2004-06-20

What happened?

The other night, Tony (my landlord) and I got into a somewhat lengthy discussion about energy, renewable and otherwise. He told me about the energy crisis thirty years ago, and how the vision then was for the US to achieve energy independence by 1980. After telling me about various schemes involving propane and solar power I asked him, "Here it is thirty years later and our most popular vehicles are less efficient than back then. What happened?"
He replied, "I don't know. What happened?"

And I replied, "I dunno. What happened?"
We left it at that.

I think I just found the answer though — Reagan:
"On July 17, 1980, as he accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination, he declared, 'Those who preside over the worst energy shortage in our history tell us to use less, so that we will run out of oil, gasoline and natural gas a little more slowly.' The Gipper continued, 'Well, now, conservation is desirable ... But conservation is not the sole answer to our energy needs. America must get to work producing more energy.' Reagan's idea was to liberate the oil companies from controls, as part of his belief in 'getting government off our backs.'"

...

"During Reagan's two terms, oil prices fell by three-fourths, and the real output of the U.S. economy grew by a third. Lower prices? More wealth? What's not to like? Only this: The market produces miracles, but it's nonetheless blind; it makes no distinction between a barrel of oil pumped in Oklahoma and a barrel pumped in Saudi Arabia. If the foreign crude is 1 cent cheaper, that's what Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' selects. Oil, said the Reaganites, is just another commodity; it doesn't matter where it comes from. So while the economy boomed, the vision of energy independence withered."

"And thus the catch: The free market lowered the price of energy, but since the United States was a high-cost producer, domestic production was a big loser. And the long-term decline in U.S. oil production -- accelerated, too, by environmental concerns -- continued through the Reagan years and has kept on ever since. Today, the United States imports 59 percent of its oil; it has gone from being one-quarter dependent on foreign sources to three-fifths dependent."
Read the rest of the article at Salon — Abolish the terror tax — written by a Reagan administration staffer.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent log. We are gonna miss the Mr. Reagan. I am surprised Salon wrote that. I thought Salon was a typical liberal rag. Maybe they put it in the token right wing nut section. Again thanks for the post. Keep the Reagan Revolution alive.

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