By Alan Caruba
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter set in motion the energy crisis that America is experiencing today. He was aided by a Democrat-controlled Congress that imposed a Domestic Crude Oil Windfall Profits tax on oil companies who he blamed for the crisis that had led to long lines at gas stations. It was, however, the OPEC nations, not the oil companies, that decided to force up the price of oil.
In tandem with the tax, Carter announced that any attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region would be regarded as a threat to U.S. interests, in effect taking on the responsibility to defend the area. U.S. flags went up on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. Navy became responsible for protecting them.
What followed was a twenty-eight year decline in the U.S. oil industry as Democrats set about doing everything they could to eliminate the exploration and extraction of oil (and natural gas) in the United States.
The drilling rig count fell from 4,530 in 1981 to 488 in 1999.
U.S. oil production in 2007 was only 59% of what it was in 1980.
Today, 65% of the U.S. oil demand is imported from foreign countries.
Today, thanks to a treasonous energy policy, the U.S. is only producing 5.1 million barrels of oil daily and its refineries are required by law to mix gasoline with ethanol that reduces its mileage per gallon.
“Big Oil” became the Democrat whipping boy and, today, most of the really big oil companies in the world are nationally owned. Among the investor owned oil companies, the largest these days are Aera Energy, Anadarko, and Occidental. ExxonMobil, despite the endless headlines, is not even in the top ten of oil companies.
Less than 11% of ExxonMobil profits come from marketing and refining in the United States. Earlier this year, the company announced it would sell off its chain of gas stations. Its profits after expenses, calculated in the billions, are less than those of pharmaceuticals, high tech, and banking institutions, but you don’t hear Obama or the Democrats calling for windfall profits taxes on them.
On Friday, August 1, Sen. Obama announced an “Emergency Economic Plan” that would give families a stimulus check of $1,000 each and which would be funded by the proposed “windfall profits from Big Oil.”
Corporate America will always be deemed “the enemy” by a Democrat Party led by socialists and radical leftists.
Never let it be said that the Democrats have learned anything new since the 1980s and earlier decades in which they held power.
Virtually every aspect of our lives involves some use of oil. Whether it’s the suntan lotion you apply, the plastic bag in which you bring home groceries, the asphalt road surface on which you drive, and the gasoline in your auto’s tank or lubricant in its engine. In a thousand ways every day, oil is absolutely essential for life as we know it in America.
Repeating Jimmy Carter’s mistakes will not bring America one inch closer to energy independence or security, but that is exactly what Sen. Obama proposes.
It is what Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, are saying every day when they refuse to permit a vote to permit off-shore drilling on the 85% of the nation’s coastline where it is forbidden. Rep. Pelosi, in a burst of hubris and stupidity, announced that she was trying to save the Earth. That’s not in her job description.
What we are watching unfold is a script by which the economy of the nation will be utterly wrecked by Democrats who have been out of touch with reality for decades and by the proposals of a candidate for President who every day demonstrates the same bad judgment that has left us at the mercy of nations that do not like our freedoms and our republic.
Note: A special tip of the hat to oil industry expert, Seldon B. Graham, Jr., author of “Why Your Gasoline Prices are High.”