subsidizing certain new energies like solar and wind we distort the marketplace and make it impossible for companies to know what is really the most efficient solution. Subsidies take away the incentives for business to innovate and instead give them an incentive to lobby Washington. Subsidies guarantee that business with the most political clout and not the best product will succeed.
I will always vote to cut taxes and lift regulations on companies developing new sources of energy. But this does not mean that I want to take taxpayer money to subsidize them. Any energy source that really meets the needs of the American consumer would not need the government to subsidize it. Just as we don't subsidize laptops and iPods, we should not be subsidizing solar and wind power.
So long as we leave our energy policy to the special interests in Washington we will continue to have expensive and dirty energy sources.
Our energy crisis today stems from too much government intervention and the solution is to allow real competition in the energy industry, not political favoritism.