Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation.
For several decades, environmentalists have managed to get Congress to keep most of our oil resources off-limits to exploration and drilling. They've managed to have the Congress enact onerous regulations that have made refinery construction impossible. Similarly, they've used the courts and Congress to completely stymie the construction of nuclear power plants. As a result, energy prices are at historical highs and threaten our economy and national security.
What's the political response to our energy problems? It's more congressional and White House kowtowing to environmentalists, farmers and multi-billion dollar corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland. Their "solution," rather than to solve our oil supply problem by permitting drilling for the billions upon billions of barrels of oil beneath the surface of our country, is to enact the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that mandates that oil companies increase the amount of ethanol mixed with gasoline. Anyone with an ounce of brains would have realized that diverting crops from food to fuel use would raise the prices of corn-fed livestock, such as pork, beef, chicken and dairy products, and products made from corn, such as cereals. Ethanol production has led to increases in other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat. Since the U.S. is the world's largest grain producer and exporter, higher grain prices have had a huge impact on food prices worldwide.
Congress and the environmentalists aren't through with us. If you're bothered by skyrocketing food and energy prices, wait until Congress re-introduces its environmentalist-inspired Climate Security Act, so-called "Cap and Trade." Cap and Trade is deceptively peddled as a free-market solution to the yet-to-be-settled issue of manmade climate change. Under its provisions, companies would be able to emit greenhouse gases only if they had a government allowance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a 15 percent cut in emissions would raise the annual average household's energy costs by $1,300. Since energy is an input to everything we use, we can expect everything to become more costly, resulting in a reduction in economic growth.
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