Robert Ringer is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and host of the highly acclaimed "Liberty Education Interview Series," which features interviews with top political, economic and social leaders. His latest book is "The Entrepreneur." To sign up for a free subscription to his pro-liberty, pro-free-market e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, CLICK HERE.More ↓Less ↑
Since the Obamaviks descended upon the nation’s capital, the government has dramatically improved its ability to carry out its two main functions – redistributing wealth and creating crises. However, lest you give them too much credit for their remarkable success in these areas, remember that much of that success was made possible by past actions on the part of progressive Republicans, philosophically confused Republicans and RINOs.
The redistribution-of-wealth issue is almost at the point of no return, though a number of principled Republicans are actually threatening to make a serious attempt to stop it by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The odds against their succeeding, however, are about as long as the odds against Osama bin Laden’s showing up in Times Square tomorrow.
Just ask their leader, Boo Hoo Boehner, who keeps going out of his way to let the enemy know that the Republicans have no intention of cutting up the Democrats’ Capital One card. We’ll soon get the answer to the debt-ceiling increase, so let’s set aside that Obamanation for now and turn to government function No. 2, crisis creation.
The crown jewel of the Obamaviks’ crisis-creation strategy is the skyrocketing price of gasoline, resulting almost exclusively from the government’s heavy-handed, unconstitutional regulation of the petroleum industry.
A recent example was the EPA’s ruling to withhold “air permits” from Shell Oil, which, in essence, forced the company to drop its long-planned exploration project in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The result is that Shell wasted five years and roughly $4 billion in preparation for the project. The EPA’s excuse for their latest “drill nowhere, drill never” ruling is that Shell’s exploration would have been too close (70 miles) to a village named Kaktovik, a booming metropolis of 245 residents!
Needless to say, far-left groups like Earthjustice and the Alaska Wilderness League were wetting their pants with joy at their latest victory over evil oil companies that are trying to improve the lives of Americans. No big deal – just another 27 billion barrels of oil that have been left to sit underground indefinitely. When the news reached Riyadh, they must have started celebrating and passing out cookies in the streets.
Notwithstanding this latest attack on fossil fuels, many in the media arm of the White House (ABC, the New York Times, etc.) are concerned that if gas prices continue to rise, it will hurt Obama’s re-election chances. But their concern may be unwarranted, because one of Obama’s greatest talents is his ability to deflect attention from his own economy-killing actions and go on the attack. In the case of high gas price, the prey is easy – greedy speculators and greedy oil companies.
Notwithstanding Bill O’Reilly’s constant drumbeat about evil oil speculators, most experts agree that they have very little bearing on the price of gasoline. Remember, a smart speculator can make just as much money when gas prices go down as when they rise.
As to greedy oil companies making billions of dollars in profits, most everyone who reads the news knows that the profit margins in the oil industry are relatively small compared to, say, technology companies such as Facebook and Google.
The truth is that the chief cause of rising oil prices is the continuing decline of the dollar – which ties the artificial oil crisis to the equally artificial debt-ceiling crisis, because when you raise the debt ceiling, it makes it possible for the government to spend more, which in turn causes the dollar to decline.
It’s somewhat tragedy and comedy that redistribution of wealth is perhaps the chief reason for skyrocketing gas prices. I say tragedy and comedy because those who benefit most from the government’s redistribution-of-wealth policies have to give an increasingly larger percentage of their largesse back in the form of government-created higher fuel costs.
If I were king (the only government position I would ever accept), I could solve the artificial energy-crisis overnight. My plan would be simple:
Close down the Energy Department and the EPA, and get the government completely out of the energy business.
Make oil and gas drilling legal everywhere – in the Gulf, off both coasts, in ANWR, even in your back yard – no restrictions and no exceptions.
Remove all restrictions on coal mining and shale-oil extraction, except for reasonable safety standards.
Forget arguing about tax breaks and tax credits, and just cut taxes to zero on all oil, natural gas and coal-producing companies.
Remove all taxes on gas at the pump for consumers.
I would announce all of the above the day of my coronation, and I guarantee you that energy prices would quickly fall through the floor.
This would result in hundreds of billions of dollars in increased profits for gas, oil and coal companies, which in turn would result in:
The creation of millions of new jobs, which, unfortunately, would actually increase tax revenues.
Energy companies increasing, rather than decreasing, exploration and production, which would put the U.S. on a fast-track to becoming energy independent.
Energy companies paying higher dividends to their shareholders, most of whom are pension funds and mutual funds that represent middle-class Americans.
The United States has at least 100 years of natural gas reserves and 200 years of coal reserves. And if I became king, I’d wager that if all restrictions were lifted, we’d discover that we have much greater oil reserves than we now believe. The amazing truth: We are the world’s most energy-rich nation!
Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma – a Democrat! – summed it up succinctly when he said recently: “President Obama is completely uninformed about the oil and gas industry. … If the president doesn’t want to stand up and be a leader, then his silence would be appreciated from people who are trying to find solutions.”
Fat chance. The odds of silencing the Master of the Monologue, who is steadfastly focused on collapsing the U.S. economy, are right up there with the odds of Osama bin Laden’s showing up in Times Square.