The Corner

The Debt and Energy Conquer Even Hope and Change

While the administration is still beating the health-care horse, and offering more utopian notions about nuclear weapons (e.g., Why go nuclear, logical and rational Iran, when we won’t use such weapons against you, even should you use chemical or nerve gas against us?), the two most dangerous developments continue to go unnoticed: 1) the staggering and escalating debt, and, 2) the climbing price of energy. In 14 months, the Obama administration has used the window of a global recession — of low to near-nonexistent interest rates and slack demand for oil — to hunt windmills with grand talk about “wind and solar” and ever more “stimulus” and entitlements.

Meanwhile, when the recovery begins in earnest (and it will elsewhere, without U.S.–style massive borrowing), interest rates will climb and oil will again become scarce. Then we will rue our decisions in 2009 not to cut government spending, not to start massive exploitation of new-found natural gas and vast deposits of oil in Alaska and offshore, and not to fast-track new nuclear plants. It will not take much of a climb in interest rates to make the servicing of even the current debt crushing. And should gas hit $4 a gallon, when oil, new natural gas finds, and nuclear power went untapped amid Al Gore and Van Jones sermonizing, the present Tea Parties will seem tame in comparison with a new round of populist anger. Nothing quite ticks people off like $1.50 more per gallon at the pump — and the knowledge that local, state, and federal tax increases led to greater not lesser annual deficits, combined with cuts rather than expansions in public services.

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