WALTER SCHOEN: Democrats Perpetuating a Political Shell Game
When will the American people catch on to the gigantic shell game being perpetrated on them by the Democratic Party?
For almost 40 years, Democratic lawmakers have been doing everything in their considerable power to ensure that America would not become energy-independent. Aided by biased media, which are committed to the election of Barack Obama, the Left has managed to prevent any effort to wean America from its dependence on the OPEC cartel.
Had President Clinton not vetoed a bill to drill in ANWR, today we would be recovering one million barrels of oil daily. Just recently, Obama promised to slap a windfall profits tax on the evil oil companies, which after all pay no taxes. Their taxes are paid by us.
Fortunately, Republicans were able to block the Bill. Obama and his cohorts obviously know nothing about economics. They plan to tax "the rich" by penalizing the oil moguls. He clearly does not understand that only 1.5 percent of gas and oil stocks are held by oil company executives.
In reality, 43 percent of the oil stocks are held by mutual funds representing 55 million Americans whose median annual income is $68,000. Twenty-seven percent of stocks are held by pension and retirement funds representing soldiers, firefighters, police and teachers. Fourteen percent are held in personal retirement accounts and IRAs. The 45 million accounts have an average worth of $22,000. These are "the rich" whom Obama plans to tax.
No refinery has been built in the United States for more than 30 years. In a Wall Street Journal column, Professor Mackubin Thomas Owens said, "If there is a villain in all this, it is Congress itself. That venerable body has made it impossible for U.S. producers to tap significant domestic reserves of oil and gas, and it has foreclosed economically viable sources of energy in favor of unfeasible alternatives such as wind and solar. In addition, Congress has slapped substantial taxes on gasoline."
Fifteen percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is for taxes, while only 4 percent represents oil company profits. The last time Congress slapped an excess profits tax on American business, in Jimmy Carter's reign, domestic oil production decreased by 6 percent, imported oil increased, and the tax provided only a small percentage of the amount promised by Carter.
The Lieberman-Warner Cap and Trade Bill would increase the annual energy bill for Americans by $325. Manufacturing would decrease 10 percent, and by 2050 the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be reduced by $3 trillion, according to government figures. Gasoline would increase by $1.50 a gallon.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed recently that while Alaska was brought into the union specifically to tap its vast natural resources, the state is not permitted to drill for oil in the 2,000-acre ANWR region, whose footprint is smaller than the L.A. Airport.
Owens claimed also that by its actions, Congress has ensured the economic viability of the oil cartel.
"It has done so, " he stated, "by preventing the exploitation of reserves in non-park federal lands in the West, Alaska and under the waters off our coasts."
These areas hold an estimated 635 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 112 billion barrels of recoverable oil, enough to provide gas for 65 million American cars and fuel for 25 million American homes for 60 years.
These figures do not include substantial oil-shale resources. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Owens claimed that 800 million to 2 trillion barrels of oil are available from oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Rocky Mountains are reported to contain recoverable oil reserves three times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.
While Congress excoriates American oil company executives, it also forbids them from drilling for recoverable oil just 50 miles off Key West, where China is now drilling. Montana has vast supplies of clean coal, which could be converted to oil if Congress will only get out of the way of the oil companies.
Meanwhile, America imports 72 percent of its oil needs every day at an annual cost of $750 billion. If the American people ever understand just who is to blame, they will rise up in righteous indignation and throw out the Democratic rascals.
The Cap and Trade Bill favored by Sens. McCain, Obama and Clinton would cost America several million jobs. Does it make any sense that the U.S. refuses to recover oil that would guarantee energy independence?
If we do not soon come to our senses, America could see a return to the bread lines of the 1930s. The Democrats have been promising their supporters cradle-to-grave handouts since FDR, and despite the social programs with catchy names, the poor, the undereducated and the uninsured are still with us.
How much longer will the American people continue to invest their hopes, their dreams and their pocketbooks in empty Democratic promises?
Walter Schoen may be reached at email@example.com.
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