Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crony Capitalism - Obama Picks Winners & Losers

After criticism for not responding with a public statement quickly enough and after denying the residents of the Louisiana Gulf Coast a face to face visit for two weeks - he was too busy flying around the country in campaign mode for his legislative agenda - Obama did finally visit the Louisiana Gulf Coast and made a promise to the local officials and residents that he would not forget them. He pledged to stand with them. A funny thing happened on the way to recovery...

There was absolutely no mention of the Gulf oil spill in the State of the Union address delivered by President Obama Tuesday night. No mention of the eleven lives lost in the initial explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, either.

“You’re not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind,” the president declared in Grande Isle, La. on May 28. “The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story; but we will not. We are on your side and we will see this through. We’re going to keep at this every day until the leak has stopped, until this coastline is clean, and your communities are made whole again. That’s my promise to you.”

As Rep Joe Wilson yelled last year, "You lie!" , President Obama. Even after local Congress people reminded him of his pledge and encouraged him to talk about the disaster in his speech, there was not one word uttered.

In advance of Obama’s speech, lawmakers of both parties representing the Gulf states had urged the president to talk about the need for new offshore oil drilling, which has been effectively halted since the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last April, unleashing an undersea gusher that spurted unchecked for months. In October, the Obama administration officially lifted a moratorium on new drilling, but no new permits have been issued, sidelining thousands of oil workers.

You see, instead of making it right, this human and environmental disaster, President Obama chose to make it his goal to shut down offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly before the tragic events of April 20, 2010, President Obama lifted bans on offshore drilling in other spots, grudgingly, and faked an acceptance of the necessity of all forms of energy production. The Deepwater Horizon explosion and the loss of eleven souls was an excellent opportunity for Obama to renege on his lifting of drilling bans and to double down on existing offshore drilling.

Obama decided to do as politicians do when they run out of ideas - he formed a commission to investigate and report back to him on new policy recommendations. He placed on this commission lots of folks with absolutely no experience in the oil drilling industry. He appointed the former governor of Florida - a strident anti-drilling ideologue - as the chairman of the commission. The illegal drilling moratoriums were argued in court and the administration lost every argument to keep them in place. Thousands lost jobs and companies went out of business. The Gulf coast is still recovering. Plus, still cleaning up spots that were oil soaked.

The usual results occurred. Oil drilling is bad. Oil companies are evil. Stockholders and executives are not entitled to dividends created out of greed. And, oh yeah, BP threw billions of dollars at Team Obama to make it all go away.

So, fast forward to the State of the Union address. What does Obama do? In order to justify billions of dollars in "investment" in "green" energy, he decides to praise all forms of energy acquisition - natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar, wind. No mention of oil drilling except to mention he'd really like to put an end to the incentives and tax breaks that oil companies receive to explore, drill and then produce crude oil and also natural gas. Take that, Louisiana.

Speaking about investing - spending - money in new technology and research for energy development he said: "We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. (Applause.) I don’t know if -- I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. (Laughter.) So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s."

Maybe my sense of humor has been dulled. I don't think it is funny that companies would make money and work for success. So, instead of continuing with proven technology and an energy source that is here now, let's throw more money at technology and 'green' energy that won't come online for decades. Does he not realize that fossil fuel will be needed until everything else is in place? Of course he does, he just chooses to put politics over the American way of life. He wants to choose the winners and losers. He refuses to acknowledge it can be a win-win if all methods of energy production were allowed to flourish.

We need it all.

The oil drilling industry is the most heavily taxed and regulated business in our country. Oil drilling doesn't receive any more 'breaks' than any other energy business. All of them receive incentives and tax breaks. If one aspect of the energy sector loses the 'breaks' then all of them must.

Think about this - the oil industry has been moving forward with investments in alternative energy sources. For example, BP partnered with others and the federal government to go green. Remember the commercials? BP went from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum. Their reward was to be kicked to the curb, as will the other big oil companies who have followed the pattern of developing green technology. Next it will be the natural gas companies, rest assured of that. Natural gas comes from oil drilling - you knew that, right? Yeah, so does Team Obama. T. Boone Pickens better watch his back. He's a darling of the environmentalists now but that will change soon enough.

President Obama promotes crony capitalism - his political ideology dictates which businesses will succeed and which will be stopped through government intervention. In the end, the American consumer pays for it all. Rising gas prices are here again. Uncertainty has already produced a dwindling fleet of drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico with the rigs and those jobs going overseas. President Obama sent millions to Brazil for offshore drilling there. We will pay for this at the gas pump. And, we remain dependent on those in other nations who wish to kill us as they sell us crude oil.

No comments: