But without the drag of high-cost imported oil, the economy would grow more rapidly, and that could shrink both trade and budget deficits — lessening somewhat the need for spending cuts and new taxes.
The problem with green energy has not been the idea, per se, of wind and solar power and electric cars, but the use of massive federal subsidies, in times of record fossil-fuel prices, to rush into commercial production technologies that are not yet cost-competitive or reliable. The president recently talked of vast algae reserves. True, energy-rich scum may prove to be helpful in the distant future. But right now we don’t have the money to find out — unless we tap our burgeoning fossil-fuel supplies, which can provide a critical bridge to new sources of green energy.
The world was transformed for the worse in the 1970s, when world oil prices quadrupled. A half-century later, it could change again for the better should oil prices crash. We should do our part in ensuring that at last the tables are turned.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author most recently of The End of Sparta. You can reach him by e-mailing [email protected] © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.