Why CAN’T We Drill Our Way Out?
Vol: 81 Issue: 19 Thursday, June 19, 2008
Why CAN’T We Drill Our Way Out?
I continue to hear the mantra “We can’t drill our way out of our dependence on imported foreign oil” but I’ve yet to hear anyone explain why not.
It is one of those mind-numbing mantras that gets repeated over and over until it becomes popular conventional wisdom. And as everyone knows, the label, ‘conventional wisdom’ is almost always a euphemism for something which is neither conventional nor wise.
Arguing that America cannot drill its way out of oil dependency is both unconventional, given that what exists is an oil-based global economy, and unwise, given that there is, as yet, no viable alternative.
It is a bit like arguing that one cannot save enough to afford a comfortable retirement and instead promoting the idea of ‘investing’ one’s savings by buying lottery tickets.
After all, winning the lottery is an alternative way to finance one’s retirement. I am fairly sure I could live out my golden years comfortably as a Power Ball winner, but I have a hard time convincing myself that is a viable alternative.
There are alternative sources of energy besides petroleum fuels; ethanol, flex fuels, synthetic oil, solar power, electrical power, hydrogen fuel cells — the list is endless. Anything that generates heat is a potential source of fuel.
But the percentage of vehicles that can use alternative fuels is not much greater than the percentage of people who retire as lottery winners. Just because they won the lottery doesn’t mean its a good retirement plan for everyone else.
Honda recently announced it was planning to introduce its new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the US, starting in Southern California. So Honda plans to lease 200 of these cars this year to ‘selected’ Californians as an ‘alternative’ to fossil fuels.
The ‘selected’ Californians who will get these leases are all members of the liberal elite who share in common the mantra, “We can’t drill our way out of this mess.” And if Honda were leasing 200 million hydrogen fuel cell cars to Americans this year, instead of 200, the mantra would make sense.
If you owned one of these cars, you’d probably be repeating it to. But YOU can’t afford one — you’re stuck with your gas guzzler. And what are you going to do with it so you can buy a hydrogen fuel cell car? Sell it to somebody who LIKES paying ten bucks a gallon for gas?
I could claim high gas prices don’t bother me much, and I’d be telling the truth. I drive a 3 cylinder, 45hp diesel ‘Smart Car’ that gets 74 mpg in town. I filled up yesterday from empty for $19.90. Gas prices don’t bother me.
But that doesn’t mean I think that the rest of you should either buy a 900 lb mini-car or stop complaining about paying $90 to fill up your six-cylinder Taurus.
(Not everybody can get by with a car that carries two people and three small bags of groceries.)
My brother owns a small roofing company that employs about five guys. It costs him $130 to fill up his van, which he has to do about three times per week.
He has a number of hard choices before him. He can lay off one of his guys and hope he can get the job done short-handed.
He can raise his prices and hope that his customers aren’t looking for the lowest bid. Or he can go out of business, which is the option, he confided to me yesterday, that is the most viable in his circumstances.
The Democrats who champion the mantra that we can’t drill our way out of this mess say that is the plan. When enough people are hit by high gas prices the way my brother is, then the US will be ‘forced’ to find alternative energy sources.
In this view, my brother, (and the five newly unemployed roofers that used to work for him) are taking one for the team. I suppose we owe them a debt of gratitude. But my brother doesn’t see it like that. Neither does his crew. They’d rather have jobs.
Gratitude doesn’t pay their bills.
Yesterday’s seven-minute long speech by President Bush about the current energy crisis wasn’t your average domestic political pep-talk. It was the opening shots in what is sure to become a political bloodbath.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The political ramifications will be widespread and immediate. First, let’s look at the backstory, domestically.
For most of his term, the Democrats in Congress have found ways to blame George Bush for everything from the September 11 attacks to Hurricane Katrina. Along the way, they managed to convince the public that, thanks to Bush’s policies, the economy was going down the toilet.
The constant drumbeat of negativity failed to have much impact, despite the willing collaboration of the media, because, until a bit over a year ago, the economy was still growing at record levels. Unemployment was low, inflation was in check . . . then the so-called ‘mortgage crisis’ hit the housing market.
Then the price of oil started to skyrocket — the Dems thought they had a winning combination.
They blamed the Bush tax cuts, the Bush energy policy, the Bush War, Bush’s connections with Big Business, Bush’s Oil Cartel and Bush’s foreign policy for ‘destroying’ the economy and started began the White House ‘do something’ about high gas prices.
Meanwhile, the Democratic standard-bearer, Barack Obama promised, if elected, to tax the oil company’s windfall profits. Evidently, Obama believes that the oil companies will work harder if the government confiscates their profits.
(Some folks might argue that, “Go find more oil and if you do, we’ll take it from you” is not exactly an incentive.)
So the Dems are advancing on a platform of blaming the administration and punishing the oil companies as their alternative energy plan.
The majority of the Democratic opposition to allowing America to drill its own oil wells is partisan, rather than ideological.
Greens tend to vote Democrat because Democrats court the Greens. That is both a distinction and a difference.
The genuine, militant Greens — the Al Gore die-hard environmentalists from the old school have their own agenda. For them, the “we can’t drill our way out of this mess” isn’t a mindless mantra — it’s the bedrock truth.
To the ideological environmentalist, the only solution to problems of global warming, etc., is to reduce the surplus population.
We discussed the idea of human overpopulation as a planetary cancer that the pioneers of the environmentalist movement warned would have to be excised in the June 5 Omega Letter .
“One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population,we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it s just as bad not to say it. – Jacques Cousteau
“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels. – HRH Prince Philip (UK)
But the extremists are really not the problem. They are clearly nuts, despite their reputation or standing.
They have inspired legions of other nuts to take up their cause, but they don’t have the numbers to do more than be a nuisance. Most folks listen to them until the get to the part where we have to make ‘hard choices’ (ie, starve the Third World so there’s more for the rest of us) and then they tune them out.
It is the partisan opposition that is the greater danger, because, unlike the crazy but thoughtful Greens, the partisans are mindless opponents of anything that doesn’t advance their own political interests.
The New York Times editorialized Bush’s call to allow domestic energy exploration “The Big Pander To Big Oil.” These guys represent the partisan faction of the opposition. Anything Bush proposes, they oppose on those grounds alone.
“The whole scheme is based on a series of fictions that range from the egregious to the merely annoying. Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, noted the worst of these on Wednesday: That a country that consumes one-quarter of the world s oil supply but owns only 3 percent of its reserves can drill its way out of any problem whether it be high prices at the pump or dependence on oil exported by unstable countries in Persian Gulf. This fiction has been resisted by Barack Obama but foolishly embraced by John McCain, who seemed to be making some sense on energy questions until he jumped aboard the lift-the-ban bandwagon on Tuesday.”
The NYTime’s agenda is clear enough. It is a ‘fiction’ that America has sufficient oil reserves, a fiction advanced by Big Oil and ‘foolishly’ embraced by John McCain — but not by their Messiah, Barack Obama. Instead, he wants to tax Big Oil’s profits.
(Ok, so I don’t love Big Oil either. But I’m not an idiot. If you tax Big Oil, then they’ll pass on the tax to me. That neither increases the supply nor reduces the price.)
The partisans aren’t advancing a plan to reduce the surplus population. They are advancing their political aspirations — if it starves off a significant portion of the Third World, they can just blame that on the Republicans and nobody will be the wiser. In that sense, they are the more dangerous. (At least the Greens let you know they are nuts up-front.)
The Democrats have been winning elections by embracing the scare tactics of the environmentalists and by demonizing “Big Oil” for forty years.
During the OPEC Crisis, the US was 35% dependent on foreign oil. Gas prices quadrupled in a decade and Jimmy Carter told us all to put on sweaters.
In 1981, as the oil shortage eased, the Democrats immediately voted to cut off access to offshore drilling. Today, America is almost 70% dependent on foreign oil, mainly from unfriendly regimes.
To argue that they didn’t see this coming is like arguing they were startled by daylight at sunrise. They sold out the country’s best interests to advance their own best political interests.
Now that their policies are producing the results that have been predicted for decades, they are looking for ways to shift the blame to Big Oil and exonerate themselves.
Hence, the mindless mantra, “We can’t drill our way out of this mess.” They have no other alternative. To argue otherwise would raise the question of how we got in ‘this mess’ to begin with.
They’d rather wipe out small business, starve off the surplus population and hope the economy doesn’t collapse (until after November) than try to explain that in an election year.
You just can’t make this stuff up. You can step in it. But you can’t make it up.