Written on Sunday, October 14, 2012 by Nathaniel Davidson
“You don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers.”—Governor Romney to President Obama on his “trickle down government”
Part 1 concerned mainly the reaction to the debate, by both left and right, to show that Romney clearly defeated Obama. None of this should be a surprise. The insightful Jewish conservative commentator Dennis Prager pointed out several reasons in It’s important to understand why Romney won, which I summarize as follows:
This column will cover another important area—energy sources and tax subsidies—where the Governor out-argued the President.
All Americans who fill up their vehicles know perfectly well that fuel prices have skyrocketed under this gas-hating president. Now, the President bragged about increasing supply, but the Governor pointed out that it is despite his best efforts.
“Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies; in spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I’m president, I’ll double them. And also get the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I’ll bring that pipeline in from Canada.”
Indeed so. Democrats demagogue that the oil won’t be available for 10 years—and have been saying so for 20 years. But in reality, the effect of even an announcement of more drilling will have an immediate effect on price, as oil-sellers discount for anticipated future prices. For example, when President G.W. Bush removed the executive-branch moratorium on offshore drilling in mid-2008, oil futures immediately plummeted 6.3 percent.
“And by the way, I like coal. I’m going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent, so we can create those jobs.”
Indeed, we are blessed to have such a rich energy supply as coal, as well as blessed with highly efficient technology—efficiency is defined as the ratio of useful energy output (electricity) to energy input (heat from burning). Most power plants using any sort of heat as an energy source use the classic technology known as Rankine cycle steam engines. Because of modern materials, they can withstand higher temperatures, which makes them more efficient—over 40 percent. Some of the newer power plants power this Rankine engine with the exhaust from a Brayton cycle turbine, increasing the overall efficiency for this “combined cycle” to around 60%. Compare this to most car engines, which have only about 15 percent efficiency—only 15% of the gasoline is converted to propulsion, while the other 85% is wasted.
About the only thing better for electricity production is nuclear energy, but that has been shamefully demagogued against by the scientifically illiterate.
Once again, Obama demagogued:
“Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”
But as I documented in last year’s Patriot column Debt ceiling: Obama’s demagoguery vs economic reality, the tax break Obama whines about came from his own Stimulus package railroaded over Republican objections! And Obama himself uses the most private of all jets, Air Force One, for his many expensive vacations, while his wife often goes to the same place using a separate jet. Romney missed a chance to nail him on those issues.
Obama also claimed:
“The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. … Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money when they’re making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate that?”
Indeed, if true, then I would want to eliminate such corporate welfare. Republicans have let the country down in allowing so much of this, including farm subsidies and protectionism, and the fraudulent ethanol mandate. It’s a sad choice when both major parties have agreed in principle that it’s OK to take money by force from some Americans and give to other Americans, with the only disagreement being about the recipients. We hope that new Tea Partiers in Congress will put a stop to this. However, not surprisingly, Obama was not being honest about this, as Romney showed:
“First of all, the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it’s actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that’s been in place for a hundred years. …And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives, and you say Exxon and Mobil — actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.”
Indeed, Lawrence Kudlow points out:
“According to the Tax Foundation, for more than 25 years, oil and gas companies have sent more tax dollars to Washington and state capitals than they earned in profits. … so-called renewable-energy subsidies (think Solyndra) are 49-times greater than fossil-fuel subsidies, according to studies by the Congressional Research Service.”
Then came another classic Romney line:
“But don’t forget, you put $90 billion — like 50 years worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers. All right? So this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure.
But as documented in the movie, Obama doesn’t want America to be energy secure or to be in any way the Number One country in the world. For more, a must-watch movie is Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America; while a must-read book is David Limbaugh’s The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic. So on energy alone, the choice is stark: if you want more expensive gas and home energy, and dependence on countries that hate us, then vote for Obama (or waste your vote on a third party). If you don’t want that, then vote for Romney.