Card Sharks


Please convince your colleagues that this proposal to lift the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration is akin to a shell game; no matter how desperate one is for the prize being offered, one must always remember the first rule of a shell game: the mark doesn't win.  

Oil prices have risen to near $150 a barrel; gasoline prices have risen to near $5 a gallon. No matter how enticing the proposals being made - regardless of the hundreds of billions of potential barrels of oil that are being bandied about - they cannot reduce oil prices and/or gasoline prices one whit.  

What has happened to the Republican Party? Formerly the party of the "rational actor" theory of economics (you remember: the Chicago School and Milton Friedman), they have now become the home for a quasi-behavioral economics and they espouse pop-psychology theories of energy that sound more at home in an infomercial.  


Our economy - and the world economy - is built on growth. Without growth, all of our structures will not merely crumble, they will implode in spectacular fashion. For most of the 20th century, that growth was a US-led growth, as Europe spent several decades either at war, preparing for war or recovering from war; it was only after the fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall that Europe could turn their attention to growth and by then their population was aging. The last decade of the 20th century saw the rise of China and India as economic nations, as they embraced growth in as fierce a fashion as did the early stage capitalists of our own post Civil War Reconstruction. But their populations were/are larger than Europe and they are growing as rapidly as their economies. So, while once the US had the population and the economy to use all of our oil and much of the Arabian oil supplies too, now we have competitor economies and populations for those same oil resources. Were barrels of oil akin to those of Saudi Arabia found off our shores, instead of supporting the economic engines of 300 million people, they would be tossed onto the world market for the 3 billion people of the developed and developing worlds (while we carry along another 3 billion people just as hungry but just out of reach of the bounties of our tables). The economics of supply and demand tell us that not only is there not enough oil to lower the price on a per barrel basis, they also tell us that the longer we wait to transition to a post oil economy the higher the prices will be (and the resultantly higher hardships).  

The only way not to lose a game of Three-Card Monte is not to play a game of Three Card Monte; tell your friends.

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