Time for refutations

It took him awhile, but ShoreIndie decided to take issue with my argument about oil supplies and needing more exploration to both help reduce the per-barrel price and potentially create thousands of energy-related jobs.

The straw man argument that is provided to prove that there’s a “lack of reason” among conservative bloggers relates in part to two posts I recently did, Overtime inside the Beltway and Response to comment #94462. Well, ShoreIndie wanted a source to confirm that the oil leases which are off-limits have more oil than the areas currently leased by oil companies. The Democrats who sponsored H.R. 6251 claimed that areas leased but not currently explored could produce 4.8 million barrels a day but there’s no total provided. Meanwhile, spokespeople for the oil companies claim that much of the leased area is already “tapped out.”

Even if I were to take the Democrats at their word, figures from the federal government’s Mineral Management Service show that there’s 18.9 billion recoverable barrels unavailable to extraction on just the Outer Continental Shelf alone. According to my public school math, areas unavailable would provide that 4.8 million barrels a day the Democrats claim would result from recovering oil on already-leased land for 3,938 days (or 10.7 years). This doesn’t count the billions of barrels available in ANWR or the 1.8 trillion barrels of oil shale on land which is 73% under the control of the federal government but barely leased under research and development leases.

Even worse, in telling me that I “can’t have it both ways” in talking about my post hoc argument regarding the do-nothing Democratic Congress (when it comes to productive energy legislation), he cites a bill which was signed by President Bush on December 20, 2006 – the problem there is that Congress was still in GOP hands at that point. Pelosi and company didn’t start ruining the country until January of 2007. Additionally, even if you take the 30 million or so acres that ShoreIndie cites as recently opened for oil development in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a small fraction of the 611 million acres off-limits based on the report I cited above. Granted, it’s progress but scant progress compared to the favoritism granted to a number of “alternative” energy sources and regulation overkill in just this bill (all 310 pages of it.)

It’s unfortunate that ShoreIndie doesn’t get the point that it’s not just about oil, it’s about more and better jobs for Americans and maintaining both our high standard of living and our security should there be another energy crisis. And the argument that we’re years away from extracting all of this new oil can be answered by noting that we’re also years away from, as a local example, the Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm (scheduled to go online in 2012) or most other examples of renewable energy. Neither solution is immediate, but already having the economy that’s oil-driven means that we should strive to eventually change over with as little impact on the market and as little government interference as possible.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

15 thoughts on “Time for refutations”

  1. I am glad that I got your attention and you answered the challenge.

    I knew as I was typing the line about the Energy Security Act that I should expand on the subject to clarify my point, but I erred on the side of brevity. That point being that the Democrats did not block the expansion of oil leasing in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006, and they have not blocked the ongoing opportunities for expanding domestic oil production since that time. You will say that the Republicans had the majority, so how could the Democrats have blocked anything. Just witness the record number of cloture petitions filed by Republicans in the current Congress (currently 131 compared to 68 in the 109th), and the resulting gridlock on any meaningful legislation. Republicans are pushing gridlock to new heights in the current session, and then they will produce election commercials saying that the Dems didn’t get anything done. Democrats did not use the cloture rule in such an offensive manner as Republicans have.

    Now I have some more reading to do. Thanks.

  2. Actually, part of that 2006 bill also banned drilling within 100 miles of the Florida coast, putting many more acres out of commission than were gained by the other lease areas.

    Given that dreadful energy legislation was passed, more government handouts were given (stimulus checks), and we’re in the process of bailing out a number of mortgage lenders, I wish Congress had done nothing over the last two years.

  3. You want job creation? Get off our complacent butts and invest in “green” technology, not 19th century technology requiring gas and oil! That is what conservatives keep missing (well, among other things). Take away the high paying pollution jobs and replace them with high paying technology jobs. If the Republicans have their way, the newest job growth will be in oil spill remediation.

  4. Well, FF, I’m all for that because entrepreneurship is based on risk. Just don’t use the federal or state government as a source for investment and let the market do what it will.

    If you have the coin to invest in solar technology, be my guest. I’ll stick with my investment in XOM.

    By the way, oil and gas technology is far from 19th century, while using the sun for warmth and wind for cooling and power dates back centuries. It proved to be more reliable to use the means we have now to do so.

  5. I was referring to the development of the combustion engine, a 19th century technology. I would rather have my tax money poured into educational opportunities for future scientists who could solve our problems than into unnecessary wars. Your college education was undoubtedly subsidized by the federal government–even private colleges get lots of grants from our tax dollars. How about you figure out how much money the taxpayers invested in your education, and then send a check back to the government for that? You believe in free markets, right? You should pay the actual cost of your education.

  6. Let’s see, as I recall part of my college education money came from my family and the rest was a student loan which I paid back, from a local lender. The student loan would have been guaranteed by the federal government but I didn’t default on it.

    I was one of those kids whose parents didn’t make enough to easily afford college but not poor enough to get financial aid.

    To answer your question, I had no grants so I suppose the only people I would have to pay back are the family members who chipped in.

    Regarding unnecessary wars, what is your definition of a “necessary” war?

  7. I guarantee you did not pay the actual costs of your education. It was heavily subsidized before the bill was even calculated! See, that is one of the hidden benefits that anti-tax folks never quite get, and the country would be in a lot worse shape if the gov’t took those funds away. There are only a handful of colleges that do not take any tax money. As for the definition of a “necessary” war, I think GWB has made it a lot easier to define: not the war in Iraq. It’s like the famous definition of pornography–I know it when I see it. As a rule, war should be a last resort. The sanctions were working in Iraq (evidence? No WMDs. As you pro-war guys like to point out, Saddam DID have WMDs at one point, but they were gone because . . . follow with me now . . . the friggin’ sanctions were working!). Saddam was a really bad guy, but so are the guys in Darfur, China, Zimbabwe, the list goes on). Tough sanctions and solid diplomacy in the region would have been a nice idea, but then we might have had to avoid kicking out some of our Arabic translators in the military because they were gay. Sigh.

  8. As someone who went to one of those schools who don’t accept any tax dollars, either directly or indirectly, I guess I have some authority to speak on this issue, Final Frontier. It’s pretty lame to attack Mike for being anti-tax when he has, at some point, received some benefit from government spending. The world we live in, unfortunately, is full of entities that receive government money. It makes no sense to opt out and only use things that are 100% privately funded. There is no alternative, after all, to driving on government roads. That doesn’t mean that holding the view that privatizing roads is illegitimate.

    As for higher education, outside of Hillsdale College or Grove City College, if you want to go to school you have to go to one that accepts taxpayer money. Doing so does not mean you are compromising your principles — it merely means that you are making the best choice in a range of limited alternatives.

    The fact that those of us who want lower taxes and less government spending do these things also does not mean we think this spending is a good idea. Yes, almost all higher education institutions take government money and some provide a good education. It is likely, however, that they would do a better job without this funding (in my view). Since government-funded higher education is pretty much the only game in town, though, you can’t fault Mike for taking advantage of it, no matter what his ideological viws are.

  9. If colleges and universities did not get public funding, it would be unaffordable for 90% of Americans and we would go back to the days when only the very elite (those eligible for McCain’s tax cuts) could go to college. Conservatives who rail against taxes take that money without even thinking about it, drive on those highways you mention without thinking about it, eat cheese that is federally subsidized without thinking about it, go watch a professional sports game in an arena subsidized by taxes without thinking about it, and then complain when someone in front of them in line is using food stamps. My point is that unless you want a radical change in our country, where only the top 10% of earners go to school and don’t have to live in a slum, you should quit crying about our taxes. I’m not faulting Mike for taking advantage of the current system, I’m faulting Mike for being hypocritical and embracing tax spending when it benefits him, but not when it benefits others. He seems to be doing ok financially, so if he is so against a “tax and spend” government, he should pay back the actual costs of his education.

  10. Given the Social Security and Medicare taxes that I’ve had extorted from my paycheck and my employers’ revenue over almost 22 years of working (that I’m not anticipating ever collecting on because that system will be busted by the time I get to retire) I’d say I’ve paid my debt.

    Should I become poor so I can qualify for the Kratovil/Obama “tax” cuts? Those are the only folks who will benefit, people like me who are middle class will probably see no better than a wash.

  11. So I assume, Final Frontier, that you send in a lot more money to the federal, state, and county government every year at tax time. After all, by your logic, if you don’t make your economic decisions in line with your public policy preferences then you are a hypocrite. You seem to like higher taxes, so do you voluntarily pay more?

    And I don’t see Mike embracing tax spending when it benefits him. I have never seen him advocate for a government program that would help him. In fact, it seems that he attacks many pro-government building proposals which, if enacted, would likely benefit him or his profession. I see Mike, and other conservatives like myself, living their lives in a world where pro-government folk like you have elected policy makers who steal our money to give to others. We had no choice in giving up that tax money and it makes no sense to avoid everything that is tainted with that money. What we can do, though, is advocate for policies that would end that theft. If you find Mike advocating a policy that would increase government spending in a way that would benefit himself, you may have a point. Until you do, your criticism is way off-base.

  12. My criticism really is only using Mike as an example to personalize the larger phenomenon of anti- “big” government beliefs, taking it to its semi-logical extreme and trying to point out its inherent contradictions. Mike goes to baseball games, which are subsidized by the government. I rarely go. Should I get a refund? My point is that big government is only too big when it pays for things you don’t agree with or don’t directly benefit from. One of the main reasons this is a great country is big government. Could you give me an example of a country with a smaller government that is working better than ours? Republicans seem to be against big government in theory, but have no problem with government intruding upon the bedrooms of America. Does that make sense? Before “No Child Left Behind,” Republicans led the charge to keep the federal government out of local schools–now they lead the charge to have the federal governemtn tell schools what to do. Does that make sense?

    I am not a hypocrite because I pay my taxes and don’t cry about it, even though I am pretty pissed that we are spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. I wish our leaders used better judgment with our money, and I will work hard to get more Democrats in office who won’t raise taxes on middle or lower income America, but instead will use our money a little more wisely. Democrats are not perfect, but their priorities, their goals, and their platform speaks to the needs of average Americans, not the top %5 of earners.

  13. Yep, I go to ballgames – in fact I went to 2 tonight because it was a doubleheader. But I have no kids in school, so should I get a refund of all the tax money of mine that goes toward education? By the way, I don’t agree with NCLB, nor do I think the federal government should have any sayso in education.

    The point is that no country is working better than ours, but imagine just how much better we could be if we had a leaner, more efficient government that put fewer restrictions on our lives and our wallets.

  14. “My point is that big government is only too big when it pays for things you don’t agree with or don’t directly benefit from.”

    Again, you’d have a point if Mike actually supported subsidies for baseball owners or federal interference in higher education. As far as I know, he has never done so, though. It’s a mistake to criticize him (or other conservatives) for taking advantage of these things, though. Should Mike renounce his love of baseball merely because some tax money flows to baseball owners? Should he forgo an education because only two school in the nation don’t get government higher education aid? You seem to think that it’s hypocritical that conservatives don’t live as hermits in the hills of Idaho, free from anything that is tainted by government. In reality conservatives deplore government interference in these areas and try to change them, but they also realize that they have to live their lives. I doubt you’ll find them saying that these government subsidies are a good thing, though. If they do, then you can call them hypcrites. Until then your criticism just doesn’t make sense.

    And, yes, as you point out there are plenty of times when our so-called conservatives are hypocritical when in power. The NCLB Act is one. The Medicare prescription drug act is another. It would be difficult to find a rank-and-file conservative who supports either one, however.

    And as a libertarian Republican I deplore the GOP’s big government ways on social issues. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are being hypocritical. There is a strain of conservative thought that has long supported regulation of things like abortion and other personal decisions. They have their reasons for doing so. You saying that it makes no sense for them to support less government and yet also support more government interference in their private lives means you don’t really understand social conservatives. It also means that you yourself are probably a hypocrite, since you seem to support less government interference in peoople’s personal lives but support more regulation of their economic lives. Why is it fine if one consenting adult agrees to pay another for an abortion but wrong if one consenting adult agrees to do work for antoher and receive compensation of $3.00 an hour?

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