Tuesday, June 24, 2008
According to Barack Obama, John McCain's proposal to permit drilling for oil and gas offshore is a "gimmick." Well, it is testable proposition, insofar as profit-maximizing companies either will, or will not, actually invest money in the endeavor if permitted to do so by Congress, and thereafter will or will not recover oil and gas. If Congress allows drilling and nobody elects to drill, then Barack Obama will have been right and no harm will have been done.
In any case, if ever we need proof that Obama is not the least bit concerned that anybody is actually listening to the words he speaks, it is this: Right after denouncing offshore drilling as a "gimmick" he declared the need to create "green jobs".
Certifiable BS artist. Just think of all the "green jobs" Obama supporter Ted Kennedy has stopped by blocking the Cape Wind project.
The electricity for my place comes from wind energy. Wind energy in Texas has increased by a factor of 4-5 since 1999, and is still increasing about 30% per year. Coincidentally, most of the wind projects in Texas are also in the big oil producing areas.
We also need to drill for oil and gas. Only an ignoramus would consider drilling for oil a "gimmick."
Gee, a "gimmick" is when a certain backbenching, not-ready-for-primetime, teleprompter-hugging, what-me-worry Senator pledges to accept public financing...and then justifies his subsequent backflip from it on the grounds that he's "creating a parallel public financing system."
That's a gimmick.
Obama just insulted tens of thousands of hard working oil field and off shore workers.
Their blood sweat and tears shed to bring us adequate supplies of portable energy are not the stuff "gimmicks" are made off. Except in Obamanation.
Just to show how far we've come, or how much we've changed, I recall when Adlai Stevenson was running for President a supporter gushed "Every thinking American will vote for you!". Stevenson replied, "That's nice; but, I need a majority."
We are in a heap of trouble. Based on the economic IQ of the average American, it entirely conceivable that the electorate will buy Obama's BS.
I may have missed something in Mr. Obama’s speech but it looks like his solution to high petrol prices is to print more money and hand it out. The last handout by the federal government has resulted in higher inflation (with the help of low prime interest rates), a higher price for oil and a drop in the value of the US dollar world wide. The discussion of a proposal for “Green Jobs” and “Green Energy” is short hand for more government subsidies to alternative energy systems that are not capable of helping with the energy problems of America.
The proposal to drill in the USA can result in more jobs for Americans, more revenue for the state and federal governments and a reduction in the foreign balance of payments. If there is a downside to any of these (except the more tax money for the government) I really do not see it.
I recently read an editorial from a UK paper that described an early event during the Democratic primary where the writer described Mr. Obama as a world class orator. Listening to Mr. Obama make a speech is like listening to elevator music; it sounds good, it is soothing but you cannot remember a word you heard when you walk out.
The fundamental problem with this statement by Mr. Obama is that it only resonates with the people who already are planning to vote for him. It does very little to broaden his base or encourage the undecided.
In any election (especially for a real high stakes election such as the Presidency), the candidate must
1) Energize his base
2) Attract the uncommitted
3) De-energize his opponents base
So this statement does (1).
It does not do (2) or (3). Judging from the comments here, it appears to be something that energizes his opponents base. This guy is not as smart as people make him out to be.
Even if drilling is allowed, Obama might win that bet. Why? Because if you're an oil exploration company executive about to bet tens of millions of dollars of your company's money on new oil leases, you might be concerned that the newly permissive drilling regime will be repudiated the moment oil prices start easing and the politicians can count on the public to forget their promises. Alternatively, you might conclude that even if the drilling regime were permanent, it's irrelevant because the legal regime hasn't changes. Environmental activists will keep the drilling in legal hell forever.
Nearly everyone conflates energy independence, by encouraging the widespread utilization of alternative forms of energy or alternative fuels, and reducing costs of energy to the economy.
They are different problems entirely.
The former is a long term problem, requiring lots of investment, innovation and economic restructuring. Right now, it really isn't feasible to see alternative fuels and/or sources of energy dramatically changing the fuel mix America uses. Marginal changes, yes, from things like solar, wind or bio-fuels might make small changes in the overall fuel supply the country relies on, if those energy sources become widely used in the country. Nuclear might make an impact on large scale commercial electricity production, after thirty or forty years of debate.
The latter issue, reducing energy costs, can only come from increasing the supply of our existing fuels. Even reducing demand will ultimately not impact fuel costs, unless the demand curtailment comes from a recession. Merely raising gas prices to some very high level will not ultimately impact the demand for fuels, if the economy still grows. It's nearly tautological.
It might be possible to change the price of oil by manipulating the market into a short squeeze, but that probably is a short term solution, if it can even be done. Only increasing supply can impact the price equation over the long haul. Far from being a "gimmick", increasing the supply of oil is the single effective solution to the problem. Oddly, causing speculators to run for the exits on forward oil (and thereby reducing costs to the consumer right now) may only be possible if the Congress makes a successful effort to dramatically open new areas to drilling and allows more coal mining. Reducing energy costs in the present moment is a relatively simple issue, and if we had a smarter GOP candidate he would force the debate to the steps of the capital where it belongs.
As I've said before, part of the rise in price is related to the uncertainty in the Middle East. Get access to reserves equally large (or larger) that isn't in the Middle East, and a big factor in the rise of oil prices (in addition to increased global demand, primarily in China & India) is eliminated...