Embracing Energy Insecurity


If you enjoy “The West’s Wrong Turn on Natural Resources” in today’s WSJ by Joseph Sternberg, then you’ll particularly appreciate Chapter 9 of Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, entitled “Insecurity Complex.” Here is an excerpt following on Sternberg’s thesis:

The security implications of cap-and-trade, a low carbon fuel standard, green jobs boondoggles, and sealing off domestic resources are many. Foreign dependence, lack of resiliency, and economic uncertainty all make us more vulnerable. . . . Few also dispute that higher energy costs harm the economy, and therefore harm people. Higher energy costs also make recession more likely — energy price spikes have preceded every such downturn in modern times — and harder to escape. They mean higher utility bills, higher prices at the pump, and higher costs for food. This reduces consumers’ real wages and purchasing power, and signal higher inflation. It also offsets meager, targeted tax cuts pushed by administrations whose policies drive up these prices with the other hand, which essentially creates a tax hike. Energy tax hikes are among the most regressive, meaning they most hurt seniors and the poor. …

Further, Obama’s own (largely debunked) environmentalist dogma should tell him it is foolish for us to artificially concentrate a quarter of our entire domestic oil output, and more than ten percent of domestic natural-gas production, in Hurricane Alley, as we do currently. By imposing policies that make it difficult to change this, he ensures it will continue, just as we finally recognize the peril. This compounds the security-of-supply issues he mentions in his rhetoric decrying reliance on other countries for our energy. We have massive resources both on-shore and in less storm-prone areas, so this need not be the case, but for politics.

But Obama has said that our current policies (which he is making vastly worse) actually encourage “over-investment” in oil and gas production. This reflects a belief that energy security somehow comes from making energy more expensive. So you should not be surprised that Obama’s energy secretary runs around the country saying things like we have to figure out how to triple the cost of a gallon of gasoline. He specifically cited Europe’s prices as the goal — “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe”—whose prices at the time he said that averaged about eight dollars, and were over eleven dollars per gallon in some places when ours rose to four dollars. Since we all pay the same for a barrel of oil, Europe’s punitive taxation is to blame for its extraordinarily higher prices.

The chapter goes on to deconstruct numerous absurdities that turn the notion of “energy security” on its head, all underlying the notion that the anti-energy agenda is really a national-security agenda. (Apparently, they had to first try to sell “global warming” and cap-and-trade because people just don’t take national security seriously. Ahem.) My favorite is the idea that China — by supposedly “eating our lunch” in the great windmill race — puts us at greater risk. It’s hard to get sillier than that, and I have great fun pointing out why and how they do manage to come close with other feints. Read Power Grab, and enjoy the specifics.


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