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  • Morning Bell: Holding the Left Accountable on Energy Prices

    The most important thing to remember as the debate over energy prices becomes a major issue in 2008 is that liberals want Americans to pay higher energy prices. That is why they sue to stop natural gas drilling in Wyoming, new refineries in South Dakota and coal power plants nationwide. The whole purpose of the Lieberman-Warner carbon capping bill was to increase the cost of energy to force Americans to use less of it. But now Americans are beginning to catch on to the left’s game, and they are not happy.

    According to Rasmussen Reports, 67% of voters believe that offshore drilling should be allowed, and 64% believe lifting the ban on offshore drilling will lead to lower gas prices. A new Reuters poll found that 60% of Americans favor more domestic drilling and refinery construction to cool record prices.

    Facing an American public increasingly hostile to their energy policy, liberals in Congress are scrambling to find new arguments and policy proposals that can provide them with a patina of political cover. They include:

    • Lifting bans on domestic oil production will not lower energy prices. This liberal argument comes in two forms: 1) developing X oil well will not lower the price of gas and 2) it will take 10 years for the increased supply to lower prices. These arguments are especially pernicious because applied to each oil project today, they are technically true. However, if the test for developing any single oil field was whether it alone would lower the price of gas, then no oil field would ever be developed.Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will not lower gas substantially by itself, but there is so much more oil currently banned from production. Also, as the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein points out: “In energy, as with all commodity markets, prices are set at the margin — based on the last transaction — and short-run demand doesn’t change much in response to price fluctuations. In such markets, even small changes in supply can have a big impact on price.”Finally, liberal complaints that lifting domestic drilling bans today would take years to increase supply are completely unpersuasive since liberals have been making the same argument in support of oil production bans for decades now.
    • Speculators are to blame for the high price of gas. When all else fails, blame the moneychangers. This argument predates not only the environmental movement, but the country itself. As American Enterprise Institute scholar Kevin Hassett points out, Milton Friedman dealt with this specious claim in 1953: “If speculators know that the price of something is going to go up a month from now, they buy today. If they are correct, they make money, and the price change is smoothed by the higher demand today. … If speculators are, as is popularly believed, brilliant tacticians who are making a killing, then their activities are stabilizing. Speculation is good.”

    Already there are cracks in left’s unity on the drilling issue. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) to lift the ban on natural gas production off the coast of Virginia. More importantly though, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is refusing to even allow the House to vote on lifting the offshore drilling ban. She must know many from her own party would vote for the measure. After all, they would only be responding to the fact that their constituents are eager to hold them accountable on the issue.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Morning Bell: Holding the Left Accountable on Energy Prices

    1. dennis sniff Indepen says:

      Take away the free gas and transportation costs that the lawmakers get, make them pay for there own transportation costs and they will see what is like for normal taxpayers. It might not even faze them since the are paid over $160,000 a year thou.

    2. Norm says:

      Re: "Fearing a loss of market share to California, the Massachusetts Senate repealed a 1913 law that prevents the commonwealth from marrying out-of-state couples if their marriages would not be legal in their home states, thus opening the door to the lucrative gay wedding industry. "

      The Police 'Nation' of Massachusetts is now imposing laws against nature. Massachusetts is by far the most un-Constitutional government of the State, by the State, and for the State than any among the the fifty that hold a star on the banner of freedom. It is run by Socialists and hypocritical so-called Christians…the worst among them are the Catholics who go to Church on Sunday and forget what they Prayed for on Monday. – Norman E. Hooben – "A proud Catholic proud of my Faith. A proud Catholic NOT so proud of my Church!" – July 16th 2008

    3. Ed, Leesburg VA says:

      I have no faith, no confidence and no hope that Congress will properly (i.e., completely, to the root cause) address this mess. I look for a dodge. I look for more spinning as if it's: a) All under control, b) You have nothing to worry about, and c) The worst has already occurred. Nope, I'm not buying if that's what they're going to be selling. I think it's time to pay the piper. We've been bamboozled again and I'm sad to say that I'm getting myself ready for more of it post-election. Pete and Re-Pete running for the most powerful position in the world are acting like desperate clowns and they do not instill feelings of confidence and hope — in me at least. My Congress is absent and busy wasting time on diversions such as impeachment hearings. Good God. Where are the voices of sanity out there?

    4. William H. Taylor, S says:

      Does Heritage Foundation have a format through which its erudte recommendations can be forwarded by its readers to the Congress/President?

      On the issue of remedial action concerning the oil crisis, short and long range, I suggest the following:

      1. Open up all Federal and offshore areas through leases which require that a percentage of fair market value per barrel pumped be paid to the U.S. with all such monies to be paid into the Social Security Fund and Medicare Fund and that the Congress no longer be permitted to appropriate such funds for other uses;

      (such use and restrictions should gain the support of all who are on Social Security and Medicare and the Baby Boomers who are on the cusp and force Congress to get a little honest concerning their spending penchants);

      2. Place a reasonable restriction on oil producers' ability to restrict production in order to maintain of raise price of Oil (knowledgable people know that this practice takes place even in these times);

      3. Require that automobile manufactures open up their records concerning fuel efficiencies, using tax incentives for so doing and setting policies that prevent retaliation against whistle blowers who know about these efficiencies;

      4. Prohibit oil producers and automobile manufacturers from setting gasoline/diesel consumption standards in the vehicles being produced;

      5. Build refineries and eliminate different state standards for gasoline and diesel production;

      6. Place immediate emphasis on production and use of natural gas – which requires less cost of pumping, transport and refinement and which produces less polutants and convert stationary plants to natural gas and/or coal. Use oil for the transportation industry and where coal and gas are not available.

      7. Place penalties for acts which suppress, intimidate or destroy competition to the fossil fuel industry (production to consumption). Reward and financially encourage new technologies for production of energy.

      8. Find congressional leadership which knows how to force votes on these issues so that legislatures are forced to display their positions well before the November elections;

      9. Publicize the organizations and their backers who are forcing the U. S. into a position of financial ruin and dependency on foreign oil.

      I have sent letters similar to this to members of the House and Senate and the media. Never have I received a reply. Am I that far out or is everybody blind?

    5. James Wolbert, Garf says:

      I believe that it is only a matter of time before the people of this country have had enough and demand movement from their senators or congressmen regardless of party. America faces problems that dwarf any poltical affliation. Drilling for oil to bide time for alternative renewable energy makes common sense. Unleash the private sector with a large money prize for a marketable energy supply that will end dependency on foreign oil. I hold the enviornmentals responsible for our current problem. They are blocking our way. We the people can change that with our voices.

    6. Rob Angle says:

      Tsk tsk, how sad this whole alcohol bit is. Like in most things in this life we make for every dollar spent on a beer is one less dollar for a child. Or cigaretts, pets, ok you get it. I think.

    7. Joe Lamb,Texas says:

      Why hasn't this problem been handled? Sens. and Reps. have been occupied with bringing pork back to their district. This is in order to get reelected. One solution is to take away the pork and put that money into the SS account.

      This is too practical to ever occur to elected officials.

    8. James Poulsen, Rockl says:

      I like the idea of The Heritage Foundation having a website access to every member of Congress so we could conveniently send requests or opinions on the issues to them. Some websites have this available for certain issues but not general sites for the members of Congress.

      In my state, Florida, it is awkward to send any member an e=mail as we have to fill out a form listing the same information each time rather than the Congresssmen's site keeping this in a data base. It appears more designed to restrict information flow than encourage it.

      With this site of yours we could be more interactive on the issues you bring forth.

    9. Edwin Buck, Albuquer says:

      Pakistani secret service playing both sides? So what's new. In the 60's, this was well known by every body in the spy business. Pakistani agents were on every body's payroll. It was the "golden rule" in Pakistan, "thems that got the gold, made the rules". So, whoever paid the most, got the secrets.

    10. D. Van Sant, Arizona says:

      I am an educated, well-read voter. I vote for those who support issues that concern me, not a party line. I logged onto the Morning Bell because someone I respect told me the information therein is well-researched. After about 10 days of reading this, I find myself appalled over the fact, well-researched or not, that it is a platform of hate mail for the "Liberals". In terms of the information put forth regarding oil, I would like to ask this: If the gargantuan sum appropriated for the Iraq fiasco had been spent on developing alternative energy resources, as well as energy efficient transportation, and public transportation, would the oil issue be an issue at all? NO! And what body of leaders instigated this war based on disinformation? Could we safely say, the "Conservative"? I am not a "Liberal" just a practical, straight thinker. I am truly discouraged to read such one-sided viewpoints from Heritage Foundation, which feeds into divisive politics rather than pulling together in resolving our nation's increasingly serious dilemma. We need to become independent of oil, not just drill for more oil. At some date in the future, this issue will need to be faced on a basis other than "more and more!" Perhaps the time is now; perhaps we, at this juncture, are the ones to "pay the piper" and not let our children face the problem.

    11. Victoria, Florida says:

      Abaraham Lincoln onse said that he was not concerned about this nation falling in the hands of other nations, but had stressed that he was extremely concerned about our nation falling into disarrray from with in. His words ring very clear to me now and it is very obvious it is. I now realize more and more that our politicians have work methodically over the years to destroy it with in with their greed and lack of interest to keep this nation a bright city on the hill. The lights of our nation is turned off. It's broken and we the people of this nation are bitter and in pain.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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