A Biden-Buttigieg solution to the energy crisis?


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When asked about reversing Biden Administration energy policies that have left the U.S. increasingly dependent upon Russian oil and gas, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made it clear: “We … need to make sure we’re not galloping after permanent solutions to immediate short-term problems.”

Ah, “permanent solutions” for Biden-Buttigieg mean ending America’s “love affair” with fossil fuels. Meanwhile, Russia, China, and the rest of the world (even Germany and possibly the United Kingdom) are extracting and using increasing amounts of oil, gas, and coal. Now the “killer Bs” are working with the Russians to enable the U.S. once again to buy oil from Iran.

Still, with even Nancy Pelosi joining the drumbeat for ending U.S. dependence on Russian energy, the President may yet be forced to capitulate and open some spigots. What a dilemma!

Over in Europe, which is facing an even greater energy challenge from eschewing Russian energy, the International Energy Agency — linked to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – has followed the cold, sage advice of President James Earl Carter (and Richard Nixon in earlier times):

Turn down your thermostat!

In its 10-point plan to reduce European reliance on Russian energy, the IEA says that turning down all European thermostats by just one degree (Celsius?) would reduce overall annual gas demand by 10 billion cubic meters of gas. That’s a drop in the 155 billion cubic meter bucket of Russian gas delivered to European consumers in 2021. [President Carter wanted Americans to turn down to 650 F in the daytime and even lower at night.]

President Biden has yet to follow suit, perhaps because his doctors reminded him that 20,000 Americans have died from cold exposure since 1979, the last time Americans were held hostage in a Middle Eastern nation. Given his age and health, Genuine Joe would not dare keep his Delaware White House replica at 65 degrees!

But wait! There is a “permanent solution” that just might make even the reddest Greenie smile. In an interview in Truthout, “progressive” economist Robert Pollin had the answer. The headline reads, “Nationalizing fossil fuel industry is a practical solution to rising inflation.” Works to stop Russia, too.

Pollin, a “distinguished professor of economics” and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, laid out the Biden-Buttigieg policy clearly: “[G]overnment policy now needs to commit to both keeping fossil fuel energy prices high, but then to protect energy consumers from the impact of these high fossil fuel prices.”

Pollin’s rationale follows the Biden-Buttigieg party line to a T: “What we most need to accomplish is to dramatically lower demand for fossil fuels. In other words, pushing fossil fuel prices back down is not helpful in terms of addressing the climate crisis since it would encourage greater fossil fuel consumption.” [emphasis added]

Pollin admits that fast-rising energy prices, which the Ukraine conflict will only exacerbate, constitute “the biggest single factor driving up the overall inflation rate,” with the cost of automobiles (nearly all of which run on gasoline) is close behind. Used car prices have jumped by 41 percent and rising. No wonder the Biden-Buttigieg White House is ecstatic! Their policies are working!

About protecting energy consumers, Pollin urges “large subsidies” to retrofit residences with low-cost LED lights, improved insulation, and high-efficiency electric heat pumps.” [This dovetails with the Bs’ “build back better” strategy of subsidizing green projects.]

Since these are only “long-term solutions,” in the short run Pollin says Biden-Buttigieg should “provide people with energy tax rebates to compensate them for the impacts of any temporary spikes in energy prices.” [The Bs want to push prices for conventional energy higher.]

All of this leads to the inevitable [these are progressives, after all] conclusion. “Under a nationalized fossil fuel industry,” Pollin boasts, “the necessary phase-out of fossil fuels as an energy source can proceed in an orderly fashion. The government could then set fossil fuel energy prices to reflect the needs of both consumers and the imperatives of the clean energy transition.”

And it would be cheap!

Pollin argues that Washington could purchase controlling interest in ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Conoco (the three dominant U.S. oil and gas companies) for a measly $350 billion – “less than 10 percent of the $4 trillion that the Federal Reserve pumped into Wall Street during the COVID crisis.” Moreover, Pollin says, allocating this “trivial” amount would ensure an end to “these corporations’ relentless campaign of sabotaging the clean energy transition.”

Think nationalizing America’s energy giants is far-fetched?

Consider that the Biden-Buttigieg Administration had nominated Moscow-educated, Marxist professor Saule Omarova to be the Comptroller of the Currency. Among the voices objecting to her now-withdrawn nomination, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board argued that “The U.S. doesn’t need a bank regulator who wants to end banking as we know it or who wants to create a central bank digital currency.”

Ah, but does America need to gut its energy industry and become wholly dependent upon China for raw materials and components for its favored wind and solar installations – as China and the rest of the world continue to increase worldwide use of fossil fuels?

The Biden-Buttigieg answer? Climate change is a “long-term problem” that requires a long-term solution – and that means systematically destroying the U.S. oil and gas industry. What better way than by nationalizing it?

Just ask Mexico and Venezuela how their energy bureaucracies are working out.

  • Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas. A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, "Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout."

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