Politicians Prescribe Aspirin to Treat Economy They Poison
by Roy Innis (bio)
With the economy stagnating, unemployment climbing and families struggling to pay bills, Congress and the White House finally agree on something - government needs to "prime the pump" and deliver financial relief. They've jointly approved a stimulus package to provide aid.
But lawmakers are acting like make-believe doctors, prescribing aspirin to a patient continually and knowingly poisoned with arsenic.
Any shot of economic medicine is likely to be counteracted by existing and proposed toxic policies that drive up prices, cause layoffs and put families on energy welfare. It would be laughable if it weren't so hypocritical.
Oil, gas, coal and other natural resources on America's citizen-owned public lands could meet U.S. energy needs for centuries. Eco-friendly development would generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenues, as well as stabilize energy prices and reduce our need to buy oil from unfriendly countries.
However, radical environmentalist lawmakers, regulators, courts and activists have locked up land that could hold enough oil to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years, plus enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years.
So-called energy legislation recently signed into law by President Bush doesn't foster even the slightest energy production. But it does force automakers to make vehicles smaller and more dangerous to meet new miles-per-gallon standards, and does phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescents that contain mercury and must be handled and recycled very carefully.
Now we're getting more government arsenic, when we need economic vitamins. Over 22,000 polar bears roam the Arctic, and their numbers are growing. But environmental activists and their government supporters want the bears designated as "threatened" because of alleged global warming.
Doing so would put courts and bureaucrats in charge of any activity that produces greenhouse gases: heating, cooling, transportation and manufacturing, bakeries, dry cleaners, hotels, office and apartment buildings, cement plants and dairy farms to name just a few. The price of everything we do, eat, drive and wear would soar, and jobs would disappear. The American Dream would slip out of reach for millions.
The demands are based on computer models that say rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels could cause icy habitats to melt 50-100 years from now and drive polar bears to extinction. But hundreds of climate scientists emphasize that these models can't forecast accurately even one year in advance, much less 50, and many say there is no evidence that recent moderate warming will lead to disaster.
Scientists can't even prove CO2 is the cause of global warming. Empirical evidence demonstrates that climate change is driven primarily by solar energy output, cosmic rays and other natural causes. Average global temperatures have been stable since 2001, despite steadily rising CO2 levels.
Costly and punitive efforts to cut CO2 levels, such as complex "cap and trade" schemes, would bring little benefit. EPA calculates that even the least restrictive bill - introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) - would send gasoline prices up an extra 57 cents a gallon, spark a 20 percent increase in electricity prices and cut up to $370 billion from our gross domestic product while, reducing global CO2 levels by only 1.5 percent and average temperature by perhaps 0.05 degrees by 2050.
All plans would give bureaucrats control over virtually every aspect of our lives. All would make reliable, affordable energy a distant memory - even with an all-out program to build more nuclear power plants (anathema to many greens and legislators). All would also force industry to spend trillions of dollars to capture, pipeline and store carbon dioxide.
Congressional and other environmental "physicians" experimenting on our energy, economy and lives need to abide by the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.
Affordable, reliable energy transforms constitutionally-protected rights into actual rights and opportunities for better jobs and living standards. Restricting energy supplies rolls back civil rights.
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Roy Innis is chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, one of America's oldest civil rights organizations, and author of Energy Keepers-Energy Killers: The New Civil Rights Battle. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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