In the May 30th Forum I noted another great example of the Republicans leading us to greater state control of industry in the guise of maintaining free market economies. Sen. Cramer, R-N.D., and Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., deride “cancel culture” so quickly after Republicans cancelled the leadership position of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, for failing to show the demanded level of fealty to ex-president, twice impeached, oligarchically-inclined friend of Putin, Donald Trump.

If private businesses elect not to give loans to certain industries, the government will step in to force them. If Bank of America determines that they want to lend to those companies who will aid in achieving a zero-net greenhouse gas emission policy, they will be stopped by Cramer and Barr leveraging government. If utilities want to acquire carbon-neutral sourced energy for their rate-payers, government will step in. Is this not cancelling free markets?

There are a great number of Republican-led efforts to force utilities to buy coal and gas-based power over solar and wind or other non-emitting sources of energy. There are Republican-led efforts to choke the supply of renewable energy by squeezing transmission regulations to keep utilities from being able to access low and no-carbon power. Trashing the atmosphere for profit while leaving it to the kids to clean up is the new definition of responsible? Stuffing carbon dioxide in holes in the ground where it will need to be monitored for generations, less it escape, is another really great way to make a buck while passing the expense to the kids. In fact, so giddy are some with this profit prospect, that they want to import the CO2 from other parts of the country. We’ll make the money and let the kids pay for future monitoring – what a great business plan!

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While I don’t mean this letter to be so much about energy, I would add that North Dakota Republicans have chosen coal to receive millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars in an attempt to make it more competitive with non-depletive sources of energy. If there is a finite supply of anything in either market or government-directed demand, those who control the supply will make money. Nobody knows this better than North Dakota Coal Political Action Committee. Nobody corners the wind, solar or even hydrogen markets.

This new government control idea that Republicans seem attracted to has the celebrated Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida successfully promoting laws to prohibit private cruise companies from requiring vaccine passports be presented by those buying cruises. It seems in Republican free-market circles government needs to step in to preclude private companies from trying to protect their customers and staff from those who would rather be COVID carriers, spreaders and incubators of new variants that might eventually undermine our current vaccines.

The letter by Cramer and Barr suggests something more akin to communism than free-market economics. Liberty is becoming the right to endanger your neighbor and free-market is government demand by law.

Joe Richardson lives in Fargo.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.