Drill Nowhere, Drill Never
May 10, 2011 by Robert Ringer
Since the Obamaviks descended upon the nation’s capital in January of 2009, the government has dramatically improved its ability to carry out its two main functions — redistributing wealth and creating crises. However, lest you give them too much credit for their remarkable success in these areas, remember that much of that success was made possible by past actions on the part of progressive Republicans, philosophically confused Republicans and RINOs.
The redistribution-of-wealth issue is almost at the point of no return, even though a number of principled Republicans are actually threatening to make a serious attempt to stop it by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The odds against their succeeding, however, are about as long as the odds against Osama bin Laden’s showing up in Times Square tomorrow.
Just ask their leader, Boohoo Boehner, who keeps going out of his way to let the enemy know the Republicans have no intention of cutting up the Democrats’ Capital One card. We will soon get the answer to the debt-ceiling increase, so let’s set aside that Obamanation for now and turn to government function No. 2, crisis creation.
The crown jewel of the Obamaviks’ crisis-creation strategy is the skyrocketing price of gasoline, resulting almost exclusively from the government’s heavy-handed, unConstitutional regulation of the petroleum industry.
A recent example was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling to withhold air permits from Shell Oil, which, in essence, forced the company to drop its long-planned exploration project in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The result is that Shell wasted five years and roughly $4 billion in preparation for the project. The EPA’s excuse for their latest “drill nowhere, drill never” ruling is that Shell’s exploration would have been too close (70 miles) to a 1-square-mile village named Kaktovik, Alaska, a booming metropolis of 245 residents.
Needless to say, far-left groups like Earthjustice, Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League were wetting their pants with joy at their latest victory over evil oil companies who are trying to improve the lives of Americans. No big deal — just another 27 billion barrels of oil that have been left to sit underground indefinitely. When the news reached Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, they must have started celebrating and passing out cookies in the streets.
Notwithstanding this latest attack on fossil fuels, many in the media arm of the White House (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, etc.) are concerned that if gas prices continue to rise, it will hurt Obama’s chances for reelection. But their concern may be unwarranted, because one of Obama’s greatest talents is his ability to deflect attention from his own economy-killing actions and attack the good guys in Alinsky-like fashion.
So how can the anti-progress progressives have their no-gas cake and eat it, too? The fact is that when it comes to high gas prices, finger-pointing is a piece of cake — greedy speculators and greedy oil companies… case closed. It is, of course, pure nonsense, but the Homer Simpson crowd doesn’t have a clue.
Notwithstanding Bill O’Reilly’s constant drumbeat about evil oil speculators, most experts agree they have very little bearing on the price of gasoline. Remember, a smart speculator can make just as much money when gas prices go down as when they rise.
As to greedy oil companies making billions of dollars in profits, almost everyone who watches or reads the news knows the profit margins in the oil industry are relatively small compared to, say, technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
All other things being equal, the chief cause of rising oil prices is the continuing decline of the dollar. That ties the artificial oil crisis to the equally artificial debt-ceiling crisis, because when you raise the debt ceiling — as Congress has been doing nonstop for decades — it makes it possible for the government to spend more, in turn causing the dollar to decline.
It’s somewhat tragedy and comedy that redistribution of wealth is perhaps the chief reason for skyrocketing gas prices. I say tragedy and comedy because those who benefit most from the government’s redistribution-of-wealth policies have to give an increasingly larger percentage of their largesse back in the form of government-created higher fuel costs.
If I were king (the only government position I would ever accept), I could solve the artificial energy crisis overnight. My plan would be simple:
- Close down the Department of Energy and the EPA, and get the government completely out of the energy business.
- Make oil and gas drilling legal everywhere — in the Gulf, off both coasts, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, even in your back yard — no restrictions and no exceptions.
- Remove all restrictions on coal mining and shale-oil extraction, except for reasonable safety standards.
- Forget arguing about tax breaks and tax credits, and just cut taxes to zero on all oil, natural gas and coal-producing companies.
- Remove all taxes on gas at the pump for consumers.
I would announce all of the above (and many more pro-growth ideas that I could come up with by then) the day of my coronation, and I guarantee you that energy prices would quickly fall through the floor.
This would result in hundreds of billions of dollars in increased profits for gas, oil and coal companies, which in turn would result in:
- The creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs (and millions more indirectly), which, unfortunately, would actually increase tax revenues for those greedy guys who roam the halls of Congress.
- Energy companies increasing, rather than decreasing, exploration and production, which would put the U.S. on a fast-track to becoming energy independent.
- Energy companies paying higher dividends to their shareholders, most of whom are pension funds and mutual funds that represent middle-class Americans. Increased dividends would mean more money for shareholders to spend, which would be good for the economy.
The United States has at least 100 years of natural gas reserves and 200 years of coal reserves. And if I became king, I would wager that should all restrictions be lifted, we would discover we have much greater oil reserves than we now believe. The amazing truth: We are the world’s most energy-rich nation!
Congressman Dan Boren of Oklahoma — a Democrat! — summed it up succinctly when he said recently: “President Obama is completely uninformed about the oil and gas industry. … If the President doesn’t want to stand up and be a leader, then his silence would be appreciated from people who are trying to find solutions.”
Fat chance. The odds of silencing the Master of the Monologue, who is steadfastly focused on collapsing the U.S. economy, are right up there with the odds of Osama bin Laden’s showing up in Times Square.