Paul Jacob

Where do I get my energy?

None of the holes I’ve dug in the backyard have produced anything, so I buy gasoline for my car from federally-regulated oil companies and my natural gas and electricity from publicly-regulated monopoly utilities.

And sometimes I swing by Starbucks and pick up a shot of personal get-up-and-go.

Last week President Barack Obama addressed energy issues in front of students at Georgetown University, releasing a new Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. Our fearless leader intends to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Moreover, Mr. Obama told students, “I want to announce a new goal . . . By a little more than a decade from now, we will have . . . cut our oil dependence by a third.”

Obama noted that presidents going back to Richard Nixon “have promised energy independence,” he said, “but that promise has so far gone unmet.” What the president doesn’t understand is why previous presidents were, as he is, just spouting words.

Americans are wisely skeptical of big oil and monopoly utility companies, but at least these outfits actually find, extract, refine, produce and sell energy resources to heat and air condition our homes and run our cars. Presidents bring only money to the issue — ours.

The two essential elements of the Obama energy blueprint are “first, finding and producing more oil at home; second, reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency.”

Finding and producing more oil sounds an awful lot like the “Drill, Baby, Drill” idea the president mocked at the beginning of his Georgetown address — even as he claimed credit for the highest domestic oil production since 2003. Someday the commander-in-chief will decide whether more production is a silly goal or a worthwhile accomplishment. For now, it’s both.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.