Third Party & Independents Archives

Is it too late for an energy policy?

Thirty odd years ago OPEC slapped us around and made the U.S.A. look like an impotent giant. Now, here we are in the 21st-century with gas approaching 2 dollars a gallon and for all practical purposes we have not addressed the issue.

As we look back in history, the list of failed civilizations is a long and winding road of clueless-ness. Over-farmed land, irrigation systems that failed, plagues, climatic change, geologic upheaval and strategic assets that could not be defended. The basic point is that all civilizations die and half the time it’s their own fault.

Our country has two safety valves that are supposed to save us--“democracy” and a “Laissez Faire” economy.

Democracy usually addresses a situation AFTER a horrific crisis has occurred. This works really great for war and social crisis. Its not that good at situations that slowly build up over decades, always getting progressively worse but never actually crossing over to the category of disaster. After the original OPEC thing, the giant shuttered but then went back to sleep. The slow increase in gas prices and the gradual shift to foreign oil supply just doesn’t seem to grab the attention of an electorate worried about jobs and terror. The amusing thing is that the job situation is related to a massive trade deficit partly fueled by oil imports, while the same imports financed the terror attacks.

The Laissez Faire economy could have solved the problem, but only if the suppliers are purely motivated by money. Thus far we can control them with the all-powerful dollar. But they know they have power over us, and while turning off the tap would adversely affect them, it will destroy us. Besides with the falling dollar and alternative markets (Europe and Asia) why sell to us. Like a junky hooked on heroin, what option do we have but to crawl back to Saudi Arabia and beg them for an oil fix?

Does this country still have what it takes to say, "Live free or Die"? Or are we so attached to our SUV's we will publicly humiliate ourselves before OPEC? I think our biggest problem isn't that the OPEC states will grow a new spine. The problem will be that as production capacity tops out and other country are willing to pay as much as us, why would they sell anything to us. After all the Europeans and the Asians have been preening and sucking up to the Arabs for decades, while we have been slapping them around. There is some vary serious talk of starting to price oil contract in Euro’s rather than dollars. This could be very very bad for us. If you think the price of gas is soaring now you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just check out the two-year graph of the Euro vs. the dollar:

We tried the invasion thing in Iraq. It doesn’t seem to be going that well. We got a lot of dead soldiers but not much oil. Evidently any Iraqi with a bad attitude and a RPG can disrupt oil production. And they seem to take quite a bit of delight in disrupting our multibillion-dollar oil grab.

This seems to leave us in a deplorable situation. Forget the Artic wildlife refuge, there just isn’t enough oil in it to supply us with suntan lotion, let alone run the worlds largest consumer country.

The honest truth of the matter is there is no easy way out. Our cars have become as obese as we are, and our oil supply is in the hands of people who don’t really like us (the September 11 guys were Saudis). Thirty years ago we could have done something about this (coal gasification, natural gas conversation, nuclear power, electric vehicles). But because we didn’t we are going to have to kiss the monkey. The monkeys name is “yielding up national sovereignty” and he’s not very pretty. I wonder what it was like to be the last generation to live in the Roman Empire? Then again maybe I should be more concerned with being a first generation lapdog to the oil producing countries.

How does 5 dollar a gallon sound? What about 10?

Maybe its not to late to put that 5000-gallon storage tank in the back yard!

Posted by at March 26, 2004 7:13 PM