The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board shares EQT Corp. CEO Toby Rice’s response to Elizabeth Warren’s idiotic assertions about energy prices. (DBx: If Sen. Warren really believes what she wrote in her letters to various energy-company CEOs, her ignorance is appalling. If she doesn’t really believe what she wrote, her unscrupulousness is frightening.)
The reasons for this price shock are as numerous as Twitter experts, but all our inputs have one thing in common: They are imported. Legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) would require 50% of the value of a product to be produced in the U.S. to be sold commercially in America. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and others have also jumped on the industrial-policy bandwagon.
Requiring U.S. production seems like a smart policy. Wouldn’t a secure domestic supply protect my business from shocks like these? Maybe not. There is more to the story.
Anhydrous ammonia, the main source of nitrogen for our farm, is a natural-gas product, and much anhydrous production in the U.S. occurs near the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Ida caused many of those plants to halt production, at least for a time. Foreign plants helped make up the shortfall. As bad as the situation has been, imports have kept it from getting worse.
Without admitting it, both sides are really at war against the First Amendment, which protects the editorial decisions made by private companies. To be sure, there is problematic content to be found on digital media platforms, and there are some legitimate complaints about overzealous takedown policies and lack of transparent standards. That does not mean there is an easy policy fix to those problems, however. But courts have held repeatedly that the First Amendment protects efforts by private media firms to devise their own approaches. Just last week, a Texas judge blocked a law that sought to limit social media platforms’ editorial freedoms. That followed a court in Florida enjoining a similar law this summer.
Critics like to paint large tech companies as nefarious overlords out to destroy civilization. In reality, the problems we see and hear on modern platforms reflect deeper problems in our society. If these companies are to be blamed for anything, it’s making human communication so frictionless that every person now has a soapbox to speak to the world. That’s both a blessing and a curse. With unbounded speech comes many wonders but also many problems.