WEP is relocating due to recent change in jobs, so my posts will be a bit less frequent until things get settled. But this is one I've been wanting to write for a while, and Congress's recent vote to NOT drill for offshore oil is a perfect opportunity. This is the second bill they've recently debated on the Hill, the other being a motion to restrict emissions and implement a new carbon credit system for pollution. In light of Congress' action, I am reminded that politics will always be politics. Very few of our representatives actually want to solve problems since such problems are why we vote people into office to begin with. Thus, solving a problem would potentially threaten the need for their existence. Be they Republican or Democrat, our representatives are impotent when it comes to action. So, I have a few words of advice for either President McCain or President Obama. If they truly want to solve our energy problems, it starts with these steps. I call it the WEP-Plan.
First, oil is a commodity, which means that it's price is determined mainly by 2 factors: supply/demand, and speculators who wager on what supply/demand will be like in the near and distant future. So here's how we reduce the price of oil, for our economy, for the environment, for energy independence. Here is the bipartisan WEP-Plan.
1) Drill. Yes, we must tap our own natural resources. I acknowledge that oil is a finite resource and that we must find a renewable alternative to ensure our long-term survival. Yes, I get it. But that doesn't help us in the short-term. Simply demanding that people stop using so much gas is impractical. People have to work. So, let's increase oil supply and drill, both off-shore and in ANWR. The beach bums in Florida and caribou in Alaska will have to deal with it.
2) Build more nuclear power plants. Again, I realize this may not be the long-term solution, but nuclear power is cleaner and more efficient than what the majority of us use now. There is no reason for us to NOT build more of these power stations.
3) Build more refineries. See number one. The environmentalists will have to live with it.
4) End grain subsidies. Obviously grain subsidies don't lower the price of oil, only raise the price of grain. So now we pay more for both gas AND milk (as well as other grain-based products).
That's the easy stuff. The hard part comes next, mainly because of the nasty politics that would be involved.
5) Close ALL government offices every other Friday. The military does this at some places. You basically work at 10 hour day, and every other week is a 4 day work week.
6) Adjust the thermostat in ALL government buildings. No less than 73 degrees in the summer, no more than 68 degrees in the winter.
7) Deliver the US mail only on Monday, Wed, Friday. And only deliver to rural routes 2 days a week. Eliminate package delivery service, UPS and FedEx can take care of that stuff. The USPS should only deliver envelope-type mail. That way, the suburban mail carrier can be resurrected, walking the route on foot.
8) Lower the federal speed limit back to 55mph.
9) Release 10% of the strategic oil reserve into the market. If anything, this will scare the speculators.
10) Encourage police departments to increase foot-patrols, decrease cruisers on the street, more motorcycles, more horses.
11) Implement an "energy independence" holiday. This is a day where businesses will be encouraged to close, and local communities encouraged to plan activities that would contribute to energy independence, with the major goal of this day being as many Americans as possible stay home, on foot or bike and do NOT buy gasoline. Again, sounds cheesy, but will likely scare the speculators.
That's the WEP-Plan. Not perfect, but it's a start. Do these things, and the every day American will see more affordable oil and it will buy us more time to develop better alternatives. But this won't happen without bipartisan cooperation, which makes it unlikely for Obama.