Ron Paul: Energy Exploration is None of the Government’s Business

Government and Gasoline

by Ron Paul

As we head into the summer driving season, and gasoline prices are again creeping up, the administration has announced plans to explore opening up more off-shore areas for exploration and drilling. On the one hand this can be lauded as a positive step. On the other hand, it is too little, much too late to have any meaningful or long-term effect on what Americans pay at the pump anytime soon, if at all.

Indeed, if increasing domestic energy production was really a priority, the administration would direct the EPA to remove its many roadblocks and barriers to energy production. In fact, abolishing the EPA altogether would do much to improve our country’s economy. Instead of protecting the environment as they are supposed to do, most of what they do simply chills the economy. Polluters should be directly liable in court to any and all parties they harm, rather than bureaucrats at the EPA.

Of course, last week’s announcement was couched in terms of removing barriers and red tape. However, the fact that we had these barriers in the first place is yet another reminder of how the energy market is hampered and controlled by bureaucrats and central planners in Washington, rather than to the demands of the people and the decisions of private investors.

Consider how extremely negative our government’s reaction has been to other governments around the world that have nationalized their oil and energy industries, such as Venezuela and Iran. We deposed the democratically elected leader in Iran in 1953 for this very reason. Yet the level of involvement of our government and bureaucrats in energy is nearly absolute. Of course the only thing worse than our government dictating energy decisions to its own citizens, is our government dictating energy decisions to citizens of other countries.

Along with the waste of prohibitions that that leave our own national resources untapped is the waste our government perpetuates with subsidies to alternative fuel sources. There is certainly profit to be made in perfecting cheaper, cleaner fuel sources, but government subsidy programs interfere with finding realistic long-term solutions. Subsidies divert resources towards certain politically-favored fuel types while ignoring others. If the market were left alone, private investors would put their own capital into the most promising alternative fuels. Instead, due to government incentives, resources are concentrated into politically chosen endeavors that could very well end up being dead ends. Meanwhile, precious time and money is wasted.

The government has the opposite of the Midas touch. This has been observed over and over by the reduced quality and rising prices in every private industry in which it entangles itself. Yet somehow, people still seem willing, even eager, to relinquish to government control the most important and sensitive portions of our economy and society. Education, healthcare and energy are all unfortunate examples of industries that are, in my opinion, far too important to be left to government control when it is the market that has the golden touch.


  • Government should find more ways in increasing domestic energy production, tapping renewable resources so not to be dependent on oil as main source of energy.

  • Forest

    “Polluters should be directly liable in court to any and all parties they harm, rather than bureaucrats at the EPA.”

    Wow, so let the lawsuits begin right Ron Paul! Because the international wildlife that is harmed by, say, a catastrophic oil spill can ABSOLUTELY file lawsuits, right? When a state marsh is polluted, state beaches are polluted, no lawsuits are necessary?

    Oh wait, so you are saying it only those PRIVATE BUSINESSES that can demonstrate monetary harm that can file a lawsuit? Yes NIMBY RULES! Texas anti-fraud laws are the only laws we need!

    Man it’s awesome that life is so simple – just let anti-fraud laws and free markets DO EVERYTHING!

  • Mark Schmidt

    Mr. Paul.
    I hope you will run,for President,here in our great land,so many are finding that one word, Goverment has forgotton!! PURPOSE In everything we do or say,we should always have purpose! Purpose in Goverment is for us!! Not them! I believe very much you have purpose,and that is what to say to us,many do not know what to call it,some say I am so angry,some say,what can I do? Purpose is action to what one really believes!! thanks mr. Paul!! You are a purposful man!

  • Dan


    Good Point. The trade deficit does reduce our buying power and has an impact on what the consumers pay for goods.

    Again, I am for Free-Markets within our borders. I can’t stand the so called Free-Trade Agreements (which there is nothing free about them) that don’t make anyone money except the Owners of the companies exploiting cheap labor. I think we would be much better off if we produced more of the goods that we need here, instead of buying them from other countries. We did it in the past and we can do it again. Competition within our country can benefit the consumer.

    • Fred the Protectionist

      “I am for Free-Markets within our borders.”

      The Free Traders in their zeal risk breaking up the world’s largest true free trade zone in the world, the 50 states.

      • Berg

        So… Are you saying you grow everything you eat on your own land? You raise pigs, cattle, and chicken? You harvest your own crops, Fred?

        One of the biggest net exports in the U.S. is agriculture. We are the planet’s breadbasket. Why not share this with another country if we can get something less resourceful back on the homeland? Don’t worry, we’ll set enough back for ourselves (*whistles*).

        If you live in the U.S. and buy food here you are a free trader. Even you Fred/// as much as I hate to burst your “protection” bubble.

        • Fred the Protectionist

          Like I said, you risk up breaking up the world’s largest (and only) true free trade zone, the 50 states. Heck you free-traitors did once break up the world’s largest true free trade zone once upon a time, when you were Democrats in the Southern States. Why do you hate America? Why do you hate free trade?

          • Citizen

            If protectionism works so well on a global level, country to country, why not allow the states to create protectionist barriers at their borders.

            The states restrict certain products or vendors from competing within their states, they can be selective to appease special interest groups, like Unions and Government big Business Cartels.

            Wait..wait, that’s exactly how the insurance companies ARE RESTRICTED NOW!

            I battle government sponsored (corporate welfare) protectionism every day, special interest that costs the American tax payers dearly.
            Protectionism is always lop sided favoring a select few at the expense of the majority best interest.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            If protectionism works so well on a global level, country to country, why not allow the states to create protectionist barriers at their borders.”

            Like I said, you don’t understand protectionists, but I understand you free traders. You are simple minded to ask a question like that but I’ll…educate you if you insist.

            All protectionists are really free traders, of course it would be wonderful if there were no trade barriers whatsoever. We could all hold hangs and sing kumbaya.

            When 2 states truly merge their economies (like the 50 states did), by the commerce clause, then the wages of citizens of both states equalize with each other. Or if one state is run by a bunch of boobs, anyone can move to another better managed state.

            Why would you want wages to equalize between China and the US? You do realize China is run by an oligarchy and they will forever keep their citizens poor, which means any attempt to equalize wages with China would mean perpetual downward pressure on US wages.

            And all 1.3 billion Chinese citizens cannot move to the US because their ‘state’ is managed badly. And neither would a US citizen want to ‘move to’ China.

            All 50 states have merged economies, mandated by the Constitution, it’s impossible to merge one foreign nation with another without politically merging them under a higher than federal level of government. That’s why you need trade agreements *smiley face*.

            Did I keep it ‘simple’ enough for you?

    • Ron Paul didn’t support those two terrible so-called free trade agreements that have sent our jobs overseas. & look at China they are growing jobs at a faster rate than we are and they are fairing better with their economy.

      • Fred the Protectionist

        So your suggestion is we get rid of the Constitution, adopt an Oligarchy style of government, start speaking Chinese, drop all trade barriers to zero and allow every foreign government to close their markets to US goods?

        Sounds like a plan to me.

        • longshotlouie

          Freddie, are you still looking for a world government?
          Is the federal government up in our ass not enough for you?

          • Fred the Protectionist

            You empower the “world government” by pushing tens of millions of voters into the socialist party and destroying the Republican Party with your nonsense.

  • Dan

    I support a Free-Market within our own country. NAFTA, CAFTA, etc. are responsible for our high unemployment rate and lack of industry. Free markets work when everyone is on an even level. Unfortunately, businesses in the USA have to compete with companies in countries where they basically have indentured servants or pay people very miniscule amounts of money. Not to mention the working conditions in many of these countries. I support many Libertarian principles, but the Free-Market with the whole world does not help our country.

    If we produced more, more people would have jobs, and these people would have more money to invest in the economy. The price of goods may go up as a result, but eventually as more people are working and our economy improves, the prices would level out and we would be able to afford the higher prices.

    We should produce anything that we have the ability to produce within our own country. If there are products that we can’t make here, then we can buy them from other countries. It seems like a simple concept to me. People need goods and services. People need jobs. Let’s put them together!!

    • Fred the Protectionist

      “The price of goods may go up as a result”

      No it wouldn’t.

      If Widget A is produced by a slave labor at 10 cents, and Widget A is produced by free labor at 100 cents, then the slave producer would undercut the free labor and sell Widget A at 99.9 cents, not 10 cents.

      Eventually the free labor is squeezed out of the market and the price goes back to 100 cents. Unfortunately the trade deficit also devalues the dollar which means Widget A is now effectively 150 cents. Free labor and the consumers gets screwed, basically everyone except the rich bastard who owns the slaves pockets the profits. This is where the Republican Party originated from and the primary cause of the US Civil War. You free traitors want to go down this road again, bring it on, but you know you don’t have the numbers.

      • Berg

        Sounds to me like Protectionists either want slavery or another Vietnam.

        Good thing we are a free trader country. I wonder what would happen if the U.S. (consumer, not producer) govt went all-out Protectionist?

        The sh^t would hit the fan, and we’d have to learn Chinese. We go down the protectionist road, we would be limiting the potential of America. Any MAJOR steps toward a protectionist govt would certainly cause military action.

        Let’s get back to work, and start inventing stuff. I’ve got this really cool office-chair / commode idea I’ve wanted to run by you, Fred. =)

        • Fred the Protectionist

          Actually you free traders are the proponents of slavery. Or do you deny history? Do you deny reality? Do you deny your own Libertarian ideology “In defense of the Confederacy”?

          You wonder what would happen if the US government went all out protectionist? Ask the founding fathers. Ask the original Republicans who from 1865-1920 turned a 2nd rate country into producing half of the world’s manufacturing goods.

          Why do you love the Communist Chinese? Why do you hate America?

          • Ryan

            Fred, the question is why do you love the communist Chinese?

            Why are you here in America instead of with your comrades in a Chinese slave-labor camp, where you yearn to be?

          • Fred the Protectionist

            You free traders empower the Chinese and then accuse me of “loving” them.

            Matthew 15:7

            You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you

  • Forest

    So the government shouldn’t be involved with energy exploration, but when it comes to his district, he seems to want to stick his taxpayer-funded nose into everything?

    Ron Paul’s FY 2011 Taxpayer-Funded Pork:

    $19.5 Million: Texas Maritime Academy, Convert a Government Loaned ship into a “mission ready vessel” (Because we DEFINITELY need more military!)
    $12 Million: Community-Based Job Training Program, Spotted Blu Horse, Pay for high-school dropouts to learn technical skills (Socialism anyone? Your tax dollars at work – ok or not at work!)
    $1 Million: Gulf States Vibrio Vulnificus Consumer Education Program, Judy Jamison (WOW! One MILLION DOLLARS!?!?! Tell you what Ron Paul, give me one quarter of that and see what I can do! Give Me a cool HALF A MILLION and i’ll do even better!!!!)
    Recon Study of Brazoria County, Texas Coastline. Description (Literally!) given is: “Recon Study of Brazoria County Coastline”. Ummm, $100k to have the government… Find a coastline? Nope, NO PORK HERE!!!
    $1 Million: Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, Houston Economic Partnership. (Literally, to educate small businesses about the knowledge and technology of the U.S. Space Program. WTF?!?! NOW WE WANT THE GOVERNMENT ‘”TEACHING” private industry? Wait a minute? How in the hell does the government know something that Free Markets already do? ahhhh, Libertarian cognitive dissonance…)
    $1.5 Million: Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program, Texas State University. (So $1.5 Mil to train officers to deal with an “active shooter situation”? Shouldn’t that have been part of the initial training? Why is a government agency teaching another government agency again?)
    $3 Million: Energy Resiliency Program (wait, shouldn’t free markets be responsible for energry creation?)
    $350,000: Green Facility Initiative, Brazosport College (what? We want govt building fancy buildings for our higher education now?!?!?)
    $1.2 Million: Low-income working families Day Care Program, Growing Minds Learning Academy (So, the government shouldn’t be helping pay for Healthcare for children of poor families that didn’t pay taxes, butttt…. the Government SHOULD BE PAYING FOR DAY CARE FOR FAMILIES THAT DONT PAY TAXES?!?)
    $8 Million: Rollover Pass Recreational Fishing Piers, Texas GLO. So, now the government is just building piers? Eight million? When is that going to EVER be profitable – wait, maybe we can educate those people (on the Pier the government built for Eight million) about the Vibrio Vulnificus (which taxpayers also dropped a cool Million on)!!! Win/Win!!!!

  • Citizen

    Ron Paul is, once again, spot on when he points out that our Government is engaged in huge subsidy programs (Corn Ethanol) and Big Oil corporate welfare programs, (Alaskan pipe line), and favored trade programs and the list goes on.

    American is sitting on massive coal and oil resources but they’ve been Nationalized in the form of Federal Park Lands in Utah, Alaska, Nevada etc.
    We can’t touch those resources, so American’s must import from OPEC.

    In 1976 the Government created the Dept of Energy (J. Carter) to reduce American’s dependency, 35 years later, the DOE budget has grown 1600%, dependency has grown 400% and we have not built a single new refinery.

    With this kind of Government regulation and assistance, who needs enemies?

    • Ryan

      Yep! Ron hit the nail on the head.
      The government getting involved in major Industries (Energy, Healthcare, Education, etc.) always leads to reduced quality, higher prices, and fewer possible avenues of progress to work towards. Government regulation stymies research and development. It’s the inventive nature of Americans and the free market we had that made us an economic giant a century ago. Now those same kinds of inventive people are run through a funnel of regulations that makes progress nearly impossible.

  • Fred the Protectionist

    You guys seem to forget that whenever Democrats are in charge they turn every barren wasteland into a national park, and every time a job is lost to open-borders/free-trade the Democratic Party gains another vote. So it’s your fault too.

    And with people like McCain in the Republican Party who needs enemies?

    • Citizen

      The past two decades have been a Environmental victory, No New Exploration, regardless of how much of our Wealth we have to send to OPEC

      How would YOU “protect” us from this environmental catastrophe? Surely we need some Protectionism here?

      • Fred the Protectionist

        You do realize there are anarchists, commies, green-commies, fascists, libertarians, democrats, republicans and me posting on this sight. I have no idea what you just meant, or said.

        Got to be a little more expressive about your true intentions here, like me, there is no doubt whatsoever where I stand. (Unless i’m being a sarcastic protectionist, which I’m not. That’s a joke)

        • Citizen

          Yes I do know that you are a “SARCASTIC Protectionist” (emphasis added) but you give the same answer to every topic of discussion in this forum, that being that everyone is a Libertarian loon, especially Dr Paul.

          You are very quick to label and marginalize, but what is your solution to this discussion, Government control of Energy Exploration, pro-con?

          Most participants in this are not versed in the nuances of political labels, does it matter that much to you?

          • Fred the Protectionist

            What exactly are you getting at.

  • We are still dependent on foreign oil! Oil prices has gone up and so are gas prices. On the other hand if we have the government intervine with regulations then we will see more rises in energy prices, gas shortages, and no new jobs being created.

    • Ryan

      Exactly. The way I see it there are two options:
      1) we could let the government mandate energy changes, probably at the last second before total economic collapse of America (due to lobbyist demands, thinking only of their own profits) .. not an option in my opinion.
      2) we can let the free market move us toward energy independence without government interference (Which means all those brilliant and creative minds can get us where we need to be, and at the same time new jobs will flourish from whatever inventor/company comes up with the best solution.) … sounds like a workable plan to me!

      • Fred the Protectionist

        “) we can let the free market move us toward energy independence without government interference (Which means all those brilliant ….”

        Actually it’s the “free market” which makes US dependent on oil imports.

        If oil never dropped below say $70-$90 a barrel then people would start investing in coal to oil, oil shale, tar sands technology, and there is enough of that to last a thousand years. Notice how OPEC always sets a target for $60-$70 a barrel, they know what they are doing and that is to prevent competition, it’s what monopolies do, and libertarians love monopolies.

        Anyhoo, the only way to get synfuels a kick in the pants is a Tariff on oil to prevent a barrel of oil from going below say $70-$90, and you libertarian/neocons hate tariffs, so get it through your thick heads that the US will never be independent. Because of people like you.

        Frankly i’m more concerned about manufacturing trade deficit, not raw material trade deficits. Raw material trade deficits are acceptable and could be mitigated by a manufacturing trade surplus, balance Danielson.

        • Ryan

          *** ” …. coal to oil, oil shale, tar sands technology, and there is enough of that to last a thousand years. “****

          Coal to oil, oil shale, and tar sand tech is all more expensive to produce than many of the other alternatives. It’s true that America has an abundance of these resources, but they won’t be used until the cost is competitive with oil. And that won’t happen unless the inventors out there can work on it without government interference and stifling regulations.
          I’m all for the use of these resources if we can get the cost competitive with oil. The reason we are dependent on OPEC is because our own government is keeping us dependent by not allowing oil drilling in places where we have oil, and by over regulation, and over-involving itself where the free market would do a better job on its own.
          Free up the market, end government involvement, and soon thereafter coal to oil, shale oil, and other alternative fuels will become competitive on their own.. and not by the cost of oil going up to the current costs of the alternatives, but rather the alternatives costs coming down to the cost of oil.

          • Of course we love our beautiful and prestine beaches! However we should’ve been drilling offshore and we could’ve done in an environmentally safe way so those environmentalist won’t be yelling and screaming like a bunch of babies that they are!

          • Ryan

            Agreed. I love the environment too, but the Environmentalists these days take it to the extreme. We can gather resources and keep the environment clean at the same time.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            “And that won’t happen unless the inventors out there can work on it without government interference and stifling regulations.”

            There’s nothing to “invent”, Nazi Germany produced almost all it’s oil from coil in frigging WW2 which is already competitive with $70-$90 a barrel oil. Problem is, nobody will invest in it because oil regularly drops below $70-$90 a barrel oil.

            Actually the tarsands in Canada are competitive with about $50 a barrel oil.

          • Ryan

            Inventing ways to make it more affordable, Fred.

            The gasoline engine and it’s component parts have been around more than a hundred years now. And it continues to be reinvented constantly.
            The carburetor becomes fuel injection, which then becomes multi-point fuel injection, etc.

            Invention never stops. There is always more to invent.
            What needs to be invented is a cheaper way to produce the coal to oil, and shale oil, to compete with current oil costs.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            “Inventing ways to make it more affordable, Fred.”

            Oh how cute, the magic bullet solution.

            You know you are 1 baby step away from going Green-Commie: Throw money at government scientists and EUREKA, an invention will magically appear.

            Science is everything to a Libertarian since they hate God, science is the religion to all the God haters and scientists are their priests.

            “Invention never stops. There is always more to invent.
            What needs to be invented is a cheaper way to produce the coal to oil, and shale oil, to compete with current oil costs.”

            All you Free-Traders just shut up about “oil independence”, you are part of the problem and you will do absolutely nothing to resolve it, in fact the US is dependent on foreign oil because OF YOU. Just shut up! SHUT UP! You drive me absolutely up the wall.

          • Ryan

            You’re so cute when you’re stupid.

            The LAST thing I would ever do is throw money at government scientists, or government anything.
            Clue: Let the free market do it!
            If the government got out of their way they’d succeed rapidly.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            You Free-Traitors caused the US to be oil dependent, you Free-Traitors are against any solution to make the US oil independent, you Free-Traitors are the problem. So shut up.

    • Citizen

      PROPERTY RIGHTS… oil companies must be held accountable, but government regulations rarely achieve protection of property rights. Government regs just make discovery and extraction more costly but little else.

      Our problem is TOO MUCH government and shrinking property rights

    • Fred the Protectionist

      “Oil prices has gone up”

      Gee I wonder why. Could it possibly because aggregate demand for oil is up (China or other emerging economies on the backs of American jobs), or the falling dollar? Thanks free traders.

  • K

    Oil has peaked…we only have 35-50 years left worldwide. We are dependent on foreign oil now regardless…

    • Fred the Protectionist

      OIL is simply a collection of hydrocarbons, hydrogen and carbon, quite common elements on Earth. One could say OIL is “renewable energy”, lawl.

      • Van Wilder

        oil is renewable energy, although it takes milenneas to make… whats bad now is the stuff that is destined to be oil (peat, tar sands, etc.) is starting to get harvested so it wont be there in its more effecient form. I look at the cars on the highway everyday in amazement and just cant understand how we can possibly have as much oil as we do. Its not an infinite resource.

        • Fred the Protectionist

          “oil is renewable energy, although it takes milenneas to make”

          No it doesn’t, all you need is carbon and hydrogen, and abracadabra, you have oil.

  • Ray

    Government will create regulation in order to create a problem which will in turn cause the people to demand that government fix the problem, which will in turn allow government to create much more regulation.
    In short………..Get government out of the business of creating regulation.
    Allow a free market to exist in a country where it has not existed since the early 1900’s when America was the most prosperous nation on earth.

  • Van Wilder

    Free markets, unicorns, and dragons have an awful lot in common these days…

    • Citizen

      Van Wilder,
      Are you suggesting Rationing or Embargo? Either way WE the People get screwed.

      Absent a free market we have Price Controls which will guarantee scarcity and government rationing.

      Fortunately, Free Market forces will eventually resolve scarcity problems when geo-oil costs rise to a level that will finally support Bio-Fuels development.

      • Van wilder

        No i was merely suggesting they are all myths… Its too bad to free markets for free people sounds like an awesome idea