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Helium Reserve follies

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"In 1925, the federal government decided to create a giant helium reserve, in case we needed it to fuel dirigible warfare." And it's still going 88 years later, and Congress voted to reauthorize it—because the existing program sold helium so cheaply that it still provides 42% of the national market, and that supply can't disappear without problems. [Washington Post]

This, of course, is nonsense: just auction off the federal helium supply to private industry. Or, instead of selling helium at below-market prices, sell it at above-market prices, encouraging private supply to come on line. (Heaven forfend a government interference in the market at least be run closer to profit maximization.) Astonishing that not a single Congressman or bureaucrat has proposed the obvious solution.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

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