President Obama is traveling the country this week in an attempt to save face against out of control gas prices. The president knows that in the political arena, the American voter tends to think with his/her gas tank in the voting booth. With his poll numbers dropping and the price of gas at or above $4 a gallon, Obama will cross the country preaching his diligence to help the American public deal with high gas prices. However, like an unemployment rate stuck in the high eights could be the new normal, is Obama preparing us for gas prices stuck in the $4+ range?
One of the goals of the environmentalist movement has been to artificially raise the price of gas. Higher gas prices, not unlike higher cigarette prices, would hopefully start to change the behavior of the American people. It discourages the purchase of evil SUV’s and encourages people’s belief in alternative energy. While this could produce a slow down in the American economy, that is an acceptable loss for the benefit of the environment. In fact, Barrack Obama shares this feeling and during his campaign for president in 2008 he said that a gradual increase in gas prices would be good. Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary, while walking back his position under political scrutiny, in 2008 also stated a desire to increase gas prices to levels in Europe. Although there are a few fringe groups that truly believe they can save the planet by raising gas prices, for the rest, gas prices are just a means to a greater end. That greater end is a dependency by the American public on government subsidized alternative energy.
The progressive/socialist/liberal (whatever term you prefer) system controls its people by choosing the winners and losers within society. The fuel that powers a country is a great opportunity to make these choices. In the US today we have a well-established capitalistic fossil fuel industry that can successfully exist without direct government involvement. To the progressive this is a problem. The only way to grab hold of the industry would be to nationalize it as we have seen down in places like Venezuela. However, an action of that nature would not be tolerated with in the US. The uproar surrounding the purchase GM proved as such. Since the American people refuse to give control of the fossil fuels to the progressive leaders, they have initiated two policies in order to encourage the American people to see things the progressive way.
First, they restricted the ability of the free market system to work within fossil fuel energy sector. This restriction takes place at both ends of the production. The government places heavy restrictions and permitting fees on the establishment of new fossil fuel recovery locations. While President Obama praises his time as president for being pro-drilling and fossil fuel recovery; he has actually done nothing to help this process. All the new fossil fuels recovered under his tenure occurred on private lands, his administration has not allowed drilling on the public lands he opened to fossil fuel exploration. After fossil fuels have been recovered, they are taxed heavily either by corporate taxes or high usages taxes. In 2010 Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips paid over a 40% tax rate, when the corporate tax rate for the US is only 35%. In Wisconsin, we also pay another 51.3 cents per gallon of gas (18.4 Federal Tax and 32.9 in State Tax). All of this interferes with the free market system by punishing this industry and product disproportionally to others.
Second, is the heavy subsidization of renewable energy over fossil fuels. As reported by the CBO, in 2011 the US overwhelming subsidized renewable energy over that of all fossil fuels. What is not detailed in the CBO findings is the amount of energy produced in comparison to the subsidy received. Although many of the subsidies stem from the stimulus package, the use of the tax system to choose an industry as a winner is definitely tilted toward renewable energy. More importantly is that the current crop of renewable fuels holds no promise to reduce our need for oil. As we have seen with the multiple bankruptcies of renewable energy companies that received stimulus; the American people are not on board with renewable energy sources yet. However, billions of our tax dollars go into propping up a losing industry.
As you can see, the true power of alternative energies is not within the ability to replace fossil fuels, but the ability of the progressives to control the populous through the energy they are forced to consume. While the above examples seem self-explanatory in their desire to choose winners and losers in the energy industry; another proof that progressives use alternative energy for control rather then environmental safety is in their actions.
Al Gore, one of the nation’s biggest global warming preachers, has gone out of his way to help create policy that eliminates the fossil fuel industry. However, Al Gore for all his concern about the environment, used 20x the household power as the average American in 2007. When confronted he said that his family would take steps to correct this, accept in the following year his energy usage went up. His actions prove that he is not out to save the environment, but to make the rest of the nation subservient to the desires of the progressive movement.
Obama has said that in order to transition into an economy that uses alternative energy sources, we need an informed citizenry that will force their leaders to take appropriate governmental steps to eliminate fossil fuels. However, his idea of an informed citizenry is one that is burdened with high energy costs brought down on them by the government.
Obama understands that in order to win re-election, he must pay lip service to the idea of lowering gas prices. He knows that he must make it look like he wants more oil by approving a section of the Keystone Pipeline that never required his okay to begin with. While the politician side of his personality promotes these ideas, the progressive side has yet to put forth any policy that actually helps either lower gas prices or get more oil from Canada into the US. In truth, he doesn’t want success within the fossil fuel industry. I predict stunts will be pulled by the current administration in an attempt to lower gas prices while doing nothing to increase our recovery of fossil fuels; this includes the release of petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. If anything is done; it will be short lived, have no benefit on fossil fuels production and be accomplished in a way to ensure the power over energy stays in hands of the government.