T. Boone PickensT. Boone Pickens is oil rich, to the tune of $3 billion in personal wealth. To make that kind of dough, you have to be smart. And smart he is. Pickens is no longer interested in oil, you see; he says the future is wind power. He’s so concerned about the energy crisis, he says, that he’s devised the Pickens Plan to sort it all out, spending piles of his own money to benefit America. He’s ‘giving back’. But a smart businessman is a smart businessman, even at 80 years old. You see:

According to an article in Popular Mechanics, if the plan is accepted, Pickens stands to reap a significant profit by building pipelines to pump billions of gallons of water from an aquifer under the Texas Panhandle, which he has bought the water rights to. The pipeline would follow the same 250-mile corridor that the wind farm would be on, which would be seized from private owners through eminent domain and granted to him.

Brilliant, isn’t it? Offer your solution to the energy crisis, offer to kick start the whole thing by buying up a ton of wind turbines, and – like a magician – ensure in the process of all this glamourous greenism that nobody notices the real business you want to build: selling your water to the metropolis of Dallas, Texas; all made possible because you got the government to like you so much they’d actually give you the land you need to do it!

It’s difficult, as a businessman, to get the government to like you. And it’s much easier to do the business you want to do if you can get the government on your side. Enter one T. Boone Pickens, an 80 year old, died-in-the-wool entrepreneur who will go to his grave smiling and awash with cash, gained through his own ingenuity and wherewithal. Contrary to what most on the Left will say, the fact that he has been such a strong producer, contributor, enterpriser, creator of weath, is admirable and utterly worthy of all acclaim; we need many more like him.

But no-one should think that the Pickens Plan is the way to solve the energy crisis. (To the contrary, the free market will ‘solve’ the energy crisis, as has already begun to happen with the recent rapid drop in the price of oil.) Yes, Pickens is shrewd: as Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute, opines:

[If wind power were a sensible economic investment, then it would not require] the lavish federal and state subsidies already in place or the additional largesse sought after by Mr. Pickens. [If energy production would be left to the free market, then] Mr. Pickens would be out a lot of money, which is probably why Mr. Pickens wants to hard-wire the market to consume the things he’s investing in and have the government lavish him with subsidies in the course of doing so. I wish Mr. Pickens well in the course of his wind energy business, but I see no reason why taxpayers, ratepayers, or consumers ought to be forced to sacrifice in order to fatten his already ample bank account.