Interesting times

You can tell your grandkids you lived in historic times. You witnessed key turning points for billions of people.

One is the energy revolution.

Maybe you hate fossil fuels. Maybe you love them. Whatever, you cannot escape reality. New drilling techniques have dramatically increased supplies of oil and gas. The techniques have vaulted America to dominance. They have shifted major pieces on the world’s chessboard. They may topple a few pieces.

The heavy flow from American wells has pushed down world prices for oil and gas. (Especially natural gas at home.) Extra supply does that. It surely looks as if the U.S. will keep increasing the supply. And its technologies will eventually ramp up oil and gas flows around the world.

This is momentous for various reasons.

1. When you lower energy prices you raise living standards. Period. Here and elsewhere. You lower the cost of everything for the poorest folks. Electricity, water, transport, food, farming.

2. Lower oil prices undercut the power of Russian and Venezuelan dictators. Putin is clearly up to not much good. But half of his economy is oil and gas revenues. Whatever damage he will do will be less with lower oil prices.



3. Lower oil prices will cut the flow of money to Islamic extremists. Yes, the villains who fund terrorism are not going to run short of money. But the money that comes from oil is shrinking. They will shrink their contributions to terrorism.

4. Lower energy prices will help the U.S. economy everywhere. Everywhere.

5. Maybe you feel lower prices will harm the environment. If so, surely these are momentous times.

Another momentous turning point is President Obama’s campaign to shred the Constitution. His executive orders on illegal immigrants stole headlines. But they are only part of his campaign. That campaign is to test how much a President can do when the Constitution says he cannot. Or doesn’t say.

The Speaker of the House is suing the President over this issue. Both sides should be delighted he is. If the courts accept the case and rule in it they will define the turning point. Either they will grant the President these powers. Or they will declare he violates the law. If you feel the President is doing the right thing you will be happy if the judges agree. And if you feel he is a lawbreaker you will be delighted the judges decree it.

The vital issue here is not this president. Nor immigration. Nor other issues. It is the legal issue of what a president can do. And cannot do. The ruling will determine tactics of our leaders for decades.

If the courts approve his behavior they may open the doors to a future of dictator-type presidents. For if a president can ignore these parts of our Constitution he ought to be able to ignore those parts too. Our Constitution defines and limits the powers of our president and congress. That concept will be no more.

Another turning point is the clash over Obamacare. As you know, the Supreme Court can demolish it with a ruling soon. And the new Congress may dismember it. Or the President will win out and limit future damage.

Whatever happens, the course is being set for healthcare for millions of folks. Healthcare will be run by immense government bureaucracies. Or government’s role in it will be diminished.

A last turning point is public education. Charters are on the rise. Because in urban areas – where public schools stink – parents want more charters. They want less of what prevails now.

The teachers’ unions love and fund Democrats. They hate Republicans. Don’t be surprised to see the new Republican congress support charters. Along with vouchers.

The point is that we are seeing the teachers’ unions lose power. That, of course, will affect most of us.

You have heard the expression “May you live in interesting times.” Congratulations. You do.

From Tom...as in Morgan.

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