Archive for the ‘Energy Policy’ Category

Why Is The Mustache Getting Paid?

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Thomas Friedman’s column in the New York Times today is just gob-smackingly stupid. That’s fairly normal for Friedman, of course, but today’s is a real doozy even by his standards. Here’s how he opens:

I’ve been trying to understand the Tea Party Movement. Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that — although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years. Never mind. I’m sure like all such protest movements the Tea Partiers will get their 10 to 20 percent of the vote. But should the Tea Partiers actually aspire to break out of that range, attract lots of young people and become something more than just entertainment for Fox News, I have a suggestion:

Become the Green Tea Party.
Oh no, it gets even dumber:

The manifesto is easy, too: “We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 “Patriot Fee” on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt.”

This is just beyond stupid. For one, there’s the name. Do you really see the right-wing calling themselves the “green tea” anything? The people who use arugala and dijon mustard as short-hand for effete elitism now? Yeah, didn’t think so. But more than that, this just kind of ignores the fact that, you know, the teabaggers are the right-wing. They don’t care about the climate. They don’t believe in global warming. They’re the assholes who tell you how they’re going to leave all their lights on or drive around as much as they can in their SUV on Earth Day for the sheer joy of being assholes. And, oh yeah, they’re not big fans of taxes either. I suppose Friedman would probably argue that his “Patriot Fee” isn’t a tax, but good luck getting them to buy it. But what’s extra confounding is that Friedman concedes that he knows this is all stupid nonsense:

Yes, I know, dream on. The Tea Party is heading to the hard libertarian right and would never support an energy bill that puts a fee on carbon.

Ok, so you just wasted 300 words. Awesome. What’s the point then?

So if there is going to be a Green Tea Party, it will have to emerge from a different place — the radical center, a center committed to a radical departure from business as usual. Acting on that impulse, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman had forged a bipartisan climate/energy/jobs bill that deserves an energetic centrist Green Tea Party to support it.

This critical piece of energy legislation was supposed to be unveiled by the three senators on Monday, but it was suddenly postponed late Saturday because of Senator Graham’s fury that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the White House were planning to take up a highly controversial immigration measure before the energy bill.

If this is what the Obama administration is doing — to score a few cheap political points with Hispanics — it is a travesty. The bipartisan energy bill is ready to go. It is far from perfect. Indeed, it is a shame the fossil fuel industries still have such a stranglehold on Congress. But it’s the best we’re going to get, and we have got to get started. However, without a centrist Green Tea Party movement — one that brings the same passion to cutting emissions that the Tea Party brings to cutting deficits — even this effort will never pass.

A couple of things here. First of all, what the hell would a “radical center” even look like? The center, by definition, is defined by other points. So a “radical” center, I suppose, would dogmatically insist on plopping itself right in the middle of the left and the right and refusing to move? Or refusing to acknowledge that maybe being precisely in the middle isn’t the right place to be? I mean, where does one find the middle of something like the debate over whether or not to invade Iraq? Declare that they won’t support invading Iraq, but that they could get behind invading the Ivory Coast? It’s all very confusing to me, as these poorly thought out pieces of pretension from writers like Friedman usually are. But I digress.

The other problem here is that this is just drastically ignorant of the underlying politics. Lindsay Graham has, in the past, been a supporter of immigration reform efforts. He’s touted his support for comprehensive immigration reform, in fact. There’s no obvious reason why moving forward with legislation on that issue should cause him to drop support for another worthwhile bill he’s supported. It’s a naked political ploy by Graham to turn his back on the bill, and gum up two Democratic initiatives at the same time ahead of the election. If Democrats acquiesce and shelve immigration reform, Graham will just find another reason to oppose the bill, the same way he used the passage of healthcare reform to pivot to a position of being unable to support immigration reform anymore. But then, even if Democrats do go ahead with immigration reform and climate legislation, it doesn’t really make much sense to blame them for Graham’s temper tantrum. Lindsay Graham is a big boy. He’s a United States Senator fergawdsake. And, at best, he’s using his potential support for a bill he ostensibly supports, regarding an issue he ostensibly recognizes as being vitally important, to ransom the very large Senate majority into dropping another item on their agenda. That’s despicable behavior, particularly if you actually believe Graham appreciates how serious climate issues are. And yet, Friedman is chastising the majority over it, rather than calling out the United States Senator acting like a psychopathic adolescent.

I don’t really expect major newspaper columnists to write intelligent things anymore, but it still puzzles me why publications that seem to regard themselves seriously, like the Times, pays people who seem to know nothing about American politics to write about the subject on such valuable space. Especially if they’re having financial problems.

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Much Love For The Steel City: The G-20 And The Rust Belt Renaissance

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

By Tommy Brown

As the apparatchiks of the globalized economy departed my fair hometown this past Saturday, I am happy to report that Pittsburgh came out looking very well in pretty much all aspects. Our image as Steeltown USA (“hell with the lid off”) and/or a dying Rust Belt town crippled by the loss of the industry that defined us for generations has been put to bed, hopefully for good.

The most powerful men on the planet and their international entourages pleasantly surprised to find a formerly depressed city that had shed its industrial roots and reinvented itself for the information/service economy of the new century.  Maybe even a model for the dozens of other Rust Belt cities between the Mon Valley and Chicago dying a slow and painful economic death.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s some articles from the national and international media:

From Forbes:

. . . President Barack Obama sees in Pittsburgh a way forward for the American city in the 21st century. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “It’s an area that has seen its share of economic woes in the past but because of foresight and investment is now renewed–giving birth to … industries that are creating the jobs of the future. And I think [Obama] believes it would be a good place to highlight some of that.”

Pittsburgh boasts world-class culture and president-approved industries crucial to the growth of the nation (education, health care, technology, energy), but it will never be New York. Pittsburgh is also a conglomeration of neighborhoods, where mom-and-pop stores are still a staple and people greet their neighbors in the supermarket, but it’s no small town. In the city’s historic South Side, mega-chains like Urban Outfitters coexist with tiny consignment boutiques that have persisted for over a decade, and a Cheesecake Factory is just a stone’s throw from a row of old biker bars.

Pittsburgh is, in other words, a big city with a small-city mindset. Or maybe it’s a small city with big-city ideas. Either way, it is negotiating–sometimes precariously, sometimes with aplomb–a balance between these two spheres. As city councilman Bill Peduto says, “It is figuring out how to become global while staying local.” Which is perhaps the greatest challenge in this age of rapid globalization and economic turmoil.

From WaPo’s “Pittsburgh Shows How the Rust Belt Can Be Polished Up”:

Pittsburgh has shaken off its smoky image, transformed by an industrial collapse that drove out half of the city’s population in the early 1980s. As the Group of 20 gathers Thursday, members are more likely to ask what Pittsburgh can teach them than why they had to come here.The city’s unemployment rate is well below the national average. Wages and housing prices are stable or up. Nearby Cleveland has experienced rampant foreclosures, but here they are relatively uncommon.

The city’s main industries — health care and education — are thriving. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, an $8 billion health-care company, employs 50,000 people in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh’s health services business has almost tripled in size since 1979, creating more than 100,000 jobs.

It is quite a turnaround for a city that lost 120,000 jobs between 1981 and 1984, after its steel industry collapsed. Thousands of young residents fled the city to find work, and unemployment reached 17 percent among those who remained. Much as with Detroit today, many wondered whether Pittsburgh could continue to exist.

“But here we are, still a major center and doing well,” said Christopher Briem, an urban studies expert at the University of Pittsburgh. “The lesson is that there’s life after your defining industry dies.”

From the BBC, with the can’t-resist-the-stupid-pun headline “Pittsburgh Steeled to be Host City”:

Another [thought by the White House] was ensuring that the Pittsburgh story told a positive story about Obama’s America.

Later in the article. . .

And the symbolism?

Well, the population of Pittsburgh seems remarkably on-message. Local politicians, business leaders and folks in cafes and bars will all tell you the same story.

Pittsburgh – the grimy old steel town that was a powerhouse of American heavy industry and made its money under choking clouds of smoke from its mills and mines – is no more.

Locals have been making their feelings clear about declining industries

In its place is a clean, green example of regeneration. A city where pleasure cruisers carry tourists between the wooded banks of its three rivers and where people make a living in services such as health and education or in hi-tech business.

No-one puts it better than Frank Coonelly, president of the city’s baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates: “It’s a remarkable transformation, not just of the economy but of the city itself from an industrial steel town to a city that now really is driven by hi-tech and service sectors.

“People who think of Pittsburgh as a smoky steel town, when they come in here this week they’ll see quite a different thing.”

It feels like the perfect message for the Obama administration to send out from a city which is about become the backdrop for 1,000 TV reporters from around the world.

And a piece from Voice of America on our new wave of immigration in a city that has always been defined by an ethnic makeup of Irish, Italian, “hunky” (those of Eastern European descent) and black:

European immigrants flocked to western Pennsylvania at the dawn of the industrial age to work in the steel mills and factories of Pittsburgh, which was the world-famous “Steel City” well into the 20th century. Over the past 50 years, however, heavy industry has been leaving Pittsburgh, along with tens of thousands of jobs. But over time Pittsburgh essentially “reinvented” itself, and the city is now best known for high-technology enterprises, medical specialties, banks and universities. That transformation has prompted a new wave of immigrants, this time including many from south Asia. Families originally from India now are one of Pittsburgh’s largest ethnic communities, and they are thriving.

Your Humble Author has to admit a certain amount of hometown pride in seeing a city that when I was a child and teenager was written off as another Gary, Indiana or Baltimore in the making become the example for other ailing metropolises to adapt to the 21st century.

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When No Bill Really Is Better

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

I really can’t emphasize enough how wrong Matt is in this post. It might be true that there’s not much difference between auctioning permits and giving them away from an environmental stand-point in a vacuum, but this stuff doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And when you account for likely political outcomes, a give away regime is about the worst thing you could possibly do.

Cap-and-trade is already politically dicey, and for reasons that are easy enough understand; it means people’s energy bills are going to increase. But this can be offset by rebating revenues earned from the program to consumers, if  the permits are auctioned. This is nice because it not only lessens the burden consumers have to bear, but if the rebate is allocated on a flat basis, consumers who consume less than average amounts of energy actually come out gaining money after the rebate, which creates a lot of incentive for consumers to lower their energy usage.

But if there’s no auctions, then there’s no revenue. And if there’s no revenue, there’s no money to rebate. This means consumers are going to be hit with the increased energy costs, with nothing to offset them. You’ll still have incentives to use less energy, obviously, but the difference is that the program will be extremely unpopular with the average voter. And as something that directly takes money out of their pocket, it will be the sort of very unpopular thing that actually sways votes. A cap-and-give away regime passed by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President would spark a massive backlash against the Democratic Party, and create an opening for big electoral gains for Republicans. It would be about the closest thing to political suicide I could imagine Democrats coming up with. And that might be a sound trade off if you could somehow guarantee the program would remain in place forever, but is there anyone who doesn’t think a newly elected Republican governing majority wouldn’t shred the program with extreme haste? And then you’re left with no carbon pricing regime, a new Republican Majority, a Democratic Party that will be exceedingly unpopular and will never shake the perception that all they do is raise taxes on everyone, and cap-and-trade will be a dead concept entirely. It really is the worst possible course of action.

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Mileage Taxes

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

This is a very bad idea:

For years, Oregon has been diligent about reducing the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, but its environmental consciousness has come at a stunning price — gas tax revenue is down $4.8 million a year compared with 2006.

That drop, caused by lower fuel consumption and a slowing economy, has prompted Oregon to consider a new way to pay for road repairs: Democratic Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski’s upcoming budget calls for a highway tax based on mileage, not gasoline purchases.

I’m sensitive to the need of the state to raise revenue, but they need to come up with something much better than this. Aside from the sheer creepiness of putting GPS systems in every new car that allow the state to monitor how much (and presumbaly where) you drive, the incentive structure of this is just terrible. Yes it’d be nice to get people driving a lot less, but there’s a certain baseline to how low that can go. If you have to go to work, take your kids to school, or some other fairly non-negotiable activity, then there’s really no way around your need for that amount of driving. That’s why more efficient vehicles are important, if you can’t reduce the sheer amount you’re driving, you can still reduce your fuel consumption by getting better mileage from your vehicle, and a sufficient tax on gasoline can encourage people to buy more efficient cars, thereby limiting the amount of emissions. But just taxing the amount of mileage people are driving irrespective of how much fuel is being used for that does nothing to get people to conserve energy.

Shouldn’t You Have To Think?

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I understand that, because he sinks a lot of money into the publication, foreign policy writing at The New Republic is necessarily going to reflect Marty Peretz’s crazy views on Israel and hatred for brown people Arabs. And on some level, I can tolerate that so long as I can keep reading Jon Chait, Noam Scheiber, Michelle Cottle, Eve Fairbanks, and Jonathan Cohn. Hell, it even got us Jamie Kirchick. But then they go and run drivel like this, written by someone with a demonstrated lack of knowledge like Leon Wiseltier, and it makes you wonder why any good writer would actually want their name attached to such an outlet. To wit:

The latest refinement of the Democratic creed of soft power is the view that environmentalism is a foreign policy. A week after the Russian invasion of Georgia, I was present at a conversation about whether the crisis around Russia’s borders could be relieved in part by the greening of Poland. I agreed that Putin has been emboldened by the new riches of Russia’s natural resources, but I averred that even if Poland found a way to emancipate itself from foreign fuel, so that every one of its schools was powered by the sun and every one of its cafes by the wind, there would still be a foundation in reality for the anxiety about Russia. The new Russian imperialism is animated by more than the new prices of commodities. Chávez does not owe his socialism to his petroleum. And the horror in Sudan has not been perpetrated by the weather. The verdure of the Democratic foreign-policy discussion is a proper retort to George W. Bush’s astounding delinquency about climate change; but energy does not explain everything. Green is not the only color. Indeed, monochromacy is a form of color-blindness. Even if we were to conquer our oil habit, we could not stand idly by if, say, jihadists came to power in Riyadh. (Israel is not the only reason.) A green world will not be a good world.

Matt already got to this, but I think garbage like this deserves to be taken down at least twice.

Firstly, as Matt says (and I’ll use the same link), anyone who doesn’t think climate is a source of the problem in Darfur doesn’t know anything about the conflict in Darfur. Secondly, Wieseltier’s petro nonsense is just that, nonsense. It might be true that oil has nothing to do with why Putin, Chavez, and, um, Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin are the way they are, but high oil prices indisputably has huge consequences for them. In the case of Chavez and Palin, their general popularity is derived mostly from the fact that they’ve taken the revenue boom associated with higher oil prices and, in one way or another, distributed it among the masses. Everyone likes free money, and people handing out the checks tend to be very popular, other flaws be damned.

In Putin’s case, the implication is even more stark. Russia in the 1990’s was a broderline 3rd world state. But the increased revenue high energy prices have brought about have allowed Putin, bulwarked by public support for the “renewed honor” of Russia to do things like wage a war in Georgia and meddle in Ukranian politics that take a lot of money and leverage. Without high hydrocrabon prices, Russia has neither, and they go back to being a glorified 3rd world country with nuclear weapons and 1980’s weapon systems.

As for his last point about Saudi Arabia, it’s not entirely wrong. We probably wouldn’t take kindly to al-Qaeda taking over any country regardless of their hydrocarbon supplies. However, that’s not the only consideration to make. The House of Saud is a brutal, monarchical regime. It’s not beyond imagination that the people of Saudi Arabia may one day decide they’ve had enough and revolt. And if they do, the United States will assist the monarchy in brutally repressing and punishing the populace for it. Why? Because instability and domestic unrest in the Kingdom will cause global oil prices to explode, and the fact that any resulting government will probably not be fond of the Western powers who enabled the monarchy for decades, will make our protection of OUR allies imperative. If Saudi oil were unimportant, its people may actually have a chance, and indeed the United States may even assist them in dumping their oppressors.

There are any numner of ways to debate the issues Wieseltier brings up. But to assert that oil plays no role inthe nature of regimes in Russia and Venezuela, or in our relationships with problematic Middle Eastern regimes, and that a post-fossil fuel economy wouldn’t fundamentally change that, mostly for the better, is to demonstrate either abject ignorance in regards to the nature of international relations or an intentional disregard for facts and truth in the matter. With The New Republic, you can basically flip a coin on that question.

By Request: Oil!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

It was brought to my attention that I have yet to address the energy debate at length, so that’s what we’re gonna do now.

Let’s start with the basics, and full disclosure. I oppose most any attempt to drill for oil. Partly for environmental concern, partly out of a concern for what it could do to the economies of coastal tourism hot-spots, but mostly just because it won’t actually do much for energy prices, and it’s conceptually flawed anyway. The idea that the cure for oil dependence is to drill for as much as we can possibly find is the equivalent of treating crack addiction by making sure we have a ready supply of smack. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, especially in the long run, even if it could help in the short-term (which it won’t).

The problem can basically be boiled down into one sentence; the United States uses about 21 million barrels of oil everyday. That’s just insane. What makes it even more insane is that the 2nd largest consumer in the world, China, uses about 6.5 million barrels a day. So when you establish that baseline, those somewhat innocuous sounding figures about global demand come into slightly starker focus. For example, that global demand has steadily increased by about 1% every year doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that 1% of global consumption is about 850,000 more barrels every day. Putting that into perspective, the US Energy Information Administration estimates ANWR’s potential peak production to be about 775,000 barrels, meaning that even at it’s peak ANWR couldn’t even compensate for the expected annual growth in global demand. And considering that ANWR wouldn’t peak for about 20 years, that means you’re talking about an even wider gap when you factor in declining production elsewhere.

Much talk has also been made about speculators. Now speculating certainly has some effect on the price in the long run, but the idea that it’s chiefly responsible for short term spikes is rather silly. In fact, when you consider what speculating is (buying and selling futures contracts for the most part) it diminishes the evil caricature even more. All speculators are doing is betting that the price is going to continue to rise, and with good reason. Production is close to, or at, peak in most places (including Ghuwar where they’re filling the wells with gobs of saltwater and steam and much of what is being kicked back is just water) and demand is increasing steadily. If anyone actually thought the price was in danger of falling any time soon, you’d see a natural reduction in speculating. But there’s no real reason to expect a sharp decline in the price long term. I’m also more than a little bit skeptical to see the same people who denied there were bubbles in the dotcom or housing markets suddenly insisting that the problem is all because of a speculation bubble in the oil market.

You can, conceivably, come at the issue from a national interest perspective (we need less foreign oil) as well, but that’s got as many, and more obvious, problems associated with it. First of all, the United States does not have a nationalized oil industry, so there’s really no such thing as “American oil.” Oil pulled out of the ground in Alaska goes straight to the global spot market. There’s no way of keeping it here. So the immediate benefit is not to the consumer, it’s to the supplier who gets access to more supply with oil trading at $130 a barrel. You didn’t really think that the oilmen (literally) in the White House had a problem with high priced oil did you?

Secondly, and this is the real kicker, the United States is already the 3rd largest oil producing nation in the world. Only Saudi Arabia and China produce more. At about 8.5 million barrels produced everyday to about 20.8 million barrels consumed everyday, we’re left with a deficit of 12.3 million barrels everyday that have to be imported. Or, to put it more bluntly, the 3rd largest producer in the world has to import twice as much oil as the 2nd largest consumer uses in total every single day. That’s just not sustainable by any measure. There’s no way the United States, as an economy, can continue to so obscenely devour such a finite energy source. And that’s why efforts to treat the problem with more drugs, er, light sweet crude, is only putting the real problem, oil as the base of the economy, off indefinitely, and setting us up for a bigger problem in 10-15 years.

The political candidates don’t exactly have serious positions on this issue. McCain is a joke, even by his standards. On the one hand he’s a “maverick Republican” who actually acknowledges global warming and wants to cut oil consumption, but on the other hand he wants to drill like it’s 1949 so that everyone can have lots of cheap oil to consume. Obama’s is a generic position about developing alternatives and windfall profit taxes that doesn’t really address the details, but then again Presidential white papers rarely do. Obama at least gets credit for getting the crux of it right, but politics being what it is, he’s incapable of speaking truth to the issue; which is to say that we need to tax the hell out of gasoline.

On both ends, production and consumption, gasoline has to be wholly unprofitable. The problem with the market is that oil has a low level of elasticity to demand. That is to say, you can only cut back on your energy usage so much. If you have to drive to work, you have to drive to work. Ditto for a lot of other daily activities people have to do. Yes you can carpool and consolidate trips, but inevitably there’s a baseline you can’t get below. And that’s to say nothing of shipping businesses, farmers, and other energy intensive commercial activities. Energy suppliers know this, so as long as they can get oil, they have no incentive to want to push the price down. They’re going to sell a certain amount of product regardless, so the higher the price the better. On the other hand, when the price is low, consumers have no incentive to demand an alternative form of energy. So the external, macroeconomic, agent we call the government needs to step in and affect the market from the outside, making alternatives more affordable to consumers and more profitable to sellers than oil based products. They should also incentivize public transit (or at least stop subsidizing driving), but that’s another topic for another day.

Global Warming Politics

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

There’s an interesting discussion about global wraming politics and how it could theoretically help the right (assuming they’ll admit it exists. It started with this post by Jim Manzi at NRO, was picked up a few other places, and has been weighed in on by many others, but I’m going to focus on Andrew and his readers for brevity’s sake.

I should say that, on some level, I agree with cap-and-trade skeptics. Not that I have any specific issue with the idea of cap-and-trade, or it’s soundness in achieving the desired outcome, but it seems unnecessarily complex, bureaucratic, and open to me. A simple, straight forward, carbon tax, especially consumption taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, strikes me as being much simpler and ultimately more effective. Yes, that will make driving and consumer goods more expensive (although I suppose we could look into way to ease the burdens on things like agricultural production to keep food prices low), but that’s kind of the point. Higher prices will encourage less oil consumption, which would then, obviously, curb emissions. Manzi’s fundamental quetion is simply, “is the goal worth the cost?”

The problem is, this misses the underlying reality that the climate question is a secondary concern to the economic one. Yes, green is chic, but in the long run the environmental impact of oil is dwarfed by the economic impact of it. Take food prices for example. The reason food prices are increasing dramatically is because producing that food is extremely energy intensive. Right now, that means lots of oil is used in production. So when such a basic input as energy sources rise in cost as dramatically as they have in the past decade, the cost of everything that requires energy to produce is going to increase as a direct, linear, result. With oil production peaking in important parts of the world, and with demand rising unabated, high oil prices are here to stay. The talk of speculation and weak currency is tertiary at best; speculators speculate because they expect the price to continue to rise. If anyone thought that a price decline was imminent, speculators would stop buying. And weak dollar or not, oil is up across the board; by approximately 50% on the Euro for example.

So what we have is a situation in which our fundamental energy source, something that’s required in more or less every aspect of the economy, is exploding in cost with no end in reasonable sight, meaning that even more inflationary pressure is going to be put on prices. This is obviously unsustainable in the long run, particularly for a country like the United States that requires about 21 million barrels of oil a day.

Thusly, our focus in the discussion about oil ought to focus on the economics in question, as opposed to the more en vogue environmental questions. Whether or not you think $7.00/gallon gas would be worth the environmental benefits, it should seem logical that the economy would suffer undesired ripples from oil continuing to trade at current levels or higher, something that has nothing to do with domestic tax policies. The key is that any carbon tax policies should not only be designed to punish and disincentivize consumption of oil and other fossil fuels, but to incentivize the production and usage of alternative, renewable, and yes, clean sources of energy. That’s never going to happen so long as gasoline can be sold at record profits to energy companies, not because energy companies are evil, but because that’s the design of American corporate structure. Any company seeing record profits quarter after quarteris going to be loathe to give up a good thing (don’t fix it if it ain’t broke after all) in the interest of the economy as a whole. That’s simply not how our system functions. But it is in the interest of everyone else to get energy costs down, and that means we need a non-oil based economy, and that means we’re going to have to come up with a fiscal policy that incentivizes the production and marketing of alternative fuels as opposed to oil.

A cleaner environment will be a side effect of such a policy.