20 June 2008

Drill! Drill! Drill!

We return from our 2 week (or so) blogging sabbatical to advocate for drilling anywhere and everywhere--including ANWR. We also endorse enactment of some sort of carbon tax. However, we would only embrace said tax if it were matched by a concurrent cut in corporate and individual income taxes such that there be no net increase in taxes.

A few notes:

- Technology has improved in the last 20 years (since the coasts were placed off-limits) to the point at which drilling can be done safely and with minimal environmental impact. This is a non-issue.

- We understand that drilling will have no short-run impact on prices. We don't care. We only hope that the current furor over prices drives policy in a direction we like: towards expanded drilling.

- Though it won't eliminate the need for importing oil from the middle east, expanded use of domestic oil supplies (including the estimated 1.5-2.6 trillion barrels to be derived from shale-oil) will lessen our dependence on middle eastern oil.

- This issue could be a winner for John McCain. The Rasmussen poll we saw tonight said that 62% of Americans agree that we should drill domestically. Obama may be leaving behind Bill Clinton's centrist ideals, but he should not forget that Presidential politics are almost always all about the economy. We almost feel sorry for poor global warming fetishists whose green utopia has run headlong into economic reality.

This is one of those few, happy instances when the popular policy is also the right one.

All that remains is for high gas prices to hold long enough to bully Democrats in Congress into passing domestic drilling legislation OR give McCain and congressional Republicans an election-breaking issue come November.

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RD said...

Jake, nice to have you back! But we disagree.

What will drilling accomplish, exactly? As long as OPEC still controls marginal supplies, OPEC still maintains heavy influence over prices (see post. And how will increased drilling affect the development of alternative energy?

It seems like the drilling is a rash decision. I'm all for drilling, but only as a part of a comprehensive alternative energy policy. Right now, it's just a GOP pander to win support with an action that won't lower gas prices, won't secure our long-term energy needs, and won't make a significant impact on our foreign oil dependence. So what is it that you think drilling will accomplish, anyway?

The drilling issue, like most other issues, divides people based on preconceived dogma instead of pragmatism. When forced to produce real analysis, the drilling people can't explain what it will accomplish, much like the anti-drillers can't explain why we should never increase drilling. Once again, pragmatic analysis is replaced by ideological assumptions: conservatives automatically parrot their Washington and talk-show leaders; liberals parrot theirs. Meanwhile, other countries are developing real solutions (as I've recently written elsewhere). If America would get on board with China and Europe on this issue, we could really alter the demand for and the price of oil. But we choose dogma instead.

You advocate a carbon tax (some form of which will be necessary at some point), but then you advocate policies that will make it more difficult to enact a carbon tax. Drilling is nothing more than a false sense of security for conservatives unwilling to take the necessary steps to energy independence. Dogmatism trumps pragmatism again. The pro-drillers should explain why they're willing to further procrastinate real solutions.

jody said...

While I agree that drilling in restricted areas is less destructive than it once was and bears consideration; I don't think that makes expanded drilling a long term solution to any energy problem. Usually your arguments are a bit less invisible Jake. You are less than clear about the economic effect you hope drilling will have. Besides engendering support for McCain.

RD said...

Jody makes a good point. We often have to damage the environment for economic reasons; as long as the cost-benefit analysis is thorough, I am ok with that. But in this case, we're not getting any benefit. The affect on prices will be 20 to 30 years down the road, and it will be negligible. That's why I asked Jake what benefit we get from drilling. From his article, it appears that the only reason is to give McCain and the Republicans an election issue. A policy as shortsighted as this is definitely not worth an election.

Jakes says, "We understand that drilling will have no short-run impact on prices. We don't care. We only hope that the current furor over prices drives policy in a direction we like: towards expanded drilling." So, you don't care that there are no benefits from this policy; you advocate it solely because Republicans have wanted it for awhile, and because Democrats oppose it.

I'm disappointed, Jake. Your only defense for advocating this policy is partisan interests. This is exactly why, as your boy Mitt claimed, "Washington is Broken."

Ben Treasure said...
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Ben Treasure said...

I'll make the argument for drilling any day because of the implications it would have on national security. The sooner we stop consuming so much oil, the safer we will be and the cleaner our air. We will always be using SOME oil, and that oil may as well come from domestic supply and not from the middle east.

However, I'm failing to see how global warming "fetishists" (am I supposed to read "basically everyone with a pulse," including Bush and McCain there?) have failed here. We're driving hundreds of millions of miles less per day than we were last year. That has been the goal of the environmental movement for the last 30 years, Jake--to get people out of cars and onto trains, buses, and bicycles.

RD and Jody are completely right here. Once again you've missed the opportunity to make an argument based on legitimate policy concerns due to your apparent inability to resist taking [ineffective and off-based] partisan cheap shots.

RD said...

Ben makes good points. Also, the United States is one of the world's top three oil producers (surprised?). It's ridiculous that we're so dependent upon foreign oil. We already produce plenty; the issue isn't more drilling - it's less using.

RD said...

Perfect timing! I was wondering when Tom Friedman would opine on this issue.


Friedman provides a great analysis of this foolhardy, indefensible idea. He also advocates a floor on gas prices, which would trigger more investment in alternative energy (you know, that thing that would actually address the real problem instead of serving partisan interests). Don't miss this article.

Matt said...

Yeah, Jake, how dare you speak your mind on YOUR blog. Shame on you

Matt said...
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Matt said...

These are all wonderful comments and theories but maybe Iraq should be the first place we look for oil.....


Matt B.

Ben Treasure said...

Dear Matt Lybbert,

Clearly your brother can handle playing with the big boys and their big mean words, but apparently you cannot. Please contact me further and I can refer you to a local sandbox with 6 year old boys and girls that may be more to your liking.

Smiley Faces and Lollipops,

Ben Treasure

Matt said...

not sure where that came from...but amusing nonetheless