Republican Congressmen engage the blogosphere Posted by: Jon Henke
on Monday, March 06, 2006
First, House Majority Leader John Boehner sends an email to bloggers on the announcement that Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas "will retire at the end of the 109th Congress"....
"I have great admiration and respect for Bill both personally and professionally. The work he has accomplished on behalf of the American people, whether to lower taxes, provide quality health care, or create new jobs, has quite frankly been extraordinary. He has been one of the most effective and successful legislators Congress has seen in years and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him."
This means that, come the end of this year, the Chairmanship of the influential House Ways and Means Committee will be open. Ways & Means, incidentally, is the Committee "charged with writing tax legislation and bills affecting Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs", and — as Mike Krempasky notes — "it was likely Thomas' late support for Boehner's candidacy for the leadership post that many think swung the vote in his favor".
Say, you know who's probably available for a leadership position? Rep. John Shadegg. I'm just sayin'...
Meanwhile, Rep. Jack Kingston — who has made an admirable entry into blogging — posts a column on oil independence at RealClearPolitics. The willingness to work in this medium is admirable, but, unfortunately, he makes the same economic errors that so many other politicians make...
Congress should support the President’s call to continue research and development of these new technologies. But Congress and the President should not stop there. Together, we should adopt a bold plan to reduce oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day within a decade – more than we currently import from the Persian Gulf – and rapidly expand the fuel and vehicle choices of the American consumer. If at the end of a decade every new car in America had the option of using at least one fuel in addition to gasoline our economy would be stronger, our environment cleaner, our country safer and our addiction broken. Oil would continue to fuel our economy but we would have choices and with choices comes security.
The choice before us is clear, continue to send $250 billion per year overseas and hope that money does not find its way to our enemies, or “on-shore” our energy future by buying our next gallon of fuel from an American farmer, refined at a clean American refinery, and put into an American-built fuel choice car.
That's a false choice, and the solution (fuel choice) does not actually solve the problem he postulates — i.e., that the "addiction to oil" leaves us vulnerable to price volatility and embargos, and that our usage of oil "fuels the radical Islamist movement".
Don't misunderstand: additional energy resources would be a marginal positive, but they would not solve the problems mentioned. Even if the becomes completely self-sufficient for oil — i.e., we consume only domestically produced oil — we are still vulnerable to price volatility. And as long as Middle East countries are the low-cost suppliers of oil, they will still dominate the market and sell every barrel they choose to produce. Whether another X units of energy are produced by new technology within the US, by new oil fields in Mexico or by willing sellers of oil in Dubai, the economics of oil will remain the same. Aggregate global supply and demand will determine the price of oil, not the identity of the buyers and sellers.