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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Energy Issues And Solving The Problem

The democrat candidates have been back and forth about gas tax holidays and other nonsense, so let me give you the solution to our energy problem. It is amazing in simplicity. First let me talk about the plan de jure of the candidates.

Hillary wants a gas tax holiday, but only if the money is offset by taxation of the oil companies. Class and capitalism warfare at its finest. For the life of me I can't understand why oil is treated any differently than sports tickets. It is an item that is up for sale. The same as tickets to the Super Bowl, or a gallon of milk. It would seem that her principles of capitalism are situational, therefore not very principled at all.

Obama wants something, but at this point I am not sure what. I think he wants a gas tax holiday.

So the people who want to be President are giving a plan to help us out for about 60 days. Then what? This problem has been int he making for 20 years, and our politicians have ignored it. Why aren't people angry about it? One of the mouthpieces for Hillary, I think it was, stated the other day that more production is not the answer, because domestic drilling would take 15 years to come on line. They said the same thing 15 years ago. This was only three days after saying that President Bush should be pushing OPEC to increase production. So production is the answer, but only if it is done somewhere else and we are lining some other country's pockets.

So here we go:

1) Immediately open the domestic sources for production. Yes, it will take 15 years. No, we won't see any result for a while. However, we will be preparing for the long term and not for November. In addition, don't you think that OPEC will respond with lower prices because of the threat to their livelihood? Those countries have nothing to offer the world market except for oil. let them drown in it.

2) Provide incentives for energy companies to develop alternative fuels. Trust me, they see that somewhere down the line that someone will be making huge profits in lithium batteries or hydrogen or vanilla bean oil or whatever it is that will power our society. They want a piece of that pie, and who better to provide the answers than those who already have the infrastructure? I mean REAL incentives. At the moment they are making record profits from oil. Let us direct them to other sources of their riches.

3) Provide real tax breaks for people who improve their home with energy efficient changes. Not a minuscule tax deduction, but a dollar for dollar credit. Be bold and make this happen. I can't afford to install solar panels in my roof and on-demand water heaters and Pella windows, but if I got a credit for every dollar of it then I would make it happen.

4) The Dept of Transportation should be actively engaged in finding solutions for mass transit for medium and large cities. In the south, we don't do public transportation very often. In Birmingham, there is a huge metro area that drives into Birmingham for work, and then out of Birmingham in all directions to go home. The traffic is a nightmare at rush hours and some of the solutions being discussed are elevated highways and carpool lanes expansions. How about a rail system like in Baltimore? How about a rail/bus system like in Washington, D.C.? I have relied on both of those systems for long periods of time and they are very convenient, cheap, and reliable. The DOT should be active in getting cities to bring about mass transit in 2008, not 1960s solutions.

5) Allow construction of refineries and nuclear plants. Seriously.

6) A concentrated public service education campaign about saving energy. Let people know that they can do small things (and get 1 to 1 tax credits) for energy efficient changes. Conservation is part of the overall solution.

We have to demand real answers from our politicians. Instead of facing the real problem they spend their time trying to make us angry with oil companies, or other countries. We can solve our own problems, we just need someone bold enough to do so.

10 Posts From Readers:

Anonymous said...

Exxon/Mobil posted an 11 BILLION dollar profit last quarter. 11 BILLION in just one quarter!

We don't need a tax break on gas, we need the current fool to freeze prices, and start using his influence, with his vested oil interests to bring prices down.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Price controls? If I didn't have a family type blog I might say the F word You almost got me!

That would be the worst thing to do. We need solutions, not band-aids. The solution is to make ourselves energy dependent, and part of that is to be less reliant on foreign oil when he have deacades worth of it sitting under our feet. We need new energy sources, not mandates on automakers to have higher fuel standards.

The price won't go down becuse OPEC provides our oil. OPEC provides our oil because we refuse to drill in our own country. We refuse to drill in our own country because...I am not sure why. Something about caribou or a snail darter or something.

I have an idea. If you are for domestic drilling, you pay $1.50 per gallon. If you are against it, you pay $6.00 per gallon. It averages out to where gas is today, libs can feel good about their contribution, and I can get some relief because if it were up to me, we wouldn't be in this predicament today.

dons_mind said...

again isn't it funny how it's all bush's fault?! :)

good post robert. we agree - especially on 5)! construction should start immediately. no legal obstructionists allowed - just build it and get it to working.

Anonymous said...

First - I'm not blaming Bush. I'm faulting him for not doing something to control the current situation in our own country! You have to admit, his ties to big oil make all of this a little more suspect.

Second - in fifteen years, we had better be using alternatives already. Not shutting down refineries, and drilling operations that just started up.

And third, the cost of fuel is affecting everything from food prices to public safety.

Now that I have to pay Social Security, this isn't funny anymore.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

BB, in that past career location, you were exempt from social security? My place was not, but several local ones were. I always found that interesting.

I completely agree that in 15 years there must be alternatives in place. You know as well as I do that every politician has a short sighted view because as long as they are elected and in power someone else can deal with the train wreck that happens in the next term or election cycle. There has never been a serious push for R&D of alternatives fuesl for cars until recently and this reluctance to build refineries and nuclear plants is befuddling.

What can Bush do? What can any President do? It is CONGRESS and special interest groups in this country who have defied self-reliance for 40 years. We are i a position where action won't yield results for years, when this whole mess could have been avoided. There have been recent discoveries in the Gulf and in the north (N Dakota?) that some have estimated is enough oil to reduce our reliance on foreign oil by half for two decades. But under current conditions that oil will never get above ground.

That make any sense at all?

rockync said...

As usual, Robert, I can tell you have put a lot of thought into this and have come up with some real, workable solutions here. We need to put you in charge of the Energy Dept. I have been advocating developing light rail systems to connect suburbs to cities.
I am a little disappointed though that you chose to focus on the democrats without mentioning McCain's own gas holiday plan. Let's face it, none of them have a clue.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Rocky, you are correct that I ignored McCain's gas holiday. It is just as stupid and idea as the other gas holidays, and I didn't mention it because of the Clinton-Obama battle to show "I care for your problems more than the othher guy", although Obama has been the most honest on this issue by saying that it is nothing but a political sham that won't happen even if such legislation was proposed.

I have spent a great deal of time in Baltimore-D.C. area. The rail systems in Baltimore are efficient, reliable, and well designed. Ocassionally you have to wait a bit for a train to go from Baltimore to D.C., but the best of my recollection was that 20 minutes was the longest I ever had to wait. Getting around D.C., unless you know the area really well and can choose when you drive, the rail system is awesome. Ties in with buses above ground, public transit in D.C. is quite convenient.

I want the same thing for Birmingham. I live south of there in Shelby County, and I work west about 35 miles. It would take a bold leader to make this happen, but I would use a rail system to/from work and save myself money and benefit the entire area.

Instead, they propose an elevated road system. To me it is a completely moronic idea, and will actually gain little except less carpooling and more aggravation.

The DOT doesn't seem to be very involved in finding ways to make this happen in comparable cities. Our metro area is over 1 million, and I think a rail system would be well received and accepted. Unfortuantely, I have not even heard anyone in position of power bring it to the table, despite a $50,000 junket of councilpersons to Baltimore to study their system.

rockync said...

Robert, there are several big cities using light rail systems with positive results. I mean aside from the bigger cities with their overhead rails and subways like New York and Chicago.
Denver has one as does Atlanta and Charlotte, NC just opened one this past year, so perhaps it is an idea that is catching on.
As a kid, I loved taking the train to the city. Wouldn't it be great to come full circle and be able to give my grandchildren the same experience? Being in real estate, I'm always meeting people with ties to local and state government and I talk up the light rail system every chance I get!

Toni said...

Great point about the fact that politicians are saying increased production here wouldn't make a difference, but overseas it would. It's so hypocritical. But what can you expect from that bunch. I just read an article today where they are complaining because Bush won't open the reserves. They don't want us to drill here and they want us to use up our reserves. That's a great idea.

As far as the guy that mentioned Exxon's profits. Who are you to say how much someone is allowed to make? Does that make it fair in your mind? Life isn't fair. Government controlling profits isn't fair in my opinion. You know what is fair? Freedom.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Spot on Toni! Hillary's desire to tax the profits of oil companies because they are too successful is indicative of her real politics.

I hate $4 a gallon gas as much as anyone, except maybe independent truckers. As is normally the case, it is the government creating the situation, not the oil companies. Why is it their fault that demand for oil increases each and every day?

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