Views on politics and current events

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Terrorists Within

With all the talk about the war on terror, the focus seems to be on places and people far removed from this country. It is a legitimate concern, but what about the terrorists within? Not radical Islamic terrorists, but the economic terrorists that continue to wreak havoc with the American economy. The oil companies and their accomplices; federal, state and local governments.

Exxon Oil made a record 9.9 billion dollars profit last quarter. A profit made at the expense and abuse of consumers. Shortages were caused by interruptions in refining crude oil, they say. Blame it on the lack of refineries, natural disasters. Raise the price of gasoline until there is a big squawk, then drop it a little. Consumers tend to forget that after the price comes down gasoline remains higher than it was before.

And the government? With billions of gallons of oil held in federal reserves for a ‘rainy day’, how much more rain is needed? Katrina wasn’t enough? But it is to the government’s advantage to maintain the high demand for gasoline. This administration and congress can talk up their tax cuts all they want, but there are no tax reductions for gasoline and other fuels. Could this be a reason that this country is so slow to take advantage of already existing technology to produce and use alternative, renewable sources of energy? Ethanol, geo-thermal power, wind farms, hydrogen, are all renewable and cause less environmental impact. So why aren’t we taking advantage of them? Too much money to be made with petroleum products. Too much power being wielded by the ones that control petroleum products, and too much tax revenue being generated by petroleum products. As long as that is the case, the American consumer will pay, the economy will suffer, and our dependence on foreign oil will only get worse.

But congress has an answer. A windfall profits tax on the oil companies. Doesn’t do a thing to reduce prices or dependence, but the extra revenue would come in handy for pork barrel projects, no doubt. I’ve got a better idea. To demonstrate how alternative forms of energy can be productive, install a wind farm near Washington D.C. With all the windbags in that town, would the wind turbines ever stop?

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