Walter E. Williams

Because of costly regulations and political restrictions, U.S. nuclear energy production is a fraction of what it might be. Nuclear power creates 75 percent of France's electricity, nearly 50 percent of Sweden's and only 20 percent of ours. Nuclear energy is very safe. That's something to keep in mind when we hear of tragic deaths of coal miners. There would be fewer mining deaths if we used less coal and more nuclear power for electricity generation.

You say, "What about the effect on prices of all those oil company profits and CEO pay and retirement benefits?" If Congress mandated that CEOs work for zero pay, gasoline prices would fall by less than a penny. If Congress mandated that oil companies earn zero profit, gasoline prices might fall by 10 cents; of course, we'd have to worry about gasoline availability next year.

CEOs tend to be cowards when dealing with politicians and environmental extremists, but I have a recommendation that requires only a modicum of courage. At each gasoline station they should put up photos, perhaps videos, of penguins, caribou, polar bears and other critters frolicking along Alaska's coastal plain. Then have a voice-over or caption reading:

Don't be selfish. Your paying $3, $4 and $5 a gallon for gas keeps these critters happy and their play space clear of oil rigs.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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