Merrill Matthews

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in metropolitan Dallas. He holds a doctorate in Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas. Readers may write him at IPI, 1320 Greenway Drive, Irving, TX 75038

Most Recent Articles by Merrill Matthews:

Gasoline—not corn alcohol—belongs in our fuel tanks!

Mar 21, 2018 — Merrill Matthews

Gasoline—not corn alcohol—belongs in our fuel tanks!
DALLAS, Texas—President Trump frequently boasts of his success in rolling back costly and harmful regulations.  Let’s hope that effort includes the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The RFS is the latest phase in Congress’s decades-long support for the ethanol industry.  The problem is that support has outlived its usefulness.

When U.S. crude oil production began to decline in the mid-1970s and middle-eastern countries began restricting oil exports to punish the U.S. for its pro-Israel policies, Congress decided to act.

Last word on State of the Union: Trump hit a grand slam; Democrats looked glum!

Feb 10, 2018 — Merrill Matthews

Last word on State of the Union: Trump hit a grand slam; Democrats looked glum!
DALLAS, Texas — By virtually any traditional measure—as well as a few nontraditional measures—President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union (SOTU) address was a great success.  Let us count the ways.

The Polls: A CBS poll released shortly after the speech reported that 75 percent of those watching approved of it, and 80 percent said the President was trying to unite the country.  Importantly, two-thirds said the speech made them feel proud. 

In a Politico/Morning Consult poll, 35 percent of those watching gave the president an “A” for his speech and 25 percent gave him a “B.”  Only 26 percent gave him either a “D” or “F.”

Renewables aren’t up to the job; we need to tap the world’s vast fossil fuel resources!

Jan 26, 2018 — Merrill Matthews

Renewables aren’t up to the job; we need to tap the world’s vast fossil fuel resources!
DALLAS, Texas — Last March President Donald Trump issued an executive order “promoting energy independence and economic growth.”

While he specifically included “renewable sources,” he clearly intended to unleash the nation’s massive fossil fuel resources, which is the only conceivable way to achieve energy independence—at least for the foreseeable future.

Since the 1970s, when Middle East oil producing countries imposed an oil embargo to punish the U.S. for its support of Israel, U.S. policy has promoted energy independence.

Car buyers lose big when big government tells them what to buy

Nov 23, 2017 — Merrill Matthews

Car buyers lose big when big government tells them what to buy
DALLAS — For a century carmakers built the cars and trucks their customers wanted.  That’s changing. Increasingly they’re building cars and trucks the government wants their customers to have—and that means electric vehicles (EVs).

CNN reports that China, France, Great Britain, India, Norway and Germany are considering banning the future production and sale of gasoline and diesel-powered engines.

Raising taxes won’t stop climate change, but will slow economic growth

Apr 17, 2017 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS — Taxing carbon emissions has long been supported by environmentalists and the political left, but recently it has found support among some establishment Republicans.  And perhaps even President Donald Trump.

Taxing carbon raises the price of using energy.  Supporters hope the country would, therefore, emit less carbon, reducing our impact on climate change.  However, they are ignoring several problems.
There is no viable alternative to carbon-based fuels.  In economics the “elasticity of demand” is the idea that if the price of one product such as coffee goes up significantly, consumers will look for substitutes, perhaps tea.

A product is considered “elastic” when there are lots of substitutes and “inelastic” when there aren’t.

Dissing Star-Spangled Banner insults vast majority of fans

Oct 10, 2016 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—It was probably too good to last—that Americans of all economic classes, backgrounds and political persuasions could briefly escape these hyper-political times and watch a sporting event.

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, may have changed all of that. 

He’s not the first to infuse politics into sports.  At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, for example, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the 200-meter race gold and bronze winners, were expelled after holding up black-gloved fists at their award presentation during the playing of the national anthem.

U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow Feds to impose a national bathroom policy

Sep 2, 2016 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—In his speech to the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Kahn, the father of a fallen American Muslim soldier, held up a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution and rhetorically asked Donald Trump, “Have you even read the United States Constitution?” 

It’s a good question—for all Americans.  Because those who read it will find nothing giving the federal government the authority to manage national bathroom policy. 

In fact, as readers reach the end of the Bill of Rights they will discover the Tenth Amendment, which says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Alarmists want to spend billions to fight bogus floods; just say “no”

Mar 11, 2016 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—Many coastal city officials are considering spending millions—in some cases billions of taxpayer dollars preparing for an impending flood caused by rising sea levels.

Thirty-one governors don’t trust Obama’s ability to screen refugees: His record proves they’re right

Dec 3, 2015 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—President Obama is once again faced with a problem of his own creation: when you sow disgust you reap mistrust.

Assisted suicide laws lower the overall quality of American medicine

Oct 15, 2015 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—California has joined only four other states allowing physicians to write lethal prescriptions that dying patients can administer to themselves. Oregon was the first, blazing that trail in 1997.  But with only five state “victories” in nearly 20 years, you can’t really call physician-assisted suicide legislation a trend.

Unrealistic rule will force US motorists into cramped, unsafe and high-priced cars

May 14, 2015 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—Did you notice how President Obama misinformed, and even misled, the country about certain aspects of his health care law—which imposed significant burdens on millions of Americans? 

Well, ditto for his mandate requiring cars, light trucks and SUVs to meet a 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) standard by 2025.

Attempts to stifle debate by far-left House members are reminiscent of McCarthy era

Apr 17, 2015 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—Who’s the best person to lead a “witch-hunt”?  A witch, of course. 

Keep that in mind when you hear progressive members of Congress claiming they are investigating whether research grants have influenced the views of several well-respected environmental scientists.  Because in the public’s mind the people most likely to sell their opinions to the highest bidder aren’t scientists but … politicians.

Words mean what they say, especially in legal documents like acts of Congress

Feb 12, 2015 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the second biggest legal challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, on March 4.  A decision for the plaintiffs in King vs. Burwell won’t kill the law, but it could make it largely unworkable in 37 states.

EPA’s unrealistic rule won’t reduce carbon, but will raise car prices dramatically

Nov 28, 2014 — Merrill Matthews

DALLAS, Texas—The Obama Administration is mandating that each automaker’s line-up of cars, light trucks and SUVs have an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon (MPG) by 2025. 

Like so many of the administration’s reforms, this one is imposed by executive fiat rather than approved by Congress—and the incoming Republican Congress should try to roll it back.