Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
You rightly criticize members of Congress who aim to keep energy prices in America artificially low by restricting U.S. exports of natural gas (“The benefits of a free-trade deal with Japan,” March 16). As Benjamin Franklin wrote in July 1778 to James Lovell, “To lay duties on a commodity exported, which our neighbors want, is a knavish attempt to get something for nothing. The statesman who first invented it had the genius of a pickpocket, and would have been a pickpocket if fortune had suitably placed him. The nations who have practiced it have suffered fourfold, as pickpockets ought to suffer.”*
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
*See footnote six here.