Tuesday :: Jan 31, 2006

The Pusher Will Tell Us We're Addicted To Oil

by Steve

Confirming earlier news reports, one of the centerpieces of Bush’s SOTU tonight is that America is addicted to oil, and needs to rely on technology to address this problem. Keep in mind that Bush arrived at this revelation five years into his administration, and a day after Exxon Mobil announced the largest annual profits ever for a US company. Also keep in mind that Bush’s solutions ask for no sacrifice from anyone, don’t address reducing consumption (like changing CAFÉ or ending the tax break for Hummers), and certainly won’t call for an end to all oil company tax breaks and subsidies.

In fact, five years after Cheney’s Energy Task Force and his famous remark about conservation being a personal virtue but not a basis for a sound energy policy, it isn’t clear yet if anything has changed. Instead, it appears we will hear about:

·Hydrogen cars and fuel cells, which are years away and whose technology is safely in the hands of Halliburton and other GOP donors; and

·Ethanol, which has been part of the country’s approach for more than a decade.

Next month, Bush will roll out an initiative to bring nuclear power back into the mix in this country. In other words, after five years and presiding over a terrible run up in global warming and energy addiction, and after using the tax code to reward Big Oil and do nothing to address consumption, Bush now trots out the old ideas and says we are addicted to what he and his boys have been selling for years. But instead of calling for a crash Apollo Initiative to rework our economic incentives in this country away from Big Oil and the Persian Gulf and towards reduced oil consumption and the creation of new alternate energy industries, we get the platitudes about using our long-gone technological edge to push hydrogen and to bring back nuclear power, two solutions that will do little in the next five years to reduce consumption and undermine OPEC.

It will be the same with health care tonight, when Bush will trot out health savings accounts that will do nothing now to help those without insurance or facing the loss of insurance. In fact, rather than help those who can’t even afford their energy bills nor the cost of health insurance premiums now, Bush will tout more tax breaks for the healthy and wealthy. In other words, on both energy and health care, Bush will be talking primarily at his base, the investor class, to lard them with more tax saving and investment opportunities, rather than to actually address the problems facing this country.

Sure, the media will applaud the speech as visionary and effective. But as Bush prattles on tonight about his solutions, which could have been put forward back in 2001 and hammered over and over again if he actually cared about solving domestic problems, just ask yourself if his solutions will actually make any meaningful dent in addressing these problems in the next three years. And when you realize that they won’t, you will know that he's wasted these eight long years without doing anything of significance while he pushes these problems onto his successor.

Steve :: 4:06 PM :: Comments (16) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!