Monday, March 5, 2012

On energy and other policies, conservatives and liberals can find common ground. In fact, we must!

    I had a Facebook argument with a friend recently about energy policy and other things. Not a bad one, really more of a back-and-forth. He’s a liberal.
    Now when you say this you have to say it by stretching out the first syllable. Think back to how in the old days some old county official might have referred to the black guy out there carrying a sign for voter rights. He wasn’t merely a “troublemaker.” He was a “trou-----ble maker.” Well, my friend is a li------beral.
    But for all our differences there is within my conservatism quite a bit of populism. His realism is grounded, just barely in my view, in realism.
    There are some issues I don’t think we can ever agree on. He's liberal! He's terribly concerned about global warming. I’m not. If it does exist I think it benefits North America greatly. Bring it on. If I’m wrong, I’ll move to Canada. If I’m really wrong, our world is able to send a few billion bits of tinfoil confetti into the atmosphere.
    But despite our disagreements, there are things we can agree on. In the end we both want average Americans to have better lives. As far as energy policy is concerned, I am a supporter of “drill-baby-drill,” but I support it not so we can enjoy $2-a-gallon gasoline, but so we can be a self-sufficient nation. High-priced gasoline doesn’t bother me if it means we can wean ourselves from foreign oil. What I’m saying is I’d love to see gasoline prices that are really low and gasoline taxes that are – grab your seats boys – really high.
    Do we have to slap these taxes on tomorrow? Nope. Many people said Obama should have announced a 50-cent gas tax to go into effect in 2011 as soon as he was elected. Had he done so actual gas prices might be lower today – the threat of the tax would have encouraged better energy choices. But the point is that if we have to raise revenue, we need to do it through taxes. I support a $2 a gallon gas tax, imposed over eight years, 25 cents a year. If we have to tax things, there is no better way to raise revenue than to discourage those things which have hidden costs for our society, c.f. The Tragedy of the Commons.
    If we can come to an agreement with our liberal friends about the need to conserve energy, perhaps we can get them to agree that we need to develop the resources that we have – because they are substantial. If we really learn to conserve energy and then develop our oil resources in the arctic wasteland, offshore, with shale and ethanol, America can be a net exporter of oil. Think about it – we can live like Saudi sheiks! Because of our decision to debase the dollar we are going to need something to export in the future. With oil at $250 a barrel, which it soon will be, having a surplus will benefit the economy.
    There’s more to a comprehensive energy policy than simply conserving energy, drilling for oil and taxing gas. I’ll address some of these in a future post, perhaps sooner rather than later.
    I sometimes feel like we’re in a world where only a few dozen people are looking at our nation’s policies and asking, “What are we doing here? What are we trying to accomplish?” Please accept my invitation to join the club, if you aren’t already a member!
As for my li-----beral friend? He asks the same questions I ask and often comes to different conclusions. That’s okay. But on those occasions when the two of us agree? Well, we cannot possibly be wrong!
    So to my liberal friend I say and ask this. On the conservation end I'm willing to support measures that are far more draconian than those proposed by most. Now we come to production. I want us to be not just self-sufficient, but an oil exporter. What are you willing to support?


Ignatius said...

I am for an all-of-the-above approach (sound familiar?) - more nuclear, more off-shore, shale, even in the Arctic preserve and Keystone as long as those states are willing. Just promise me that we will regulate it enough to keep this ( and this ( from happening ...

Ignatius said...

Oops ... "Artic reserve" not "preserve" ...

Ignatius said...

You really need edit buttons! "Arctic reserve" and all ...

Interesting video about gas prices going around ... see here: