Sorry Bambi, but We're Going to Need Some of that Forest.
Okay, I’m not the unibomber, and this isn’t exactly going to be some deep, thought provoking manifesto that will solve all of the world’s ills. But I think I’ve given more than enough time to the things that frustrate me, so perhaps it’s time to spend a little ink going into what I’d do to solve them.
And before you get started, NO, this is not the precursor to me announcing my candidacy for one office or another. While I consider myself smart enough to have a plan of action, I also recognize the need for experience in the inner workings of the government if you ever hope to actually get anything accomplished. So, even if I had the desire to serve in that capacity, I know that I don’t have the patience. Therefore, unless you’re prepared to elect me as your king, where I wouldn’t have to worry about things like a popular vote, due process or impeachment, then I think I’ll stay right where I am.
That said, here’s what I’d like to see from my government…
First of all, stop with all this nonsense regarding energy. We’ve got oil, we’ve got coal, and we have the resources and technology to bring an abundance of electricity to every home in the nation. Yet we won’t drill for it, won’t refine it and won’t build new plants to provide it. WHY? Because we’re harming the environment. Because nuclear power isn’t safe enough. Because, God forbid, we might disrupt the mating habits of the North American Caribou.
Are you kidding me? I’ve spent many summers in Alaska, and I’ve seen the seemingly devastating effects of logging. I’ve also revisited those same areas years later, and seen the new trees replace the old. I’ve seen miles of pipeline, yet have continued to see the bears, moose and deer that seem to have found ways to continue to procreate despite the intrusion. Simply put, time and time again, I’ve seen man intervene, yet nature overcome.
Going even further, what is it about people who insist that we don’t harm the natural environment of ANWR but seem to be okay using oil and oil byproducts that are created at the expense of the, just as natural, environments of Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. What makes the arctic worth preserving yet the Middle East worth pillaging? That’s like insisting that fur is murder, then going out to Morton's for a nice juicy steak.
Truth be told, I really don’t care if gas goes to $5 or even $10 a gallon. I believe that the market will naturally work itself out. That people will find their own personal breaking point for conservation. That the higher the price of gas, the more motivated people will be to find alternative modes of transportation and the more industrious this nation will become in solving its own problems.
I don’t wish for the hardship, and I certainly don’t look forward to the hard choices ahead, but in my opinion we’ve gone soft. We’ve become lazy. And we’ve confused our wants as an “entitled” society with the rights of a hard working nation. Growing up, if you were making a cake and needed just one more egg, you walked next door and asked the neighbor to borrow one. Now, you hop in your car, drive to the nearest store (which you expect to stay open 24/7) and complain to the manager about having to buy an entire dozen.
Cheap gas isn’t a right, and expensive gas, in itself, isn’t necessarily a problem, unless we spend more time complaining about it than we do actually getting off our collective butts trying to find alternative solutions.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think that we need to drill, we need to mine, and we need to build. Just not solely to provide any break in the price of these resources, yet, to also put the U.S. back into a position of independence.
I can only imagine how hard it was for the Saudis to withhold their laughter when President Bush swung by to request that they increase their oil production. If one of your customers came to you and said, “We’d like you to work harder and produce more, but only so we can pay you less per unit, meaning you’ll only make about the same amount in the long run,” what would your response be?
Just as bad, in my opinion, is the recent plan to institute a “windfall” profit tax on the oil companies. How does letting the government take more of their money help us pay for fuel? The bigger question is; what prevents the oil companies from passing this additional cost of business right back to the consumer? Help me out here, what is the historical context for a move like this? When has increasing the tax on business ever successfully lowered prices?
With all of this in mind, here’s what I propose: First, I’d like to see our government open up just about every square corner of the country to the prospect of energy production. Why can the government level houses to build a school, but not displace a few moose to fuel our economy? It can rezone residential lots to build a strip mall, but apparently can’t redistrict a fishing hole to make way for offshore drilling.
The second step is to begin construction on at least a half dozen new nuclear power plants. And, I already know where the first one should go: Tijuana Mexico. If we can import oil, why not electricity? We help them build it, we train them to use it and in exchange they feed some juice across the border to the cities that invented the term “rolling blackout”.
Aside from providing more energy in the long run, these first two steps should have at least a marginal effect on driving down oil prices in the futures market, which in turn should show up in lower prices at the pump. But to truly inspire us to broaden our technology I’d still like to see our government announce step three: Energy Independence.
Call us the Amish of the modern age, but I’d like to see them set a date, say July 4th, 2026 (250 years after our original Declaration of Independence) and make it a law that all our power and fuel from that date forward will come from within our own borders. That might help us get a little more motivated to act and not just whine.
For my next suggestion, I’ll propose a way to use accountants to solve the immigration problem.