[Guest post by DRJ]
The Chicago Sun-Times posts the text of Obama’s energy speech today in Lansing MI:
Obama challenges us to end our oil dependence in 10 years by mandating fuel-efficient cars and providing incentives and government mandates to promote development of green/alternative energy sources.
Obama will take money from oil companies as windfall profits and give it to people to pay their gas bills. He also has some advice to oil companies: Drill existing leases before asking for new lands.
[Apparently Obama wants oil companies to drill on lands that may not have oil or accessible oil. I call this Obama’s kindergarten plan for oil companies: Not only does he take away their allowance (profits), he also tells them they have to clean their plates before they get dessert.]
Obama wants to cut energy use by 15% in the next 10 years. He points to California’s static energy consumption as proof that it can be done, and he challenges Americans to find a way to change energy sources the same way America met WWII production goals and won the race to the moon.
Obama will release 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve, a move he claims will drop oil prices in 2 weeks.
As for drilling offshore where there is oil? That’s a “drawback” but it’s a compromise he will reluctantly allow in a limited manner to show he’s in good faith.
By his own estimate, Obama’s good faith will cost us $150 billion over the next 10 years and billions more in private equity.
Obama’s solutions are weighted toward short-term fixes including the use of emergency oil reserves stored for national security purposes and redistributing money from oil companies to low-income consumers. His long-term government-mandated solutions focus exclusively on expensive and unproven alternative energy sources. Further, his plan intentionally shrinks energy use 15%, a move that will undoubtedly result in a significant economic loss while refusing to anticipate and plan for future needs based on proven oil reserves.
It’s as if Obama wants all of America to plan our economic future the way he and his wife planned theirs: The Obamas had significant debt from their educations but they chose low-paying, community service-oriented jobs that made it hard or impossible for them to pay their debt except with the windfall of his book proceeds. We can’t afford to bet the economic and energy future of our nation on a dream and a windfall, but that’s what Obama offers with this plan.
For those who claim this is all criticism, here’s my solution:
I agree America needs to conserve, become more efficient, and decrease its dependence on oil by transitioning to other energy sources. Instead of walking a tightrope where America deliberately produces the least possible amount of energy during that transition, I want government and private incentives to produce a glut of energy – oil, nuclear, gas, coal, and alternative energy sources – so the economy expands during the process. An expanding economy makes it possible for government, businesses, and individuals to take risks and make mistakes when it comes to finding the best energy solutions.
Obama says he doesn’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good but that’s exactly what his plan does. He selects mandates and energy sources he likes, discards those he doesn’t, and ends up with a plan that must perform perfectly to succeed. The ultimate irony is that it’s a risk we don’t need to take.