With all due respect to my wife, the biggest problem with politics is not the amount of time I spend devoted to it. It is that when there are complex issues facing our great state and Republic, solutions cannot be reduced to a slogan. Unfortunately, slogans, gimmicks and sound bites are what sell well and can influence elections.
One example of this is the rising price of oil and the corresponding increase in gas prices. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. In a truly free market economy, prices are set by the forces of supply and demand. However, even with rising demand from emerging economies like
So if global supply and demand is generally in balance, why is the price of oil so high? It has to be speculators. That’s got to be it. There is a little bit of truth to this – speculators have artificially inflated the price of oil by reacting to global events and looking ahead to the prospects of a more limited supply. Yes, there is the Enron Loophole that has allowed the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to go along, unregulated and unsupervised with no transparency since the early 1990s. While Congress is now closing the Enron Loophole, it will really only apply to domestic traders.
But what about all this talk about offshore drilling and using domestic reserves in
The national security piece (relying on our own reserves versus importing) is also problematic. Currently, the
The answer to rising gas prices is not a simple one. We need a multifaceted approach. How else are going to address this when you consumer 25% of the worlds oil, but can only possess 3% of the world’s oil reserves?
First, we need to kill all tax breaks for the integrated petroleum companies. Tax incentives should be reserved to help protect fledgling industries that are in our national interests. To this end, we need to provide additional tax incentives for renewal energy sources and engineering to reduce our need for fossil fuels. The oil companies can not be rewarded for not investing in their own businesses. Second, we need to encourage conservation and privately-driven alternative fuel development at home. See the example of T. Boone Pickens who announced today that he will build a wind farm in
Unfortunately, our country has developed based on the availability of cheap oil, and there is no easy solution in sight. Find me a politician that will come up with a sensible plan, and we can talk.