Posts Tagged ‘new stand’

Obama’s “New Stand” On Energy Just Dumb In A Different Way

August 6, 2008

Yesterday’s New York Times ran an article on Obama’s new energy plan, titled “Obama, in New Stand, Proposes Use of Oil Reserve” by Larry Rohter.

As the New York Times puts it, Barack Obama now has a “new stand” on energy. Maybe it’s a new stand, but it’s the same old flip flopping from a serial panderer who has long-since proven he will say anything to get elected.

And his energy plan is still dumb, just dumb in a slightly different way.

According to the article, Obama “outlined an energy plan that contrasts with Senator John McCain’s greater emphasis on expanded offshore drilling and coal and nuclear technology.” That’s his first mistake. It’s bad enough to take oil – by far and away our dominant energy source – off the table. But to then take coal and nuclear energy off the table as well is to remove the only alternatives to oil that could even theoretically take up the slack. It amounts to sacrificing common sense to political gamesmanship.

Most of the reasons liberals and environmentalists have given over the years in decrying nuclear energy have turned out to be patently false. The French have been safely, effectively, and efficiently using nuclear power for decades. Rather than the half life of their fuel being millions of years, we are learning that it is actually only about sixty years. Big diff.

What Obama is doing is frankly abandoning what would best work in favor of what is most politically expedient.

John McCain is promising to increase our energy supply. Obama is promising to conserve. The problem is, you don’t grow an economy by conserving energy. We need more energy in order to continue growing our economy, and Obama refuses to allow its production.

The second thing Obama says – in contradiction from his earlier positions – was to open up the reserves and swap heavy crude for light crude. The problem with that is that heavy crude is difficult to refine, and requires special refineries. Elgie Holstein, an Obama energy advisor, said that while fewer refineries now are capable of refining the heavier stuff into gasoline, that won’t be the case in the future.

But it certainly WILL be the case in the future, unless Barack Obama and the Democrats are swept from power in an overwhelming Republican victory. It has been Democrats who are overwhelmingly to blame for the fact that we haven’t built any refineries for over thirty years. And it has been Democrats’ liberal supporters among the ranks of environmentalists and lawyers who continue to thwart effort after effort to build this vital energy infrastructure.

There’s something even larger at issue regarding Obama’s reversal to open up the strategic reserves, however. Opening up the reserves would lower the price of fuel by temporarily injecting more oil into the market. The very fact that Obama is calling for this step is an implicit acknowledgment that we need more oil. His policy thus comes into direct contradiction with his rhetoric. If we do what he says and open the reserves, what will we do when the price goes back up? Where will we get the oil we need then? Thus we find that Obama – in calling for the reserves to be opened – is really only calling for a temporary solution that he hope will take oil prices off the table long enough to get himself elected. This “solution” is therefore really just incredibly cyncial politics of the very worst kind.

Tapping our Strategic Petroleum Reserves won’t increase the total supply of oil. Only drilling will.

This leads to another example of Obama’s hypocrisy and stupidity on energy.

“Obama said his goal was to have 10 percent of the country’s energy needs met by renewable resources by the end of his first term, more than double the current figure.” But again, can’t you see that he is implicitly affirming that the energy sources he is actively opposing would still amount to supplying 90% of our energy needs even given his own best case scenario?

An intelligent man would worry more about securing the more than 95% of our energy we currently use and less about the 5% he intends to double to 10%. His previous policy against ANY increased drilling amounted to a suicide pact with environmentalist groups. And regardless of what he says now – in direct contradiction to his past position – is simply not to be trusted. Barack Obama has already assured us that he is a candidate who doesn’t want more oil, coal, and nuclear power. He wants less of them. But those are the very things that give us 95% of our energy!!!

We have had solar and wind tecnhology since the early 1980s. It’s not that we don’t have the technology; it’s that these technologies – and others as well – are nowhere near cost effective, efficient, or versatile enough to meet our needs. And other alternative sources are still more theoretical than practical. Are you willing to gamble your future and your children’s future on unproven theories?

T. Boone Pickens has been calling for increased wind power in his massive advertising campaign. He is also calling to drill up the whazoo and to produce more oil, more coal, and more natural gas energy even as we develop the alternative source of wind technology.

The remaining thing that Obama wants is a bunch of handouts. He wants $150 billion to go to his voters as a big government transfer payment, and he wants to have the government subsidize hybrid automobiles to the tune of $7,000 each. He also wants to add on a massive “windfall profits” tax against oil companies.

What we want is better sources of energy; what we don’t want is worse sources of energy. When government takes the decision out of the hands of the market and subsidizes something, the political intrusion very often encourages bad ideas and discourages good ones. Politicians understand special interests, political action committees, and cleverly disguised quid pro quo donations well enough; but they don’t understand the fundamentals of science, engineering, or economics. A classic example of this is corn-based ethanol. Politicians were essentially induced by campaign donations from special interests to subsidize ethanol in order to bring the price down to a level where it could compete, thereby preventing other technologies from entering the market. And now we know that using our food source as an energy source was a very bad idea.

Children are literally starving to death in some parts of the world, thanks to the Democrat-inspired effort to turn our food into fuel to avoid using oil. And it is also causing food shortages, higher costs, and hunger in the U.S. It was a terrible and immoral idea; and it was your Democrats at work.

Barack Obama wants the government to make the same fundamental mistake again and again. He is a socialist at heart, and he simply can’t trust the wisdom of the free market.

But that isn’t the end of Obama’s error of subsidizing one thing and taxing another.

When you tax something, you make it more expensive and you make it more scarce. Taxing oil companies – which already are the most heavily taxed corporate entities – amounts to penalizing them for producing the very thing we need more of. We tried windfall profits taxes during the Carter years and it was a fiasco for the same reasons it would be a fiasco today. What we need is cheaper and more abundant energy; what Obama wants to bring us is scarcer and more expensive energy.

To then offset a terribly flawed policy by underwriting it with government funding is a fool’s solution.

Obama recently said, “Breaking our oil addiction is one of the greatest challenges our generation will ever face,” the Illinois Democrat told a supportive audience as he began a week’s focus on energy issues. “It will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy.”

Obama is just as wrong to call Americans’ need for oil an “addiction” as he would be to call our need for water, food, or clothing an addiction. The American way of life has been based on readily available oil. Obama’s slogan betrays an anti-American agenda that would dramatically alter and impoverish our way of life if implemented. He is also wrong in his lack of understanding as to what such a “complete transformation of our economy” would cost, and he is wrong for not informing the American people of the REAL costs of his policies.

On a whole host of issues that will face the next president and chief executive, we need a grown-up who can provide mature solutions. Barack obama – a pandering flip flopper who offers one bad idea after another – simply isn’t that guy.