In true Democratic Party style, it took more than a few months and dozens of polls for Barak Obama, Nancy "I'm trying to save the planet!" Pelosi and Dirty Harry Reid to finally come onto the right side of the Drill Here, Drill Now! issue.
But have they really come onto the right side?
It only became apparent this past Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who's autobiography continues to be a no-show on the New York Times best seller list) has come out in favor of allowing a vote on off-shore drilling. In a whisper campaign to her fellow Democrats who are off on summer break feeling the wrath of their constituents over high gas prices and demanding that off-shore drilling begin now, Pelosi has signaled - with a wink and a nod - that the Democrat Party is ready to reverse course on an issue they've long been at odds with.
As gasoline approached $2/gallon in the summer of 1998 and again in 1999, there were numerous calls to allow more on and offshore drilling in the United States. Democrats said at that time that it would be "ten years" before any of that oil hit the market to affect gasoline prices. The response at that time was for then President Clinton to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to bring down prices. It worked - temporarily.
Sure enough, here we are ten years later, the cost of fuel has doubled, food inflation is running over 9.6% for 2008 alone and there is no end in sight for run-away fuel and food costs.
It begs the question: would the United States of America be in the position we are today, if we had drilled back then? The obvious answer is NO, and that we'd be well on our way to energy independence if the same do-nothing Democrats of today had done something back then.
Now back to today. How will we know that the Obama led Democrats are serious about offshore drilling and putting all options on the table to allow America to become energy independent?
Here's the first step: put it in the Democrat Party Platform and vote on it during the Democratic Party convention. There is currently no mention of drilling for our own oil, or developing our own domestic energy supplies in the Democrat Party platform.
Second, with time available before the Democrat Convention in Denver next week, reconvene Congress and bring a bill to the floor opening up offshore drilling and domestic production of our own oil shale reserves in the Western United States. One simple, clean bill with no attachments and one up or down vote. Last I heard, there were plenty of Republicans and some right-minded Democrats holed up in the U.S. House of Representatives every day for the last few weeks trying to bring attention to the issue.
Third, eliminate ethanol subsidies, and the ridiculous notion that we can burn food for fuel. If we've learned anything this year, growing corn for fuel increases the cost of damn' near everything that goes on America's dinner table, and did literally nothing to help bring down the cost of gas. Here's where the Congress can quickly and simply fix the dumbest mistake ever made, and vote to e nd ethanol subsidies and end this foolish, costly mad-rush to burn corn as fuel.
Fourth, about the Democrats confiscatory, punitive actions towards the Oil Industry's record profits and wanting to seize them to provide American's "relief" from high energy prices. Been there, done that. It was tried under the Carter Administration, although the Government kept the money that time and consumers never saw a dime. The net result was to guarantee no development of any new oil fields or energy sources since the oil companies rightly believed that a Democrat, Socialist bent controlled Government would simply seize their profits.
Finally, if the Democrats are serious about helping American families with high food costs and fuel costs, they could affect the price today by sending a strong signal to our foreign energy suppliers that the United States of America is embarking on a crash program similar to the Manhattan Project to develop alternative energy. Put everything on the table including drilling for our own oil, development of our western shale reserves, Nuclear power, clean-coal and cellulose based bio-fuels to increase our energy supplies while we develop alternative energies.
And oh yes - one last thing. About those excessive Federal Taxes on each gallon of fuel American's purchase. Eliminate them. The fact is, Government at every level from the Federal, State, County and your local Municipal governments each make more on a gallon of gasoline than the dreaded Exxon Mobil does.
Who's really gouging on gas prices? The combined taxes on a gallon of gas in Will County, Illinois where this writer lives are 72 cents per gallon, based on a cost of $4.09/gallon as sold today. Exxon Mobil made approximately 8 cents a gallon, or a total of $1.60 for the 20 gallons of gas I purchased today. The Government on the other hand, made $14.40 on my fill-up.
Who's gouging the American consumer & taxpayer?