Congress has pulled a “Fred Goff.”
Let me explain what that means.
About 1000 of my fellow junior high students were gathered in the auditorium listening to our principal. He called for a moment of silence. Fred tipped to one side and let out a trumpet-like sound that rocketed around the auditorium.
Fred instantly turned to the boy next to him and reared back as if the kid was radioactive. All eyes fell on the kid and all hell broke loose. The kid was yanked out of his seat, marched to the principal’s office and forever branded. Fred escaped.
Congress has just done this with our gas and oil problems.
The high prices are being trumpeted all over the country. The blame for them is, above all, Congress’s. Yet Congress stuck the blame on the oil companies. It Goffed big oil.
It dragged big oil executives before its committees. So that congressguys could line up before the cameras to jab fingers at them.. They lashed out at them for our high gas and heating oil prices. They called them greedy. They threatened windfall profit taxes. They demanded the companies do all sorts of loony things.
They were as dishonest as ol’ Fred. And their hot air had the same fragrance as his.
No group of people have pushed up the price of your fuels more than Congress.
By not allowing more modern refineries, Congress has denied the industry various efficiencies. We have not had a new refinery built in America for over 30 years. The limits on our refining have nudged our prices higher.
By halting drilling in non-park federal lands, Congress has brought higher prices. By prohibiting more drilling in federal lands in Alaska it has pushed gas prices upward. By keeping drillers from tapping oil off our coasts Congress has added to gas prices. By keeping oil companies from converting oil shale it has made sure gas prices rise.
Congress has gone out of its way to make sure America’s production of oil is severely restricted. The non-shale areas hold well over 600 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. This is enough to heat 60 million homes for the next 100 years.
The non-shale areas hold over 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Enough to fuel 60 million cars for 60 years.
Beyond this, the oil shale areas may hold as much as two trillion barrels of oil.
America has oil and natural gas, and plenty of it. Congress has no courage, none of it. The seats of Congress are filled with cowards. They are too afraid of green pressure groups to stand up for the truth.
The truth is that solar and wind will help. But they will not bring down gas prices for many years. The truth is that ethanol - which Congress forces us to create - is a dud. The truth is that nuclear power - which Congress does nothing to allow - will save us enormous amounts of oil.
The truth is that if we opened up our lands to drilling OPEC would shudder. Prices would fall.
The truth is that Congress hits our oil companies with extra taxes. These discourage production. If Congress gave our oil drillers tax-breaks it would encourage more production. Extra production would add to world inventories and help bring down prices. Extra production would make us less vulnerable to world oil supplies.
The truth is that if you seek a culprit for the high prices you pay for fuel, the culprit is the Congress of the United States. Its book of rules includes one from Fred Goff. “When caught, don’t turn the other cheek. Blame somebody else.”
I wonder if Fred became a politician.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.