Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush Preaches Energy Socialism

From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11465801/

Energy conservation groups and environmentalists say they’re pleased that the president, a former oil man in Texas, is stressing alternative sources of energy, but they contend his proposals don’t go far enough. They say the administration must consider greater fuel-efficiency standards for cars, and some economists believe it’s best to increase the gas tax to force consumers to change their driving habits.

Of course, the removal of one of the largest subsidies to our oil industry – namely, the expensive and intrusive interventionist foreign policy that is designed to “stablize” the Middle East in order to protect “our oil” – would probably accomplish the same thing. If we removed that subsidy (returning all the proceeds to the hard working Americans from whom it was confiscated from in the first place), and our energy industries had to internalize the costs of securing oil supplies, the price we pay at the pump would no longer be kept artificially low, thus making alternative energy sources relatively more attractive. We could know exactly what a gallon of gas costs us, and then make more rational and informed choices about our energy consumption.

But no good State-Worshipping Republican or Democrat would probably consider this idea. After all, the State is the source of all that is pure and good in this world, right? And if we need new (or old) energy resources, the State MUST be on the forefront of securing it for us. Anyone who claims that individual companies and other market participants are capable of accomplishing their goals in more rational and efficient ways is probably just some apologetic “crank” out to justify the shameless greed and avarice that marks capitalism….right?

“It creates a national security issue and we’re held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us,” Bush said.
Correct me if I’m wrong….but didn’t Bush just warn us about “isolationism” in his recent State of the Union address? And correct me if I’m wrong again, but don’t economic ties tend to reduce conflict between otherwise hostile nations? The last time, I checked, most people tend to not want to kill their business associates, customers, and vendors. As Frederic Bastiat said, when goods don’t cross borders, armies will.

Of course, this statement is based on some pretty ridiculous assumptions. First, if these countries really don’t like “us”, then why are they selling “us” stuff? It would seem to me that if they really didn’t like “us”, they would simply stop producing oil for our needs. And to hear Bush speak of it, that would cripple “us”. So why are they holding back? The answer is: because they need us just as much as we need them. Without us buying their oil, they cannot afford to acquire the things they need to better their living standards. It’s like that in any economic transaction….both parties voluntarily give up something they value less in order to obtain something they value more. If it weren’t the case, then one (or both) party wouldn’t enter into the transaction.

I mean, really! Can you imagine some Arab leader talking to his people and saying something like: “Fellow citizens! We need to work to eliminate our dependence on foreign consumers who buy our oil. We are addicted to the money we get from selling our products to foreigners who may not like us very much. It creates a national security issue and we are held hostage to their buying decisions.”

So, I ask: who exactly is “held hostage” to whom, George? (If you want to make a case for a hostage situation, why not look at how Americans are held hostage by their own government, which works constantly to encroach on more freedoms every single day.)

Second, who exactly is this “us” that they don’t like? Is it the average American consumer they don’t like, or is it the meddlesome and arrogant imperialist foreign policy of the U.S. government? It seems to me that Bush is simply trying to erect a boogeyman to scare people into going along with the latest welfare scheme. Ooooh…dark skinned, non-Christian people who have weird beliefs and are a bit less enlightened then us might come over here and kill us, so we need to funnel millions of dollars to politically connected businessmen to “save us” from their nefarious plots. Sounds like a pretty good deal for the pork-eaters.

On Tuesday, Bush plans to visit the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., to talk about speeding the development of biofuels.

The lab, with a looming $28 million budget shortfall, had announced it was cutting its staff by 32 people, including eight researchers. But in advance of Bush’s visit, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman over the weekend directed the transfer of $5 million to the private contractor that runs the lab, so the jobs can be saved.

Of course, if this company, and others, weren’t taxed and regulated so heavily to support the existing welfare state, perhaps they wouldn’t need to turn to the State to get their own little subsidy to line their pockets while producing an economically uncertain technology. (Gasp!) The State-As-A-Wealth-Transfer-Mechanism makes it harder for innovation and progress to take place?! Say it ain’t so!

The thing that gets me is that Republicans always want to claim that they are pro-market, and believe in merits of competitive commerce to produce better and lasting solutions to our problems. Yet, they turn around and continue to fuel the same old Socialist gravy train that they charge their supposed opponents with doing. Setting aside the fact that the Republican Party has always held corporatist / mercantilist ideologies close to their heart, its surprising that so many erstwhile “conservatives” fall for the rouse hook, line, and sinker. Furthermore, we’re always told that Libertarians can’t have any impact unless they win elections, yet, Democrats aren’t winning many elections these days and our glorious Republican leaders feel a need to demonstrate a sensitivity to, and even cater to, the demands leveled by their leftist critics. So why wouldn’t the same principle work when it comes to freedom lovers? As long as freedom lovers continue to buy into the myth that the Republican party is indeed somehow “better” than Democrats, we will continue to get more welfare, more warfare, more social decay, less personal responsibility, and most importantly…less liberty.

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