June 17, 2010
Obama and Oil: Greasing America's Decline
President Obama has consistently pursued environmental policies designed to forward his socialist agenda at the expense of American economic power. Very few, if any, of Obama's environmental policies have anything to do with the environment, but instead, they all serve as a cover for economic sabotage.
As an example, the original cap-and-trade legislation favored by President Obama would have reduced U.S. GDP by $9 trillion and lowered emissions past a point where no industrial nation could endure. This is consistent with President Obama's pledge to bankrupt the coal industry, despite the fact that coal accounts for 50 percent of U.S. energy consumption. When combined with the no-sale Copenhagen Treaty, which sought to achieve global wealth redistribution under the banner of "climate debt," the Obama agenda appears to be about more than a clean environment.
But where climate change hysteria failed, President Obama will use the BP oil spill, an irregularity in a decade with a track record of declining spills, to attack American wealth and prosperity. As with cap-and-trade, the prevention of future drilling will force Americans to make unnatural choices, e.g. between driving and food, and cause a spike in unemployment. This is not hyperbole. In the 2008 gas crisis, Americans were forced to curb driving in order to save money. And current information indicates that President Obama's proposed ban on drilling of all kinds will cost as many as 20,000 badly needed jobs in Louisiana alone.
At issue is a simple matter of supply and demand.
Oil has been crippled by regulations that shrink available supply and drive up gas prices, which affects every area of the economy. Oil companies are barred from much of the Outer Continental Shelf, and known sources of oil are kept out of reach, e.g. ANWR, via government environmental regulations protecting organisms that have thrived in areas where oil is currently drilled. Government is at the heart of America's energy woes.
The same trend is apparent in America's dwindling refinery capacity. From 1981-2008, the number of refineries shrank steadily from a peak of 324 to an unacceptable low of 150. This dramatic decline mirrored a huge increase in demand for gasoline. In 1981, U.S. refineries could process over 18 million barrels per day at a time when Americans consumed an average of 16 million barrels per day. By 2008, this number had dropped to 17 million barrels per day, despite the fact that Americans then consumed over 20 million barrels per day. This gap in capacity forced domestic oil suppliers to import highly expensive pre-refined gasoline. Demand surpassed supply. Prices went up, and Americans suffered.
Why are Americans without a suitable number of refineries? The answer is simple: government-encouraged environmental radicalism. Every time an oil company tries to build a new refinery, environmental activists initiate lawsuits, even in cases where proposed refineries have passed every state and federal environmental test. In other words, it's not about the ecosystem. It's about a virulent, anti-capitalist, anti-prosperity agenda, and it is not presumptuous to say that President Obama and his minions are part of this agenda, as evidenced by their statements and actions.
Why else does Obama pursue crippling tax increases during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression? Why else does President Obama pursue legislation that would more than halve U.S. GDP and raise electricity prices so that Americans would be forced to live like Europeans? Why else does President Obama advocate government-imposed compensation caps and, when he can, even go as far as to force certain executives to get permits for luxury items such as club membership and personal jets? It is becoming clear that Obama seeks nothing less than the eradication of the American Dream. Obama even wants to control air conditioner usage. As he said during the campaign, "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."
All of President Obama's environmental policies seem to be built on the shaky foundations of "spread the wealth." In other words, Obama has no problem with a serious reduction in the U.S. standard of living as long as all Americans share the misery. That is the inevitable result of Obama's policies. America, having been deprived of its once-vibrant economy, will turn to government for survival, joining the list of countries opting for a slice of government cheese over a chance at prosperity.
But beyond the economic insanity inherent in Obama's environmental policies is the fact that the supposed benefit of these policies to the environment is either superfluous or nonexistent. American air is already substantially cleaner than it was twenty years ago, and air conditioner usage has no tangible effect on the environment whatsoever. The ozone "hole" is by all indicators a seasonal event, at the end of which ozone is replenished. Global warming, the genesis of many of Obama's environmental policies, is a dead issue. The alleged link between anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and global warming has been exposed as a hoax, both by scientists from inside the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and by intercepted communications demonstrating substantial scientific fraud.
And then there's the legal problem with Obama's view. By what right does Obama presume to tell Americans how to live and drive? Where in the Constitution is the authority for this breathtaking assumption of power?
We should expect that the same radical agenda lurks behind Obama's self-righteous and sanctimonious platitudes regarding bans on future drilling. The BP disaster is likely just what Obama was looking for, the crisis on which to hang America's economic decline. To listen to Obama rant, the uninformed would think that large oil spills are a common occurrence, and that no technology exists to prevent them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Spills involving sea-based rigs account for only 2 percent of all oil spills, making the BP disaster indeed rare. And oil spills have dramatically reduced over the last two decades.
Surely President Obama is aware of this information. Therefore, his actions must be seen as those of an opportunist. But what opportunity is he pursuing, if the result is the destruction of American wealth and badly needed jobs? The answer: dependency. Just as the lack of refinery capacity was felt at the pump and all over the economy, a cessation in drilling will shift supply almost completely to foreign sources in order to meet demand, increasing gas prices to punitive levels and again affecting all areas of the economy. Obama knows this, and yet he proceeds at breakneck speed. Oil and gas well-drilling companies employ over 60,000 Americans, jobs that would surely be threatened if Obama's moratorium on drilling goes forward. High prices combined with the ripple of unemployment that will be the consequence of any ban on drilling will make yet more Americans utterly dependent on President Obama for their very sustenance.
If past behavior is any indicator, what is good for Obama is not good for America. Energy is wealth, and oil is America's primary source of energy. Eliminating drilling eliminates potential American wealth. Speak out in support of business and freedom. Reject Obama's thinly disguised attack on American prosperity.