People are angry. Global oil prices have doubled over the past year, sending fuel prices skyrocketing. Diesel fuel, in particular, is outrageously high, putting the squeeze on the farming and trucking industries, and driving the price of nearly everything upward, especially the cost of food. Truckers have even taken to “demonstrating” in the streets of the capitol city.
The elected head of the nation’s government seems unable to do much of anything to alleviate the problem. But appearing as though he’s doing something is better than appearing as though he’s doing nothing, so he schedules a trip to Saudi Arabia for several “high level talks” with oil producers.
Does this sound like a description of the series of events that led up to President Bush’s trip to the Middle East a month ago? You remember that trip, don’t you? It gave us those hideous photos of our current U.S. President holding hands with Saudi King Abdullah, along with the headline “Saudi‘s Rebuff Bush.”
Well, the passage above could very well be used
to describe what was going on here at home back in February, March and April of this year. But it is actually a description of what’s been going on in London the past few weeks, as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced plans last Friday to pay his own special visit to “the King” later this month, on June 22nd.
Same problem, essentially the same description, but a different country. And here’s another difference between the two stories: in the United States, we have the resources to get ourselves out of our dilemma - - at least partially - - in the short-run.
It’s no mystery that the United States is home to its own substantial oil and gas resources. It is also true that oil corporations, themselves, are NOT the villains behind the skyrocketing fuel prices. The problem is, without a doubt, the United States Congress.
Currently, it is a violation of federal law to search for oil in the Pacific Ocean, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Atlantic Ocean, and in Alaska. Similarly, it is against the law to search for oil shale in the continental United States. Congress has the power to change federal laws that restrict such energy exploration and development, but has chosen not to do this.
And if “Congress” is to blame for these harmful laws, that means that there is plenty of blame to go around among Republicans and Democrats alike. Republicans controlled the Congress for nearly twelve of the last thirteen and a half years, and during that time the stupidity on energy policy remained intact.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.