Now, as the Washington Post notes on its front page, even greater turmoil is roiling the financial markets, and still the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Democrats do nothing to signal markets around the globe that the U.S. is serious about increasing the supply of energy on which all economic prosperity depends.
The Democrats are imitating Nero, and voters should be mad as hell.
While the cost of oil hasn’t created the financial crisis, the oil bubble has weakened the overall economy, from automobiles to the airlines, while driving up costs from the pump to food prices to the cost of shelter. Weathering the mortgage meltdown was bound to include some tough times for individual institutions, but the oil shock is sapping economic vitality at a time when it is urgently necessary to offset the impact of slow growth and bum loans.
The one thing that Congress can do to arrest the uncertainty and keep the economy growing is to turn lose energy producers to explore on the outer continental shelf, in ANWR and on federal lands. President Bush’s executive order cleared away one obstacle, and I hope he orders the Department of the Interior to conduct stand-by leasing of the exploration rights, leases that would issue but be contingent on Congressional action lifting the various bans. Not only would such contingent leases increase the pressure on Congress, they will also shorten the time necessary to get from where we are to where we need to be.
As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush was able to impose a victory policy on the defeatist Democrats (and be sure to read this morning’s important piece on that policy in today’s WSJ by Fred and Kimberly Kagan and General Keane), but he cannot do so when it comes to energy policy.
“[T]he tipping points of economic crises, analysts said, are almost always more about psychology than fundamentals,” the Post reports this morning, and I hope every member of Congress reads that. Signaling seriousness about energy production –and not just offshore drilling though it should be step number one, but nuclear power and refinery construction as well– is a huge hammer the Congress could use to smash the beginnings of panic.
“[T]he economy is growing, productivity is high, trade is up, people are working,” President Bush noted yesterday, and indeed the economic fundamentals are good, but with Obama’s disastrous tax plans a realistic possibility and with the Pelosi-Reid Democrats demonstrating daily the sort of economic insanity that the environmentalists have imposed on them, investors have every reason to worry about the next two to four years and keep their money parked on the sidelines.
A public watching banks fail, stocks tumble and gas prices soar should be furious with a Congressional majority that refuses even to consider via a floor vote doing what it could actually do to assist the economy which is help get it the energy it needs to grow. The individuals feeling the economic pain have a right to be angry with Washington, D.C. As the economy staggers under the burden of $140 a barrel oil, the “People’s House” does nothing and the Senate does even less.
I understand the immense reluctance of Democrats to do anything to help the economy in advance of the fall elections, but this refusal to act is shameful. It is causing enormous harm to real people, and eating away at the foundations of the economy. When you hear Democrat after Democrat on television to intone “we can’t drill our way out of it” without explaining why, when you hear Democrat after Democrat intone the nonsense about the oil company’s unused federal leases –truly the stupidest talking point of all time– and when you hear about the need for new sources of energy in the far off future, know that you are actually hearing a chilling resolve to crater the economy for the perceived benefit of Obama and other Democratic office holders.
People are not powerless to accept this situation, and voters aren’t stupid, though the Obama-Pelosi-Reid leadership is treating them as though they are. Voters know the Democrats have decided to put the screws to the economy and their pocketbooks by refusing to authorize new oil exploration, and they are beginning to see the economy-wide effects of this reckless indifference to the necessity of energy now.