I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Democrats Stick Their Heads In The Sand On Energy

In the run up to the 2006 mid term elections, the Democratic leadership announced that they had sweeping plans that would ease the burden of high fuel costs. The average price of a gallon of gas at the time was more than a dollar less than what it is now. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her leadership in the House have yet to introduce one piece of legislation to help bring the price at the pump down to a less painful level. They have done a lot of posturing in front of the cameras as they hold hearings with oil company executives. They have accused the CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Valero, BPAmerica, and others of purposely manipulating the price of gas to reap the huge profits that they have made over the past few years. Lost in all the pontificating from Congress is the fact that although these companies are huge in the Unites States, the massive nationalized companies of the rest of the world dwarf them.

This week, President Bush called on Congress to open up 2000 acres in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, better known as ANWR, the outer continental shelf, and allow the exploration and retrieval of oil shale. The estimates of oil reserves in ANWR and the outer continental shelf are about 28 billion barrels of oil. That is more than double the current 21 billion barrels that we have currently. Oil shale is a type of sedimentary rock that through refining processes can produce oil. There are over 800 billion barrels of oil shale in the United States. By comparison, that is more than 4 times all of the oil in Saudi Arabia. The process of extracting the oil from the oil shale is expensive and until the price of oil rose above roughly $80 a barrel it was not economically feasible for the oil companies to go after it. Now is the time for that oil to be retrieved. If the Democrats on Capitol Hill truly are concerned about the high cost of a gallon of gas, they will seriously consider taking action on the President’s proposals. Sadly, the Democratic Party, the “party of change”, are stuck living with a 1970’s mindset on energy.

The Democrats response was the same response that we have heard for the past several years. “It will take 10 years for us to see any oil from ANWR or the outer continental shelf.” That response is pure political posturing, especially when you realize that 13 years ago President Clinton vetoed legislation that would have allowed drilling in ANWR. It has been a few years since I sat in any type of Math class, but I do believe 13 years is more than 10 years. Besides, aren’t the same people making the argument that we need to do something now on “global warming”? Shouldn’t we then do something now for our future energy needs? They also claim that the “small” amounts of oil that drilling in ANWR and off the coast would produce would have little effect on the price of oil. I find it amazing that these same politicians were calling on the President to convince Saudi Arabia to produce more oil. They then cheered when the Saudis announced to produce 500,000 more barrels a day, when just the first 2 proposals would produce around 1 million barrels a day.

I must admit that the Democrats have proposed a few plans on energy that I believe would have the effect of raising the price of oil instead of lowering it. They have proposed a “Windfall Profits Tax” on the oil companies as a way to punish them for making a profit. The end result would be to raise the price at the pump. The oil companies are in business to make a profit. They will either pass the cost of the tax on to the consumers or move more of their business overseas to escape the tax. Either way, we pay more. They have also suggested that the government take over control of the oil companies. Representative Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat, called for the government to take over the oil refineries on Wednesday. California’s Maxine Waters admitted that she would like to see the government take over the oil industry to better regulate the price of gas. The Democrats are in good company. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and virtually every other Middle Eastern country have a government controlled oil industry. If government control is the answer to every problem in our lives than why do we have a social security mess? How well did the Katrina aftermath go with a government run agency? How many government programs are actually run efficiently? Why should we expect the government to be able to run an industry that they know absolutely nothing about? This is just one more piece of evidence of where the Democratic leadership wants to take our country. To Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama socialism is the goal and capitalism and the free market is the enemy.

A few years back, former Vice President Al Gore admitted to wishing for $5 a gallon gas to cause all of us to drive less. This is not surprising from Gore who has been on his crusade against “global warming” and our economy for many years. The presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, recently said that $4 a gallon gas is not an issue. It is just that the price has risen so rapidly that has caused Americans to grumble. Could it be that Obama and Gore are just out of touch with reality? They don’t mind high gas prices and actually welcome them, just not the quick jump in prices. Of course when you are a millionaire it does not really affect you the same as those of us in the lower or middle class. Obama is proposing more than $1 trillion in new spending if he is elected, and promises no new exploration or drilling for oil. His campaign is one based on “hope and change”. The only hope we have is that he is not elected to bring about the change back to the days of malaise from the late 1970’s.

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