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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pointing Fingers While Sitting On Their Hands - The Dem' Magical Method Of NOT Dealing With High Energy Costs

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Last week's Freudian slip by Maxine Water's was wonderful to behold as it always is when Liberal's inadvertently reveal their real agenda but what was not so wonderful was the sham forum in which it took place. Faced with an American public increasingly angry at ever rising gas and oil prices the Democrat led Congress did what it usually does; it called in the top executives of the major oil companies for a little bashing. Senator Herb Kohl, did what Dems love to do: bashed success.

"Your industry has no problem doubling your profits, tripling your profits, even when prices at the pump go crazy," he said. "You have no problem keeping up with your increasing profits. It just doesn't seem fair, guys. It just doesn't seem fair."

Kohl would apparently be much happier if the oil companies were on the skids. How exactly this would improve the lives of their employees and stockholders is uncertain. But the whole call-the-"culprits"-up-before-Congress thing is really nothing more than a feint in the first place, meant to divert the public's attention away from Congress' own failings.

The suggestions of price fixing and "greedy oil executives" fits the Dems' and their PR adjunct, the msm's narrative but does nothing to explain the real reason gas prices are high and apparently going higher. The are a number of reasons for this price spike but capitalist greed isn't really one of them.

Steve Schippert does a good job of getting to the nitty gritty of the problem here:
Has Asian growth accounted for a 500% increase in demand? Hardly. Has the supply dropped by 500%? No. Have both factors combined for a 500% increase metric? Not even close.

What gives? The answer is precisely what OPEC says: Frantic speculation on tomorrow’s supply, compounded daily, and geo-political events that have driven this hysterical perception.

So convinced are our markets today that tomorrow’s supply is going to evaporate, we place a crisis value on today’s barrel. Tomorrow, we are surely even closer to fossil fuel doom and thus that day’s barrel will be even more critical than the day before. Lather, rinse, repeat. $132 per barrel crude prices are returned from the calculus. Yet, it’s basic math dictated less by true supply and demand and much more on the hysterical perceptions of the same.

We have become oil hypochondriacs. We are so convinced that we have cancer, it has inevitably appeared on our psychosomatic charts. So assured are we that doom awaits in perpetuity that we drive our own listing ship fearing that it will list port side any moment now.

How to address this perceptual problem, then? Well, this is just the question the Dems don't want you to ask. The fact is that there is an enormous amount of oil lying under US soil, enough that if it were allowed to be exploited it would go a long way toward alleviating oil supply fears. But at a time when Americans are champing at the bit for more energy independence the Democrat Congress is standing in the way everywhere it can.

During his Presidency Bill Clinton argued that allowing drilling in ANWR, a tundra blanketed wasteland that environmentalists seem to visualize as some green Valhalla, would take a decade to start producing oil if drilling were allowed, so wasn't worth the effort. If the drilling had gone forward then we'd now have a million more barrels a day at our disposal and would need to depend on foreign oil less. Cal Thomas, in a recent column makes the point more broadly:

[Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron] said there would be plenty of oil available to the United States if the oil companies were allowed to get it: "Eighty-five percent of offshore oil is off-limits." Responding to objections to offshore drilling by environmentalists and their allies in Congress, Robertson noted that some of the strongest pro-environment nations in Europe - he mentions Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom - lease offshore locations for oil exploration. The technology has become so good, he said, that during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "one thousand offshore wells were destroyed (in the Gulf of Mexico), but not one leaked." Australia, he said, has allowed offshore drilling for 40 years without any environmental damage.

The heavy hand of government is also felt in the different regulations that apply to oil from one locality to another, resulting in difficulty in using oil from one area in another as oil that is up to spec in Arizona may not meet Colorado's standards.

Why the price of oil is what it is is complicated and while all the reasons haven't been touched on here, the main point remains valid: We do not have to be as dependent on foreign oil as we are today and oil prices would not be as high as they are today if liberals in Congress got out of the way and just let the "villainous" oil companies drill where they see fit and refine as they see fit. The Congress does not want to American public to catch wind of this reality so they call in oil execs and try to scapegoat them.

In another legitimately entertaining bit of responsibility-dodging Mark Steyn has pointed out how Congress just passed the...
so-called NOPEC bill. The NOPEC bill is, in effect, a suit against OPEC, which, if I recall correctly, stands for the Oil Price-Exploiting Club. “No War For Oil!,” as the bumper stickers say. But a massive suit for oil — now that’s the American way!

“It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act,” declared the House of Representatives, “to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product… or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States.”

Er, okay. But, before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don’t we start by suing Congress? After all, who “limits the production or distribution of oil” right here in the United States by declaring that there’ll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? As Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz herself told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem.”

That Congressional finger that our liberal legislators like to point at everybody else should turn around and point to the real culprit in this situation: Congress itself.

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