Gasoline prices are reaching atmospheric levels. Utility costs are soaring. Food and water prices are reaching never before seen levels. During this current presidential election, all sides are pointing fingers at the other. Obama claims there is no answer to stopping the increasing fuel cost(s). He accuses the Republicans of promising a “magic wand” that can miraculously guarantee low prices. He says we must look to the future, to alternative fuel sources. He demands we “invest” in our green energy future (which translates to his campaign donors want payback). The Left accuses us of baseless attacks on these green alternatives. I say they are not baseless, the utility industry and the Department of Energy have both admitted wind and solar are not sustainable constants. They admit we would need a “backup” source of electricity since the sun does not always shine and the wind sometimes stops blowing.
What is President Obama’s answer to these ever-increasing prices? To the unemployed who have exhausted their life savings and unemployment, he says to buy cars that are more fuel-efficient and appliances that are more “Green”. To the senior citizen on a fixed income trying to cope with unaffordable heating and cooling costs, he says to buy more efficient homes or upgrade the ones they have (this is perhaps the most insulting as many of these Americans who spent their life working and giving are now faced with foreclosures as well). The Republicans are almost as bad, though one would not think so at first glance. But take a second look at the regulation history of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, even Congress’ own legislation (during both Democrat controlled and Republican controlled houses – though more so in the Democrat controlled years) and you will see an active assault on oil and other fossil fuels by the left. In addition, on the Right, you have apathy. During the 90’s and again in first years of George W Bush’s Presidency, the Republicans had perfect opportunities to reign in the EPA. They had the ability to overturn overburdening legislation.
You see, when we look at all of these skyrocketing costs, it all comes down to one root cause, needless and compounding government oversight and regulation. Throughout the 80’s the Democrats passed countless bills that slowly bogged down the oil business. Or I should say, the smaller, more independent and local oil businesses. As a West Virginian, I watched shamefully as our U.S. Senator, Jay Rockefeller (yes, one of those Rockefellers) and his cohorts in Washington, worked with the E.P.A. to enact regulation after regulation that slowly has put almost all of the independent operators out of business. Whenever Washington enacts either legislation and/or regulations there is a creation of a department to oversee said rules, or an existing department or agency is expanded exponentially. And how does Washington pay for these creations and expansions, by imposing taxes, penalties, and fees to the affected businesses. When Exxon (of which Mr. Rockefeller has a vast interest), BP, Dutch Shell, etc… are faced with massive increases in their cost of operations, they operate on a global scale that allows them to spread that cost over a larger area of their businesses – and on to their customers. The local guy, he cannot afford the loan payments on necessary upgrades and equipment (if he can even secure the loan in the first place).
The one area of regulation that proved to be too costly, even for the likes of Exxon and Chevron, was refineries. Since the 1980’s America has lost nearly two thirds of our oil refining capacity. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we saw just how limited and vulnerable our refineries are. Only in the aftermath of a natural disaster do our elected representatives offer any legislation (and offer is all they do, nothing meaningful or effective ever passes). Both sides take these knee-jerk responses and weigh them down with pet projects and bill killing amendments. Assuring that nothing changes, and they maintain their status quo.
Therefore, when Obama accuses us of latching onto the past, instead of wasting additional monies in payoffs to his campaign donors running bogus “green” energy companies, I say yes I yearn for the past. I long for the days of prosperity, when a family could look forward to a summer vacation instead of the present fear of if they will keep their job or home. I wish I could say with confidence to my child that he can go to summer camp, take him to Walt Disney World as many times as I went as a child, see the world and its history.
Alas, we are so far down the path of dependency and servitude, I fear it may be impossible for Americans to recover what we once had – pride in being an American.