Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Now back to the real world

John Edwards was not impressed that Big Oil will pay no (zero) royalties on $65 billion in oil and natural gas pumped from federal territories. Edwards is chief lobbyist and apologist for the special interest group lately identified as “those lacking a pot to piss in.”

The recent Democratic VP candidate is a friend of mine, I guess. I get “Dear Friend” e-mails from him quite regularly. And he always signs them, "Your friend, John." As close as we are, though, I doubt he would have supported my recent rant on the need for high energy prices to rectify the massive market failure that subsidizes global warming.

“Theory is good,” I can hear him saying, dripping with diplomatic North Carolina charm, “so long as it can be converted to nutritional sustenance.”

Still, he gets compassion. And he understands how energy prices are built in to all prices. On the president's plan to give up $7 billion in royalty payments for the exploitation of federal lands, he draws the appropriate context:
“Every day, I meet families who are struggling with high gas prices and soaring home-heating costs. Every day, prices go up for the things we all need because the price of fuel goes up. Meanwhile the big energy companies are hitting all-time record high profits. So why do they need another giveaway. They don’t. And they certainly don’t need another giveaway while oil prices climb to $70 per barrel.

“This boondoggle is unfolding just as the Administration is pushing for its budget – an immoral document if I ever saw one. Once again, their budget lavishes tax breaks on millionaires while it slashes programs that help the most vulnerable among us. ... 300,000 pushed off food stamps; 19,000 fewer children will go to Head Start; and low- and moderate-income people will lose $36 billion in Medicare.

“Everything people need to get ahead, let alone get by, is on the chopping block – student loans, vocational training, child care, Social Security benefits for widows, and more.”
But John, if I had my way, we’d specify what prices the oil companies could charge, make them produce on a sustainable schedule, and collect enough off the top to finance all those programs and more besides. But the price. The price has got to go up. You've got to think long run.

"As your favorite economist used to say, Al, 'In the long run we are all dead.'”

It’s Alan. I guess we’re not that good of friends.

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