Obama’s Misguided Green Energy Policy
"Obama’s Misguided Green Energy Policy" is part of a new series, "Political Perspectives."
Obama’s energy policies seem noble at face value: making America less dependent on foreign oil, building sustainable and renewable clean energy at home, and paving the way for new high-tech green energy jobs. Who wouldn’t like that? Those damn Republicans! Stuck in the stone age of coal, oil, and hideous things like free-markets.
Free markets? The economy? What’s that have to do with energy? Everything. In fact, much like the powerful exports a young America of yesteryear provided, oil and energy fuel the country’s economy.
Though free-market capitalism is the reason we have been so successful as a country, the current administration seems committed to denying this fact. It has attempted to substitute the dream of the free market with a new dream, one in which the successes of some should be redistributed. By applying this philosophy to big oil’s overall profits, the Left has found it easy to demonize those “horrible,” “greedy” oil companies. Further, Obama has used the topic of green energy in both of his election campaigns as one of many means to regulate free market companies.
I am not here to tout or defend the oil companies - or for that matter, coal and nuclear energy – though I favor them. I would love to see more green energy. Yet, the fact remains that these technologies do not satisfy America’s demands, are often less efficient than conventional energy sources and are consistently very expensive. I am here to tout what we have, and what works.
America has some of the largest oil reserves in the world, and Canada, our number one trading partner, boasts even more. We also have an abundance of natural gas. This begs the question: while we work to make green energies cost-effective, why aren’t we producing oil, natural gas, etc.?
It’s all about the vote. Obama is very aware of his voting bloc, and he strategically makes each move to bolster his chances of re-election. Take the current examples of re-applying "Jerusalem" and "God" to the Democratic platform, presumably to retain the Jewish vote, or conveniently “evolving” to support gay marriage. Plainly, Obama’s green energy policy is nothing short of a cowardly appeal to uninformed liberal voters who are particularly sympathetic toward environmental issues.
In multiple cases, the Obama Administration has pursued failed energy policies and investments, such as Solyndra or Solar Trust of America LLC. Both companies declared bankruptcy after receiving $535 million and $2.1 billion “conditional” green energy government loans, respectively. As long as such endeavors help perpetuate the illusion of “creating” and “investing” in green energy, the Obama administration has shown that it will promote them at the American taxpayers’ expense. How else do you explain spending $26 a gallon to fuel a “green” Navy?
It is this misguided, self-serving, re-election-driven political attitude that is destroying our economy. For the sake of a solidified vote, Obama quashed one of the most important energy plans of the decade - the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline would have stretched from Canada to Texas, providing 4,000 jobs and secure energy from a friendly nation. Instead, President Obama’s unwillingness to play into a Republican-friendly industry cost American jobs, eliminated an energy supply which would have lowered gas prices and compromised security (Canada now seeks a deal with China, and we maintain our dependence on Gulf Coast oil). At least Israel has found a more reliable and friendly North American partner.
Mitt Romney has a clearly outlined plan for American energy policy. While liberal politicians turn “deregulation” into a dirty word, these moves actually free up the market to begin producing energy domestically, thereby providing jobs and creating a self-sufficient America. Obama’s plan has been incoherent, wasteful and restrictive. He touts the idea that during his presidency, America has imported less oil than it did in the last decade and produced a larger share of exports, but he fails to mention that the reason for low consumption is directly related to our lack of productivity (i.e. 8.1 percent unemployment), and that the higher oil output has been achieved by the private industries based on actions taken while the Bush Administration was in the White House.
We should learn from the USSR that a government force-fed market is inherently inefficient and destined for failure. We have all read of the outdated and useless creations developed in such a society, and should be weary of mimicking. One embodiment of government inefficiency in the area of clean energy, in addition to the previous example of Solyndra’s failure, is the Chevy Volt: an innovation created by the government bail-out giant General Motors that loses tens of thousands of dollars on every model sold. By promoting free enterprise, America will be more competitive and ultimately successful on a global scale in areas of energy technology, especially compared to countries with state-run economies, like China.
In short, Obama’s green energy myth is withering like an autumn leaf, and with it, our pockets are becoming less green.
Editor's Note: Read an opposing article explaining why President Obama's energy policy is sensible here.