Gulf Oil Spill Just Another Excuse for Obama to Raise Taxes

It didn’t take Obama long in his Oval Office speech last night to change the subject from his administration’s incompetence to his next grandiose scheme to push America further away from the free market principles which made this country great. As Rahm Emanuel, his consigliere, has said, never let a serious crisis go to waste. In his speech, Obama was supposed to discuss the oil spill and what his administration is doing to address it. It also would have been helpful for him to provide an explanation as to why he continues to put the interests of union thugs ahead of the victims of the spill, something Governor Palin brought up in her interview with Bill O’Reilly last night.

Obama, however, couldn’t be bothered with such minutia. In his mind, he is above this sort of thing; a deity free to follow more heroic pursuits commensurate with his self-proclaimed magnificence. He clearly wanted to get through the “detail” portion of the speech as soon as possible so he could get to the part where he exploits the disaster by pushing his next glorious venture: an economy crippling tax increase on energy better known as Cap and Tax. Before reaching this point, Obama was his usual aloof and disinterested self. Once he began talking about the energy tax he showed a little more, dare I say it, passion. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by this since growing government and raising taxes has always been Obama’s passion, consequences be damned.

What I found most telling was that Obama, amazingly, admitted that he has no idea how or if cap and tax will ever lead to energy independence. But don’t worry, he assures us. We did, after all, land “a man safely on the surface of the moon.” Oh, I see, he wants to tax and spend America into oblivion for a program he admits may not even work because we landed a man on the moon. It all makes perfect sense now, right?

The millions of “green” jobs Obama promises from Cap and Tax are a figment of his imagination. Obama and his team of left-wing philosophers from Chicago have no idea how jobs – real jobs that create wealth and higher living standards – are created. Despite all their, education, practically none of them have any real-world experience in creating jobs and meeting a payroll. At the very least, they would benefit from a course in remedial economics. Whatever number of jobs are created by Cap and Tax will be dwarfed by those Cap and Tax destroys.

The simple fact of the matter is that if these so-called green jobs made sense, the private sector would have already created them. The fact that they haven’t tells us all we need to know. In a nutshell, these jobs are not economic. The products which will be produced by Obama’s green jobs don’t have a market because, well, they don’t work. If they did, an entrepreneur would already be providing them. This, of course, is known to those of us outside the liberal cocoon as free-market capitalism.

The only way to get consumers to buy that which they don’t want is to force them to do so. In Obama’s case, he wants to foist an enormous energy tax on the nation so that the rates for existing energy sources “necessarily skyrocket”. In so doing, Obama hopes to impose a false economic efficiency on green energy by making it artificially competitive with our abundant traditional sources of energy. This is an incredible waste of resources which could better be used elsewhere (e.g. paying down the debt). As an example, we’ve wasted tens of billions of dollars subsidizing ethanol and it’s still not economic. Indeed it wouldn’t even exist absent taxpayer provided subsidies. Put another way, Obama seeks to terminate productive private sector jobs and replace them with unproductive government supported jobs that the free market, left to its own devices, would never create.

Compelling the U.S. economy to allocate limited resources inefficiently by government edict is community organizing on steroids. It’s also economic suicide. Underlying this hopelessly naïve world view is Obama’s unbounded faith in big government. In Obama’s mind, the government only needs to pass a law (i.e. Cap and Tax) and a new source of energy will miraculously be created. Moreover, he believes it’s impossible for a new source of energy (or anything else of consequence) to be created without government involvement. To rational people, such misplaced trust in the capabilities of politicians and bureaucrats, who can’t even manage the cash for clunkers program, is hilarious. For the true believers on the left, however, it’s an article of faith.

Obama and his devoted followers on the far left insist that conservatives don’t want a new source of energy to be developed (I don’t know if they honestly believe this nonsense but they certainly repeat it often enough). This is likely based on the liberal mantra that conservatives are in love with “Big Oil” and, therefore, don’t want to push the oil companies to develop an alternate energy source that’s not in their best interest. To be sure, liberal’s basic point that oil companies have no more incentive to develop a new product to replace oil than, for example, buggy whip manufactures had to invent the automobile, is true. But it’s also irrelevant; a deliberate missing of the point.

No conservative I’m aware of has ever suggested that a new source of energy should necessarily be developed by an oil company or, for that matter, any particular business. It’s far more likely that when a new source of energy is invented, it will be done so by a business we have not yet heard of and run by an individual not yet born (yes, we’re that far away from an economic alternative to fossil fuels). It’s also a good bet this new source of energy will be developed without any government involvement in a setting not unlike Steve Jobs’ garage.

What’s the incentive to develop a new source of energy without government involvement? The answer, of course, is obvious to those outside the beltway: money. This is loosely what Adam Smith referred to as the invisible hand of the market. Whoever invents a new source of energy that effectively replaces fossil fuels will be richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined, multiplied by a factor of 10 (at least). If you serve the masses you’ll eat with the classes. We don’t need to give the government something else to screw up. The incentive is already there for the free market to develop a new source of energy. Market Capitalism works, not divine intervention by government officials. Obama, evidently, believes that deep thinkers like Ed Markey or John Kerry can legislate a new energy source into existence and all he has to do to achieve immortality is sign it. One has to wonder if Obama also believes that Bill Gates would have developed Windows if he was working under a government contract.

Everyone agrees that we need to develop new sources of energy. But Cap and Tax will do nothing to further this goal. If anything, it will push its development farther into the future than it already is. There’s no evidence that an economically viable source of energy to replace fossil fuels is even close to being developed, and nothing Obama says or does, including destroying the energy sector, can change that. It’s pure hubris on Obama’s part to assume we can replace abundant and proven sources of energy with “green energy” that does not yet exist while maintaining anything approaching a modern standard of living. And let’s be clear, Cap and Tax’s requirement that we either idle our existing resources or use them inefficiently guarantees that our living standards will decline precipitously.

Governor Palin has consistently advocated an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, from her time as Governor of Alaska to the present. In a recent Facebook Note, she noted her long-standing commitment to the long-term goal of developing renewable resources for the future while utilizing our vast existing resources until such time as an alternate source of reliable energy can be developed:

As I explained in an article in National Review last year, conventional sources like natural gas “can act as a clean ‘bridge fuel’ to a future when more renewable sources are available.” I do not, as the President mistakenly believes, think we can “drill, baby, drill” our way out of all of our troubles. As I have consistently stated, we need an “all of the above” approach to energy independence that combines conventional drilling with energy conservation and renewable-energy development. My record in Alaska clearly shows my commitment to this “all of the above” approach. Over 20 percent of Alaska’s electricity currently comes from renewable sources. As governor, I put forward a long-term plan to increase that figure to 50 percent by 2025, which is the most ambitious renewable energy target in the nation. I take great pride in helping to make Alaska, in the words of the New York Times, “a Frontier for Green Power,” even as we continue to embrace the need to “drill, baby, drill” at the same time.

Alaska can be that frontier for renewable energy only because our conventional oil and gas reserves provide us with “a bridge” to a greener energy future. In fact, Alaska has enough reserves of both oil and gas to help the United States cross that bridge – if only we are allowed to drill!

Governor Palin’s approach to America’s energy needs is based on commonsense free market principles. Her approach is also based on a sober assessment of what is technically feasible in the foreseeable future given the current state of the art in energy technology. There is absolutely nothing on the drawing board that will replace fossil fuels for as far as the eye can see. As a country, we can’t afford to waste any more money on politically hatched schemes that have no chance of working. As Mark Steyn recently said, we’re too broke to be this stupid.

Like Governor Palin, I believe in American exceptionalism. Anything is possible with entrepreneurial capitalism if given enough time. Throughout our country’s history, our free market economy has fostered an environment favorable to incredible innovation. More technological advancements have occurred in the last 100 years than in the entirety of human history prior to that. A great many of these advancements were achieved by Americans. Since our founding, American ingenuity has propelled the world forward. Bell, Edison and the Wright Brothers come to mind.

But the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for such innovation requires a free economy, not one burdened by layer upon layer of onerous government regulation and control. There’s a reason the personal computer wasn’t developed in Russia. In last night’s performance, Obama claimed he wanted to “unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny”. He then proceeded to promote a huge new tax which would prevent this from happening. The contradiction eluded Obama utterly, and is illustrative of how little grasp he has on how the economy actually works.

As last night’s performance makes clear, he seriously believes that a massive new energy tax, to go along with all his other taxes, will somehow result in the development of a magic bullet that will end our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels. Obama is fully committed to this nightmare and will use the full power of the presidency to ram it through Congress before he loses his ability to do so in November. If he’s successful, the next president will have an enormous mess on her hands to clean up…even bigger than it will be already.

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