Special interests cost us more than it seems

Alternative Column: West of us is a new “wind farm” development. Bipartisan support for these boondoggles is a massive understatement. Republican politicians will pa-rade around spouting free mar-ket clichés one minute and dole out tax breaks the next. Ameri-can exceptionalism no longer means being exceptional. It means making exceptions.
As is the case with all gov-ernment-sponsored economic development schemes, individ-ual property rights are sacri-ficed in the name of “the com-mon good” or “our state.”
We feel these exceptions are worth it because we love this place and the people we share it with. But it is a prob-lem because it violates a fun-damental principle, which is the reason this is such a wonderful place to live.
This paradise (I speak rela-tive to other parts of the world, not in a sense that all is perfect here) was built on indi-vidual initiative and the promise that we may keep the fruits of our labor. Using human nature to advance social justice, works better than trying to change human nature. People excel if it benefits them. They don't try so hard if personal gain is not immediately realized.
Recently, Iowa politicians have been in an outrage about the removal of waivers for small refineries to market gasoline without ethanol. They talk like it is a right of Iowans or corn farmers to force refiners to do business their way. How would you feel if some city slicker came in and forced you to raise pigs in your house? It is the same thing.
These refineries will go out of business because the equip-ment required to blend ethanol is too expensive for smaller companies. We will be left with a fuel industry with less play-ers and less competition. So complain if you want about “big business,” but you will be responsible for forcing out the little guy.
All this has little to do with the economics of so-called re-newable energy vs fossil fuels. The free market, without ex-ception, is the only way to sort that out. Any interference by government makes things more expensive for consumers and we are all consumers. To feel that it is okay to take the freedom from these refineries while demanding freedom for ourselves is the height of hy-pocrisy.
How does government sup-port of “renewable energy” violate our property rights? Too often, property is thought of as real estate. Actually the change in our pockets and the emails in our computers are our property. Either one, when subject to control by someone else against our will, is a viola-tion of property rights. This is the basis for common law which is responsible for the immense prosperity we enjoy today.
Any responses to The Al-ternative may be sent as a letter to the editor or to Fritz’s email address 4selfgovernment@gmail.com. His blog, www.alternativebyfritz.com, is now being updated regu-larly. It’s diverse, like the universities claim to be.

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