Energy: Coupons in the Hole

The Nixon Administration abhors the very idea of gasoline rationing, considers rationing unnecessary, and lacks the statutory authority to order it even if it wanted to. Nonetheless, Federal Energy Boss William Simon last week began gearing up the machinery to impose rationing, just in case. He ordered the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing to start printing a three-month supply of ration coupons, and announced a comprehensive—and imaginative—stand-by plan for their use. Key feature: a kind of Government-sanctioned black market or, in the words of policy planners, a "white market."

The seemingly paradoxical...

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