Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Natural Gas Producers Are Not "Our" Slaves

In the comments section of the article Natural gas port a potential disaster for Jersey Shore by Liz Roberts, a correspondent made a couple of comments that I replied to. Here are the comments by ru4knights, and my replies:


"We have given the oil companies too many corporate giveaways."


Exactly what "giveaways" do "we" give these companies? They are heavily taxed and hog-tied by regulations as it is. Is it that "we" allow them to produce and market their work product? Well, guess what. Liberty is not a "giveaway." It is an inalienable right. Unless their productive activities harm another person or property, no one has a right to interfere in their work. You only have a right to buy or not buy their product. 


"This is an American resource. Let keep it here to improve the lives of everyone in this country instead of just the corporations and their paid shills."


Apparently, the people who produce this life-promoting "resource" are not part of "everyone". "Everyone" is whoever is not competent to produce it. So, natural gas producers are slaves, and non-producers are the masters.

No, the issue is not "about American consumers and American jobs." That is a derivative issue. The fundamental issue is the rights of producers to voluntarily trade their work product with whom they can most advantageously benefit. If it is more profitable to export to foreign buyers, then it is natural gas producers' moral right to do so. Natural gas is not an "American resource". It is a raw material that belongs to whoever makes the investment and does the work of extracting it and turning it into a life-enhancing final product. 

America is not a primitive slave society where the tribe reigns supreme over individuals. America is an enlightened country—at least in principle—that respects the sovereignty, liberty, and dignity of all individuals. Producers of natural gas are not "our" property, and their work is not "ours" to dispose of, because there is no "we", apart from the individuals that live and work here. 

Of course, American consumers, business, and job creation benefits from free trade, as do consumers and job creation in other countries. But that is a consequence, not a primary concern. Without production and trade, there are no consumers. And without protection of liberty and property rights, there is no production and trade.

Finally, a correspondent challenged my comment about oil company "giveaways" by referring to an article History of U.S. Oil Subsidies Go Back Nearly a Century. But the article actually refers to tax structures—write-offs and deductions—that leave oil companies to keep more of what they earn. These tax structures are not subsidies at all. Aside from some ethanol subsidies, the industry receives no subsidies for oil and gas production. For an accurate portrayal of this issue, see my post "Clean" Energy Subsidies vs. Oil Industry "Subsidies".

Related Reading:

Duty vs. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

"Clean" Energy Subsidies vs. Oil Industry "Subsidies"

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