Thursday, January 10, 2008

Energy Prices & Washington DC

Dr. Arthur Robinson take the American voter to task for complaining about high energy prices - after all, we elected the idiots that are causing the problem in the first place. This might be the most clear headed piece of writing I've seen in a number of months of energy issues.

"If American voters are disgruntled about fuel and electricity prices, they should look in their mirrors. These prices have been determined entirely by the politicians whom they have sent to Washington -- politicians who now want voters to believe that oil companies, futures speculators, Arab producers, Chinese consumers, and natural resource shortages are responsible.

Moreover, these politicians are increasingly promoting the false claim that Americans should not use energy anyway because this is bad for the planet. Of all the current contenders for the Presidential nominations of both parties, only two -- Ron Paul and Fred Thompson -- have failed to parrot this idiot brainchild of Al Gore and the United Nations."

The good doctor points out the only reliable abundant forms of energy on which all of our wonderful technology depends are nuclear power and fossil fuels, and we import $500 billion in fossil fuels from people that aren't really very friendly towards us, and we also pay to a pretty high price in dollars and the blood of our military members to protect our access to these sources of energy.

So why don't we produce more of the enrgy we need ourselves? I've been asking myself that question for a long, long time. Answer: Private energy producers face a very unfavorable business climate her in the US.

"This stagnation has been caused by United States government taxation, regulation, and sponsorship of litigation, which has made the U.S. a very unfavorable place to produce energy. Moreover, the U.S. government has spent vast sums of tax money subsidizing inferior energy technologies for political purposes."

We possess 25% of the world coal supply, and coal can be economically converted into petroleum at a cost far lower than current world oil prices, and we have far more coal than the Saudis have oil. Instead, the US government has prevented the development of these alternate technologies and the exploitation of our own energy reserves and the construction of new nuclear plants for two generations. Instead, we subsidize the liquification of our food supply and legally mandate its use in the form of ethanol.

Doc does give some credit to the current administration in trying to jump start our nuclear industry, but Congressional opposition has stopped anything significant from occurring so far. Just one additional 10 reactor nuclear plant in each of the 50 states would generate enough electricity to replace all the enrgy we currently import, and allow us to EXPORT another $300 billion in electricity to other nations. The cost of such a program would be about $1 trillion - the same approximate amount of the annual US trade deficit. Even better, this cost wouldn't necessarily have to be born by the US taxpayer.

"Moreover, these plants could be constructed without the expenditure of any tax money. Simple legislative repeal of the taxes, regulations, and incentives to litigation with which our politicians have hindered nuclear power development is all that would be necessary. The domestic hydrocarbon industry could be similarly revived.

All government subsidies of energy industries should be repealed, which would save the tax payers money and end damaging political distortion of the free market. There are many ideas concerning innovations in energy production. While nuclear and hydrocarbon solutions are the only practical methods for solving America’s immediate energy problem, future developments may provide additional methods. The worst possible means by which to encourage these developments, however, is for politicians and bureaucrats in Washington – who are obviously clueless about energy technology --to choose technology and supervise development by means of tax subsidies."


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