Since 9/11 I have become increasingly...interested in politics. Nah, who am I kidding, I'm not the least bit interested in politics, but since I've been out on my own I've taken an interest in things that affect ME, and after 9/11 I've realized more and more that more and more things actually do affect me directly.
Oh, this post is not going to be about cycling....very much. Instead, it's going to be more anti-oil. And in a roundabout way, in my mind anyway, oil is related to cycling.
The impetus for this post was a Grist post about a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute press release.
I'm going to go on record as saying I am in agreement with Mr. Johnson, and add my own rant.
The press release drops this doozy on you right off the bat:
"Raising taxes on the industry [Big Oil] that fuels our lives shows a profound detachment from our energy and economic reality. This proposal, along with the effort to stall both current and future development of energy in the Gulf of Mexico & Alaska, will harm our economy and make us even more dependent on foreign oil."
It's bad to expect Big Oil to pay their fair share of the costs of doing business? They've made us dependent on the supplies of cheap oil they provide, but they have no answer for the question "what happens when the oil runs out?" And the US citizenry has paid for the infrastructure which makes possible the "growth" big corporation, especially Big Oil, have enjoyed mostly free and clear for decades. Those gigantic oil companies could not have glutted themselves so completely on our collective natural resources if not for the vast public works that have been created for mutual benefit. Why not expect them to give back a significant portion of their earnings to offset the costs?
The profound detachment displayed is by those who deny that we are addicted to oil with the same ramifications of drug addiction.
We must first accept that we have a problem. We do. The problem isn't one of economics. Our economic roller coaster ride is a symptom of the addiction. Oil is the drug of choice.
In the State of the Union our president said:
I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if -- I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.
They are "doing just fine on their own" at our expense. Big Oil has been sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of the country for too long. Looking to Big Oil's health to determine the health and vitality of the national economy is like taking he vampire's pulse to see how his victim is doing.
It baffles me how no one in government can agree with anyone else about what our real problems are and what viable solutions to those problems would be.
Oil is finite. Instead of driving on, full speed ahead, indefinitely, we need to get off the oil teat NOW. The US needs to focus on radical reductions in our petroleum usage.
The main problem is that oil has historically been a HUGE cash cow for a minority for decades, and those few who are used to the unrestricted flow of wealth directly into their pockets have set up the game in their favor. The greed of a few is going to result in social calamity for all.
Right now oil is cheap. But predictions for just a few short months ahead are that gas prices are going to rise. And with so many out of work and struggling to pay the bills gas at $5.00/gal. or more will wreak economic and political havoc. When gas prices skyrocket food prices skyrocket, heating and electricity generation go up, plastic widgets are more expensive, fees goes up, your monthly bills go up.
Until everyone...EVERYONE accepts that oil is the diminishing lifeblood of our way of life, and accepts that it is going to start running out sooner than later we are living the denial of a coke addict on the verge of overdose.
In this country we are so locked into the mentality that the car is king that we are unwilling to relinquish out tight-fisted grip on our car keys for any reason.
To paraphrase Kunstler, in the future the scale of our economy and culture is going to be local rather than global because the living arrangement we've built up since WWII is no longer going to be sustainable.
Hallelujah! I said it! They drove me to it!
Political rant over...
Go ride your bike.