Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama and McCain on Energy

With $4 gasoline, energy policy is shaping up to be a key issue in the presidential campaign. The differences between Obama and McCain could hardly be greater.

McCain favors addressing our oil supply by increasing environmentally responsible domestic off shore drilling and by reducing the red tape that has kept anyone from building a new refinery here in the last 30 years. McCain also wants to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and yesterday he announced his plan for a $300 million prize for developing advanced battery technology.

Obama repeats the Democratic mantra "we can't drill our way out of this." I guess we should just stop drilling then. Would 75 billion barrels of our own oil in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf end all our energy problems? Of course not, but increased supply will lower prices. ANWR alone could supply the equivalent of all the oil we import from Saudi Arabia. Obama promises to side with the environmental wacko groups and continue to prevent more drilling, refineries, and nuclear power. Obama also continues to support the disastrous policy of providing huge subsidies for corn-based ethanol (can you say special interests?) that have caused food prices to sky rocket. Current food prices are very hard on the world's poor and they are causing the destruction of South America's rain forest to accelerate, as people burn down the forest to plant corn. John McCain opposed our ethanol policy even in Iowa during the primaries, while Obama continues to promote one of our worst energy policies ever. The candidate of "change" refuses to budge from the failed policies of the past.

The main difference between the two candidates' approaches is that one is based on promoting economic growth, while the other is focused on depressing demand for energy. Liberals like high energy prices because they lower demand for energy. Energy utilization, whether it's using coal, nuclear, or fossil fuels, is their enemy. However, we need energy to run our economy, the cheaper the better. Wind, solar, and ethanol are not competitive with other sources of energy. Therefore, they require government subsidies (our tax dollars) to even exist. Using inefficient energy sources slows our economy by making energy more expensive that it needs to be.

If energy is scarce, big government types will argue for greater government intervention to provide "equitable" distribution of energy. For example, last week House Democrats argued for nationalizing the nation's oil refineries.

John McCain's positions are well to the left of what I believe is best for America. His cap and trade proposals will not help our energy problems and although he supports more off shore drilling, he has yet to call for drilling in ANWR. However, he has some good ideas and Obama's commitment to ethanol and environmental special interests (as well as a knee-jerk liberalism) stand in the way of reasonable energy policies.


Rudi said...

This might be the only blog in the world where discussions of minimum wage and energy policy sandwich a youtube clip of the author's cover band in a living room.

That's some range.

Jon Vander Plas said...

The only one, for now. I'm sure the other political blogs will pick up on our youtube video soon.