Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Nobel Prizes Are Clearly Worthless

Here are some samples of the sort of brilliant thinking that gets you a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and gets you a job in the Clinton White House. From the estimable Joseph Stiglitz, pontificating from the ivory tower on the proposed deficit reduction plan put forth by the Bowles-Simpson committee….

Years of underinvestment in the public sector—in infrastructure, education and technology—mean that there are ample high-return opportunities. Tax revenues generated by the higher short- and long-term growth will more than pay the low interest costs, implying significant reductions in deficits. Any firm that could borrow at terms similar to those available to the U.S., and with such high return projects, would be foolish to pass up the opportunity. ....
With a quarter of all U.S. income going to the upper 1 percent, and America’s middle class actually facing lower incomes than a decade ago, there is only one way to raise more taxes: Tax the top.

A quick glossary for you. “Underinvestment” means not enough government deficit spending. “Tax the top” means even more taxes on the people who already pay the lion’s share of taxes and who are the ones who invest and create private sector jobs. So here is the solution: Spend more money that we don’t have Raise taxes on the very people we need to invest in growth Brilliant!

The deficit doesn’t matter to Mr. Stiglitz, even though even someone with a high school education understands that when we spend trillions more than we bring in, we have a serious spending problem. Taxing the top? That makes sense in what way? It takes away the incentive for people who are already rich to invest their money. If I have millions of dollars socked away, I will leave that money in the most tax favorable investment I can find unless the potential gains – taxes is greater than the risk I have to take. The problem with people like Mr. Stiglitz is that they exist in a world of theory and not in the real world where incentives and behavior matter. People who are rich got that way by being fairly smart believe it or not. Raise taxes and they will find ways to shield their money. The reality is that, neat theories and charts aside, raising taxes on the wealthy does not raise tax revenue.

All of this also presupposes a basic misunderstanding of wealth and money. To people on the far Left, every bit of wealth is the property of the Federal government. The only question is how much of your wealth the government will permit you to keep. It is a fundamentally flawed system that assumes that the fruits of your labor are by default the property of the nation unless the tax laws permit you to keep a portion of it. If we want to see real growth in the economy (which will lead to higher tax revenues by the way), we need to stop borrowing money, stop deficit spending and start leaving more money in the private sector to invest and create jobs. Real jobs, not made up jobs funded by taxes and borrowed money.

The greatest threat to our long-term prosperity revolves around the deficit. Period. With around $50,000 per person in debt already (and another $10,000,000,000,000 in new Obama-Debt over the next decade), we are at a precarious precipice. Our continued government spending at current levels is predicated on our ability to borrow money just to keep the government running from year to year (and creditors willingness to keep buying our debt). We are adding another trillion and a half to the national debt this year alone. As I mentioned, we are going to add almost ten trillion in new debt in the next ten years. As the Heritage Foundation pointed out: That is more debt than the federal government accumulated from 1789 to 2010 combined. That should give even the boys in the ivory tower pause.

We all knew that the Obama Presidency was going to be a milestone in history. Who knew that he was going to set new records for deficit spending, not for being the first black President? If he gets his advice from people like Joseph Stiglitz, let’s hope that House Republicans can keep new spending at bay long enough to oust Obama from office and send the Democratic Senate majority out with him before these people bankrupt America.

The real reason to defund public broadcasting

There are many in Congress and around the nation calling for a complete defunding of public broadcasting. This call has been going on for a long time but the recent “sting” operation where a leading NPR fundraiser was recorded slandering conservatives has given this movement new life. NPR and PBS know they are on the defensive more than usual and are broadcasting short informercials (at least on NPR) to try to rally support for public broadcasting. I am in full support of defunding public broadcasting but not primarily because of its liberal elitism.

While it is undeniably true that public broadcasting, especially NPR, is overtly liberal, that is not the prime motivation for defunding public radio and television. Granted there is something unsavory about a publically funded, unaccountable organization that is a shill for policies that will lead to more government spending and that presumably some of that spending will head their way. But there is more to it. Nor is the issue one of money. Public broadcasting is not a huge chunk of change in the grand scheme of things. Eliminate its funding entirely and the budget is still swimming in red ink. So why not leave it alone?

Public broadcasting should be defunded primarily because it is completely outside of the scope of what the Federal government should be doing.

Of all of the various ways that the Federal government finds to spend tax money (or more properly spending borrowed money on the hopes of paying it back someday with tax money), few are more egregiously outside of the scope of what the Federal government is Constitutionally tasked with than public broadcasting. Like hundreds of others Federal programs, public radio/TV is a luxury and a subtle example of social engineering. The underlying presumption is that the ignorant masses of Americans are too brain-dead to make consumer driven choices for quality programming. Without the tax-payer funded mechanism of public broadcasting, Americans would watch nothing but monster truck rallies and reality TV. That message might have made some sense when there were only three for-profit TV stations but in an age of hundreds of channels and the internet, that no longer holds true. Sure many people will watch mindless TV (much of which has the same subtle leftist slant) but many people also watch The History Channel, Discovery, a slew of news stations, National Geographic, etc. The days when PBS was the only station showing intellectually stimulating programming ended with the advent of cable and satellite TV. PBS is a relic of the days of rabbit ears and giant TV antennas next to houses.

The same with NPR which is even more overtly liberal. Once NPR was unique in terms of bringing substantive news and talk radio to the airwaves. Now talk radio is ubiquitous, news channels abound. Satellite radio gives listeners a ton of choices and those choices include what used to be something only NPR broadcast, i.e. classical music. Like baroque? There is a station for that! Like folk music? A station for that! Bluegrass, jazz, world music, on and on. Just like people don’t wait for the newspaper to get their news anymore, people don’t wait for All Things Considered to get their news. I listen to NPR because I have a fairly long commute but I do so understanding that the news I am getting is heavily slanted, in terms of what is said, what is not said, what is or is not covered and the expert talking heads that are called in to speak. When your weekly political round-up consists of two liberals (David Brooks and E.J. Dionne), you know you are not getting a balanced view of the issues of the day.

Is there a place for NPR and PBS? Sure. They just need to be self-supporting. If they really have a unique voice and a superior product, they should have no issue finding support from their affluent audience.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A simple solution

A number of states are increasing their efforts to enforce the Federal immigration laws that the Federal government has failed to enforce for decades. This includes my state of Indiana. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today talking about the reaction this is getting from farmers who are not in favor of stricter immigration laws: Immigration Bills Rile Farmers

Here is the argument that is made all the time to excuse lax immigration laws:

"Nobody wants illegal immigrants, but when you get down to the reality of the situation, farmers have to have workers to do the job," said Al Pearson, a peach and pecan farmer in Roberta. He said he hires only federally approved guest laborers to work his 3,600-acre farm, paying them $9.11 an hour plus benefits.

But the current federal system, involving approvals from multiple agencies, is slow and can't process enough legal workers for the state's large agricultural industry, he said. A bureaucratic glitch held up approvals for 100 Mexican workers for two weeks in February, setting back his tree pruning and other preparations for peach-picking season. "It frightened me because I didn't have a plan B. I don't have domestic workers," he said.

"There is no farm in this county that could continue without Mexican labor," said Robert Ray, a Crawford County farmer who for years led the agriculture committee in the Georgia House.

This argument boils down to: no one will do this work for low pay and people demand cheap food. What else are we going to do?

That is a bogus argument. The reality is that people make choices. Many people choose not to do the very difficult labor that immigrant farm workers do is hard. It is backbreaking, it is hot and it is boring.

There is another factor to consider. An awful lot of people are on the government dole and there is little incentive for them to get off said dole. Some may say there simply are no jobs but the huge number of illegal immigrants working in America shows that to be a lie. There are jobs, they probably are just not jobs a lot of people want to do.

With millions of illegal workers in this country and a corresponding huge number of people out of work or on perpetual government assistance, isn't the solution obvious? I get that no one "wants" to work in farm fields, or landscaping or janitorial services or meat packing plants but if the incentive for not working (i.e. public transfer payments) is severely curtailed, all of a sudden plucking chickens doesn't seem that bad. Americans used to do these jobs in far less pleasant conditions but as we disincentivized work, more people choose to not work. Eliminate welfare and clamp down on illegal immigration and kill two birds with one stone!

That probably is too common sense though, better to keep wasting money maintaining a porous border, not enforcing immigration laws and paying people to not work so that we need illegal immigrants to do the work instead. Brilliant.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Four weeks later in Hoosier land

While Governor Walker was finally able to pass the legislation he and Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate were elected to pass, here in Indiana we still are missing (well not “missing”, they are absent) our Hoosier House Democrats. Their absence has prevented the state House from conducting any real business for a month. I am very concerned that the Republican House leadership is considering “compromise” to coax the Democrats back because in this case compromise means that the majority with every right in the world to pass the legislation they choose through the democratic process will be required to abandon large pieces of their agenda and in return they get….Democrats coming back to Indiana. That is quite a deal. At least for the Democrats, not for Republicans or the citizens of Indiana.

The end result is that Democrats in Indiana have essentially declared the democratic process null and void. We held elections. In the course of those elections a majority of the state level legislative seats and the governorship were won by Republicans. By the will of the people, the legislative priorities and agenda of Republicans should at the very least be debated and voted on. That is just common sense and in keeping with the rule of law that has led to centuries of unbroken governance and peaceful transitions of political power in this country.

In spite of that, Democrats have decided to invalidate the votes of Hoosiers and declare that only complete surrender to the will and agenda of the minority will suffice. In the eyes of Indiana Democrats the only votes that counted were those cast for Democrats. The majority of Hoosiers who cast votes for Republicans were clearly duped and need to be saved from themselves. The whole thing is a stinking cauldron of arrogance, petulance and misplaced paternalism. Fortunately House Republicans are examining a way to get these bills passed even without the House Democrats gracing the Hoosier state with their collective presence:

Instead, he said, House Republicans will work with the Senate to have provisions that are caught in the standoff inserted into bills that have already passed the House and are awaiting Senate action.

The result: The House would need to take only an up-or-down vote on the Senate changes. If accepted, the bill could move to Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk.

Although those votes could not happen in the House unless Democrats return, this procedural end-run would allow Republicans to get legislative work done more quickly while stripping House Democrats of any chance to offer changes.

I think that is an excellent idea. House Democrats have abdicated their responsibilities and have forfeited their right to engage in debate and offering amendments.

Indiana Democrats made the case for their agenda last year and the voters rejected it. Now in a fit of undemocratic pouting Hoosier Democrats have declared that only their agenda can be advanced in spite of their minority status in both chambers. It is instructive to note that the GOP holds a 60-40 advantage in the House. This is not a razor thin margin, it is a solid majority. If the Indiana House GOP leadership capitulates here, it sets the stage for more shenanigans like this in the future.

Indiana and America as a whole needs strong leadership to face the serious financial issues that we collectively face. One party is making serious proposals to get our financial house in order. One party is proposing that any serious cuts are draconian and when they don’t get their way, they lead by fleeing.

Speaker Bosma, the issues we face are too serious and the time is too short to allow Democrats to derail any real reform in order to pay back their union puppet masters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Every day you owe the Chinese another $50

Here are some sobering statistics from the Washington Times today…

According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures released Monday, the budget deficit for February hit a staggering $223 billion - meaning the Obama administration added more in debt last month than was borrowed in all of 2007.

In one month, $223,000,000,000 in deficit spending. Wow. Here is another fun paragraph:

Since Barack Obama was sworn in as president, each American taxpayer’s share of the federal government’s IOU has grown to $50 per day - more than the average cell-phone user is billed in an entire month. The monthly share of the deficit is $1,500 per taxpayer - about what the average household spends on a mortgage. On an annual basis, each taxpayer owes $18,250 - more than an Old Dominion resident would pay in tuition at the University of Virginia or a nonresident would spend at the University of Maryland.

If you work and pay taxes, i.e. you are one of those working Americans liberals always claim to be speaking for, at the end of your work day today you inherit $50 in debt, spent by people in Washington D.C. on your behalf. Here is another way to look at it. If you make $10/hour, you need to work for five hours or more than half of a regular workday just to cover what the folks in D.C. are borrowing with your name on the promissory note.

Here is a final one to brighten your day….

Under Mr. Obama, government has been borrowing $4.6 billion each and every day.

Don’t worry though, Michael Moore says we aren’t broke.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Irony alert!

The risible and hygienically challenged Michael Moore joined the fray in Wisconsin. Little shock there since Wisconsin is known for its cheese and sausage but while he was there he engaged in a little delusional ranting….

Repeatedly saying "America is not broke," Moore said "the country is awash in wealth and cash ... It has been transferred in the greatest heist in history from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."

Uh, yeah. So Mr. Moore says we aren’t broke but rather the evil bankers and uber-rich (which I believe includes him) are hoarding it all. Apparently he doesn’t consider over a trillion and a half in deficit spending this year on top of our fourteen trillion dollars in debt to be a problem at all. In the magic world he lives in trees are made out of chocolate and trillion dollar deficits are not a big deal. He also said…

"Right now the Earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge," said Moore

If I were a mean person I might suggest that the Earth shaking has more to do with him being corpulent than with a seismic political change. If I were mean that is.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that our interest payments are a hidden threat that is only going to grow…

Without a change, in 10 years the federal government's net interest bill rises to $928 billion annually.

Almost a trillion dollars a year just to pay for debt that we accumulated decades earlier. That is more than our entire defense budget and those funds are largely going overseas, taking a trillion dollars in American wealth and sending it to China and other foreign nations. If you don’t see that as crippling to our economy in the near future, you simply are flat out ignorant. We are already paying $200,000,000,000 just to service the national debt this year. Guess how we are going to pay that $200 billion? If you said: by borrowing even more money, you are correct!

The extreme Left, guys like Michael Moore and John Kerry among others, seem completely oblivious to the reality that our nation is in really bad shape. Not because we tax too little but because we spend way too much. We get a lot of rallies and protests and vulgar shouting from the Left but no real solutions other than “raise taxes”. There is no leadership, no courage, no common sense on the Left. That leaves it up to conservatives to fix the mess liberals have created. Again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

John Kerry sez cuts of 1.649% are extremist and reckless

Political courage, Massachusetts style:

"I don't believe what we have from the House is a serious economic plan," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on CBS. "I think it's an ideological, extremist, reckless statement. If that were to be in fact put in place, it would contribute to the reversal of our recovery. ... It sets back GDP. We will lose 700,000, 200,000, 500,000 jobs, whatever we lose, 200 to 700, it moves against the recovery that we've worked so hard to achieve."

It takes some real effort to supplant Mike Dukakis as the most consistently inept Massachusetts politician but John Kerry keeps setting himself further in the lead every time he opens his mouth.

The House has proposed cuts of $61 billion. That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? When you look at it in the grand scheme of things though, it is barely a drop in the bucket. Cutting $61 billion from a $3.7 trillion budget is a reduction of 1.65%. Keep in mind that the budget is already spending over a trillion and a half in borrowed money that goes right to the national debt. Look at that number again, even if you subtract the proposed $61 billion in spending cuts:


That works out to over $5000 for every man, woman and child in America in debt. That is just this year alone, that doesn’t take into account the existing $14 trillion in debt. When you look at that number, it is even scarier. The national debt right now means that every man, woman and child in this country is already on the hook for about $45,000 in debt. When you look at personal income in America, it is in the low 30’s and that doesn’t count children. So we are already on average in hock to the tune of more than a years pay for every worker. How exactly are we going to ever tackle that debt when people like John Kerry think that a cut of 1.65% is “extremist”? How does Senator Kerry propose to address this crisis we are in right now, especially since liberal Democrats refuse to even consider serious entitlement reforms.

Of course, given that Senator Kerry is a good, walking the liberal line Massachusetts Democrat, he saw nothing at all “extremist”, “ideological” or “reckless” in borrowing and spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in a laughable and humiliatingly failed attempt at “stimulus”.

This is the issue that will define the standard of living in America fifty years from now. This is the issue that demands America’s leaders step up to the plate. A few have done so, Representative Paul Ryan and Michelle Bachmann and Senator Rand Paul. Governors like John Kasich, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie and Scott Walker. The ranks are pretty thin of politicians who are willing to do what is needed even if it costs them their position later on. History will judge the leaders of this nation for how they respond to the debt crisis we find ourselves in. This crisis in many ways is as grave as World War II and the Cold War. It is already painfully apparent that men like John Kerry are not going to fare well in the review of this pivotal time in our nation’s history.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Two great editorials today

Both from the Wall Street Journal...

The first is from Peggy Noonan and she has a great editorial on the public union issue and makes the very important point that this is about the unions and their power, not about individual union members: Public Unions Get Too 'Friendly'

Unions have been respected in America forever, and public employee unions have reaped that respect. There are two great reasons for this. One is that unions always stood for the little guy. The other is that Americans like balance. We have management over here and the union over here, they'll talk and find balance, it'll turn out fine.

But with the public employee unions, the balance has been off for decades. And when they lost their balance they fell off their pedestal.

When union leaders negotiate with a politician, they're negotiating with someone they can hire and fire. Public unions have numbers and money, and politicians need both. And politicians fear strikes because the public hates them. When governors negotiate with unions, it's not collective bargaining, it's more like collusion. Someone said last week the taxpayers aren't at the table. The taxpayers aren't even in the room.

This is not Republicans versus workers or the rich versus the middle class. In spite of the Left’s best efforts, aided as always by the willing accomplices and mouthpieces in the mainstream media, this is really a struggle within the middle-class.

I am not interested or attempting to bash union members. I have a sister who is a union public school teacher. My wife has a bunch of family members who are either active union members (electricians, operating engineers, etc.) or retired (carpenters, police officers). Union members are by and large just like non-union workers. There are hard workers and lazy workers in both camps. The issue is whether or not states can afford to continue offering the current salaries and benefits to state workers. The ability to pay them is not based on profits but on tax revenues and the sobering reality is that there is simply not enough revenue at the state level or handouts from Uncle Sam at the federal level to support the current levels of spending. Either the public unions need to go or people are going to lose their jobs.

The other editorial comes from Senator Jim DeMint making the case for eliminating the Federal subsidies for NPR and PBS: Public Broadcasting Should Go Private . As he points out, the executives at both organizations make a ton of money...

The executives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes the taxpayer money allocated for public broadcasting to other stations, are also generously compensated. According to CPB's 2009 tax forms, President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year. That's practically a pittance compared to Kevin Klose, president emeritus of NPR, who received more than $1.2 million in compensation, according to the tax forms the nonprofit filed in 2009.

If you think that is a lot, check out what the head of Sesame Workshop (i.e. Sesame Street) makes:

Meanwhile, highly successful, brand-name public programs like Sesame Street make millions on their own. "Sesame Street," for example, made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales from 2003-2006. Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. With earnings like that, Big Bird doesn't need the taxpayers to help him compete against the Nickleodeon cable channel's Dora the Explorer.

Gee Bert, why are we giving them Federal funds again?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It is not a "war on workers"

I saw this picture of protestors holding a sign saying: Stop The War On Workers


Some 88% of hard working Americans are NOT part of a union.

They work at least as hard as union workers.

They have families, mortgages, bills, car payments.

The 88% of non-union workers pay more for goods and services and pay higher taxes to support the inflated wages and benefits of unionized workers.

The real war on "workers" is the Federal government spending us into oblivion and expecting future workers to pay the bill.

That is all.

It is time to send this guy after the missing Democrats

Your money=government resources

Can anybody explain to me why anyone still reads the New York Times? The Times ran an editorial today, The Hollow Cry of ‘Broke’, that amounts to a 579 words of sheer partisan nonsense. According to the editors of the New York Times, what is really going on all around us is that mean Republicans are trying to crush unions (you know, the unions that give virtually every nickel of their ill-gotten “dues” to try to elect Democrats) and those dastardly elephants are using a phony debt crisis as cover. The Times wants you to believe this:

The federal deficit is too large for comfort, and most states are struggling to balance their books. Some of that is because of excessive spending, and much is because the recession has driven down tax revenues. But a substantial part was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich. As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.

Ah, so it has nothing to do with overspending. I love it, the Federal deficit of over $1,000,000,000,000 is merely "too large for comfort", as if it is a slightly oversized sweater. What a marvelous example of gross understatement. It has nothing to do with spending though. It is all because of tax cuts for the rich which reduce the amount of money that Uncle Sam graciously gives to the states to support their overspending. Apparently the national debt is just a minor inconvenience, certainly nothing to worry about and besides we should raise taxes anyway! I love the language used here “drain government of resources”. See, here in fly-over country your money is….your money. In New York apparently your money merely amounts to “government resources” that Uncle Sam has graciously allowed you to hang onto (so far). One wonders if the New York Times editorial board would favor a 100% tax rate with the Federal government deciding how much to give each citizen as an allowance. I don’t think that is too far fetched.

Then in a mind-boggling switch, the next paragraph makes this ridiculous claim:

In a matter of days, the Senate will be forced to take up the House bill to make more than $61 billion in ruinous cuts over the next seven months, all under the pretext of “fiscal responsibility.”

Keep in mind that the 2011 fiscal year budget is around $3,690,000,000,000. Cuts of $61 billion amounts to a measly 1.65% of the total budget. 1.65% So $61,000,000,000 in cuts is “ruinous” while $14,000,000,000,000 in national debt is merely uncomfortable. What?! How can we survive as a nation without subsidizing Elmo and the butchers at Planned Parenthood?! We will be ruined, ruined I say!

Time for a little perspective here. As the CATO Institute points out, even with the “ruinous” $61 billion in “cuts” being proposed, the Federal government is still going to spend more in fiscal 2011 than fiscal 2010 in both total spending and discretionary outlays. Only at the New York Times can spending more money than the year prior be considered “ruinous cuts”. Imagine someone with a weight problem deciding to diet this year by ingesting only 3100 calories a day instead of 3000 calories like last year.

Because too many people still take the New York Times seriously and base their opinions on what it’s editorial pages say, we collectively have our heads in the sand. We have been kicking the can down the road for decades, under Republican and Democratic control alike, and it has to stop. What must be done is going to make people mad. It is going to be unpopular. It also must be done. Our national fiscal policy is like parents racking up credit card debt to buy themselves luxurious vacations and sumptuous meals out and then being able to pass that credit card debt onto their children. It is not merely irresponsible to keep spending ourselves into debt in this manner, it is immoral. Whatever modicum of respectability the New York Times once perhaps had has left the building.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Does this sound familiar?

Stop by the gas station today and you are going to pay a lot more to fill up our tank than you did last week. Oil is over $100/barrel again and that could go higher depending on what happens in the Middle East. If somehow this conflagration extends to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, there is no telling how high oil prices could go. I don’t wish to sound alarmist but $200 is not out of the question and that would mean some crazy gas prices here in America. For many Americans doubling the cost of gasoline and diesel would be crippling. The costs to get to work, the cost of petroleum based consumer goods, the cost of food and other products, all would go up even more than they already are. Best case scenario, the revolutionary fervor settles down once Mad Dog Kaddafi gets his wish to die as a “martyr”. Worst case the U.S. gets militarily involved in Libya and the region continues to blow up. Regardless, it looks like we are headed for a summer of painfully high gas prices which is going to really hurt places that depend on travel and tourism.

If this all sounds familiar, well that is because it is. Just a few years ago gas prices were through the roof. At that time people finally started talking about adding to our oil exploration, domestic drilling and refining capacity. We finally seemed to be getting serious about energy independence. I know that complete independence is probably not feasible but certainly an independence that mitigates the huge swings we see when something bad happens in the Middle East and that allows the U.S. to be less beholden to OPEC is plausible. Exemplified by Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill!” mantra, the American public was on board with responsibly increasing American domestic oil production.

What has happened since the gas price spikes a few years back? Nothing.

As near as I can tell we have taken no concrete steps to increase oil production. The exact opposite seems to be true, fueled by the BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the BP spill, gas prices settled down and Americans as is our modus operandi completely forgot the high gas prices, relegating them to the lore of Americana like the Wild West and Great Depression even though they occurred just a few years ago. Now we find ourselves with our proverbial pants down as gas prices skyrocket and we still have no control over production.

The problem is that building capacity, drilling rigs, refineries, etc. takes time. Lots of it. This isn’t like adding a few new sewing machines in a textile factory to increase production. The cost and time and regulations to build oil production capacity require that we get started before prices hit crisis levels. Once again our elected officials aided by an apathetic public have left America unprepared and at the mercy of sweethearts like Kaddafi and Hugo Chavez.

Instead of borrowing hundreds of billions in a failed gambit to stimulate the economy, a better course of action would have been to fast track oil exploration permits. Instead of trying to tax the huge profit of oil companies, give them an incentive to invest that money and in doing so create jobs now and in the future, jobs that unlike stimulus money not only don’t add to the deficit, they actually increase tax revenue by providing secure, high paying blue collar jobs, the exact sort of jobs that have disappeared in the economic downturn. We have been drilling for oil offshore since the late 1800’s for crying out loud! Given the need for jobs combined with the national security threat posed by oil dependence, it is high time that environmental alarmists take a back seat to the adults in this country.

I would rather have young American men at home drilling and refining our own oil than dying in the Libyan desert in an attempt to stabilize that region of the world.