Posted by Charity on August 4th, 2008

Obama and the Surge

I was just reading an interview of Sen. Barack Obama by Katie Couric. About a third of the way through the transcript, Ms. Couric struggles to make sense of Sen. Obama’s statement that knowing what he knows now – that the surge was successful in reducing the violence in Iraq – he would still not have supported the troop surge in Iraq.

Sen. Obama is attempting to maintain a delicate balancing act. If he admits that the surge worked, he admits that he was wrong and Sen. John McCain was right. If he refuses to acknowledge that the surge worked, he looks, at best, extremely arrogant, at worst, ignorant of the situation on the ground there.

So, he tries to shift the focus of the conversation from whether or not the surge is working to whether or not we should be in Iraq.

The problem with that is we are in Iraq and we will be if and when Obama takes on his role as president. We need to know what he will do as president, how he will respond to the current situation – the war in Iraq.

We already know that he opposed the war, but the next president will need to deal with the reality that the war is in progress. Given that, are we better served with a president who supported a military maneuver that yielded success or one who not only opposed that successful maneuver, but who cannot even admit that he was wrong?

Oil Prices and Offshore Drilling

I keep hearing that domestic drilling for oil will do nothing to help lower gas prices today. Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard, explains in the Wall Street Journal how any steps taken to increase the future supply of oil will decrease the prices today.

So why the conflicting views?

As long as the left can convince Americans that the only way to lower gas prices is to decrease demand (which is one way to affect prices, just not the only way), then we will have no choice but to decrease demand, through conservation and, ultimately, alternative sources.

Replacing oil with an alternative energy source is the main concern for the left – not reducing oil prices. But the only way to get mainstream America on board is by repeating the mantra that there is no other way to reduce prices, until said mantra is accepted as truth.

Enter offshore drilling.

If America was able to increase domestic oil production, thus reducing prices, the support for alternative energy sources would wane.

I have nothing against alternative energy sources, but the issue that most people, myself included, are concerned more about is the rising prices of gas and food.

As long as the left is primarily concerned with promoting alternative energy at the expense of policies that would reduce prices of petroleum products, they are working against the interests of Americans. Period.

I know that sounds harsh, but that is what it boils down to.

We can make changes in our energy policy and work toward alternatives, but in the meantime, our society runs on gas and the current price levels are making life more difficult for many people.

If our government insists on interfering with our economy, as it does, then priority one should be focusing short term policy on lowering gas prices, while making the hunt for energy alternatives a longer term goal.

Windfall Profits and Government Rebates

Speaking of energy, Sen. Barack Obama announced his plan to give Americans an emergency energy rebate of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families to be paid for by a windfall profits tax on oil companies.

Where to start…

First, any new tax on oil companies will translate to higher prices at the pump. Prices are just now starting to fall, so why would Sen. Obama want to do something to make them go back up?

Second, what’s with this new trend of the government handing out checks to people when the economy gets bumpy? Is that really a function of the federal government? (Hint: no.)

And I have to point out that when oil companies post profits, it is not like one guy is pocketing all that cash. The profits benefit the shareholders, including anyone with oil company stock in their retirement portfolio, which accounts for over 40% of ExxonMobil’s stock.

Finally, do we really want to start down the path where the government decides who is making too much profit? Where do we draw the line at what constitutes “windfall profits”? And in a free country, can we really have a government that tells individuals or companies that they are making too much money? (Again: no.)

This is just an all around bad idea, a gross expansion of government power, and just the beginning of the socialist utopian fantasy that we can expect to see more of in an Obama presidency.

Why did this have to be the year that the GOP is running such a lackluster candidate?

That’s all for this week. In case you missed it, She’s Right is now published every Monday. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

9 Responses to “The Surge, Oil Prices, and Windfall Profits…”

  1. A Windfall Profits Tax impacts more than the oil companies.

    There are hundreds of thousands of people who are royalty owners. The average well in the USA produces something like 10 barrels per day. Under a Windfall Profits Tax scheme, these royalty owners will see their monthly royalty checks reduced 50% or more.

    Additionally, the Oil Producing States impose a production tax on the oil produced in their state. Under a Windfall Profits Tax scheme, these states will see a reduction in their production tax income of 50% or more.

    Those of us who oppose Obama and his Windfall Profits Tax scheme need to mobilize the hundreds of thousands of royalty owners and the tens of millions of people who live in the oil producing states.

    These people need to understand that in no uncertain terms a Windfall Profits Tax will be a big hurt upon their income.

  2. I agree with you about offshore drilling.
    We’re capable of producing most if not all of our own energy domestically (especially if we went nuclear for all our electricity needs). Not ideal, but possible.
    It’s the Democrats who have hamstrung our domestic energy production and put us in this mess. Now they come in and offer the “solution” of alternative energy. Hey, ethanol is working great for us. The only downside I can see is the increase in food costs here and the food shortages around the third world. But this too fits into the environmentalist strategy of reducing the world’s population. It’s win – win for them.

    Still, I believe that Badak Hussein will fix everything, so I don’t care about his ‘contradictions’ or his ‘inconsistencies’ or your implication that he’s not fit to be president.
    He’s the real deal. I’m willing to bet the future of the nation on it!

  3. The “surge” was a failure because the stated intent of the surge was to give the Iraqis time to work out a political solution, which never happened. The real purpose of the “surge” was to ensure that the War in Iraq was prolonged through the end of Bushy Boy’s term…mission accomplished there.

    “The problem with that is we are in Iraq and we will be if and when Obama takes on his role as president.”

    And when he becomes President, our role in Iraq will be reduced. McSame apparently is fine continuing the War as is almost indefinitely.

    Gee, the conservative WSJ is in favor of more oil drilling…what a surprise. Conserving and using our resources more efficiently will also increase our supply (just like they did in the 1970s & 1980s), but we can’t have that, can we? Getting off our “addiction to oil” (GWB’s words, not mine) requires new thinking & new ways of doing things. I’ve never heard that the cure for *any* addiction is MORE of what you happened to be addicted to.

    Blaming the rest of the world for high oil prices while the USA consumes more oil than any other country in the world (actually, we consume more oil than Japan and most of Europe *combined*) is silly. China & India combined only consume a small fraction of what we do right now, and China can produce most of the oil that they use daily. China also gets a large amount of their energy from hydro power. No one even has an accurate guess as to how much oil Russia has right now.

    “Replacing oil with an alternative energy source is the main concern for the left – not reducing oil prices.”

    Replacing oil as a primary source of energy in this country WILL reduce oil prices.

    “If America was able to increase domestic oil production, thus reducing prices, the support for alternative energy sources would wane.”

    This is, in a word, insane. I’m sorry, but the oil kick that America is still on big-time is going to be coming to an end in about 50 years or so due to Peak Oil, whether we like it or not. To not plan for that eventuality NOW is reckless, short-sighted, self-serving for the oil industry, and against the interests of the American people.

    “First, any new tax on oil companies will translate to higher prices at the pump.”

    Now, let’s look at the history of the Windfall Profits Tax in the 1980s. Oil & gas prices went down & U.S. oil production went up for much of the time that it was in place.

    “We’re capable of producing most if not all of our own energy domestically”

    We have *never* been able to drill enough oil in this country to satisfy the current level of demand. You guys would have a better chance at growing wings & flying than getting another nuclear plant running in this country.

    “It’s the Democrats who have hamstrung our domestic energy production and put us in this mess.”

    And what exactly was the GOP doing during their complete control of the federal govt. for 6 six years? Oh yea, nothing good on this issue.

    Why is only half the page being used up for this website? The right half of my screen is all white & grey.

  4. “Why is only half the page being used up for this website? The right half of my screen is all white & grey.”

    The white is the sidebar. If you scroll up, you’ll see that it is being used for lots of things.

    The gray is the background. The reason it looks so big is that the blog is left justified, rather than centered. It’s actually pretty common for a blog to have a lot of background space (see VermontTiger.com or VermontDailyBriefing.com, for example), but the left justification is kind of unusual. I am not a huge fan of it, but I do not have the time to try to change it right now and this template was the only one that had all of the other features that I wanted.

  5. As long as the left is primarily concerned with promoting alternative energy at the expense of policies that would reduce prices of petroleum products, they are working against the interests of Americans. Period.

    That’s not right.

    Reducing the price of oil is not nearly as important as finding alternative energy sources. Oil is a finite resource and world production is at it’s peak right now. The price will rise as a matter of supply and demand, not because of anything politicians do or don’t do. We may find some more domestic oil, but it will only be a marginal amount. Drill and see. It’s not going to help. The world is running out of the stuff. That’s just math.

    Oil may drop a few bucks here and there, especially as we approach an election. But the days of cheap oil are gone forever.

    I agree with you about the “windfall profits” tax, however. I don’t think it’s rational to single out a single industry to raise taxes on.

  6. Some of those ‘windfall profits’ are my retirement. And a lot of the profits are re-invested in exploration…and researching alternative energy sources.

    I have no problem with alternative energy sources, except that it is rather amusing to hear the Dems complain about how drilling won’t affect the short term. As if inventing and distributing an alternative weren’t at least as far into the future as drilling.

  7. New look, same defending the indefensible.

    Why isn’t the press asking McCain if he knew then what is known now about all the lies leading up to Iraq, would he still have supported the war? That seems to be much more important. I’d still oppose the surge.

  8. Extremely insightful, someone needs to put a stop to this.

  9. “And a lot of the profits are re-invested in exploration…and researching alternative energy sources.”

    Thanks for repeating the oil companies throw-away line on this issue. The fact is that we really CAN have alternative energy (research) and less oil…in fact, soon enough, we’ll have no choice but that.