Monday, May 12, 2008

The Truth isn't always nice to hear

I really hated the title of the following article, yet I find it hard to argue too much with the contents. Is it a case of "Sad, but true?" You decide:

Glenn Beck: U.S. is a suicidal superpower
[...] Food and gas prices have been all over the news lately, and even a big dumb rodeo clown like me can see that it's all connected. Our policies, which try to cater to everyone from oil company executives to environmentalists, end up benefiting no one -- and now we're all paying the price.

I know that real economists probably will say that the causes of these skyrocketing prices are extremely complicated to understand, but the truth is that it's actually pretty simple: We've done this to ourselves.

I don't know if it's because of our arrogance, our stupidity or maybe both, but I believe that history may one day judge America as the most suicidal superpower of all time. After all, what country that cares about its future would do what America has done to its supply of food and fuel, two of the most critical things that any civilization needs to survive?

For example, look at the way we treat our food supply. We've spent decades giving billions of dollars in government subsidies with incentives for the wrong things, we've mandated that huge areas of farmland stay open for "conservation" and we're using grains that could feed tens of millions of people to make a crappy biofuel that you can't even buy anywhere. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Beck's got plenty more to say about it too. I don't like reading it, because it's harsh, yet it reminds me of the adage "the truth hurts".
We naturally hate pain, but the pain of hurt is always a warning, and one that you are meant to heed. Will we?

I've just found it incredible that our nation would be so careless with things as basic as Food and Fuel. Yet it's not as if nobody has tried to foresee and deal with some of this. If we had begun environmentally-conscious safe drilling in ANWAR 10 years ago, we would have more fuel now. It would not have solved all our fuel problems, but it would have helped considerably. If we had built more gas refineries it would have helped lower gas prices now. Nuclear power is more viable than ever, with 80% of nuclear waste being recyclable, and the potential to recycle or render safe the remaining 20% with future technology.

President Bush has pushed for these and other solutions, but has been blocked at every turn by radical environmentalists, who instead have pushed for inefficient disasters like turning our food into fuel. The Republicans will take a beating for going along with this Al-Gore Democrat lunacy, and so they should. Yet the blame should be spread around; there are representatives on both sides of the aisle that have gotten too far out of touch with reality, that they could participate in helping this to happen. They all need a wake up call.

Not all of Beck's article is doom and gloom, there are some bright spots:

[...] Fortunately, there is some good news in all of this: Oil prices this high mean that a lot of formerly dismissed alternatives will finally make good economic sense.

For example, back in 1980, Congress passed the Energy Security Act, which led to the creation of something called the Synthetic Fuels Corp. (SFC). Lawmakers provided SFC with up to $88 billion in loans and incentives to get started (the equivalent of about $230 billion in today's dollars) with the goal of creating two million barrels a day of synthetic oil within seven years.

So why aren't you putting SFC oil into your SUV right now? Well, it turns out that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries didn't appreciate the competition so they started bringing down the price of oil. From 1980, when SFC launched, to 1986, when it was shut down, oil went from more than $39 a barrel to less than $8 a barrel. Suddenly, synthetic oil didn't seem so important anymore.

In announcing the SFC's closure, then-Energy Secretary John Herrington said that oil prices had simply dropped too low to make it a viable business.

But the good news is that those economics don't work anymore. The state of Montana, which is leading the synthetic fuel charge, says we can now make it for somewhere around $55 a barrel. That's more than a 50 percent discount from what it costs to buy the real stuff.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to use OPEC's price gouging and monopoly against it. [...]

It's time to abandon the policies of political correctness and emotional hysteria. We need to start actually supporting policies that are going to work, and insisting that our politicians support an implement them, and stop playing politically-correct games with the basics of our survival.

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