The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Public Opinion: Drill NOW
But here's an eye opener. Recent polling data from Gallup show the percentage of voters blaming oil companies for skyrocketing gasoline prices has dropped from 34 percent to 20 percent over the past year. At the same time, support for more drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas has increased to 57 percent from 41 percent.
And the candidates remain blind to these shifts.
Obama continues to lambaste oil companies while congressional Democrats push for cap-and-trade. They're missing the point, big time. The public wants more energy and more fuel to cut high prices and spur economic growth. But the costly cap-and-trade plan would produce less fuel and less growth. It would only raise gas pump prices while mounting a Gosplan-type taxing, spending, and regulating program that would be the moral equivalent of Hillarycare on nationalized medicine.
Sen. McCain has an opening here. Yet he, like Obama, would have voted for cap-and-trade, which went down to defeat in last week's Senate vote. And while Mr. McCain favors some off-shore production and has been strong on nuclear development, he is against drilling in ANWR Alaska.
Then there's the oil nobody is talking about. The Bakken fields beneath North Dakota, Montana, and Canada hold an estimated 400 billion barrels of oil. In comparison, Saudi Arabia's biggest field, Gahawar, has an estimated 55 billion barrels, while ANWR has an estimated 10.4 billion barrels.
Hat tip to Mark Perry at the Carpe Diem blog site for these figures. Perry also is reporting a Bureau of Land Management study showing 279 million acres under federal management where oil and gas could potentially be extracted. But more than half of this is totally off limits. Off-shore, where another 86 billion barrels lie in wait, is also restricted. Then there's liquefied natural gas, oil shale, and the various coal-to-liquid carbon-capture and sequestration technologies that would be priced out of the market by cap-and-trade.
The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal, but we can't produce. We're still the world's third-largest oil producer, but we could be the Saudi Arabia of oil if our companies were free to drill. Oil CEOs like Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil and David O'Reilly of Chevron keep saying this. But politicians aren't heeding their message.
Israeli saber-rattling against Iran could have accounted for some of last week's huge oil spike. And the unemployment story may not be as bad as the May jobs report suggests. An unexpected inflow of teenagers probably bloated the jobless figure by a couple tenths of 1 percent. And economist Jerry Bowyer points out that an unprecedented hike in the minimum wage may be derailing students looking for summer work. However, in a sign of future job improvement, the civilian labor force grew by nearly 600,000, meaning that more people looking for work could signal recovery. Weekly jobless claims are near 350,000, not the 500,000 of past recessions. Overall, at 5.5 percent, unemployment continues to be historically low.
Read the whole thing.