All the News That's Fit to be Tied

I have an axe to grind, but unlike the New York Times, I freely admit it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hot Air About Gas

The U.S. Senate called in Oil Executives yesterday (May 21) to grill them on high oil prices, as well as embarrass and humiliate them as much as possible. The irony of course is that it should be the other way around. The oil executives should be grilling the Senators about why they choose to prevent oil exploration and production on 97% of available federal property? Why haven't they reined the regulation happy Departments of Environmental Protection and Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service? Why haven't they acted against states that pursue policies that are contrary to the national interest? How can you (the Senators) accuse oil companies that make between 5 and 10 cents a gallon of being profit hungry, while the U.S. government, through tax laws created by the House and Senate makes 60 cents a gallon? Senator Dick Durbin's bellicose attack on the oil industry, which he has tried to cripple his entire career, should have been directed at the Senate , the House and the President. It is our Congress that makes the laws that have driven up the price of gas. Their common loathing for oil, coal and nuclear power is not in the interest of the country or the people. If, as is sometimes charged, the oil companies run the country, why haven't they been able to explore, drill and exploit our own oil reserves? Fact is, they don't run the country or control the Congress. The President of Shell Oil made $12 to 15 million last year. Senator Durbin wanted to know if he felt bad because people were paying so much for gas. It made me wonder if Durbin wanted to call in Tiger Woods to find out if he felt bad that his $20-million dollar endorsement with Nike was driving up the price of Nike products. After all you could fill up twice for the price of pair of cheap Nike’s. Maybe he should call in the starting lineup of the New York Yankees or the LA Lakers. Maybe he should call in Dale Earnhardt, Jr or Jeff Gordon and find out if they feel bad about how much gas is used in car races around the country? The oil company executives all seemed to make $10-15 million a year. They run giant companies, provide jobs for millions of people, take tremendous risks and provide one of the most valuable commodities in the world. Tiger Woods plays golf. Dale and Jeff drive race cars. The Yankees play baseball and the Lakers play basketball. They all make more money than the oil executives called in by the Senate, and yet these athletes would all being doing something else if there was no oil. There would be no graphite for club shafts that help Woods hit a golf ball, which also wouldn’t exist without oil, 300 yards off the tee. There would be no fiberglass for race cars or plastic for batting helmets. There would no nylon for uniforms or Plexiglas for backboards. The list of things we would not have without oil is an index of living in what we often call the modern world. And contrary to what many people think our wealth does not make people in other countries poor. In many of the world’s poorest countries life is ruled from the end of a gun barrel. Those with biggest guns make the rules. Fortunately our Founding Fathers knew this and provided us with a set of laws to protect us against the tyranny of government and permit us to resolve our differences over a table instead of a gun barrel. The policy decisions made by our own government are what have driven up the price gas far more than any demand by China and India. The knowledge that Congress will continue to support policies that prevent exploration and drilling, will only encourage the oil-producing nations to tighten the noose. High prices in America subsidize the price of gas in these nations. In case you haven’t checked lately, gas prices are lower in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran, as well as in Venezuela. If the Congress fails to permit drilling it is turning its back on the American People and spitting on the very Constitution it is sworn to uphold.